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Our Projects

Great Mississippi River Cleanup


In 2010, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup (GMRC) was initiated by Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) to inspire communities to host an annual cleanup event. After four very successful years cleaning up primarily the Upper Mississippi River, we expanded our cleanup efforts to the full length of the river! From the Headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, volunteers participate by cleaning up the Mighty Mississippi and taking action that produces results not rhetoric! To date, we’ve helped coordinate 125 cleanups and, with the help of more than 10,230 volunteers, removed 610,024 pounds of debris from the Mississippi River!


  • How does the GMRC work?

    The GMRC is our way to support cleanups that we can’t actually attend! We work with families, groups and businesses all up and down the Mississippi to plan cleanups. We provide guidance and supplies. We have opportunities to volunteer as well as information about starting your own site. Read below!

  • How can I volunteer?

    Whether you and a friend decide to walk the shorelines with garbage bags or you are able to organize 200 volunteers with boats, Great Mississippi River Cleanups (GMRCs) happen in all shapes and sizes! We’ve had families, classrooms and communities hold GMRCs! You pick the time, date and location that work best for you. Participating is completely free! We provide garbage bags, gloves and a water bottle for each volunteer. We just ask that you complete a garbage log and have all volunteers complete our waiver.

    Click here for a list of potential Site Coordinator Responsibilities.

    Looking to get involved in someone else’s cleanup? That’s also an option. Reach out to our GMRC coordinator, Meghan, to learn more about site coordinators possibly in your area!

  • Who do I contact for more information?

    Meghan Elgan

    Phone: 309.236.6279


  • 2018 GMRC Cleanups

    4.21.18 | Bellevue, IA | 27 volunteers removed 310 pounds of trash. Volunteers also participated in clearing invasives and painting a trail restorations at a local park. Check out their event page HERE.


    5.12.18 | Lacrosee, WI | 240 volunteers removed 14,960 pounds of trash. For more information on cleanups please visit:


    7.15.18 | Winona, MN | The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge - 10 volunteers removed 410 pounds of trash. Interested in a future cleanup? Email:


    9.18.18 | St. Paul, MN | 111 volunteers removed 4,160 pounds of trash. 


    9.29.18 | St. Louis, MO | 30 volunteers removed 300 pounds of garbage - For future cleanups see National Park Service's Facebook Page.

Our Impact

  • Pounds of Trash Removed


  • Volunteers Involved


  • Students Educated


  • Trees Planted


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