FMR and our partners The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) of the National Park Service released the State of the River Report Thursday, September 27th. This groundbreaking report highlights the status and trends of 13 critical indicators of water quality and ecological health in the metro Mississippi River. Its release generated substantial state and national media coverage, and was also the subject of a number of editorials and opinion pieces in papers across the state. (A summary of media coverage is available here.)
We’re also very grateful for the outpouring of public interest in the report. A full house at the Science Museum of Minnesota was on hand to receive the first public presentation of the report’s results. Thanks to everyone who was able to attend. If you missed it, we have a number of additional presentations planned. Find out more, or request a presentation to your organization at StateoftheRiver.com.
Along with the State of the River Report, we also released a pair of companion documents and our new Stewardship Pledge.
So, how is the Mississippi River?
It’s a river that has improved in both water quality and ecological health over time, but there are also some distressing trends and emerging concerns.
- Positive trends in our bald eagle, mussel and fish populations are signs of a restored river that is once again home to healthy and abundant wildlife.
- Excess sediment and phosphorus can compromise aquatic habitat and recreation in the Mississippi River, including downstream in Lake Pepin. Some portions of the river are impaired with excess bacteria, while site-specific fish consumption guidelines are in place throughout the river due to elevated levels of the chemical compound PFOS, mercury, and PCBs.
- River flows and nitrate concentrations are increasing at an alarming rate, with serious impacts on the Gulf of Mexico. Asian carp continue to move upstream, and emerging contaminants — including Triclosan, PAH compounds, and others — present potential risks to the river we do not yet fully understand.
For more information on the State of the River Report, and links to the report online, visit our report page at StateoftheRiver.com.