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The Missouri River Institute is active in Missouri River research and education. MRI faculty have extensive knowledge about Missouri River Basin issues. Our location on the 59-mile segment of the Missouri National Recreational River gives us unique access to this special section of river. This enables many opportunities for research, education and outreach.

The MRI has its own boats and sampling equipment. Agreements between private landowners and the MRI allow access to the river for research and educational purposes. The MRI uses this access to promote river research, education and public outreach about the Missouri River.

The MRI has access to a wide variety of expertise at USD. This includes faculty directly affiliated with the institute. The MRI also supports graduate and undergraduate research assistants involved in river research activities and database programming. The following academic units (with areas of expertise) at USD participate in MRI projects:


  • Ecology
  • Water quality
  • Sustainability
  • Landscape analysis

Earth Science and South Dakota Geological Survey

  • River structural dynamics
  • Flow processes
  • Geology
  • Sedimentation


  • Cultural and political history of the Missouri River

Media and Journalism

  • Communicating environmental and water resource issues to the public
  • Increasing public understanding of science


  • Cultural history and artifacts of the Missouri River Basin


  • Analyses of water quality
  • Pollutant solutions

School of Law

  • Water law and policy issues

School of Education

  • K-12 curriculum development
  • Teacher education
  • Education outreach

School of Business

  • Economic analysis of ecosystem services and solutions to sediment problems

Computer Science

  • Analyses of large data sets
  • Website design
  • Website programming