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The Mississippi River Essay

480 words - 2 pages

Mississippi is an Indian word, meaning "Great River" or "gathering of water".The Mississippi River is one of the world's major rivers in size and habitat diversity.It is the third longest and largest river in the world, the second largest in North America.It flows 3,705 kilometers from its source at Itasca in the Minnesota North Woods, through the mid-continent United States. The Mississippi enters the Gulf of Mexico about 160km downstream from New Orleans, through a 26, 150-sq km delta.The Mississippi River is divided into three parts: the Headwaters, the Upper Mississippi River, and the ...view middle of the document...

It includes the largest continuous system of wetlands in North America. The river supports a diverse array of wetland, open-water, and floodplain habitats, including extensive habitats on national wildlife refuges. The Mississippi river and its floodplain are home to a diverse population of living things. Forty percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl use the river corridor during their spring and fall migration.Sixty percent of all North American birds (326 species) use the river as their migratory flyaway. Many more animals use the river as their home.The Mississippi carries an average of 436,000 tons of sediment each day. Over the course of a year, it moves an average of 9 million tons of sediment. Because of the sediments the River is threatened by a variety of pollutants. Municipal, industrial, and agricultural pollutants have been identified in the waters and sediments of the River.Also, high concentrations of bacteria associated with human waste have been found downstream as a result of sewage flowing into the river. Because the Mississippi is such a large river covering a vast area, there is no comprehensive organization dedicated to the protection of the entire river. No state claims the river as its own responsibility, which adds to the difficulty of keeping it pollutant free.Because of all the features, the Mississippi River is the one of the most important rivers in North America.

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