Some of the things we've accomplished in the last 40 years...

2024: River Action launches “Roll Out the Rain Barrels” an initiative that seeks to distribute 400 rain barrels throughout the Quad Cities | River Action begins construction on the First Bridge project, a pedestrian bridge commemorating the first rail bridge to cross the Mississippi River and providing access to the Mississippi River trails from Downtown Davenport.
2023: River Action begins Explore and Seek, a scavenger hunt that leads participants to various outdoor places in search of answers to a series of questions.
2022: River Action’s hosts the 38th and final Ride the River event. A bike ride event along the Mississippi River that thousands upon thousands of Quad Citians participated in on Father’s day throughout the years.
2021: River Action hosts “Write Your Song” with singer-songwriter David G. Smith at Schwiebert Park. The program offered participants the opportunity to learn how a song is put together and other musical fundamentals for aspiring artists.
2020: River Action’s first inaugural Environmental Film Series launches to bring educational and inspirational environmental films to the community and encourage grassroots activism.
2019: River Action opened the city’s first permeable Alley behind their office designed to clean water before it goes into storm drains as well as slow down the flow so that the drains aren’t overwhelmed. In addition to cleaning out contaminants, the pavement also filters out bacteria living in the water. | Eddy Scholarships are launched offering tuition assistance to environmentally focused students who embody the spirit of the Eddy Awards.
2018: Organized flood resiliency alliance; formed Scott County Conservation Consortium to promote land conservation measures; brought in AmeriCorps NCCC team for rehabilitation of Black Hawk State Park trails.
2017: Installed a bioreactor in Scott County to demonstrate how to treat storm water runoff from farmland. Developed “Raise the Grade” Action Agenda to address deficiencies on the Upper Mississippi River watershed. Erected osprey nesting platforms with the assistance of City of Eldridge, MidAmerican Energy and Scott County Regional Authority. Installed “floating islands” of wetland plants in the Eastern Avenue and Credit Island lagoons to help improve water quality.
2016: Organized riverfront clean-up projects as part of United Way Day of Caring; held “RiverStages” events using the performing arts to increase awareness of environmental issues affecting rivers.
2015: Initiated QC Bike Share study and plan, built retention and infiltration projects in Duck Creek and Black Hawk Creek watersheds, and organized Hennepin Canal clean up and planting along the historic lock infrastructure.
2014: Completed $220,000 wetland and prairie restoration project at the Green Valley Nature Preserve along Rock River, Moline, with partners National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Black Hawk College, Augustana College, City of Moline, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Moline Foundation, Mississippi Valley Sportsman, and the Alcoa Foundation. Retained noted historian Douglas Brinkley to address the annual Henry Farnam Dinner.
2013: Joined forces with Augustana College’s Upper Mississippi Studies Center to discover and document all living things at the Green Valley Nature Preserve, Moline, during a biodiversity day involving the public and scientific experts. Developed a comprehensive framework for development along the QC RiverWay, providing community leaders and potential developers with future investment opportunities at key riverfront locations.
2012: In conjunction with the Waterfront Center of Annapolis, Md., organized the Upper Mississippi River/Urban Waterfront Conference in Davenport attended by urban planners from across the U.S. and around the world.
2011: In conjunction with Nahant Marsh Education Center, helped fund research on turtles to determine long-term strategies for protecting threatened species in the wetland preserve. Helped organize the Rock Island County Conservation Consortium.
2010: Developed a Quad City Water Trail map with more than 22 launch locations and seven water trail routes to encourage use of the Mississippi and Rock Rivers by canoe and kayak paddlers. Helped plan and secure funding for a bicycle/pedestrian bridge connecting Credit Island to the Davenport riverfront, an important link for a future extension of the riverfront recreation trail north to the Duck Creek Recreation Trail.
2009: In partnership with the Moline Foundation, created an online e-Tour to enable riverfront trail users to use smartphones to access historical information at more than 40 sites along the RiverWay. Organized first “Floatzilla,” a paddle sports festival to encourage recreation on the Mississippi River. The event, now held annually, seeks to set a Guiness World Record for the number of participants.
2008: In partnership with the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Iowa American Water, and the River Partnership of Community Foundation, founded QC Wild Places – www.qcwildplaces.com – that is dedicated to preserving natural areas in the region through service, funding and awareness.
2007: Formed an Environmental Book Club to encourage discussion of topics and issues related to environmental issues both nationally and locally. In conjunction with the Quad City Watershed Plan, funded projects in 12 neighborhoods throughout the Quad Cities to demonstrate best practices for controlling/reducing stormwater runoff.
2006: Developed interactive “Retain the Rain” kiosk help residents determine the impact of storm water detention projects. Organized “Taming of the Slough Adventure Race” involving kayaking, biking, and running.
2005: Introduced the first audio cell phone tours in the region: a “Bridge to Bridge” loop with stops on Arsenal Island, Davenport, and Rock Island; and an “Illinois Mississippi River Trail” tour with stops from the Sylvan Slough Natural Area, Rock Island, to Ben Butterworth Parkway, Moline.
2004: Partnered with City of Davenport to fund design of green roofs for new Davenport Police Department facility. In collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Coast Guard, held the first Upper Mississippi River Conference examining sustainable activities and practices of river communities. Spearheaded “Grand Excursion of 1854“re-enactment to showcase revitalization, recreational resources, and economic importance of the Upper Mississippi River region. And focus national attention on the Upper Mississippi River region on the 150th anniversary of the original “Grand Excursion.”
2003: Partnered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Martin Luther King Center, the Boys and Girls Club and Friendly House to host fishing clinics for over 250 children. River Action provided each child with a free fishing pole, bait and tackle, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Quad City Conservation Alliance volunteers taught participants about fishing safety and river ecosystems.
2002: Partnered with Riverboat Development Authority and Moline Foundation to develop two dozen “Channel Cat Talks & Riverine Walks” on topics ranging from river biology to folktales, river industry and bridges. The educational programs are now held each summer.
2001: Partnered with Rock Island and Moline to add porous concrete parking and landscaping to Sylvan Island entrance and trail head. Installed directional signs along Mississippi Riverfront trail through Davenport, Rock Island, Bettendorf and Moline.
2000: Created and distributed 30,000 “Six Simple Things...” booklets to help homeowners learn to build residential storm water retention projects.
1999: Partnered with City of Rock Island to build an overlook at foot of 20th Street, a popular location to watch eagles during the winter months. Partnered with Lee Enterprises, QC Magazine, QC Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, and cities of Rock Island and Davenport to organize and market RiverWay 2006 Bridge Celebration.
1998: Partnered with City of LeClaire to construct a porous parking lot along the Mississippi Riverfront. Helped complete bicycle/ pedestrian crossing on Arsenal Island, connecting the Iowa and Illinois recreation trails and providing an important link for the cross-country American Discovery Trail.
1997: Participated in RiverVision planning for improvements to the Davenport and Rock Island riverfronts.
1996: Helped organize neighborhood groups to develop practical solutions to storm water runoff problems in the Quad Cities. Organized “Walk to the River” event with area communities to encourage pedestrian-friendly enhancements to roadways and traffic crossings.
1995: Initiated Channel Cat Water Taxi service between Moline, Bettendorf, and Davenport. Partnered with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct the first “green” parking lot in Quad Cities at Corps visitors’ center. Began selling recycled rain barrels to reduce rainfall runoff from homes. Partnered with City of Davenport to plant native prairie grasses and wildflowers for a storm water detention “bioswale” in Lindsay Park.
1994: Established “Retain the Rain” program to help reduce storm water runoff and lower future flood levels. Obtained $560,000 grant for storm water management program utilizing greenways and demonstrating use of “green roofs” and permeable parking in local construction projects.
1993: Hosted Mississippi River Mayors’ Flood Summit.
1992: Established Eddy Awards program to recognize individuals/organizations for outstanding riverfront activities or development. Participated in a stream bank restoration along Bettendorf’s Duck Creek.
1991: Obtained a $2-million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for clean-up of lead contamination at Nahant Marsh. Conducted riverfront housing inventory to promote redevelopment of residential housing and held QC area real estate housing seminar. Funded first summer sailing/rowing lessons for youths at Lake Davenport in conjunction with Sailing Club and QC Rowing Association.
1990: Conducted first annual senior citizen riverfront golf cart tour to provide greater awareness of QC RiverWay and its riverfront amenities. 1989 Established the “Adopt-A-Path” program with Quad City Bicycle Club to clean up litter along area recreation trails. 1988 Established RiverWay art program installing 26 artworks along riverfront. Funded a RiverWay study identifying opportunities and obstacles to re-establishing residential development along the riverfront and in urban downtowns.
1987: Developed first Riverfront Master Plan for Quad Cities. Created a comprehensive RiverWay identification for the Quad Cities region and a wayfinding system of information kiosks, historical markers, and river mile markers along the 65 miles of trails in Iowa and Illinois.
1986: Spearheaded lighting of Centennial Bridge and funded endowment to pay future operation and maintenance costs. Spearheaded effort to purchase and restore Nahant Marsh into a 513-acre nature preserve. After extensive clean-up, an education center was built at the site to provide education to students and residents about the role marshes play in the river’s ecology.
1985: Founded “Ride the River,” the annual Father’s Day bike ride along riverfront trails with all proceeds used to extend and enhance trails.
1984: River Action, Inc. founded. Hosted Midwest Urban Riverfront Task Force of communities and citizens to address issues related to the Mississippi River, its riverway and waterfronts.


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River Action, Inc.
822 E. River Drive
Davenport, Iowa 52803
Phone: (563) 322-2969
Email: riveraction@riveraction.org

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