About America's Watershed Initiative

Uniting people, land & water across 31 states.

America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI) is a collaboration working with hundreds of business, government, academic, and civic organizations to find solutions for the challenges of managing the Mississippi River and the more than 250 rivers that flow into it.

Only by working together—coordinated, focused and for the long term—will we make meaningful progress to raise the grades for America’s Watershed, for our future, and for our children’s future.

Benefitting people and nature

The rivers in America’s Watershed provide drinking water for millions of people. Water here is used to produce agricultural products worth more than $50 billion annually and much of America’s energy, including nearly 25 percent of the nation’s hydropower. The transportation network in America’s Watershed moves millions of tons of goods safely, reliably, and efficiently, generating billions in economic benefit. And the system’s rivers and wetlands provide unique wildlife, habitat and recreational opportunities.

The Mississippi River Watershed IS America’s Watershed

The fourth largest watershed in the world, the Mississippi River Watershed carries the waters from the Rocky Mountains, the north woods of Minnesota and the Appalachian mountains, through delta wetlands and into the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of miles of rivers, thousands of communities and millions of people make this watershed America’s Watershed. America’s history, environment, prosperity and future depend on the waters that flow through these heartland rivers.

Key Objectives for America’s Watershed Initiative

  • Build recognition among regional and national leaders about the importance of the watershed and the need for integrated management, including through the America’s Watershed Report Card.
  • Establish an enduring, public-private facilitating entity to connect existing institutions and stakeholders and harness the best science in service of a shared vision and more integrated management of the watershed.
  • Develop and report on measures that indicate progress toward achieving the sustainable management and system-wide health of America’s Watershed.
  • Elevate local and regional projects that demonstrate effective collaboration and integrated strategies that help achieve system-level objectives.
  • Network with river commissions and similar entities in North America and globally, establishing America’s Watershed as a hub for sharing knowledge and best practices related to the management of large rivers and their watersheds.

America’s Watershed Initiative Report Card

Supporting America’s Watershed Initiative

AWI began as an informal collaboration in 2009, operating within The Nature Conservancy for administrative purposes. In 2018 we formed a separate nonprofit corporation and have applied to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status.

Many organizations involved with AWI make financial contributions and grants to support its operations, and we actively seek additional partners and contributions to achieve our mission. Contributions to support our work can be sent to AWI at 117 N Kirkwood RD, St. Louis, MO 63122. Please make checks payable to America’s Watershed Initiative, or contact us for more information.