Mississippi River Among Nation's Most Endangered Group Says

The Mississippi River starts in Minnesota and stretches for more than 2,300 miles into the Gulf Coast. It may look beautiful, but the group American Rivers ranked the Mississippi sixth on it's list of rivers facing the most severe environmental threats.

They blame part of that problem on flood control projects proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers . One of those projects is in the Delta.

"The corps of engineers is proposing to waste a lot of tax money to drain some of the last remaining wetlands along the Mississippi River," American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder said.

Officials with the Corps of Engineers denied those allegations.

"We have worked hard with customers and stakeholders to find a solution for the Backwater area that addresses both economic and environmental needs of the lower Delta," the corps of engineers said in a statement. "We have spent several years in a consensus building process among environmental agencies and economic interests in the Mississippi Delta."

Robert Seyfarth with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said that the Mississippi river receives much of the nation's runoff water.

"The Mississippi River drains more than 40 percent of the nation. It sends so much fertilizer and polluted debris to its mouth that American River officials call that area a dead zone. They also compare that zone to the size of New Jersey," Seyfarth said.

"This proposal is headed in the wrong direction and will undermine the health and quality of life for people living along the river as well as the wildlife that depends upon it."