Mississippi River - Twin Cities


The Mississippi provides a home for more than 400 different species of wildlife and plays a vital role in the upper Mississippi River valley. The river is also home to more than 100 different species of freshwater fish, which allows for some of the best fishing around, and is a major drinking water supply for the Twin Cities.

Of the impaired waters conventional pollutant listings about 70% are for nutrient-impaired lakes. The main factors affecting water quality are stormwater management, nutrient management on farmland and residential/commercial areas, sediment and erosion control, protection of shoreland/riparian areas, and invasive species (e.g., carp and curly-leaf pondweed). These land uses and other factors have contributed to the introduction of large amounts of phosphorus, sediment, and bacteria to surface waters and increased nutrient, contaminant, and sedimentation loading from stormwater runoff from development and other non-point sources.

    What's being done

    The MPCA, along with its partners, are working to restore and protect the surface waters within this watershed through the implementation of best management practices and other actions. The 10-year watershed cycle for the Mississippi River-Twin Cities watershed began in 2010. 

    • Data collected will inform and supplement Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies and restoration plans.
    • More than 20 TMDL projects — ranging in scope from single waterbody to entire WMO — are currently ongoing within the watershed.

    Monitoring and assessment reports and data

    Strategy development plans

    Implementation plans