August 23, 2016
Greetings, River Citizens!
I hope you’ve had many opportunities this summer to enjoy the Mississippi River, whether through birdwatching, hiking along the River, fishing, canoeing or all of the above! I had the chance to connect with the River when I visited La Crosse, Wisconsin, earlier this month to attend the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program 30th anniversary celebration, which took place in Riverside Park, located next to the River. It was an exciting and inspiring event and I will be discussing its significance in my upcoming blog, which will be posted on the 1 Mississippi website.
Being so close to the River in La Crosse reminded me of the importance of the Mississippi River to the citizens of our nation, even those of us who do not live near the River. The Mighty Mississippi is truly America’s River—a critical source of drinking water for 18 million people, a diverse habitat for wildlife, the backbone of our nation’s economy and a rich part of our heritage. For these reasons, it’s important that we, as River Citizens, do all that we can to protect the River.
The United States celebrates National Water Quality Month during the month of August. “It reminds us to take a long, hard look at what our households and communities are doing to protect the nation’s waterways,”i including the Mississippi River. It’s also a time to examine how our daily routines negatively impact water quality.
While agriculture, untreated sewage and factories are the largest contributors of pollution to the River, the choices of individuals and communities have impacts as well. According to the National Audubon Society, “the individual household may not produce enough pollution to force a beach closing or cause a fish kill, but the combined output of all the homes in a community can be severe.”ii
So, what actions can we, as River Citizens, take to help improve the Mississippi River’s water quality? The following list provides simple solutions for individuals and communities:
1. Avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilizers on our lawns and gardens.
2. Pick up pet waste.
3. Choose nontoxic household cleaning products.
4. Never flush unwanted medications down the toilet or drain.
5. Organize a River cleanup in your community.
6. Vote for decision makers who support sound conservation programs.
Together our actions will protect the Mighty Mississippi for years to come! Because for River Citizens, especially those who live near the River, water quality is important every month.
Thank you, River Citizens, for all that you do to improve and protect the Mississippi River. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website at www.1mississippi.org. You can also follow 1 Mississippi on Facebook and Twitter.
All the best,
1 Mississippi Campaign Coordinator
Why are you a River Citizen?
[i] National Water Quality Month: What Are You Doing to Help Keep Our Water Clean? Trusted Clothes. http://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/2016/08/16/national-water-quality-month-help-keep-water-clean/
[ii] Protect Water Quality. National Audubon Society. http://web4.audubon.org/bird/at_home/ProtectWaterQuality.html