Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who developed the State of the River Report?
  2. Who is the intended audience for the State of the River Report?
  3. What portion of the Mississippi River does this report cover?
  4. What data sources were used in this report? What scientists advised its development?
  5. How were indicators selected for inclusion in this State of the River Report? Why these and not others?
  6. A number of indicators choose the same 6 monitoring locations along the river. Why these sites?
  7. When will the next edition of the State of the River Report be released to the public?
  8. What can I do to help the Mississippi River?
  9. What are some top policy actions that are needed to address the issues raised in the State of the River Report?
  10. Where can I get a copy of the State of the River Report?
Who developed the State of the River Report?

The State of the River Report was developed through a partnership between Friends of the Mississippi River and the National Park Service – Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Support for this project was provided in part by the McKnight Foundation, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, and the Capitol Region Watershed District.

Who is the intended audience for the State of the River Report?

This report was developed for distribution to a wide audience, and is written to be understandable by non-technical readers. You don’t need to have a degree in water resources to understand this Report.

Our target audience is concerned citizens and river lovers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area who want to know more about water quality and aquatic health in the metro Mississippi River.

What portion of the Mississippi River does this report cover?

The State of the River Report examines water quality and river health through the 72-mile portion of the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

This portion of the river is so unique that in 1988 Congress designated it a national park: the Mississippi National River And Recreation Area (MNRRA). This national park runs from the Crow River confluence in Dayton and Ramsey through the Twin Cities to just past the St. Croix River confluence hear Hastings, Minnesota and Prescott, Wisconsin.

What data sources were used in this report? What scientists advised its development?

The development of the State of the River Report was guided by advisors from a wide range of disciplines, whose research forms the basis of the document. This includes multiple state agencies, the University of Minnesota, The St. Croix Watershed Research Station, and Metropolitan Council Environmental Services.

Whenever possible, agency experts and field research leaders were consulted to assist project staff in interpreting river data for incorporation into this report. A list of project advisors is available on our acknowledgements sidebar on the State of the River Report home page.

How were indicators selected for inclusion in this State of the River Report? Why these and not others?

Throughout the summer and fall of 2011, project staff hosted a series of technical advisory meetings with agency leaders and research experts in the fields of water quality, aquatic chemistry, human health, and biological monitoring and management.

Through this series of meetings, project staff narrowed the list of indicators down to the final 13 used in the State of the River Report. These indicators were selected based on a number of factors, including the availability and reliability of data; whether or not the data can be translated into terms that non-scientists can easily understand; and whether or not the exclusion of the indicator would leave readers uninformed about major issues impacting river health.

These indicators were divided into five groups: Flow, Swimming & Recreation, Fish & Fishing, Ecological Health, and Other Contaminants of Concern.

A number of indicators choose the same 6 monitoring locations along the river. Why these sites?

Several indicators look at long-term water quality data at 6 sites along the metro area Mississippi River. These sites are part of a comprehensive water quality monitoring program developed and managed by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES). We selected these sites because these MCES locations offered excellent long-term data, and were already being analyzed by a group of researchers with St. Croix Watershed Research Station, MCES, and the National Park Service.

These data sets also provide a clear picture of how the Mississippi River changes as its moves through the Twin Cities metropolitan area, including the influences of the Minnesota River and the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant.

When will the next edition of the State of the River Report be released to the public?

We anticipate releasing updated versions of the State of the River Report periodically, perhaps every 3-5 years.

What can I do to help the Mississippi River?

The Stewardship Guide, a companion guide to the State of the River Report, provides practical steps that individuals can take in their home, yard, and community to improve the health of the Mississippi.

What are some top policy actions that are needed to address the issues raised in the State of the River Report?

Friends of the Mississippi River has developed the Policy Guide, a companion guide to the State of the River Report, that offers priority actions that federal, state, and local leaders can take for the river.

Both the Stewardship Guide and Policy Guide are available through the State of the River Report website.

Where can I get a copy of the State of the River Report?

A limited number of print copies have been printed. These will be distributed at public presentations and can be made available upon request while supplies last. Contact FMR’s email hidden; JavaScript is required or MNRRA’s email hidden; JavaScript is required for more information.