Does The Mississippi River Run Through Wisconsin

Background Information

Wisconsin, with its numerous lakes and streams, is home to some of the largest rivers in the world. However, the Mississippi River does not actually run through the state. In fact, it is on the other side of the border, just outside of Wisconsin. The Mississippi River, of course, is the second-longest river in the United States, at 2,340 miles long, and is the primary drainage basin for 31 states and two Canadian provinces in the Mississippi watershed. It is also an important part of the Great Lakes watershed and contributes to Wisconsin’s water resources.

Streams and Rivers in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to some of the most significant rivers in the nation. The St. Croix River Basin, located in the western part of the state, is one of the largest inland river basins in the Midwest. The St. Croix River, also known as the Brule River, has been popular since the 17th century for its excellent fishing, as well as its abundance of trout and walleye. The Wisconsin River is another significant river in the state, flowing southward from its source in northern Wisconsin to its outlet at the Mississippi River in the south. The Wisconsin River provides the largest source of water for the state, supplying water to its agriculture, industry, and over 8 million people in Wisconsin.

Effects of the Mississippi River on Wisconsin

Although the Mississippi River does not run through Wisconsin, its effects are still felt in the state. The Mississippi River system is connected to Wisconsin through its many tributary rivers, including the Wisconsin, Chippewa, Fox, and St. Croix Rivers. As the Mississippi River passes close to the state, it affects Wisconsin’s climate and its agricultural production practices. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Mississippi River also affects Wisconsin’s coastal economy by providing a route for trade and commerce.

Environmental Impact of the Mississippi

The Mississippi River is an essential part of Wisconsin’s environment. Its waters provide nutrients to the soil and its water currents move sediment, both of which are essential for the growth of aquatic vegetation. The river also provides an important area for a wide variety of migratory and native wildlife species.
The Mississippi River is also an important part of Wisconsin’s hydrological system, contributing to the state’s water resources. The river also plays a role in maintaining an adequate water supply. By controlling the flow of water in and out of the state, the Mississippi River helps to monitor how much water is available in the state and whether it needs to be augmented by other sources.

Pollution in the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, unfortunately, is also a source of water pollution. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Mississippi River suffers from numerous sources of pollution, including runoff from agricultural lands and urban areas, dredging, and industrial pollution. These sources of water pollution can cause serious environmental impacts and can lead to health risks for people and wildlife in the Mississippi River watershed.

Factors Impacting Water Quality in the Mississippi River

There are numerous factors that impact the water quality in the Mississippi River. These include stream and riverbank erosion, agricultural runoff, residential runoff, and urban and industrial discharges. All of these factors can contribute to water pollution in the Mississippi and its tributaries, which can have a negative impact on the environment.

Wisconsin’s Involvement in the Mississippi River

Wisconsin is one of, if not the most involved state in the Mississippi Watershed. The state has developed a number of programs and initiatives to address the water quality issues in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including water monitoring and water quality reduction. The state has also conducted several restoration and conservation efforts, including habitat restoration and the establishment of riparian buffers.
Wisconsin is also an active member of the Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study, which is a joint effort of federal and state governments aimed at managing and protecting water resources in the Great Lakes basin and the Mississippi River Watershed. The state also houses two of the five regional offices of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, which works to protect and restore water resources in the U.S.

Wisconsin’s Water Conservation Efforts

Wisconsin is committed to water conservation and protecting its water resources and the resources of the Mississippi River Watershed. The state has developed a number Minnesota River Compact, which was signed in 2000 by representatives of the five Great Lakes states and Wisconsin. This compact is designed to ensure that the Mississippi River and its tributaries are managed sustainably, and it provides a framework for future water conservation efforts in the Mississippi River Watershed.
The state also offers a variety of financial assistance and grants for water conservation efforts, including the Wisconsin Clean Water Fund and the Clean Water Sustainable Fund. These resources can be used for projects such as water conservation, water quality monitoring, and other initiatives that are designed to protect Wisconsin’s water resources.

Wisconsin’s Impact on the Mississippi River

Wisconsin plays a key role in the quality of the Mississippi River. The state’s rivers, streams, and lakes play an important part in the river’s health, and the state is extremely involved in the Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study and other water-related initiatives. Through its water conservation efforts and other programs, Wisconsin is helping to protect and sustain its water resources, as well as its part of the Mississippi River Watershed.

The Role of Wisconsin Residents

Wisconsin residents can also help to protect the Mississippi River. Conservation efforts such as water conservation, the use of non-toxic lawn and garden products, limiting fertilizer and pesticide use, and using biodegradable products can all help to reduce the amount of pollution in the river. Residents can also be involved in monitoring water resources and reporting any potential problems or threats to the EPA or other state or federal agencies.


The Mississippi River is a vital part of the United States and Wisconsin plays a key role in its health. While the river itself does not run through the state, it still has a huge impact on Wisconsin’s environment and economy. Through its water conservation efforts and collaboration with other states in the Watershed, Wisconsin is helping to ensure the health of its water resources, as well as its part of the Mississippi River.

Raymond Strasser is a passion-driven writer and researcher, dedicated to educating readers on the topic of world rivers. With a background in Geography and Environmental Studies, Raymond provides insightful pieces which explore the impact and importance that rivers have around the world.

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