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Notice to Boaters: Summer Research on the Mississippi River
Released: 5/12/2009 4:29:22 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Jeff Houser 1-click interview
Phone: 608-781-6262

Jillian Decker
Phone: 914-273-3078, ext. 32

This summer, boaters and anglers might notice a few foreign objects in some of the backwaters and near-shore areas of Navigation Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River.  Scientists will deploy small orange buoys supporting plastic containers of river water at several sites at various times this summer.  

These containers are part of a research project by Fordham University and the U.S. Geological Survey in La Crosse, to better understand what promotes algal growth in the Upper Mississippi River.  

Algae are an important food for many aquatic insects and fish, and plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are needed for algae to grow.  But excessive nutrient concentrations can lead to an over-abundance of algae, sometimes called an "algal bloom," that can reduce oxygen levels in water as the algae die and decompose.  

The clear plastic containers will hold river water at different nutrient concentrations.  The containers might not be visible, so boaters might only see the orange buoys and flags. 

For the experiments to work properly and provide the best results, the containers must remain at the depth at which they are deployed.  Boaters are asked not to disturb or handle any of the containers. 

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