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State of the Mississippi River Report Shows Positive Trend in River Health

(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)
(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)

ST. CLOUD — The Mississippi River is a wonderful asset to the community, but what does the future hold for the river?

The National Park Service held their State of the Mississippi River Report in St. Cloud Friday morning.

Lark Weller is the Water Quality Coordinator for the Mississippi River and Recreation Area. She says overall the health of the river is greatly improving.

“We were seeing rebound in our bald eagle, mussel and fish populations, so we are seeing positive response in our wildlife from actions we’ve taken to help them recover,” says Weller.

Weller says the river is still a safe place to swim, fish and enjoy other recreational activities.

However, even with the good news experts say there are also some red flags studies have presented.

Studies have show increase levels of nitrate pollution and bacteria, excess sediment and increase in Invasive Asian Carp, all which are harmful to the rivers health.

Trevor Russell is the Watershed Program Director for the Friends of the Mississippi River. He says there are many things residents can do now to help limit the problems.

“Raking up leaves, grass clippings and fertilizers before they run into storm drains and before winter comes be mindful of salt use. Salt is a permanent pollutant to our water and there is no known treatment,” says Russell.

Russell says they hope to have regulated nitrate standards in place by 2040.

Weller says it’s never too early to start having a conversation with city officials on how to preserve the Mississippi’s health.

If you’re interested in learning more about the state of the river you can visit www.stateoftheriver.com and download the latest report.

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