ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A new report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the upper Mississippi River is in pretty good shape, but the quality of water degrades quickly as it flows toward the Twin Cities.

According to the report, the lower Mississippi River needs major improvements to reduce pollution.

The report says, while the northern stretch of the river flows largely through forests and wetlands that help filter out pollutants, the lower stretch receives more polluted runoff from farms and urban development. Another issue is between St. Cloud and Minneapolis, where the river does not meet water quality standards and is not safe to swim in during certain times of the year.

To resolve the issues, MPCA says farmers need to be more proactive by adding buffer strips to capture soil runoff and add cover crops.