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The Upper Mississippi River Forest Partnership

"The relationship between forests and rivers is like father and son."
-Gifford Pinchot, 1905

The Upper Mississippi River Basin drains over 189,000 square miles of land in the upper Midwest. Prior to European settlement, water and associated nutrients and sediment were delivered to the Upper Mississippi River in two ways: 1) by tributaries bordered by riparian forest and prairie, and 2) by forests, wetlands, and prairies that stored water during wet periods and slowly released it during dry ones. This resilient landscape buffered water flows, and delivered nutrients evenly during the year. Today, more than 80 percent of the watershed has been altered.

The State Foresters from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin and the Forest Service’s Northeastern Area have recognized the role that trees and forests can play in solving ecological problems in the Upper Mississippi River Watershed. They also realize that individually they could not effectively impact the watershed’s problems. Therefore, they have joined together to form the Upper Mississippi River Forest Partnership. The Mission is to provide solutions to environmental problems in the Upper Mississippi River Watershed through targeted efforts in tree and forest restoration, protection, and sustainable forest management. An Action Plan has been developed to focus activity of the partner over the next few years.


The Upper Mississippi River Forestry Partnership was founded by the Northeastern Area and the State Foresters of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. It focuses activities, demonstration projects, and cooperative programs on key watershed forestry issues in the Upper Mississippi River Basin: water pollution, loss of migratory bird habitat, and forest loss and fragmentation.

Who We Are

Trees and forests can play an important role in solving ecological problems in the Upper Mississippi River Watershed. The Partnership was created to build a watershed-wide approach to forestry efforts in the area. Its purposes include demonstrating how important forests are in healthy watersheds, assessing how forest conditions relate to water quality, promoting forestry solutions that cut the basin’s sediment and nutrient losses, and developing and supporting forest restoration work in the basin.

The Partnership does this in many ways, including strengthening coordination among the many federal, state, and local units of government and conservation organizations concerned about the forests of the Upper Mississippi, implementing assessment and demonstration projects, and conducting educational efforts to address key watershed issues.

Trees and Watersheds: What’s the Big Deal?

Just as people and water are intertwined, so are trees and water. Besides needing the water to grow, trees help clean the water. more »


Since its beginning, the Partnership has been active in conserving the forest resources of the Upper Mississippi. more »

Your Role in the Partnership

See how you can make a difference in the region. more »


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Page Contact: Keith Tackett
June 13, 2011 4:48 PM