Wall Street Journal: The world’s appetite is threatening the Mississippi River

by Trevor Russell

Early this month, the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating overview of the agricultural runoff challenges facing the length of the Mississippi River.

The piece details agricultural impacts throughout the river that lead to "one of the nation’s biggest ecological disasters" (the dead zone). These include expanding headwaters croplands, farm runoff in Southern Minnesota, tile drainage in Iowa and more as the river travels down to its mouth.

This year, Midwestern farm runoff is worse due to spring floods and rain. Wet conditions have made it difficult for farmers to plant their soybean and corn crops on time, spelling hard times for farms and exposed soil prone to washing away.

In a series of satellite images from this spring and summer, the Washington Post shows what the groundcover in a late planting year looks like near the Mississippi River valley.

What can we do about it? This June editorial by Minnesota farmer Chris Mosel urges support for programs like Forever Green in the face of climate change. Mosel writes "We need new cropping options to meet the challenge of the new normal. Now."

We couldn't agree more. That's why FMR staff and River Guardians continue to advocate for Forever Green and other clean-water crop programs at our State Capitol. 


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