Animal Waste, Road Salt, Lawn Fertilizer Harm Mississippi River

May 04, 2017 10:49 PM

People who live in the Twin Cities metro area can reside far apart, but many have one thing in common - the Mississippi River.

And experts say what people put on their lawns and roadways may be impacting the river's water quality.

Issues are seen regularly by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

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The MWMO monitors the health of the Mississippi River and the wetlands and lakes in a 40-square mile area around it - from Fridley to St. Paul.

"We protect and improve water quality," Executive Director Doug Snyder said.

"We work with our member cities to work with water quantity issues; local flooding, regional flooding kinds of things. And we also try to improve and protect habitat in this watershed."

The things the MWMO finds harm water quality most are silt from riverbank erosion, animal waste, road salt and lawn fertilizer.

What most people don't realize is you can live miles away from the Mississippi, but if grass clippings or fertilizers end up in the storm sewer, it only takes a couple hours for it to end up coming out of a storm drain into the river.

"Because most of the water getting to the river in our watershed comes through a pipe, we do a lot of work in pipes," Snyder said.

MWMO Water Resources Director Udai Singh said residents of the Twin Cities are lucky to have a resource like the river right in their backyard.

"The water quality of a river or a stream or a lake is directly related to the quality of life we enjoy here in the Twin Cities," he said.

The MWMO is one of about three dozen watershed organizations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. 

It protects and improves water quality, habitat and natural resources in the urban watershed that drains directly into the Mississippi.

In addition to monitoring and tracking water quality, the MWMO conducts education and outreach to promote environmental stewardship among residents.
 

Credits

Kevin Doran

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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