River Life

Rivers represent perhaps the most complex biological and physical systems in the world. Yet our great rivers are threatened: water quality and quantity both are at peril from overuse, from competing uses, and from a generalized failure to recognize how valuable and imperiled the resource really is.

River Life starts with the Mississippi River, one of the great rivers of the world and our “home river,” passing as it does through the University’s Minneapolis campus. Our work coordinates river science to planning, public art to urban design, educational programming to community development.

River Life uses social media, a digital atlas, and case study reports to develop and share knowledge on the science and professional practices that create inclusive, sustainable rivers.  We discuss science, planning, engagement, inclusion, sustainability, and river issues in a spatial, thoughtful, and timely manner..

Project Areas


Learn about the river and explore useful and interesting River Resources, our up-to-date media in the River Portal, and the stories of how communities and individuals have lived with river at River Stories.


Make the river a part of your curriculum or teaching and get on the ground experience with the river as a part of River Rangers.


See how stories, resources, and issues connect spatially with the River Atlas – a bird’s eye view of rivers and river issues.

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Program Contacts