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The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran a front page story in Sunday's paper with the headline "Strangling Our Rivers." But, I think wisely, the paper did not draw a clear conclusion on who is doing the strangling.
Instead, in the kind of thoughtful journalism that is all too rare these days, Josephine Marcotty points out that some of the sediment coming into Lake Pepin from the Minnesota River is the result of "natural" stream bank erosion while some is the result of runoff from farm fields. The history of the land now called Minnesota--from the post-glacial epoch up until the present day--is the primary "cause" of this problem.
If you haven't made up your mind about the causes of sediment runoff into the streams and rivers of the Midwest, this article is a good place to start. In a couple of weeks, when our semester is over and one of my Honors undergraduates has completed a semester research project, I'll try to share with you some more good sources.
In the meantime, I welcome additional sources of credible water quality information. Send them along, or post a comment!
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily
of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.