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Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)

A bioreactor is being constructed in north central Iowa.To improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin, including water quality and wildlife habitat, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is developing the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through this new Initiative, NRCS and its partners will help producers in selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity.

These improvements will be accomplished through a conservation systems approach to manage and optimize nitrogen and phosphorous within fields to minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading. NRCS will provide producers assistance with a system of practices that will control soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat while managing runoff and drainage water for improved water quality.

The Initiative builds on the past efforts of producers, NRCS, partners, and other State and Federal agencies in the 13-State Initiative area to address nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin. Nutrient loading contributes to both local water quality problems and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The participating states are Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

NRCS accepts and processes MRBI applications on a continuous basis. However, NRCS sets dates to prioritize applications as funding allows. The first batching and ranking of applications for fiscal year 2016 is Oct. 16, 2015. The second cutoff date for batching and ranking applications is March 18, 2016.

Iowa MRBI Information


Iowa MRBI 2016 Projects

Project Name Counties Lead Sponsor Project Area Map Fact Sheets Contact

North Raccoon Watershed

(Application Ranking Tool, PDF)

Buena Vista Buena Vista SWCD
  • Lateral 4
  • Lateral 6-North Raccoon River
  • Lateral 2
  • Poor Farm Creek
  • Lateral 3-North Raccoon River
  • Outlet Creek
  • Drainage Ditch 101-North Raccoon River
PDF Fact Sheet (PDF, 3 MB) Larrette Kolbe (712) 732-3096
Slocum Creek Watershed Pottawattamie East Pottawattamie SWCD
  • Slocum Creek-West Nishnabotna River
PDF Coming Soon Karla Focht (712) 482-6408
West Nishnabotna River Watershed Fremont, Mills Mills SWCD
  • White Cloud-West Nishnabotna River
  • Deer Creek
  • Spring Valley Creek-West Nishnabotna
PDF Fact Sheet (PDF, 3 MB) Brian Gross (712) 374-2014

National MRBI Information

Paul Goldsmith, EQIP Coordinator
Phone: 515-284-4353

Video: This American Land - Farming the Upstream