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Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative

Mississippi River

Through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), NRCS and our partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Mississippi River Basin.

Why the Mississippi River Basin?

Known as “America’s River,” the Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles through America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the centerpiece of the second largest watershed in the world. The watershed not only provides drinking water, food, industry, and recreation for millions of people, it also hosts a globally significant migratory flyway and home for over 325 bird species.

NRCS has identified the Mississippi River Basin as a top priority due to water quality concerns, primarily related to the effects of nutrient loading on the health of local water bodies and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.

How Does MRBI Benefit Producers?

Through MRBI, NRCS helps producers with voluntary conservation practices that conserve America’s natural resources in high-priority watersheds while ensuring economic viability of cropland and rangeland.

Conservation practices installed by producers will serve to avoid, control and trap nutrient runoff, prevent erosion and provide essential wildlife habitat. These practices benefit the natural resources of the Mississippi Basin and enhance agricultural profitability through reduced input and enhanced soil health, which results in higher soil organic matter, increased infiltration and water-holding capacity and nutrient cycling.

How Does MRBI Benefit the Public?

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 12,350 miles in length.

NRCS is committed to working cooperatively with agricultural producers, partner organizations and state and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the tens of millions of people who live in and rely on the Mississippi River Basin.

2016 MRBI Projects

2016 Indiana MRBI New Projects Map (PDF; 504 KB)

Watershed Name Counties Partners

Big Pine Creek - Headwaters

Benton and White

Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District, White County Soil and Water Conservation District, Big Pine Creek Watershed Group, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Technology Information Center, Pheasants Forever

Headwaters-Cicero Creek

Tipton, Clinton and Hamilton

Tipton Soil and Water Conservation District , Hamilton Soil and Water Conservation District , Tipton County Surveyor, Hamilton County Surveyor, Big Cicero Joint Drainage Board, IUPUI-Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Little Wea Creek


Tippecanoe Soil and Water Conservation District, Wabash River Enhancement Corporation, Little Wea Conservancy District, Tippecanoe County Commissioners, Indiana Pork Producers, Cattleman's Association

Middle Eel River Fulton, Kosciusko, Miami, Wabash, and Whitley Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Busseron Vigo Sullivan Co. SWCD, 319 Watershed Coordinator (funded by IDEM), Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Corn Marketing Alliance, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Vigo Co SWCD
Fish Creek Owen, Greene, Monroe Owen County SWCD, McCormick's Creek State Park, Owen County Farm Bureau, Inc., MYPath Trail Project, Purdue Extension - Owen County, Greene County SWCD, Monroe County SWCD
Big Pine Creek - Brumm and Darby Benton Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District, White County Soil and Water Conservation District, Big Pine Creek Watershed Group, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Technology Information Center, Pheasants Forever
Plummer Creek Greene Greene SWCD, Plummer Creek Steering Committee , IDEM, ISDA, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Purdue Extension - Greene, W.E.T (Watershed Environmental Team)

MRBI Ranking Tools

NRCS conservation professionals will provide technical assistance and planning tools to determine which conservation actions will provide the best results to improve water quality on your land. Nutrient management systems, erosion control, conservation tillage, pest management, and buffers systems are just some of the practices being offered as part of the National Water Quality Initiative. To help install these conservation practices, financial assistance to share in the cost of these conservation practices is available though the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Payment Rates and Eligible Practices

Contact Information

If you have questions on Indiana MRBI, please contact Jill Reinhart at: