Mississippi River Revolving Fund


Through strategic use of funds, The Conservation Fund will promote/protect water quality in:

  • Main stem/floodplain of Mississippi River
  • Tributaries with most need (most polluted and most pristine)
  • Greenways that are key for larger regional trail systems

Thanks to a lead grant from the McKnight Foundation, the $2.9 million Mississippi River Revolving Fund was established in 1994 to aid in the protection of wetlands, wildlife habitat, working landscapes, greenways and other natural areas in the ten states of the Mississippi River Corridor—from Minnesota to Louisiana.

Administered by The Conservation Fund, the Mississippi River Revolving Fund provides loans to nonprofit organizations and government agencies to aid in the protection of land along the main stem of the river or along key tributaries, as well as greenways that are part of larger regional projects. These loans enable groups to quickly acquire or protect properties using types of transactions: direct loans to land trusts and/or other nonprofit organizations, and advance purchases of land in partnership with public agencies.

Are You Looking For Financing?

Interested parties should contact Tom Duffus for an informal consultation to determine whether a formal loan application or, if it is a request on behalf of a public agency, a Letter of Intent should be submitted.


Step One:

Applicants must complete and return a loan package form or Letter of Intent to The Conservation Fund. The Letter of Intent should outline the project, reason for the request, timeline of when public funding or other repayment revenue will be available, and an assurance that the title commitment, appraisal and environmental conditions of the property meet public agency standards.

After an in-depth review of the application or request, a representative from The Conservation Fund will visit the property and meet with the board and/or staff of the applicant or agency.


Step Two:

After an in-depth review of the application or request, a representative from The Conservation Fund will visit the property and meet with the board and/or staff of the applicant or agency.


Step Three:

The Fund will review proposed and pending advance purchase and loan transactions to analyze for each transaction the leverage of the deal and repayment plan. In the case of an advance purchase, a formal agreement will be prepared and, if it is approved, we will proceed with the advance purchase and will then be reimbursed when public funding is available. For all loan applications, the committee will determine the amount and type of collateral needed for the loan. Collateral can include pledged cash assets of the land trust, promissory notes, letters of credit from donors, a mortgage or appropriate securities.


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Tom Duffus
Tom Duffus Duluth, MN
(218) 722-2393

As vice president of the Midwest region, Tom Duffus leads land conservation partnerships in the Upper Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River/Missouri River watershed.  During the summer, he’s often found sailing on Lake Superior. He has a Master of Forest Science degree from Yale University and a B.S. in Environmental Studies/Geology from St. Lawrence University.

Ray Herndon
Ray Herndon Mandeville, LA
(985) 674-3332

Ray Herndon directs our Lower Mississippi work, with special emphasis on conserving and restoring coastal wetlands and forested floodplains. Ray has been with The Conservation Fund since 2000. He holds an M.S. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. and M.A. from Washington College in Maryland.