About the WatershedThousands of miles of rivers, thousands of communities and millions of people make the watershed and its six basins America’s Watershed.
The Mississippi River Watershed: America’s Watershed
The fourth largest watershed in the world, touching 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, the Mississippi River Watershed carries the waters from the Rocky Mountains, the north woods of Minnesota and the Appalachian Mountains, through delta wetlands and into the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of miles of rivers, thousands of communities and millions of people make the watershed and its six basins America’s Watershed. The United States’ history, environment, prosperity and future depend on the waters that flow through these heartland rivers.
Benefitting people and nature
The rivers in the Mississippi River Watershed provide drinking water for millions of people. Its water is used to nourish American agriculture and power much of America’s energy. The transportation network throughout the watershed moves millions of tons of goods safely, reliably, and efficiently, generating billions of dollars in economic benefit. And the system’s rivers and wetlands serve as the homes and habitats for countless wildlife species, while also affording unique and memorable recreational opportunities.
THE MISSISSIPPI WATERSHED AT A GLANCE
- $50 billion in agricultural products
- Flood mitigation and resilience
- Habitat for diverse and important living resources
- Recreational opportunities and public land access
- 25% of America’s total hydropower
Is Threatened By:
- More frequent and extreme floods and droughts
- Aging infrastructure and lagging habitat restoration funding
- Continued urbanization and agricultural intensification
- Persistent nutrient and chemical pollution
- Nutrient runoff that contributes to the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico