The Mississippi River is a very important transportation corridor, recreational asset, and habitat for fish, amphibians, birds, animals, plants, and trees. Stretching 2,350 miles from Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s the river that defines America. Its watershed is the 3rd largest watershed in the world draining 41% of the continental United States and all or parts of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
At Red Wing the river has a very rich environment. Besides having 16 miles of river shore, it has the main navigational channel, a smaller Wisconsin Channel, one of the largest bends in the river, two tributaries, many acres of backwaters, and several cuts that connect the backwaters and the two channels. The river’s widest navigable segment is in Lake Pepin where the channel is approximately 2 miles wide.