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Mississippi River Valley Carbon Project

We are currently working with GreenTrees as well as other public and private partners to reforest areas of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee—primarily within the Mississippi River Valley. This bottomland hardwood ecosystem is one of the most important critical wetland resources on the North American continent.

Impact Area: the Mississippi River Valley
The trees will help to decrease pollution levels in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi River Valley is a vital habitat for migratory birds and numerous plant and animal species. 40% of North America’s waterfowl and 60% of all bird species migrate along the Mississippi River, although their population has dwindled from habitat loss.

The Mississippi River is a critical body of water in North America for commerce, climate, and energy. It is the largest river in the United States and the third-largest in the world. Its watershed is comprised of 33 states and two Canadian provinces. Each year over 505,000 tons of product valued at $80–$114 billion travels down the river.

Originally the area was covered with 25 million acres of forestland, but currently less than 5 million acres remain forested, which has dramatically affected the ecosystem. The loss of this precious resource has resulted in a decline of the wildlife as well as in the water quality that has since lead to an increasing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. This conversion of forestland has also resulted in the loss of its natural flood control buffer.

The Arbor Day Foundation’s carbon offset partner in the Mississippi River Valley forest restoration is GreenTrees — the leading carbon reforestation program in North America. This unique partnership allows the two organizations to make a larger impact across the region.

Together we’re working with farmers to help improve water quality and wildlife habitat. The goal of this project is to create forests that landowners will permanently maintain due to financial incentives such as carbon credit sales, wood products, and recreational services as well as the ecological benefits of restoring wildlife habitat. Our work will create a sustainable income stream that will ensure forest preservation and a continued commitment from farmers.

These planting efforts will directly improve water quality, as trees have the ability to filter out pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The forestland we’re restoring will filter the water and help to decrease pollution levels in the river as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that 100,000 acres of farmland restored to its natural bottomland forest could filter 1,550,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous out of runoff and groundwater before it reaches the Mississippi River each year.

By purchasing forest carbon credits from the Arbor Day Foundation, you will play an important role in revitalizing the Mississippi River Valley—offsetting your carbon emissions AND making a positive impact on the environment.