Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper


Rachel Bartels
[email protected]
(314) 884-1473

The Missouri Confluence includes four major watersheds in the state of Missouri – the Lower Missouri River, the Meramec River, the Gasconade River, and a 34-mile stretch of the Middle Mississippi River – and drains approximately 17,880 square miles. Suburban development, agriculture, massive livestock operations, and mining threaten these rivers. Additionally, overdevelopment of floodplains and overbuilt levees have contributed to a drastic increase in the frequency and severity of damaging floods in the region.As a whole, the iconic Missouri River flows from the mountains of western Montana and is fed by a vast watershed that touches ten states and two Canadian provinces before finally meeting the Mississippi River near the city of St. Louis, Missouri. The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States. In terms of total drainage area, its watershed covers approximately one sixth of the continental United States and is second only to the Mississippi, to which it serves as the principal tributary. Together, these two mighty rivers form the fourth largest river system in the world and serve as one of the most important waterways in North America for transportation, industry, and recreation.

A native of St. Louis, Rachel Bartels grew up exploring Missouri’s creeks, rivers, and the wild spaces in between. She returned to her hometown in 2016 after spending 13 years surfing and sailing the waters of San Diego. While in California, Rachel served as the Director of Finance for Nature and Culture International and as the Chief Financial Officer for San Diego Coastkeeper where she discovered the power of citizen-based advocacy and the strength of the Waterkeeper movement.With a background in accounting and tech and a passion for clean water, Rachel has dedicated her life to water issues. In San Diego she volunteered with the International Rescue Committee educating refugees about water use and conservation related to farming in Southern California, and volunteered with Outdoor Outreach teaching at-risk youth to surf and be stewards of the oceans. Rachel leads data science projects related to predictive modeling of water quality data and flooding, and volunteers teaching middle and high school girls to code. As the Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, Rachel sees potential for Missouri, a river state, to lead the Midwest with good policy and clean, fishable, swimmable, drinkable water. 


121 W Adams Ave
St. Louis, Missouri 63122