Our Vision

We envision a healthy and harmonious relationship between the people and landscapes of the Upper Mississippi River Watershed; a relationship bonded by clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife and habitats, and robust economic well-being, supporting a high quality of life.

Our Mission


To empower local communities, cultivate conversations, and bring forth actions that will restore the soil, land and water of the Upper Mississippi River Watershed for generations here and yet to come.

The Upper Mississippi River Initiative (UMRI)

The Izaak Walton League’s Upper Mississippi River Initiative (UMRI) is a collaborative, grassroots effort to listen and learn from each other and pursue actions to improve water quality.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act established national “fishable, swimmable” goals for our waters to be achieved by 1983, (with “zero discharge of pollutants” by 1985.) We have clearly failed to achieve these goals. While point source pollution coming from defined sources has been greatly reduced, “non-point” sources from urban and agricultural runoff are still largely unaddressed.

Heated political and regulatory discussions and millions of dollars directed at these sources have had little impact on water quality or affected habitat, farmlands, and communities.

Our waters are degraded by rural and urban activities, erosion of topsoil and from stream banks is increasing, flood damage expenses are increasingly affecting local communities, while groundwater use exceeds recharge.

We use multiple approaches to find common ground among diverse stakeholders. Join our commitment to open-minded learning and action to improve local streams and watersheds of the Upper Mississippi River in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Working with farmers, governments, and citizens, we are building trusting relationships and supportive partnerships, listening to learn, and developing and leading local water improvement initiatives.