The Mississippi River is on the verge of an ecological collapse, according to a coalition of environmental groups. The groups list the Muddy Miss as one of the nation’s top-ten troubled waterways, blaming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wiping out habitat in favor of improved navigation. Dan McGuiness is director of the Audubon Upper Mississippi River Campaign. McGuiness says “The emphasis still is on funding navigation and navigation improvements at the rate of about ten dollars for navigation for every one dollar for habitat restoration. It’s just very much out of balance.” The Mississippi is listed as number-ten on this year’s list of most endangered rivers, down from sixth in 2001. McGuiness says Congress is considering a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report in the next month.Saying the river’s been degrading for decades, McGuiness says “We’re at a decision point here with Congress that it’s either going to get better or it’s just going to continue to get worse. So maybe that’s why it made the list.” The Corps of Engineers has released a statement saying it applauds the effort to increase public consciousness of the need for environmental stewardship of water resources, but disagrees with the characterization of the Corps’ role in managing waterways.
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