Public Open House for Mississippi River Cleanup Plan
The National Park Service and Friends of the Mississippi River are co-hosting a public open house on the state's clean-up plan for the Mississippi River through the Twin Cities. The south metro Mississippi River--from its confluence with the Minnesota River in St. Paul to Red Wing--currently fails to meet basic health standards. The river is so full of muddy sediment (turbidity) that the river's plant and animal life suffers. This sediment pollution comes from the runoff of farms, homes, businesses and roadways, as well as erosion from upstream sources. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has released a clean-up plan, or Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), to address this problem.
The main finding of the MPCA's study of the Mississippi River's sediment is that runoff pollution from the Minnesota River Basin needs to decrease by 50 to 60 percent for the Mississippi to meet its turbidity standard. Sediment runoff from urban areas and other tributaries needs to be reduced, as well. Because the scope of the plan includes half of Minnesota's land area, this likely will require fundamental shifts in how Minnesotans manage—and produce—runoff. Those involved in this project expect it to be one of the largest water clean-up efforts in the U.S.—second only to the Chesapeake Bay's clean-up plan. Within one year of receiving feedback from the public and Environmental Protection Agency, the MPCA will develop a detailed implementation plan to make sediment reductions in the Mississippi River.
The open house is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the clean-up plan, and to provide the state with input. It will be held Wednesday, May 4th from 3:30-7:30 p.m. at the Merriam Park Library in St. Paul, located at 1831 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul.
Did You Know?
At Lake Itasca, the elevation of the Mississippi River is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop occurs within the state of Minnesota.