Back to the River partners with the Missouri River Relief organization’s effort to clean up the Metro section of the Missouri River. Missouri River Relief is a grassroots, volunteer and equipment-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the Missouri River through hands-on river clean-ups, education events and stewardship activities.

The organization emerged organically from a group of people in mid-Missouri who simultaneously recognized the need for engaged stewardship of the Missouri River and the desire of citizens to take part in watershed solutions. The City of Council Bluffs was one of the original partners with this organization.

2014 was Missouri River Relief’s 14th year, and River Relief volunteers got a lot done. The past two years have been uniquely challenging in the Missouri River basin with record-breaking floods followed by record-breaking heat and drought. Many people are rethinking their relationship to the river but one thing remains the same – Missouri River Relief’s mission to bring people to the river with the common goal of improving it.  Missouri River Relief expects to return Spring 2017 for a cleanup near River’s Edge Park.

River cleanups accomplish a few things effectively: they engage people proactively in stewardship of the Missouri River, often putting people on the river for the first time. They also educate people about the problem of solid waste on our streams and rivers and physically bring interested parties together to accomplish something real.

But Missouri River Relief quickly realized that broader education is the key to solving our watershed problems. As a result, we have also hosted and participated in 96 Missouri River Watershed Festivals, bringing together corporate, scientific, agency and non-profit experts together to teach 16,545 students about water issues right where it matters most, on the banks of one of the nation’s largest river systems.