Protect The “Big Muddy”

Today’s guest blog for our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series is a commentary on the Missouri River from Patricia Schuba, with the Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO):

Take Action to Protect the
Missouri River

Tell Congress to support restoration and long-term planning on the Missouri River!

Today is Missouri River Day and the nation’s longest river, coursing through the nation like its lifeline, needs our help!  This precious waterway has been considered our “Center of Life” for thousands of years because it provides water, sustenance, and a route that connects much of North America.  

It is threatened by outdated flood management practices that put our communities at risk. Much of the development in floodplains that increases the risks of flooding also increases the risks of water contamination.  We need citizens to take action and demand that decision-makers protect the Big Muddy and our communities!

Call and/or email your Senator and Representative TODAY to say protect the “Big Muddy” by funding the MRAPS (Missouri River Authorization Purposes Study) and the MRRP (Missouri River Recovery Program).

The Missouri River filters billions of gallons of drinking water from its huge watershed.  The Missouri River basin, including over 95 major tributary rivers and streams, encompasses over 338.5 million acres and is home to 12 million people.  The terrain in the basin ranges from the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains to the fertile soils of the central prairies.  

The magnificent Missouri River flows east, past my hometown of Labadie and historic Tavern Rock Cave, to meet the Mississippi River at the Confluence and then flow past St. Louis, Missouri.

The Midwest is defined by its great rivers.  The river corridor provides rich soil, clean drinking water, and a natural reservoir for flood waters.  Farmers will tell you that historically they relied on the natural hydrology of the river which allowed deposition of rich sediment and periods when the floodplain was drier than today.  

Water dynamics have changed, as has the river ecosystem that supports the Pallid Sturgeon, Least Tern, Piping Plover and beloved cottonwood trees that have ceased to reproduce because of these changes.  Increased development, levees, and channelization increase the risks of dangerous floods and change the floodplain ecosystem.  

In the Lower Missouri near St. Louis, floodplains have been developed and the river deepened, which actually increases the risks of devastating floods like those of 1993 that scoured the Labadie Bottoms floodplain and damaged surrounding communities.

Four generations of my family have lived in Labadie, Missouri, and shared in the bounty of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Meramec Rivers.  Today we celebrate the gifts and acknowledge the fragility of the great Missouri River.

Show your love and appreciation of this great river today by calling YOUR Senator and Representative to let them know the river you love is 4th on the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®, and we need them to fund MRAPS and MRRP.  These actions are necessary to build comprehensive river policy, reduce flood risk, and protect the safety of communities along the river corridor.


Help us keep the Missouri River on the road to recovery.  Tell Congress to support restoration and long-term planning on the Missouri River!