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League Awarded South Dakota Community Foundation Grant for Missouri River Initiative


August 5, 2015

Izaak Walton League Awarded South Dakota Community Foundation Grant for
Missouri River Initiative

League Piloting Public Awareness Project to Reduce Litter in Missouri River

Pierre, SD – The South Dakota Community Foundation awarded the Izaak Walton League a $10,000 grant from their Community Innovation Grant Program for the League’s Missouri River Initiative. The award will fund a two-year public awareness pilot project in the cities of Pierre, Fort Pierre, and Yankton. The League’s goal is to prevent litter from entering the Missouri River – stopping pollution before it starts and reducing damage to fish, wildlife, and water quality.

Trash and other debris pose a significant challenge to restoring the Missouri River. “We have been highly successful in removing tons of trash through river clean-ups in Yankton, Pierre, and Fort Pierre,” says Paul Lepisto, who manages the League’s Missouri River Initiative. “What we haven’t been able to do yet is stop more trash from taking its place.”

Through the pilot program, the League will target residents in the three river towns and ask for their help in preventing litter from getting into storm sewers and washing into the Missouri River. “This is pollution prevention for the people, by the people,” Lepisto declares. “We plan to work with adults and youth in each community as well as business leaders, city officials, and likeminded community organizations.” The League will also work with local media outlets to get the word out that preventing the problem can and will make a big difference.

The Missouri River is home to numerous species of fish and wildlife and serves as the backbone for a booming outdoor recreation economy. The river is also the source of drinking water for millions of Americans throughout the river basin. Reducing trash in the water will improve the quality of life for the people of South Dakota and communities across the region.

“We expect an increase in the overall awareness of the river and the challenges it faces,” says Lepisto. “Through this innovative project, we hope local leaders will recognize the value of preventing trash from entering the river. We also hope that by involving and educating citizens, we can encourage them to feel a sense of pride in the Missouri River.

The League deeply appreciates the support of the South Dakota Community Foundation’s Community Innovation Grant Program for our Missouri River Initiative. Working together with communities throughout the region, we can restore one of our nation’s greatest rivers.


Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America ( and our more than 44,000 members protect America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.

Paul Lepisto
605-224-1770 or