Nicollet County is located in south central Minnesota and is bordered on two sides by the Minnesota River. A line of forested bluffs separate the river valley from land that is relatively flat and historically used for agricultural purposes. Approximately 245,000 acres of the County are actively farmed. The 2012 impaired waters list for water bodies located in Nicollet County include the Minnesota River, Seven Mile Creek, Rogers Creek and tributaries to the Rush River.
The Cannon River is a designated Wild and Scenic River that originates in Rice County and joins the Mississippi River 120 miles downstream near Red Wing. The Upper Cannon, which encompasses 29% of the entire watershed, has been identified as a priority subwatershed.