Mississippi River BasinExpedition


Expedition Team:
Alison M. Jones (NWNL Founding Director, Lead Photographer)
Lana Straub (Journalist, NWNL Researcher & Expedition Coordinator)

NO WATER NO LIFE (NWNL): Since 2007 NWNL has combined photography and science to raise public awareness of the vulnerability of North American and African watersheds. NWNL funds come from grants, generous donors and in-kind gifts. Our expeditions have carried flags from The Explorers Club and Wings World Quest. The International League of Conservation Photographers provides 501c3 status for NWNL donors.

THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN: The Mississippi River Basin is the 4th largest in the world, draining water from 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. Stretching from the Appalachian to the Rocky Mountains and Canada to the Gulf, this watershed supports 60% of North America’s birds and 25% of N. America’s fish. The Mississippi and many of its tributaries serve as a crucial US transportation corridor.

THE MISSOURI & PLATTE RIVER: This expedition will follow the Missouri River from Omaha north to the South Dakota border, then west to the Niobrara River. The route will then head south to cross the eastern flowing Elkhorn, Loup, Platte and Blue Rivers (and their tributaries and forks). These rivers drain the Colorado-Wyoming Rockies and Nebraska’s Great Plains into the Missouri River in the midst of its 2,341 mile (3,767 km) run from the Montana Rockies to St Louis MO.

In the Sandhills and prairies of Nebraska, these rivers are resupplied by Ogallala Aquifer springs that support deep-rooted grasses and generations of Homesteading farmers’ corn, wheat and other grains. Our focus will be on:

  • Climate Change Impacts: on crops, on ozone depletion, and water supplies
  • Infrastructure: dams and diversions for agriculture and flood control
  • Prairie and sandhill ecology, soils and geology re water retention
  • Analysis of risks of proposed Keystone XL pipeline leaking into water supplies
  • Irrigated agriculture versus dry-land and no-till farming
  • Sustainability of farm communities depopulated by large-scale agriculture

EXPEDITION METHODOLOGY: This expedition, informed by scientists’ research, will create photographic documentation and interviews of scientists, stewards and water users regarding watershed protection. Post expedition, NWNL will publish its documentation, share watershed management solutions, and create more educational reference tools. As with previous NWNL expeditions, outcomes are disseminated via print and online media, exhibits and lectures. Nine prior NWNL expeditions have covered the greater Mississippi River Basin: the last being 3 months prior to document the Central Platte Basin during the sandhill crane migration.

Explorers Club

Global Info

EXPEDITION ENDORSEMENTS: NWNL thanks all who’ve endorsed our 17 watershed expeditions thus far, including The Explorers Club, The International League of Conservation Photographers, and Wings World Quest – supporters since 2007.