Public comments on Miss. River could spur cleanupby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency wants public comment on its report on the section of the Mississippi River from Fort Snelling to Lake Pepin.
The report says the upper part of Lake Pepin could be filled in with sediment in the next 100 years.
The sediment comes mainly from the Minnesota River. Researchers say most of it comes from high water flows eroding river banks.
Excess sediment blocks the growth of aquatic plants, which provide habitat for fish and birds.
Norman Senjem — now retired — wrote the MPCA report. He said it's time to start working toward the goal of reducing sediments by as much as one-half.
"With all the technology we have today, the geographic information systems, I think we're in a pretty good position to go out and start working towards that goal," Senjem said. "We probably don't have all the answers, but we have enough to make a good start."
He said greater public interest is needed to push changes that can make a difference.
"Even the finalization of the report, approval by EPA, will not create additional regulatory authority," Senjem said. "I guess the hope is almost an intangible: that this will generate, somehow coalesce some political will to do something."
The public comment period runs through April.