The Mississippi River starts in the Northern United States and flows south into the Gulf of Mexico.
Along the way, it picks up any pollutants that may be placed in its tributaries – toxins which also make their way to Louisiana as the river flows.
A new deal reached by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) aims to curb that threat, while securing a cleaner futue.
BTNEP announced this week that it’s signed an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) which will support pollution prevention practices in Minnesota in hopes of the trickle-down effect meaning good things for Louisiana as the water flows south.
A formal Letter of Understanding was signed recently which recognizes the importance of coordinating pollution prevention efforts throughout the Mississippi River watershed both locally in Minnesota and in downstream areas, including the receiving waters of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.
“Not many people realize it but the whole Mississippi River drainage is the watershed of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program,” said Andrew Barron, the Senior Water Resources Coordinator and Quality Assurance Manager for BTNEP. “Work done to prevent pollution runoff in Minnesota as part of this agreement and the BTNEP CCMP is a simple, obvious and great step toward improving water quality in the watershed and in our Louisiana estuary.”
BTNEP has developed a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP), recommending practices that can be implemented from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the delta and will ultimately reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the estuary area and gulf.
With Minnesota’s formal recognition of the plan, eligibility for AgBMP loans to finance pollution prevention practices in Minnesota will be expanded to include livestock operations holding National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits or operations with more than 1,000 animal units.
In the Letter of Understanding, it states that pollution does not stop at state boundaries and that a multi-state perspective should be considered when addressing pollution problems.