Missouri River Facts

Missouri River Facts
The Missouri River is North America's longest river, beginning in western Montana and ending 2,341 miles away, north of St. Louis, Missouri where it enters the Mississippi River. The name 'Missouri' is derived from the Missouri tribe name, meaning 'people with wooden canoes'. The Missouri River and its tributaries have been important to people for more than 12,000 years, for many reasons including transportation, as a water source, fishing, irrigation, and as a water source for animals which in turn helped to feed the people in the region. During the westward expansion of the United States the Missouri River played an important role. Because of industrial and agricultural use in the 20th century the water quality, and animal and fish populations have been greatly impacted.
Interesting Missouri River Facts:
It is believed that the Missouri River formed about 30 million years ago, but because it changes its course over time, the current course of the Missouri is estimated at 115,000 years old.
Major tributaries to the Missouri River include Yellowstone River, Platte River, and Kansas River.
The Missouri River flows through several states including Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. It flows past Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas.
The first explorers to lay their eyes on the Missouri River were Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette. These Frenchmen were floating along the Mississippi River in 1673 when they spotted it.
Lewis and Clark were the first to travel the entire length of the Missouri River., which they accomplished in 1804.
The Missouri River flows from Montana's Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers for 2,341 miles to the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri.
The Missouri River is the world's 15th longest river.
The Missouri River basin (area of land drained by the river) is 529,350 square miles in size.
Approximately 10 million people live in the Missouri River basin. This includes people from 10 states, from a small region in Canada, and from 28 different Native American tribes.
The dams that have been built along the Missouri River have changed its ability to flow freely. Although this stops flooding in many regions, it changes the natural environment as well.
The Missouri River has been called 'Big Muddy' and 'Muddy Mo' because of its ability to relocate large amounts of soil on occasion.
There are approximately 150 fish species in the Missouri River, and about 300 species of birds live in the Missouri River's region.
Along the South Dakota and Nebraska border is a more than 100 mile long area designated as The Missouri National Recreation Area, where people can boat, fish, and enjoy other water activities.
The Lewis and Clark historic trail follows the Missouri River, making it possible for people to follow. Along the trail are roughly 100 historical sites to explore.
Many National Parks in the United States are located in the Missouri River's watershed, including Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, and Rocky Mountain National park.
Some of the historical landmarks along the Missouri River include Fort Benton, Montana, Big Hidatsa Village Site, and Three Forks of Missouri.

Related Links:
Rivers Facts
Animals Facts
Missouri Facts
Rivers Facts
Lewis and Clark Expedition Timeline
Mississippi River Facts
Sacajawea Timeline
Iowa Facts
Kansas Facts
Nebraska Facts
South Dakota Facts
Montana Facts