ST. CLOUD (AP) - State pollution officials have begun monitoring the Upper Mississippi River to study its health in terms of aquatic life, recreation and fish consumption.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will take water chemistry samples over two years and analyze them by late 2015.

Research scientist Mike Feist says the study involves collecting bugs, fish and water samples. He says previous tests involved a handful of parameters, but this project is the first time all the tests are being coordinated into a large-scale study.

He says if any red flags are observed, having samples of all the different parameters will give scientists a better idea of what the problem is.

The MPCA is already hallway through a 10-year effort to assess smaller rivers, streams and lakes.