The city of New Orleans is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, often referred to as the “Mouth of the Gulf” and the “Mouth of the Mississippi.” Through its Pacific and Atlantic oceanic connections, the Mississippi River has been and continues to be of unprecedented importance in providing transportation and economic opportunities for over a century.
The Mississippi River has seen drastic changes over the last century, particularly in the last two decades, with several major environmental disasters like the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Today, the city of New Orleans and its nearby region, known as the Lower Mississippi River, is a hub for commerce, culture and recreation.
As one of the most important river systems in the world, the Mississippi River serves not only as a navigable waterway and a home to several species of plants and animals, but also plays a significant role in supplying fresh water to the whole of the mainland United States. The Mississippi River Drainage Basin covers more than 40% of the area of the lower 48 states. Due to the river’s large basin, high evaporation causes the river to expand its mouth onto the delta near New Orleans and South Louisiana.
Nine states border the Mississippi River: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Along the lower section of the Mississippi River, a series of locks and dams were built in the 20th century to regulate the water flow, reduce flooding, generate electric power, and improve navigation. To this day, these locks and dams are still important for efficient transport of goods and services in and out of the area.
Within the city of New Orleans and its adjacent suburbs, the Mississippi River has been historically significant. The port of New Orleans is among the most important ports in the world, shipping over 75 million tons of cargo annually. The widely known River Walk, or the French Quarter, was built along the banks of the Mississippi River. The port city also provides access to Lake Pontchartrain, an essential source of seafood and other local delicacies, as well as a beautiful backdrop for the city’s many festivals.
Several communities along the Mississippi are heavily invested in using the river for recreational purposes, such as boating, fishing and swimming. Even though natural disasters and technical mishaps have taken their toll on the river, the importance of the Mississippi’s mouth can never be understated. Tourists flock to the riverbanks to explore the area’s startling beauty, while locals take advantage of the many shopping and dining places within walking distance.
Effects of the Mississippi River on its Surroundings
The effects of the Mississippi River can be seen in its surroundings, particularly the states and countries located downstream. Aside from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, the Mississippi River also serves several other states along its path, including Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The water from the Mississippi had greatly improved the local agriculture and fisheries, playing a huge role in the development of downstream agriculture, industries, energy and general infrastructure.
The river also helps in the prevention of flooding and also in maintaining good water quality for the national population. The flooded areas are often closer to the river, and this had a big impact on the lives of many people that live near the Mississippi’s lower section, as multiple settlements and infrastructures are created near the river or riverbanks and manage the risk of flooding.
Commerce of the Mississippi River
The Mississippi is crucial to the development of the local commerce and industry. Shipping of goods between the different states has been greatly enhanced due to the effects of the mighty river. It is estimated that one billion tons of merchandise are transported every year on the Mississippi. As a result of the Mississippi River, industries thrive, cities grew, and civilizations flourished.
The Mississippi River is also an important point of tourism. Many towns near the river are now considered main tourists attractions, both in the USA and abroad. New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the USA, hosting millions of visitors from many different countries and cultures.
Negative Effects of the Mississippi River
Despite being considered as a source of sustenance for many cultures and countries, the Mississippi River has, however, also seen its fair share of disadvantages. Several areas of the river are denied clean drinking water, especially due to increasing pollution. Several cities now depend on the polluted water from the Mississippi for survival. Furthermore, the pollution from the river is starting to act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading to an increase of diseases in the area.
Moreover, sewage and other hazardous substances have started to enter the river due to lack of proper sewage systems. This has led to health risks, as the probability of catching illnesses and diseases increases due to the polluted water.
The Economic Benefits of the Mississippi River
As the second longest river in the USA, the Mississippi River has provided the necessary infrastructure to facilitate commerce in the vicinity of New Orleans and all the other states along its path.
In addition to the infrastructure, the river has many natural, economic, and environmental benefits. The fishery in and around the Mississippi, with its extensive variety of freshwater, saltwater, and anadromous fish, provides plenty of economic benefit. Combined with the economic boost from its tourism industry, the Mississippi River brings many economic benefits to the area.
The mouth of the Mississippi serves as a gateway for business and export opportunities. It also meets up with several tributaries to promote coherence between its states. As a result, the mouth of the Mississippi River serves as one of the most important economic hubs in the United States.
Conclusion and Future Prospects
The city of New Orleans, situated at the mouth of the Mississippi River, is a hub for both commerce and recreation. The impact of the river on the culture, economy, and environment of the region has been immense, and continues to be so. Despite its pollution, the river serves as a source of sustenance and wealth to many of its local inhabitants.
The future of the Mississippi River looks bright. New technologies are constantly being developed to help reduce the amount of pollution in the river and to better manage the area’s environmental impacts. The state and federal governments have taken measures to ensure the preservation of the river’s ecosystems, and the local citizens have joined in this effort. With continued effort, the river will remain a major source of value for generations to come.
Sustainable Fishing of the Mississippi River
The commercial fishing in the Mississippi River offers many rewards and can also be done sustainably. The river is home to a variety of species that are caught by recreational and commercial fishers. Many of these species are also financially valued and can be sustainably consumed by the communities that depend on the river. In order to sustainably fish in the Mississippi, it is important to follow the current fishing regulations and ensure an uninterrupted growth population of fish species.
One of the main obstacles to fishing sustainably in the Mississippi is the presence of pollutants. Pollution causes the fish to potentially become poisoned, which can be carried back to humans after ingesting them. Consequently, the presence of pollution has to be minimized in order to reduce the risk of this happening. Conservation efforts are in place to help manage the water quality of the Mississippi and make sure that local citizens and Visitors still have healthy fish to catch and eat.
Wildlife in the Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is home to a variety of wildlife, many of which are endangered. The native American alligator, American bald eagle, and endangered mussels are some of the species that call the river home. The American alligator is perhaps the species most recognizable to many, thanks to its large size and hard leathery hide. These reptiles feed on small vertebrates, small insects, and carrion, while also maintaining their own population in the rivers with many of their young surviving to adulthood.
The American bald eagle can be found in the Mississippi River region and along much of the eastern and northern North American coastlines. These birds are a common sight in the area, and it is illegal to hunt or capture them. The bald eagles feed on the fish found in the area, but also the occasional small mammals and other aquatic creatures.
Finally, the endangered mussels are one of the most economically valuable species within the river. If these shellfish are able to thrive in the rivers, the water will be of higher quality for not just the mussels, but for many other organisms that rely on clean, unpolluted water.
Solutions for the Disadvantages of the Mississippi River
There are plenty of steps that can be taken to reduce or mitigate the negative effects of the Mississippi River. One example is to increase the implementation of the Clean Water Act, which prohibits the discharge of pollutants into the river. This, in combination with better wastewater treatment and more efficient water management, can greatly improve the water quality of the river and reduce the amount of pollutants discharged into it.
In terms of fisheries, it is also important to ensure that the local fisheries are engaged in responsible harvesting. This will ensure that the sustainability of the species living in the river is maintained and prevent over-harvesting and over-fishing. It is also important to promote education and awareness among the local fisheries and communities, in order to reduce the discharge of pollutants.
Economic Impact of the Mississippi River
The Mississippi river has been extremely beneficial for the local economy and industries. The large number of ports and harbors created in the Lower Mississippi River has caused much transportation between the cities, leading to increased economic activity and employment opportunities. The river also provides an abundant source of fish, mussels, and other aquatic resources, which in turn opens up jobs in the fishing industry.
The presence of ports and harbors in the area has made the Mississippi River a hub for commercial and recreational ships, providing further opportunities for both the local and international businesses. New Orleans and other cities along the river have been reaping the benefits of their linkage to the Mississippi, as the ports have helped become the gateway to the whole of the mainland United States.
The river also helps boost the wildlife tourism, as the presence of alligators, bald eagles and other animals have caused people to flock to the area in search of untapped beauty.
The Mississippi River is a vital body of water in the United States, responsible for both the economic, environmental and cultural development of the states that it runs through.
The city of New Orleans lies at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and has long been the Gulf of Mexico’s gateway to the mainland, providing not only transportation, but also employment and tourism opportunities in the area. The presence of the river in the area has had a huge impact on its environment, economy, and culture, with the Mississippi providing an abundant source of clean drinking water, an immense variety of fish, and a strong source of income for many people living and working in the area.
Despite the negative effects that the river carries with it, such as in the form of pollutants and over-fishing, the importance of the Mississippi River cannot be overstated and its influence on its surroundings will remain a key feature of North America’s infrastructure.