Today, the once mighty Mississippi River is in trouble. Pollution from farms, untreated sewage and factories along with weak enforcement of water laws has caused our once Great River to decline. As natural barriers like wetlands shrink, the troubles from flooding and drought are amplified and disappearing habitat has put 40 animals on the endangered species list.

But we can help.

By standing up for the River and making simple lifestyle changes we can reclaim the Mississippi for future generations. Here are 10 actions we can take to personally affect the health of the Mississippi River. If you’ve already made some of these changes, then share it with your fellow River Citizens in a testimonial, photo or video.

Spread the word about 1 Mississippi

Forward our newsletter, join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and encourage others to participate in the movement by signing up to be a River Citizen at www.1mississippi.org

canoe full

Connect with the River

Take a canoe trip, visit a nature center or attend a riverside festival. Since we protect what we know, get out and experience the Mighty Mississippi for yourself. Find year round River events near you at www.1mississippi.org/events.

Volunteer for the River

Many hands make light work and volunteers often turn ideas into reality. River cleanups, tree plantings and restoration work days directly affect your community and create free memories with family and friends. Opportunities can be found at www.1mississippi.org/volunteer.

Chris n garbage pile

Pick up garbage and pet waste to reduce pollution and harmful run off into the River

Heavy rains flush pollution into the storm drains, much of which flows directly into rivers. We can beautify our communities and prevent River pollution at the same time by simply bringing a bag and picking up trash on neighborhood walks.

Choose native plants for yards

Native plants are accustomed to the conditions where you live, can prevent invasive species from spreading, preserve community heritage and support local pollinators, butterflies and birds.

Contact Congress through the 1 Mississippi Action Center

Remind them the health of the River is inseparable from the strength of our economy and communities. Remember, these elected officials answer to you. Never underestimate the power of your voice.

Reduce the use of lawn and garden fertilizers containing phosphorous and nitrogen

When these excess nutrients enter rivers and streams, they promote algae growth, depleting oxygen in the water and endangering aquatic life. The result is a Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico that wreaks havoc on the ecosystem and threatens the fishing industry.

girl in green dress - farmers market

Support sustainable agriculture practices, policies and people who promote healthy soil

Sustainable farming prevents soil erosion taking care of the land for future generations. Use your dollars to encourage local farmers who integrate responsible farming techniques.

Protect valuable local wetlands from harmful development

Speak up at public forums and describe the essential role wetlands play in ecosystems and our communities. They provide critical habitat, filter pollutants and protect our homes and businesses by acting as a giant sponge, absorbing excess rainwater and reducing flooding.

VOTE! Be heard

Elected officials make important decisions that affect our River. Learn about your local and national leaders’ voting records and hold them accountable for making our River their priority. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions.