Lake Pepin is the ecological, social, and economic heart of the region.

It is an iconic landscape home to endangered species, traditional Midwestern communities, and even cultural legends. Yet, its importance is far-reaching with a critical role in national river transportation, ecological health downstream to the Gulf of Mexico, and as a global flyover zone for migrating birds. The drive around Lake Pepin is considered one of the most scenic drives in America and the water is an inspiration to recreational users and artists alike. For these reasons, William Cullen Bryant is remembered for declaring that the area "ought to be visited in the summer by every poet and painter in the land."  The pulse of Lake Pepin is truly a critical beat within America's heartland.

Click through the slideshow below to see for yourself the full spectrum of life supported by Lake Pepin...and the widespread impacts threatened by its diminishing health.