The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) began the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) in 2009 to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Mississippi River Basin. The 13-state initiative builds on the cooperative work of NRCS and its conservation partners in the basin, and offers agricultural producers in priority watersheds the opportunity for technical and financial assistance. It is a part of the Healthy Waterways Initiative program.
The goal of MRBI is to reduce the sediment and nutrient loads entering the Mississippi River. Did you know?
- The Mississippi River has the third largest drainage basin in the world, exceeded in size only by the watersheds of the Amazon and Congo Rivers.
- It drains 41 percent of the 48 contiguous states of the United States; covers more than 1,245,000 square miles; includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces; and roughly resembles a funnel which has its spout at the Gulf of Mexico.
- Waters from as far east as New York and as far west as Montana contribute to flows in the lower river.
- More than 50 cities and 18 million people rely on the Mississippi River for their daily water supply.
- The Mississippi River is the main stem of a network of inland navigable waterways which form a system of about 12,350 miles in length, not including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway of 1,173 miles.
NRCS has identified Mississippi River Basin as a priority due to water quality concerns, primarily the effect of nutrient loading on the health of local water bodies and in the Gulf of Mexico. NRCS and its partners are using a conservation systems approach to help producers optimize nitrogen and phosphorus use in agricultural fields and minimize nutrients in runoff. NRCS is providing producers a number of practices to control soil erosion, and improve soil and water quality.
Technical and financial assistance is available through your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office.
The Little Cottonwood River Watershed originates near the town of Jeffers, MN and flows over 50 miles in a northeasterly direction before confluence with the Minnesota River 7 miles South of New Ulm.
Available Practices with Special Incentives
- Waste Storage Facilities
- Filter Strips
- Vegetative Treatment Areas
- Nutrient Management Plans
- Grassed Waterways
- On-Farm Corn Stalk Nitrate Testing
- Closure of Waste Impoundments
- Residue & Tillage Management
- Many Other Practices Available
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Cottonwood County Soil and Water Conservation District, Brown County Soil and Water Conservation District
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Cottonwood County, MN Board of Water and Soil Resources, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), MN Dept. of Agriculture (MDA), MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), MN Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), Cottonwood County Game and Fish Protective League, Cottonwood County Pheasants Forever Chapter, MN Deer Hunters Association—Des Moines Valley Chapter, MN Corn Growers Association (MCGA), & MN Soybeans Growers Association (MSGA).
Participating Partner States:
- South Dakota (added in 2011)
If you are interested in implementing a practice in the Little Cottonwood River Watershed or for more information on the MRBI program contact Brian Hoskins at the Brown SWCD office by phone at (507) 794-2553 or by email at Brian.Hoskins@windomnet.com.