Educational Tools

NWNL Educational Tools

Mississippi River Basin Hydro-Graphics

THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN is the world’s 4th largest watershed, drained by the Mississippi-Missouri River, which is the world’s 4th longest river. This complex waterway is vital to the security and economy of the U.S. As water flows off 41% of the Lower 48 States into the basin’s tributaries rivers, it provides a major commercial waterway for the U. S. and a critical water source for industry, farming and human consumption.

Over time, glaciers, earthquakes and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have set and reset the course of the Mississippi River and its deltaic channels, tributaries and distributaries. Cotton and other agricultural industries have flourished, in part due to irrigation levees and canals. Yet the 1927, 1993 and 2008 floods and 1988 record-low depths caused devastation exacerbated by continued channelization by levees, industry and heavy flood plain development. From headwater regions to the Gulf of Mexico, management attention is focusing the impacts of climate change, infrastructure, agricultural and other runoff pollution, loss of forests and biodiversity.