Mississippi River

Restoring and preserving critical habitat while fostering community resilience, from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico.

Audubon’s Mississippi River Water Initiative is a watershed-wide program, aligning the work of three regional offices, several centers and sanctuaries, and our national strategy teams. We partner with stakeholders, advocates, and decision-makers on efforts to improve or preserve critical habitat and community resilience in the Mississippi River Basin. Our blueprint for a Resilient Lower Mississippi River states, "We envision a healthy and connected network of habitats throughout the Mississippi River region that support sustainable bird populations and strengthen the resilience of human communities against both human-made and natural threats.” 

We seek a more resilient and ecologically vibrant future for the Mississippi River through three key action items: 

  • Supporting avian monitoring and research efforts along the river to fill critical science gaps and develop implementation strategies that align with science-based management and adaptation plans.
  • Implementing on-the-ground conservation measures: restoring and preserving ecosystems through collaboration with federal, state, and local decision-makers, and other community stakeholders. Beyond ecosystem restoration, Audubon also works with local communities to implement community resilience measures centered on nature-based solutions, focusing on equity in access to management decisions and resource allocation.
  • Engaging with elected officials and natural resource managers along the river to enact and implement policies that promote a healthy and resilient environment for priority bird species and human communities. Audubon works from the halls of Congress to local city councils at the federal, state, and community levels to achieve policies and funding implementation in alignment with our watershed goals.

What We're Doing

Working with partners to improve the management of public lands for birds and people
Audubon and federal partners have planted more than 140,000 trees, while restoring more than 3,000 acres of floodplain forest. We monitor bird populations in more than 49,000 acres in Missouri and more than 11,000 acres in Minnesota.
Building a river community through education and outreach
At the Audubon Center at Riverlands, the vibrant history and ecology of the Great Rivers region comes alive; through educational programming and ongoing conservation work that engages people of all ages.
Reconnecting natural processes to harness the power of the Mississippi River
In coastal Louisiana, Audubon works with federal and state officials as well as partners in Restore the Mississippi River Delta to reconnect the Mississippi to its wetlands, providing natural resilience to communities in the face of a changing climate.
Our Team

Brian Moore

Vice President, Coastal Policy

Caitlin Wall

Caitlin Wall

Policy Director, Water Conservation

Birds that Depend on the Mississippi River
! Priority Bird
Prothonotary Warbler
Wood Warblers
! Priority Bird
Cerulean Warbler
Wood Warblers
! Priority Bird
Swallow-tailed Kite
Hawks and Eagles
Worm-eating Warbler
Wood Warblers
King Rail
Rails, Gallinules, Coots
! Priority Bird
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Ducks and Geese
Eastern Meadowlark
Blackbirds and Orioles
! Priority Bird
Grasshopper Sparrow
New World Sparrows
Brown-headed Nuthatch
! Priority Bird
Least Tern
Gulls and Terns
! Priority Bird
Black Skimmer
Gulls and Terns
! Priority Bird
Wilson's Plover
Chimney Swift
Purple Martin