Upper Mississippi River Ecological Status and Trends

February 13, 2023

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) has monitored the river ecosystem for over 25 years, and has extensive knowledge of ecological processes, function, structure, and composition on the Upper Mississippi River System.

In 2022, as the administrator of UMRR's long term resource monitoring, the U.S. Geological Survey published the third status and trends report, providing a clear and quantitative assessment of what we know of how the Upper Mississippi River ecosystem is doing, how we know that, and why it matters.  This new report presents an unprecedented, in-depth knowledge of any large river ecosystem in the world.

We have learned that the river is changing for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of changing hydrology and invasive species.  The Upper Mississippi River System is a large and diverse ecosystem with many regional differences.  The changes in the river are occurring differently and at different rates within the Upper Mississippi River System. 

This page includes snapshot summaries highlighting the most important observations about the river’s ecological health and how long term monitoring can inform how the river’s ecological resources can be sustained and restored.  The full report is available here:  https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20221039