The Collaborative works cooperatively within the Mississippi River Basin by:

  • Strategically focusing on state and regional water pollution issues, and
  • Increasing the organizational, legal, and technical capacity of participating groups to meet existing challenges and to effectively implement new initiatives of the Collaborative.

Specifically, we work to:

  • Reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi River and Northern Gulf of Mexico,
  • Increase the effectiveness of Collaborative members to reduce agricultural sources of pollution,
  • Ensure that water pollution is reduced and the uses of our waters are protected in permitting discharges to or the alteration of our waters in each of the Collaborative states,
  • Expand and protect wetlands in the 10-state Mississippi River corridor, including wetlands along major tributaries and critical watersheds, and
  • Extend the impact of the Collaborative through improved communications with the press and the public.


The activities of the Collaborative are divided into two main categories: policy activities, which include training and technical research, and communication activities, which include workgroup collaboration and public outreach. Much of the policy and communication activities of the Collaborative take place in its workgroups, which generally hold monthly conference calls, host bi-annual in-person meetings, and provide training and technical assistance to partner groups.


The Collaborative was founded by the McKnight Foundation with its goal of restoring the water quality and resilience of the Mississippi River, which supports nonprofits that work to restore lands, reduce pollution, and strengthen advocacy for restoration. In 2005, the McKnight Foundation initiated the Mississippi River Collaborative to strengthen efforts to reduce all types of pollution entering the River.


MRC is proud to work with these organizations also leading efforts to protect the Mississippi River:

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
Green Lands Blue Waters
Mississippi River Network / 1Mississippi
Natural Resources Defense Council
Northeast-Midwest Institute
River Network