The Upper Mississippi River System—Topobathy

Fact Sheet 2016-3097
Prepared in cooperation with Upper Mississippi River Restoration
By: , and 



The Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS), the navigable part of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, is a diverse ecosystem that contains river channels, tributaries, shallow-water wetlands, backwater lakes, and flood-plain forests. Approximately 10,000 years of geologic and hydrographic history exist within the UMRS. Because it maintains crucial wildlife and fish habitats, the dynamic ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Basin and its tributaries are contingent on the adjacent flood plains and water-level fluctuations of the Mississippi River. Separate data for flood-plain elevation (lidar) and riverbed elevation (bathymetry) were collected on the UMRS by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program. Using the two elevation datasets, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) developed a systemic topobathy dataset.

Suggested Citation

Stone, J.M., Hanson, J.L., and Sattler, S.R., 2017, The Upper Mississippi River System—Topobathy: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3097, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • What is Topobathy?
  • What Data Were Used to Generate Topobathy?
  • How Can Topobathy be Used?
  • What is the Future of Topobathy?
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The Upper Mississippi River System—Topobathy
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2016-3097
DOI 10.3133/fs20163097
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin
Other Geospatial Upper Mississippi River System
Online Only (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details