Basin Facts

  • The Mississippi River and its tributaries are one of the most valued ecosystems in the world
  • The basin is the fourth largest watershed in the world and the largest in the Nation
  • The watershed drains all or part of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • The basin covers 1.2 million square miles or approximately 41% of the continental U.S.
  • The basin’s thousands of small streams are home to hundreds of fish species and many other important forms of aquatic life
  • There are more than 90 tributary rivers and fish species within the Mississippi River Basin that come under the management of two or more governmental entities and are considered “interjurisdictional” resources
  • Economic output from recreational fishing in the basin in 2011 exceeded $19 billion (estimated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)