Conservation Program Area

Mississippi Headwaters

The Mississippi river is the second longest river in North America, and it all starts at the Mississippi Headwaters in Minnesota.

Stretching across 6 counties and 1,960 square miles, the Minnesota Land Trust’s Mississippi Headwaters region contains the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca and over 1,000 separate lakes. Protecting the water quality of the Mississippi River as it stretches for over 2,350 miles starts at the headwaters, and the Minnesota Land Trust has a goal of protecting an additional 5,000 acres in the headwaters by 2027 as part of our 10-year Conservation Agenda.

The area boasts an impressive array of wildlife and plants, and two in particular—wild rice and tullibee fish—are important bellwethers of water quality in the lakes that make up the watershed. This is also one of the most important areas in our state for red-shouldered hawks, and habitat for red-necked grebe, wolf, loons, and trumpeter swans.



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