What Are Interesting Facts About Mississippi River

The Mississippi River called the “Father of Waters” by Native Americans is the second longest river in the United States and the fourth longest in the world. Apparently, the river’s French name, “Mississippi,” translates to “big river” in some Native languages, a clear indication of its size and power. Along with its physical magnitude and the multitude of stories associated with it, the Mississippi holds a compelling history, stunning facts and interesting trivia that make it stand out from the rest of the American rivers.

Origin and Length

The source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca located in northern Minnesota and it runs a course of 2,340 miles before it empties into the gulf off Mexico in Louisiana. The river, fed by many independent tracks, eventually merges into one body as it travels south. Traces of Native American life along the banks of Mississippi are still seen in areas like the Upper Mississippi River Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Keokuk, Iowa and the Grand Village of the Natchez in present-day Southwestern Mississippi. Today, the Mississippi River serves as a major waterway to transport barge traffic and other activities.

Animal Life in the River

The Mississippi is home to millions of fish, birds and other animals. Many species are dependent on the river for survival, and many that live in the area are considered to be endangered or rare. For instance, the Arkansas pupfish and the pallid sturgeon are both species that can only be found in the Mississippi. Additionally, the river supports more than 20 species of mammals and nine species of amphibians that migrate to the region seasonally. The wide variety of flora and fauna makes the Mississippi River one of the most biodiverse bodies of water in the United States.


In the past, the Mississippi River was considered to be a source of mystery and curiosity. For instance, scientists still have not been able to determine the exact route of a large part of the river, which flows from near the city of Memphis, Tennessee to the gulf. Furthermore, the river has also been the subject of numerous myths and legends that are still repeated today. In addition to these stories, the Mississippi is also very famous for its role in American literature, featuring in novels such as “Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.

Environmental Impact

In recent years the environment of the Mississippi River has come under intense scrutiny due to increasing pollution, erosion and overuse. Because the river is so large, pollutants make their way into the water easily and can travel long distances before being filtered out. For example, fertilizer runoff from farms along the river has led to large dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, where nothing can live because of the large amount of nitrates in the water. In addition, silt erosion caused by logging and development along the riverbanks can reach levels that could be considered hazardous.

Preserving the Mississippi River

In response to the deteriorating condition of the Mississippi River, numerous organizations have been formed in an effort to preserve and protect the river. One of the most well-known is the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mississippi River Collaborative, which works with local, state and federal partners to provide funding for projects to reduce pollution and restore wetlands and other habitats. Additionally, the River Network and the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition work to educate the public about the importance of protecting the Mississippi and securing its future by promoting the restoration of wetlands and other habitats.

Water Quality and Recreational Activities

Thanks to the efforts of these organizations, water quality along the Mississippi has seen improvement in recent years. As a result, the Mississippi is now an incredibly popular destination for recreational activities such as fishing, bird watching, kayaking and canoeing. It’s also an important shipping route for barge traffic, and an increasingly popular tourist destination, due to its natural beauty, rich history, and the many towns and cities that border it.

Economical Impact

The Mississippi River has had an impact on the economic development of the United States. The river has played a key role in the transportation of goods and people over the years, and its navigable waters have served as an important transportation route for centuries. Moreover, fish and other resources extracted from the river have been invaluable to the country’s growth. The river continues to provide an abundance of resources, from irrigation to hydropower, and there are numerous businesses that depend on the Mississippi and its resources for their livelihood.

Cultural Significance

The Mississippi River is also of great cultural importance, having inspired artists and writers for centuries. From folk songs to blues, the Mississippi has been a source of inspiration for many, and has been featured in countless books and movies. In recent years, the river has also become a popular destination for cultural tourism and river cruises, providing visitors with an up-close look at the beauty and diverse culture of the region.

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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