Minnesota River Basin Fast Facts

Minnesota River Basin

  • The Minnesota River Basin drains nearly 20 percent of Minnesota as well as portions of South Dakota, Iowa and North Dakota. The basin encompasses roughly 15,000 square miles and contains all or parts of 38 counties in Minnesota.
  • The Minnesota River Basin is divided into 12 hydrologic major watersheds and 13 management watersheds.
  • Agricultural activities account for more than 92 percent of the land use in the basin. The river flows through some of the richest agricultural land in the state.
Minnesota River
  • The Minnesota River flows 335 miles from its source in Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border to its confluence with the Mississippi at Fort Snelling near St. Paul.
  • The Minnesota River is the state's largest tributary to the Mississippi River. Where the Minnesota River flows into the Mississippi River, the flow of the Mississippi doubles.
  • The Minnesota River is one of the most seriously polluted rivers in the state. Some environmental groups have labeled the Minnesota River one of the most polluted rivers in the nation.
  • Many diverse groups are working across the basin to better understand and improve the Minnesota River.
This page was last updated 4/15/11