Restoring Ups and Downs on the Mississippi
(pg 9 of 11)
The Mississippi has improved in other ways in
recent years. The river was nearly an open sewer
during the early and mid 20th century. But water
has become much cleaner as cities along the river's
shores have improved sewage treatment and separated
storm and septic sewers to prevent the
contamination of stormwater with human waste.
With cleaner water, some aquatic life has made a
remarkable comeback. Pool 2, stretching from St.
Paul to Hastings, now provides good fishing (though
fish consumption advisories warn against eating
fish frequently). Mayflies, once rare in the
polluted sediments of the pool, have returned,
sometimes emerging in spectacular "hatches" of such
numbers that snowplows have had to clear highway
bridges of their spent bodies.
To hear more about the Mississippi River
recovery story, go to The Value of a River.