How does agriculture affect the mississippi river basin


Agriculture pollutes more waterways than any other industry. Therefore, this pollution must be significantly abated in order to improve the quality of water throughout the Mississippi River Basin and reduce the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.


How does agricultural pollution affect the Mississippi River?

The scale and impact of agricultural pollution is enormous. Nitrogen and phosphorus are the most common agricultural pollutants found in public waters in the Mississippi River Basin. These chemicals contribute to the growth of harmful algae, fish kills, animal deaths, and the classification of some drinking water sources as unsafe for the public.

How can we protect Mississippi River Basin watersheds from agricultural pollution?

To protect Mississippi River basin watersheds from agricultural pollution by developing science-based policies, engaging regulatory agencies and legislators, and educating the public and media on the problems caused by agricultural pollution and the success or failure of current conservation programs to address these problems.

Why is the Mississippi River important to the basin?

The Mississippi River is vital to the people of the basin. Over 18 million people rely on the Mississippi for water supply.

Is the Mississippi River basin at risk?

But all of this is at risk. The Mississippi River Basin The Nature Conservancy is working across 1,245 million square miles with partners, friends, and allies, to protect and restore the Mississippi River Basin.

How and why does agriculture impact the Mississippi River basin mouth?

The farmland that surrounds the Mississippi is more productive than ever, supplying the world with cheap crops and meat. There is a cost. Fertilizer and manure used on farms contain nitrogen and phosphorus. Flushed into waterways, they can taint drinking water and foster algae that chokes out marine life.

How does the Mississippi river affect agriculture?

The inland Mississippi River system plays a major role in transporting commodities; especially soybeans and corn. Approximately 60 percent of all grain inspected is exported through the Center Gulf, which consists of the U.S. Customs Districts of New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama.

How does agriculture affect river?

Excessive irrigation can affect water quality by causing erosion, transporting nutrients, pesticides, and heavy metals, or decreasing the amount of water that flows naturally in streams and rivers.

How does agricultural runoff affect the Mississippi river?

During the rainy season, fertilizer, animal waste, sewage and car exhaust wash into the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya rivers, flow south and empty into the mouth of the Gulf. Nitrogen and phosphorous from farm runoff and animal waste are especially toxic to ocean life.

Why was the Mississippi river important to farmers?

Why were the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi River important to farmers in the early 1800’s? Farmers depended on the river to get their crops to the port in New Orleans, they would load them onto ships bound for markets in Europe and on the East Coast.

What pollutes the Mississippi river?

Agricultural Runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the United States. Current agricultural practices lead to nutrient loading and in turn to eutrophication. One of the main problems in attempts to regulate this type of pollution is that it is non-point source.

How is agriculture affecting water?

When plant nutrients from synthetic fertilizers or organic fertilizers, decomposed crop residues, and agricultural waste products, such as wastewater from dairies, run off into fresh water, they speed up the eutrophication of water bodies.

How does agriculture affect the water resources?

Agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of water withdrawals worldwide, plays a major role in water pollution. Farms discharge large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, drug residues, sediments and saline drainage into water bodies.

How does agriculture pollute water?

Agriculture as a water polluter: cause Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture can contaminate both groundwater and surface water, as can organic livestock wastes, antibiotics, silage effluents, and processing wastes from plantation crops.

What are some threats to the Mississippi river?

The major threats to the watershed include:Loss of shoreline and aquatic habitat due to development. … Increased sedimentation due to forest management practices.Increased nutrient, contaminant, and sedimentation loading from stormwater runoff from development and other non-point sources.More items…

What problems does the Mississippi river face?

The Mississippi River and its tributaries have been plagued by nutrient runoff, specifically excess nitrogen and phosphorous. These nutrients are essential to growing soybeans and corn but are often unintentionally lost to rivers and streams, where they become a pollutant and waste farmers’ money.

What causes agricultural runoff?

agricultural runoff can occur because of improper management of animal feeding operations, plowing excessively, poorly executed application of pesticides, irrigation water and fertilizer. As agricultural runoff enters bodies of water it can have negative impacts on the environment.

What are the effects of the Mississippi River on the Gulf of Mexico?

Extensive agriculture throughout the watershed is responsible for elevated river concentrations of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The Mississippi provides 90 percent of the fresh water flowing into the Gulf, and the nutrient load it delivers has generated a serious problem: namely, a critical lack of dissolved oxygen in thousands of square kilometers of Gulf waters known as the “Dead Zone.” Given the importance of Gulf marine life (for example, a multi-million dollar shrimp fishery), this hypoxia problem is receiving a great deal of attention. Proposed solutions include improved nutrient management on farms and reconstruction of riparian forests and wetlands capable of removing excess nutrients.

Why is the Mississippi River important?

The Mississippi River is vital to the people of the basin. Over 18 million people rely on the Mississippi for water supply. Communities up and down the Mississippi use the river to discharge industrial and municipal wastes (as permitted by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency). Commercial navigation on the Mississippi River allows Midwestern farmers to ship grains to world markets, with over 60 percent of U.S. grain exports shipped via the Mississippi. The river generates close to $2 million annually from commercial fishing and over $1 billion from Upper Mississippi River recreation alone.

Why is the Mississippi River drawn toward the Atchafalaya River?

In recent decades, the Mississippi River has been drawn toward the Atchafalaya River, seeking a more direct route to the Gulf (see map). Because of the port facilities and extensive industrial corridor in southern Louisiana, a shift of the river channel to this new route would be economically devastating.

How many species of fish are in the Mississippi River?

The river provides habitat for 241 fish species and 37 mussel species, while its bluffs and bottomlands support 45 amphibious and reptile species and 50 mammal species. The floodplain includes the largest continuous system of wetlands in North America, which are used by up to 40 percent of North America’s waterfowl and wading birds.

How much money does the Mississippi River generate?

The river generates close to $2 million annually from commercial fishing and over $1 billion from Upper Mississippi River recreation alone .

What river was hit by the 1993 flood?

Major Floods. The Great Flood of 1993 devastated the Upper Mississippi River and Missouri River Basins, causing over $12 billion in damages. (The Upper Basin is above the confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.) Sandbags afford only minor protection from the Mississippi River’s flood waters.

When were levees built?

Individuals began building agricultural levees before the Civil War, with organized levee districts developing soon after the war. By 1914, fifty-two levee and drainage districts had been established between Rock Island, Illinois and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, laying the foundation for flood control far into the future. In 1917, Congress passed the country’s first flood control act, authorizing the Corps of Engineers to work on levees from Illinois to Louisiana. After the devastating flood of 1927, these efforts were reinforced in the 1928 Flood Control Act.

What are the effects of the lower Mississippi River?

The lower Mississippi River has experienced an increase in both severe flood events and periods of abnormally low water levels, both extremes causing significant disruption and damage to the communities along the river and economy of the region. For instance, in 2011, severe river flooding caused barge crashes and extensive property damage throughout the lower Mississippi region; just one year later, in 2012, a severe drought required the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the river to barge traffic around Greenville, Mississippi for over a week because water levels were too low, delaying around 100 barges and incurring steep financial losses.

What states have had heavy rains in 2016?

In early August 2016, a slow-moving storm system, fed by near-record warm seas in the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic, dumped heavy rains in the Southeastern United States and inundated much of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. Five cities in Louisiana reported rainfall totals of over two feet, with some parts of the state recording more than 20 inches of rain in 48 hours, which qualifies as a 1-in-1,000 year rainfall event. Recall that in March of 2016, Louisiana experienced an earlier 1-in-1,000 year rainfall event. Two such events in the space of only a few months completely overwhelmed the state’s coping capabilities. Record flooding was observed on at least ten river gauges in Louisiana.

What happened in Wisconsin in 2016?

The heavy rainfall led to two record river gauge readings, ripped up roadways, and caused two fatalities. To explore the storm systems links to climate change, visit Climate Signals.

Where did the 2016 rains happen?

Starting in March 2016, a “remarkably rare” storm of “unprecedented strength” dumped record amounts of rain on the south central U.S., falling particularly heavily on northern Louisiana where some locations experienced 1-in-1,000 year rains. Three quarters of the state of Mississippi was impacted by flooding, which affected 1.2 million people. As much water fell on the Baton Rouge area over an 18 day period as is carried by the entire Mississippi River. To explore the storm systems links to climate change, visit Climate Signals.

Is flooding a major economic risk in the Midwest?

In 2008, another flood in Cedar Rapids incurred over $10 billion in damages. These historic floods were caused by persistent heavy rainfall. Research shows that the trend towards heavier rainfall events has resulted in an overall increase in flood risk across the region .

Why is the Mississippi River important?

The Mississippi River is Indispensable to Our Way of Life. For centuries, we’ve used the Mississippi to quench our thirst, nourish our crops, energize our home, and transport our goods. The flowing water sustains robust fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, which provide food, jobs, and economic security to millions of people.

How many states are there in the Mississippi River Basin?

Stretching from the Allegheny Mountains across to the Rockies and south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River Basin spans 1.245 million square miles in 31 states and two Canadian provinces—forming the world’s fourth largest river basin.

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