Conservation at Great Rivers Greenway

Conservation is an essential part of the work that we do throughout the St. Louis region

Within our mission to build greenways, we implement conservation projects along the way.

With partners, we plan and build greenways to:

  • Create or restore natural habitats where plants and animals thrive
  • Allow prairies, wetlands, and forests to absorb, filter, and release water when flooding occurs
  • Create connections for people to walk, run, bike, and roll to stay healthy and make transportation choices that reduce car pollution
  • Allow people to access, connect with, learn about, fall in love with, and become stewards of nature through education and volunteering
  • Assess and improve habitats by replacing invasive plants and debris with native plants and natural stormwater management features


We do our part to improve quality of life for all by creating and restoring healthy habitats and engaging people to take care of our region’s watersheds in three ways:

Plan and Build

  • Greenways in the right spots
  • Assess and improve habitats
  • Expand public lands
  • Support regional watershed planning efforts
  • Use nature-based solutions to manage stormwater

Restore and Create

  • Conservation projects and partner programs that improve habitats
  • Replacing plants that don’t belong with native grasses, shrubs and trees
  • Trash pickup and debris removal from storms or floods

Engage and Give Back

  • Connecting with people to learn about, care for and take ownership over our region’s resources
  • Hosting events and programs to get individuals and groups out to volunteer
  • Opportunities to donate and leave a legacy

Ecosystems and Watersheds of the St. Louis Region

The St. Louis region has a unique geography created over a long time by the major rivers that flow through our region. The ecosystems that make up the region include and streams. Each of these ecosystems has its own set of environmental challenges such as invasive species and increased flooding and opportunities such as pollinator habitat restoration and nature-based stormwater management. Great Rivers Greenway works with partners and community members to restore these habitats for the benefit of people, plants, and animals in the generations to come. Click here to learn more about the woodlands, prairies, streambanks, and wetlands that Great Rivers Greenway works to restore and create.

We all live in a watershed. A watershed is all of the land that drains to a particular stream, river, or lake. When watersheds are healthy and functioning well, they recycle nutrients, absorb and filter rain water, recharge rivers and streams, provide clean air, water, food and habitat for animals and people and much more. All of us rely on and benefit from the goods and services these ecosystems provide.

Benefits and outcomes of our conservation efforts:

Improved water quality
Clean water is important to both wildlife and people. It’s the lifeblood for every ecosystem and is essential for healthy watersheds.

Improved quality of life for wildlife and people
Healthy native habitats and watersheds contribute to biodiversity and a variety of ecosystem services that benefit people. Protected greenspace allows for natural flooding while limiting human impacts. Our quality of life improves when we have clean air, water, and accessible greenspace.

Restored habitats
Native habitats include plants and animals that have been interacting together in the same place for a long time without human intervention. The plants in these habitats provide essential food and shelter for native animals to survive. These plants also support butterflies and bees, which pollinate our food crops.

Long-term stewardship of the greenways
The more people that know about the importance of habitats and watersheds, the more people that will care for them long-term. By getting volunteers involved, we are creating life-long conservation champions throughout the region that will help sustain the native ecology around the greenways.