MPCA begins large-scale, 2-year study of Upper Mississippi

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has started a comprehensive monitoring project on the Upper Mississippi River meant to give a big-picture snapshot of the waterway’s health in terms of aquatic life, recreation and fish consumption.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will take water chemistry samples over two years and analyze them by late 2015. Researchers hope the wide-ranging study will make it easier to pinpoint the cause of any pollution issues, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Scientists will collect bugs, fish and water samples to test for contamination, reports Minnesota Public Radio. Previous studies have tended to focus on single parameters, but combining the efforts could yield more valuable information, according to the MPCA.

The MPCA is already halfway through a 10-year effort to assess the smaller rivers, streams and lakes throughout the state's 81 watersheds, says the Star Tribune. The Mississippi is the first of the state's five large rivers scheduled to be sampled over the next five years, the agency said.

Next stops are the Minnesota, Rainy, Red and St. Croix rivers.

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