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Vermillion River (Minnesota) facts for kids

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Vermillion River
Vermillion Falls in Hastings
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Mouth of the Vermillion River
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Goohue County, Dakota County, Scott County
Physical characteristics
Main source New Market, Minnesota
44°35′10″N 93°20′10″W / 44.5860751°N 93.3360562°W / 44.5860751; -93.3360562
River mouth Welch, Minnesota
44°37′14″N 92°40′01″W / 44.6205230°N 92.6668629°W / 44.6205230; -92.6668629
Length 59.6 mi (95.9 km)
Basin features
River system Mississippi River
Basin size 335 sq mi (870 km2)
  • Right:
    South Branch Vermillion River
Waterfalls Vermillion Falls

The Vermillion River is a 59.6-mile (95.9 km) waterway that meanders through Scott County and Dakota County in Minnesota, entering the Mississippi River floodplain just south of Hastings. 13.5 miles (21.7 km) of it are designated as a trout stream, which is unusual for being so close to a metropolitan area.


Vermillion, derived from the French for "red", was probably so named from deposits of ochre Indians used for body painting.

The Vermillion is a state-designated trout stream, managed for catch-and-release fishing of brown trout. The portion of the river that supports trout is upstream, around the towns of Farmington; Empire, and the City of Lakeville. Near the town of Vermillion, the water becomes too warm to support trout. Downstream from the falls on the south side of Hastings, the water becomes even warmer, supporting riverine species such as northern pike and freshwater drum. The Minnesota state record black crappie of 5.0 pounds was caught in the Vermillion River in 1940. An old channel of the Vermillion River continues south from Hastings on the western edge of the Mississippi valley.

Activities on the river

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the river was used for water power, supplying power to gristmills. A park surrounding the falls preserves the remains of a mill operated by Alexander Ramsey, one of the leading citizens of early Minnesota.

The nonprofit conservation group Minnesota Trout Unlimited and its volunteers have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in physical restoration of the river and adjoining upland areas, funding four projects through grants from the state's Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Twin Cities chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsors a local community volunteer group called the Vermillion Riverkeepers. Volunteers work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to remove invasive non-native species such as buckthorn from several state DNR Aquatic Management Areas (AMAs), in addition to fisheries research and stream restoration projects .

Another group, Friends of the Mississippi River, engages people in cleanups, restoration events and educational activities through its Vermillion Stewards Program.

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