Mississippi River BasinPhoto Gallery

“The Missouri River – Exposed” by Joe Riis

HAILING from South Dakota, Joe specializes in wildlife, conservation and adventure. His mission is to inspire people to leave room for wildlife to roam by blending field biology with photography and environmental conservation. He has worked for National Geographic and the International League of Conservation Photographers and was a NANPA College Student. While Joe’s most recent expeditions have taken him to Venezuela, Uganda and Thailand, he grew up on the “Muddy Mo.” Seeing this Mississippi River tributary as more than brown goo, he has explored its vast stretches by kayak to examine the river, its habitats and its endangered species, from pallid sturgeon to piping plovers.

For two years Joe photographed the Missouri River from its 14,433’ headwaters to its 400’ confluence with the Mississippi River in St. Louis. Starting this project at age 21 after 3 years as a fisheries technician in SD, he documented the Missouri’s beauty and wildlife, as well as its industrial mines, sand pits and dams built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Joe’s short essay “The Missouri River Exposed” details his thoughts on past, present and future management of the Missouri River. Joe’s website offers more Missouri River photos and other portfolios.

Missouri River Scenes

Missouri River, South Dakota

Missouri River, Montana

Missouri River, South Dakota

Missouri River, Nebraska

Map of the Missouri River

Sand ripples, South Dakota

Industry and Infrastructure

Open pit mine, St Louis MO

Sand plant west of St. Louis MO

Oahe Dam, Lake Sharpe,
near Pierre SD (see note below **)

Watershed and Habitat Management

Pallid sturgeon

Fish biologists studying shovelnose sturgeon, SD

Pallid sturgeon, over 70 years old

Protected nesting least terns

** ”A Dam Note”, from Joe Riis: The photograph of Oahe Dam looks downstream with Lake Sharpe on the left and Lake Oahe on the right. The water in-tanks are above the dam and the powerhouse is below the dam. Over a mile wide, the Oahe dam is one of the biggest earthen dams in the world. There is more shoreline on Lake Oahe than along the US Pacific Coast. The dam was built for flood control, power generation, and barge navigation; although none of it really happened. The 6 large main-stem dams on the Missouri River are running out of their usefulness and are outdated.