Our Cause


Friends of the Big Sioux River is on a mission to change the way we all think about our relationship with our river. We want to bring awareness to the plight of this cultural, economic and environmental backbone of Eastern South Dakota. We see an opportunity to unite and deploy people from all walks of life who share a stake in the improvement of this precious namesake of our city. Stakeholders include anyone who lives, works or plays in an urban, rural, private, commercial, or government setting within the Big Sioux River watershed. This means you.


Recent water crises across the US have elevated awareness regarding the importance of water and rivers for communities. By being proactive, we can avoid the struggles and costs associated with the maltreatment of an important resource. Water quality is important for:

  • - Growth & Development - people are attracted to a community for its quality of life, which includes clean water, scenery, and recreation.
  • - Recreation & Tourism - a clean river attracts tourists and residents who want to fish, kayak, and swim. According to a 2012 study by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreationists spent $120.7 billion on equipment and $524.8 billion on hospitality services, generating a $1.6 trillion economic impact and 12 million jobs. A healthy river equals a healthy economy.
  • - Safe Local Water - protecting local water allows communities to source water locally, which is cheaper and simpler than piping it in from long distances. Cleaner water is cheaper water. In treating water for the city of Des Moines, the Des Moines Water Works spent $7,000 a day removing excess nitrates, a cost that is ultimately passed on to the consumers.
  • - Health of People & Wildlife - every living creature needs clean water for healthy development. Unclean water can be hazardous, even deadly.


Friends of the Big Sioux River strives to combat non-point source pollution. FBSR’s strategy to achieve this goal is through the encouragement of the following practices: 1) Reducing urban runoff through better landscaping practices and topsoil management; 2) Urging Low Impact Development practices for residences and commercial districts; 3) Implementing riparian strips along waterways.