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Ecosystem Essay

2121 words - 9 pages

Preservation, Conservation, and Sustainability of the Mississippi River
SCI 256
July 27, 2013

Introduction
The Mississippi River, especially the upper region, is one of the most complex ecosystems on Earth. It is home to numerous species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Since 1927, people have been working to preserve, conserve, and sustain the Mississippi's rich resources and harness its power and energy. However, many problems exist for various reasons. Because of its sheer size and diversity, agriculture is greatly affected. The effects of human population growth on the region cannot be underestimated, but people are working to minimize the impact as well as searching ...view middle of the document...

In fact, the polluted runoff can wash all the way to the coast and even begin to affect the marine ecosystem.
Another major threat to freshwater ecosystems is the construction of dams, which are used in part for irrigating crops. Dams allow us to store water in a reservoir during a wet season and then release it as needed during a dry season. The agriculture industry's poor drainage and irrigation systems also squander precious water. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that only 20 to 50 percent of water extracted for farming actually reaches the crops. With traditional flood irrigation systems, farmers pump or manually bring water to the fields where it simply flows through the crop area. If the fields aren't flat, water ends up pooling in the lower areas and misses the higher areas altogether.
Growth in the Human Population and How it Affects Freshwater Resources
As our population continues to grow, how does this growth affect one of our most precious resources, fresh water? Only three percent of the Earth’s water is fresh water. This is water found in rivers, lakes, streams and ground water. The Mississippi River is a notable fresh water resource for us in the Memphis area.
The Mississippi River is primarily used today for irrigation of farmlands and transportation of grains and other agriculture materials to New Orleans for export to other countries. A January 2000 study published by the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee states that close to 15 million people rely on the Mississippi River or its tributaries in just the upper half of the basin (National Park Service, 2012) . Millions depend on the river for jobs and industry. One of the challenges to the Mississippi River is a history of flooding, most recently in 2011 forcing thousands from their homes. There is no number indicating the loss of animals displaced by the flood such as pets, livestock and wild life like deer and birds.
As our population grows our need for and dependency on the river will not diminish but will probable increase. We should be working together to improve our water efficiency. Exploring ideas and uses for the river, such as a potential source of energy. Our economy, lives and future depend on developing plans that include this natural resource.
Preservation, Conservation, and Sustainability of the Mississippi River
Many organizations are working hard to find ways to manage the sustainment and conservation of the Mississippi River. Flooding is one of the major problems of the river. Flooding destroys many natural resources along the banks of the river, removing vital soil and sediment that provide food for the different species that inhabit the region. Since 1927, the battle has been raging to control the flooding. Congress gave the Corps of Engineers that following year a new mandate, called the Mississippi River and Tributaries Act, to protect the people of this region from the recurrence of any such event. The Corps of Engineers...

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