A 13-mile segment of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul serves as the western and southern boundary of the Capitol Region Watershed District. The river boundary stretches from south of I-94 at Emerald Street/Mississippi River Boulevard to the Battle Creek – Indian Mounds off Warner Road. The shore along the river includes extensive floodplain areas that contain regional parks for public recreation and habitat for natural plant communities and wildlife.
The Mississippi River is one of the major river systems in the State of Minnesota as well as the entire country. The river is a National Heritage River that is part of a federal program to protect and improve management of important rivers within the United States.
The Mississippi River is the receiving waterbody for all of the surface runoff from CRWD. Much of the groundwater flowing below CRWD also discharges into the Mississippi River. There are currently 55 storm sewer outlets to the Mississippi River within CRWD.
Water quality of this river segment is impaired for sediment and bacteria, which are typical of urbanized areas. These impairments require the development of TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Load) studies, which leads to a pollutant budget and an implementation plan for meeting the budget. Specifically, a total maximum daily load is the maximum amount of pollutant a waterbody can assimilate while still meeting its water quality goals. The TMDL is then broken down and allocated to different pollutant sources (i.e., wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, industrial discharges).