Cooperatove Conservation Project

Confluence: A Conservation, Heritage & Recreation Corridor

Reconnecting People to Our Regionís Great Rivers

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Missouri

Project Summary: Reconnecting people to regionís Great Rivers through a system of multi-use trails, recreation facilities, historic sites, visitor education centers, public art & interpretation.
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Confluence Greenway & H3 Studio
Resource Challenge

This collaboration began the mission of celebrating, protecting and conserving the meeting of the nation’s greatest rivers – the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. The partnership with input from the communities of the region, developed the coordinated effort to protect habitat, improve water quality, increase outdoor recreational opportunities and reconnect our region to its river heritage. The Confluence will again turn the nation’s focus toward the people and place of the confluence by creating a 40-mile long interconnected conservation, heritage and recreation corridor with a riverside park and trail system anchoring 200 square miles in Missouri and Illinois.

Examples of Key Partners

The Confluence Project is a bi-state collaboration of 5 non-profit organizations, local, state and federal agencies and civic leadership involved in implementing major projects and programs in the Mississippi River corridor in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The McKnight Foundation urged the formation of this collaboration and has provided major support. 

Partnering Not-for Profits:

Grace Hill Settlement House, Greenway Network, Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation & Development, Trailnet, and The Trust for Public Land

Cooperating Agencies & Organizations:

US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District, East West Gateway Council of Governments, Great Rivers Greenway District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The McKnight Foundation, Metro-East Park & Recreation District, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service

Citizens, Stakeholders and Others

Results and Accomplishments

After eight years’ effort, the nationally recognized initiative of private and public agencies working in partnership on The Confluence have implemented the following projects and programs:

CONSERVATION. more than 10,000 acres now in public ownership at the majestic Confluence of the Great Rivers.  The Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, the Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park and the Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area are now open to the public.  Publicly approved plans are in place to conserve, restore and improve Chouteau Island’s 5500 acres in the Mississippi River, just 3 miles north of the Arch.

HERITAGE. Three new Confluence centers now interpret key aspects of this heritage to the public: the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, the Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center and the National Great Rivers Museum. Reflecting on a River, a large-scale ceramic mural on the downtown floodwall that highlights the natural history of the Mississippi River was completed with extensive community participation

In the future, the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, Missouri’s first and only nationally designated Underground Railroad Site, the Laclede Power Building. a former electrical generating plant, dating from 1902, and the Chouteau Island,/Route 66 Visitor Center will The Confluence.  

RECREATION.  Our regional riverfronts and adjacent communities from the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis to confluences of the Mississippi and the Missouri and Illinois Rivers are connected by a system of 100 miles of multi-use trails, providing ready access to most facilities and uniting Missouri and Illinois at key points via historic bridges - Old Chain of Rocks Bridge and Eads Bridge.  

SPECIAL EVENTS & PROGRAMS.  As these magnificent new assets dramatically expand public access to our Mississippi and Missouri riverfronts, we can promote the corridor as a community destination for learning and leisure.  Exciting special events in the Confluence are serving growing audiences of regional residents and tourists.  These include Eagle Days at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, the annual Fair Saint Louis Riverfront Bike Ride, and a wide variety of Lewis and Clark Bicentennial programs at locations throughout the Confluence corridor.


Since 1997, this unique region-wide partnership of diverse non-profit organizations and public agencies has successfully collaborated, attracting strong support from civic and political leadership.

Project Contact
Laura Cohen
Project Director
Confluence Greenway
2100 Locust #2 North
Saint Louis, 63103
314-436-1324 ext 108


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