About Us

The Little River Drainage District

The Little River Drainage District of Southeast Missouri is a marvel in engineering.

It helps protect the residents and communities from the devastating effects of flooding. The District has changed the face of the region for the better converting it from a swamp where mosquitos and snakes ruled to an area that is some of the most productive farmland in the world. The counties making up the District contribute nearly one-third of all Missouri’s agricultural income, which is an important economic engine for our state.


The work that began more than 100 years ago on The Little River Drainage District (LRDD) has provided many benefits to Southeast Missouri. Land that was once 95 percent covered in water and trees now accounts for one third of Missouri’s agricultural income. The roads that were built during and after the project provide the lifeline for the region’s economic development. The Headwater Diversion Channel collects water from area rivers and creeks and funnels them into the Mississippi River and away from vital farmland and communities. The system’s 1,000 miles of ditches carries the remainder of the district’s low-velocity water into Arkansas, where it flows into that state’s collection system and eventually enters the Mississippi River at Helena, Ark. Drainage is the lifeblood of the social and economic well-being of Southeast Missouri.

It has allowed employers to locate to the area and provide jobs to our citizens. Our highways, railroads, and other critical infrastructure would not be possible without the creation and maintenance of The Little River Drainage District of Southeast Missouri. This District will continue to play an important role in protecting the residents and property in our region from flood disasters. Overseen by five elected board members and a staff, the assets of the district are managed responsibly to ensure our landowners, businesses, communities and properties are protected to the maximum extent possible. We work in partnership with a variety of stakeholders – local, state and federal governments, private citizens, business interests, landowners and others allowing Southeast Missouri to thrive as a region for this generation of citizens and those that will follow.

For more helpful information such as maps, videos, and links, please visit our Map and Resources page.