The Wild Rivers Conservancy is often asked about the health of the river. For decades, scientists, resource managers, and volunteers have studied the St. Croix River and the extraordinary flora and fauna found here. This ongoing research is the basis for planning, protection, and restoration activities.

What we’ve learned is that information often does not translate well to the general public, even if they have access to the information. People are left wondering: "Can I swim in the river?" "Is water quality improving or getting worse?" "Can I eat the fish I catch?" This is especially true with a new segment of the St. Croix added to the Minnesota impaired waters list in 2020.

The State of the St. Croix River Report was designed to answer these questions and more. We hope to increase awareness and understanding of the issues that cause problems in the St. Croix River ecosystem. We hope the success stories motivate actions that lead to not just the enjoyment of the river, but inspire people to act to preserve and improve its integrity for future generations.

We are blessed with a truly special wild and scenic river, a generally healthy and intact Riverine system seldom seen elsewhere. But the river is vulnerable and will always be vulnerable. Development pressure, land use changes, increased occurrence of invasive species, and contaminates such as microplastics pose threats to the condition of the river. Fundamentally, it will take people to protect the Riverway. Continual work and public action will be necessary to preserve and protect the St. Croix River.

We hope you enjoy learning more about your wild and scenic St. Croix, and learn more about what it will take to keep it that way. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this report, and to all Riverway Stewards, we need you.


Deb Ryun
Executive Director, Wild Rivers Conservancy

For additional, important information about the health of the St. Croix,
visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's new report, The St. Croix River: Study of the River's Health by clicking here.