Mississippi River Facing Severe Ecological Decline

Oct 19, 2021

Sunset over the Mississippi River.

Tennessee Wildlife Federation needs you to support legislation that will safeguard and restore the health of the Mississippi River so that our wildlife and our communities have safe, clean water.

Tennessee’s western border and one of the nation’s most critical waterways, the Mississippi River, is at risk of severe ecological decline.

The Mississippi River provides drinking water for more than 20 million people and supports a $500 billion natural resource and recreation-based economy each year.

Additionally, the river serves as a migration corridor for 60 percent of North American birds and is home to diverse aquatic species and wildlife.

But all of that is at risk. The Mississippi currently suffers from excess nitrates. The nitrates harm fish and other aquatic species along the river which creates a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is costing the seafood and tourism industries more than $80 million a year. The river is also experiencing widespread habitat loss and invasive species—such as invasive carp—that threaten the river’s native fisheries and outdoor recreation.

Riverfront communities rely on the Mississippi to mitigate and control flood risk, but the river is becoming less and less able to absorb dangerous floodwaters.

The good news is there’s a new bill focused on solving these issues.

The Mississippi River Restoration & Resilience Initiative (MRRRI) Act of 2021 would create a collaborative effort to safeguard and restore the ecological health and resilience of the river.

It’s modeled after a successful approach used for the Great Lakes that unifies efforts and provides federal funding. That funding supports critically-needed pollution reduction and restoration efforts to create more resilient communities.

However, time is not on the river’s side. If you support conserving native wildlife, clean drinking water, keeping our communities safe, and helping the economy, urge your congressman to support the Mississippi River Restoration & Resilience Initiative.

Featured photo by Aidan Formigoni

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