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
  • Economic output from recreational fishing in the basin in 2011 exceeded $19 billion (estimated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)