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Mississippi River Ecosystem – Diverse, Complex & Magnificent


Mississippi River is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It is also a perfect hide out for a range of endangered and diverse varieties of species. One can guess the significance of the area around the river from the fact that it is a very important migratory strip for almost forty percent of the migratory birds coming to the nation. The backwater of the river is famous as one of the most favored spawning, nesting areas for most of the aquatic, amphibian and terrestrial animals.

With a whooping diversity of animals that include fifty species of mammals and forty five species of reptiles and amphibians, make it one of the most complex ecosystems in the world.

The ideal place to observe animals around the river is known as the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA). This is a great place for the animals to find food and shelter. This area is like heaven for the people who love to watch birds of several species. MNRRA witnessed a great number of migratory birds such as ducks, warblers and geese. During winter months, one can also watch bald eagles around the unfrozen areas of the river. Egrets, cormorants and Herons are commonly sighted around the corridor.

The corridor is also a great place for fishing as it is home to around two hundred species of fishes. One can also mark some rare species of fishes that are into existence since dinosaur age. The river is also an excellent natural habitat for a variety of reptiles and amphibians as it offers a very conducive and protective environment. Right from Blanding’s Turtle to leopard frog, the fox snake to salamander, one can find a range of sensitive creatures that can readily indicate the change in the quality of the habitat. The population of the above mentioned creatures is widely affected due to atmospheric change and chemical pollutants hence they can be taken as the indicator for atmosphere.

Mammals are also available in a significant population near the river. The population of mammals mainly includes bats, raccoons and whitetail deer that are present around the entire stretched of river corridor. Due to the ever increasing encroachment of humans into their habitat, they have learnt to adapt themselves according to the available environment. The river and the area around the river offer a great and very conducive environment for a large variety of plants and animals.

This great river can be divided into two viz. the Upper Mississippi and the Lower Mississippi. The Upper Mississippi ranges from Minneapolis and St. Louis to the Ohio that will come around 2120 kilometers whereas the Lower Mississippi stretches from Ohio to the Gulf for 1580 kilometers. Entire Mississippi River is home to around 260 species of fishes that comes around twenty five percent of all fish species in North America. Due to the abundance of the great variety of fishes, it has become paradise for migratory waterfowl. Forty percent of the waterfowl is found during spring and fall months around the river area whereas the remaining sixty percent make the river basin as their flyway.

Source by Vilas Wasnik

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