How Well Do You Know the Mississippi River?

The Mississippi River, one of America’s most valuable waterways. We hear a lot about the river these days, how it contributes to our country’s economic growth, the wondrous wildlife, and of course the funding needed to protect one of our most precious assets.

We all remember how to spell Mississippi from our childhood nursery rhymes- M-I-crooked letter–crooked letter- I don’t have to continue, you know the rest! But, what do you really know about the Mighty Mississippi?

Here are some facts that I bet you didn’t know about the Mississippi River:

1. The Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long

Aerial photo (from left to right) of Iowa the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Aerial photo (from left to right) of Iowa the Mississippi River and Illinois. Credit: Preston Keres/USDA

The Mississippi River begins as a trickle flowing out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota. From there the river flows 2,340 miles until it pours into the Gulf of Mexico below New Orleans.

2. It takes 90 days for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the Mississippi River

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Credit: NPS 

That’s right, 90 days! In the time that it takes a single drop of water to travel the entire river, you could plant a garden, prune it and maybe even grow a vegetable or two!

3. The Mississippi River runs through 10 states

From Louisiana to Minnesota, the Mississippi River runs through many states and ecosystems.
From Louisiana to Minnesota, the Mississippi River runs through many states and ecosystems. Credit: NPS

Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota.

Illinois has the largest population of all the states located along the Mississippi River.

4. The Mississippi River is in need of funding to help sustain drinking water, wildlife, and our economy

Blanding's turtle
Blanding’s turtle is semi-aquatic and considered endangered throughout most of its range. This one was spotted in Minnesota within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Credit: NPS
  • The Mississippi River provides drinking water to about 20 million Americans.
  • It’s a vital natural resource—home to over 780 species of fish and wildlife and serving as a “river road” or flyway for over 60% of all North American birds.
  • It’s the heart of a $500 billion-a-year natural resource and recreation-based economy employing more than 1.5 million Americans.
  • Flooding and extreme weather events cost billions in losses each year, harming communities and leaving them vulnerable long-term.

The African American Mayors Association and the National Wildlife Federation have made it their mission to uplift the funding needs of the Mississippi River through the hashtag #RevivingMiss. To read more about the restoration needs of the Mississippi River please visit https://www.nwf.org/Home/Latest-News/Press-Releases/2021/6-28-21-Mississippi-River-Restoration-Bill

Support Restoration of the Mississippi River

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