The Mississippi River Watershed IS America’s Watershed
The fourth largest watershed in the world, the Mississippi River Watershed carries the waters from the Rocky Mountains in the west, the north woods of Minnesota and the Appalachian mountains in the east, down to the delta wetlands in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of miles of rivers and streams, thousands of communities and millions of people make this watershed America’s Watershed. America’s history, America’s environment, America’s prosperity and America’s future depends on the waters that flow though our heartland rivers.


recreation - fishing

Photo: Steven Gnam for TNC


Photo: NRCS

water glass

Photo: Kent Mason/TNC


Photo: Robert J. Hurt

flood control

Photo: Ark. Parks & Tourism


Photo: Byron Jorjorian

America’s Watershed provides benefits for people and nature

America’s Watershed is vast. It encompasses all or part of 31 U.S. States and two Canadian provinces. The rivers in America’s Watershed provide drinking water for millions of people. Water flowing in these rivers is used to produce more than half of America’s goods and services, including agricultural products worth more than $50 billion annually, and much of America’s energy production, including nearly 25 percent of our nation’s hydropower. The transportation network in America’s Watershed moves millions of tons of goods safely, reliably, and efficiently, generating billions in economic benefit. And the system’s rivers and wetlands provide unique wildlife, habitat and recreational opportunities. The Report Card measures six broad goals for America’s Watershed–Ecosystems, Flood Control & Risk Reduction, Transportation, Water Supply, Economy, and Recreation. The Report Card measures how well we are currently meeting each one of these goals, using real data and relevant information that was identified by experts in these fields. Over time, as we adapt our management strategies for the Mississippi River watershed, the Report Card can track our progress in achieving our objectives.

The AWI Report Card was developed over two years with significant amount of information and feedback from hundreds of experts and stakeholders throughout the watershed and nation. View a comprehensive Report Card technical paper that includes data sources, calculations and analysis.