It is very encouraging to see that the Minnesota River is getting healthier, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The main reason: Public and private efforts to reduce phosphorus flowing into the river.
Phosphorus promotes algae growth, which depletes oxygen levels. Aquatic life cannot survive when levels are too low.
Of course, improving the quality of the river has come with a cost: An estimated $250 million spent by cities and industry, to better treat wastewater discharged into the river. It also has taken time, because money doesn't grow on trees and because there is an educational component to changing past practices. In fact, we believe one of the lessons of a cleaner Minnesota River is that environmental progress cannot occur overnight, because of the aforementioned obstacles. We hope this helps reduce some of the environmental hysteria that sometimes occurs in our society.
The reward of a cleaner Minnesota River is more recreational use, including fishing; a greater abundance of wildlife along the river; and less pollution in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
Again, it's great to see the progress that has been made.