River Health Watch

The Mississippi River's Headwaters Area

Our Mississippi covers much more than the river itself. We’re looking at the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to the Twin Cities, the surrounding lands and waters, and four major tributaries —the Rum, Pine, Sauk and Crow Wing rivers. In all, the Mississippi River’s headwaters area covers about a quarter of the state’s geography and provides drinking water for almost half of the state’s population.

Healthy river. Healthy communities.

Layered into all the threats facing our mighty river is the human impact. We know that protecting natural lands protects our water. We also know that it protects the health of our communities through benefits like cleaner air, cleaner drinking water and carbon sequestration that helps us guard against the worst effects of climate change.

Put simply: investments in water conservation are investments in ourselves, our communities and our state as a whole.

A cyclist stopped with her bike overlooking the Mississippi River
A cyclist stopped with her bike overlooking the Mississippi River
Image Credit
© Mark Godfrey

What Does the River Mean to You?

Water touches every part of our lives in Minnesota, and everyone has a water story to tell - what's yours? Tell us how Minnesota waters connect you with others, how the water has impacted your life. Share a favorite memory from a day on the water. Do you have a favorite lake or river? How has your life benefited from clean water, and how would it change if you lost it?