The Mississippi River begins in Lake Itasca in Minnesota, flows through the middle of the continental United States and finally ends in the Gulf of Mexico. At 2,350 miles long, it is the third-longest river in North America.
The Mississippi River is the fourth-largest river in the world when compared to the the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze rivers. The river shares borders and passes through the states of Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. Many communities depend on the Mississippi River to dispose of industrial and municipal waste, while also relying on it as a source of fresh water.