Extensive flooding helps Mississippi River fisheries and wildlif - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Extensive flooding helps Mississippi River fisheries and wildlife

(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS) (Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

You can't drink the water in the Mississippi River - but that doesn't mean its harmful to wildlife!

The New Year Flood, along with other flooding, like spring flooding, helps the Mississippi wildlife habitat.

Whenever it floods it’s good for the environment, flooding is good for fish, Molly Sobotka, water quality specialist, said.

"The system has sort of evolved with big floods, so in a way we think in a way I think we think of big floods as being beneficial because having water in part of a flood plain can be healthy for the ecosystem," she said.

A flood has a good impact because it creates habitats and moves resources around, spreading water out over a larger area, which creates more variability.

This group has been doing monthly testing since 1993.

Things can change on a short time scale and its program wants to capture long term wildlife changes but doesn't want to miss on the short term changes - so they’re constantly evaluating the water.

Sobotka said the natural Mississippi River water isn't possible to drink without treatment.

When Sobotka looks at the water clarity there's a rating system, one or  two is drinkable, anything above that is not.

"It just signs a light through the bottle and then looks at how much gets reflected back,"she said.

When Sobotka took samples one was a lot dirtier than the clean slate sample she had but said that's a good sign that things are going well for the river.

The Muddy Mississippi is still muddy, and it’s something they test for and want to make sure that doesn’t change.

"The Mississippi is naturally pretty muddy, and there's also a lot of phytoplankton that live here, so it's pretty well balanced I guess," Sobotka said.

Over the long term, Sobotka said she wants to look closely at the Mississippi over the next five to ten years and evaluate the impact Asian Carp has had on the environment.

For an amount on what fish are safe to eat, you can find that information here.

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