Forty-one watersheds in 12 states have been selected to participate in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI), a project to improve the water quality and overall health of the Mississippi River Basin.

The program will provide about $320 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance over the next four years, and the selected watersheds will cover more than 42 million acres (or about 5% of the basin's land area). Participating states include Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

MRBI will help producers employ conservation and management practices to prevent, control, and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land. “The agriculture and conservation communities aim to ensure the USDA is providing agriculture producers with the right information, the right expertise, and the right assistance to help them improve water quality through voluntary conservation actions on the landscape in priority watersheds,” says Thomas Christensen, regional conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service's central region.