Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers


St. Croix River, Franconia, MN
Photo credit: 
Darcy Kiefel

Minnesota's lakes, rivers, and streams provide clean water for humans and other species alike. But none is more important than the Mississippi River. From its source at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, the Mississippi winds 700 miles south to the Iowa border, largely through lands that are privately owned and potentially threatened by development. The Mississippi River corridor and adjacent watershed lands are a major continental flyway for songbirds and waterfowl, as well as a recreational treasure and drinking water source for millions of people. The Lower Saint Croix River is one of the top-ten most threatened rivers in America: development in the wrong places continues to threaten its water quality. TPL is working to protect or reclaim lands along the main stems of the rivers with a focus on those that serve as the headwaters—the watershed lands, large tributaries, and thousands of lakes and streams.

Explore our work

Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.