The Mississippi River Generates $405 Billion in Revenue

MEMPHIS, Tenn.— America’s longest river is generating over $400 billion in revenue per year, according to a report by the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative. While much of that revenue comes from agriculture and manufacturing along the 2,300-mile waterway, at least a part comes from tourism — including recreational fishing.

The river is regularly home to major fishing tournaments —FLW just wrapped an event at La Crosse, Wisconsin; while B.A.S.S. recently announced a 2016 Elite Series event in the same city — and Fishing Tackle Retailer estimates that around 100 independent tackle stores operate in counties bordering the Mississippi.

The study focused on counties that directly border the Big River.

“The Mississippi is much mightier than we realized,” said MRCTI Co-Chair Roy Buol, Mayor of Dubuque, Iowa. “The river’s importance to our region and nation is indisputable. We must now move forward strategically and purposefully to protect this national resource and economic force.”

The recently released report is the first time that both the Upper and Lower Mississippi River Profiles have been produced within 12 months of each other. The results revealed over 1.3 million jobs along its corridor: 585,000 on the lower (from Cairo, Ill., downstream) and 755,000 on the upper (upstream to Lake Itasca, Minn.).

Mayors along the river’s route — from St. Paul to Memphis to Natchez, Miss. — are issuing their support for clean water sustainability on Old Man River. Seven of them will head to Paris, France, for a United Nations meeting in December on sustainable energy.

The Missisippi River is considered the linchpin of the 37-state Mississippi River Basin. It provides drinking water for 18 million Americans and transports 62 percent of America’s agricultural output, along with 400 tons of fossil fuels.