Trillions of tributaries have made themselves known as the transition to Spring is in full effect across the Mississippi River watershed. From the Western boundary of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians in the East and as far North as Minnesota; water is flowing in innumerable of ways down-gradient (downhill) on a path to the Southernmost point of the watershed- the Gulf of Mexico and
Now perhaps ‘trillions of tributaries’ is hyperbole, but it really helps drive home the fact that the Mississippi River connects
The point is, when working with a subject matter as powerful and far-reaching as the Mississippi River, it is prudent to think in terms of one interconnected system. The ‘down-stream’ effect is very real, and all River Citizens have an impact on water quality. A large scale example of this can be seen with the seasonal Dead Zone, where excess nutrients washed downstream from fertilizers and sewage create massive algal blooms resulting in an oxygen-depleted (hypoxic) environment.
The ‘Dead Zone’ if not one person’s doing but rather the result of many cumulative agreements and actions. However, each one of us can make a difference for the health and protection of the Mississippi River by taking action at our ‘local access point’. Where is your closest waterway connection to the Mighty Mississippi? Is it the city storm drain on your block? The ephemeral hillside stream on the back side of your property? Maybe you live directly on a major tributary River? As far as I’m aware, the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t differentiate if the water molecules rushing in were once in midwestern wetlands, mountain streams, or somewhere in between.
What matters is that we accumulate and align our efforts just like that of Trillions of Tributaries to become One iconic and powerful River. Thank you, River Citizens, for being a tributary of the 1 Mississippi movement. Together, we will protect the Mississippi River for the land, the water, the wildlife, and the people.
-Michael Anderson, River Citizen and 1 Mississippi campaign manager