City Pages • Mississippi River: Wildlife making a comeback, but please don’t swim

A million people in the Twin Cities drink water pumped from the mighty Mississippi River, and more than 50,000 Minnesota kids play in it every year.

At the same time, bacteria from manure runoff and sewer overflows keeps building in certain sections of the river, and the native fish are showing high levels of toxic chemicals.

In 2012, the National Park Service and the Friends of the Mississippi River came up with the first “State of the River” report to take the temperature of the river’s health. It inspired a number of changes, such as closing the Upper St. Anthony Lock to slow the spread of invasive carp and banning things like coal tar sealants statewide.

Four years later, the second State of the River report found that although wildlife like bald eagles, mussels, and fish are on the rise, so are pollutants like bacteria (which comes from human and animal feces), nitrate (cropland runoff), and chloride (deicing salt).

Source: Susan Du City Pages