A Mighty River
The Mississippi River has defined Saint Paul over time, giving the city its unique sense of place. Once valued only as an industrial and transportation corridor, the Mississippi has revealed a remarkable capacity to inspire, engage, and unite communities along its banks. Today in Saint Paul, the Mississippi River is recognized as a regional asset of national significance – one of America’s great rivers. The Mississippi is Saint Paul’s chief environmental and economic resource.
The Mississippi River watershed includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces, draining 41% of the continental Unites States. It is the 4th largest watershed in the world.
Sixty percent of all grain exported from the U.S. is transported and shipped from the Mississippi River.
Forty percent of migratory birds in North America depend on the Mississippi River for their survival. The river valley in Saint Paul, an international flyway, is an important site for migrating and nesting eagles, osprey, waterfowl, peregrine falcons and heron colonies.
More than 70 species of fish thrive in Saint Paul’s Mississippi River Gorge, from Channel Catfish to Minnesota’s prized state fish, the Walleyed Pike.
From its headwaters at 1,475 feet above sea level, the Mississippi drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.
The Mississippi River runs 2,350 miles from its headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Twin Cities lays claim to the Mississippi’s only true waterfall and gorge.
More than 50 cities rely on the Mississippi River for their daily water supply.
Saint Paul is the capital city of the Mississippi’s headwaters state. With 17 miles of river and 26 miles of riverfront, Saint Paul has more linear riverfront than any other city on the Mississippi River.
Saint Paul is located within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA). MNRRA, a unit of the National Park Service, encompasses 54,000 acres of land and 72 miles of Mississippi River.
Sources: MNRRA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, Friends of the Mississippi River