QC youth weigh in on conversation to raise failing grade of area Mississippi River

MOLINE, Illinois-- The Mississippi River is getting a failing grade, and a group meeting in the Quad Cities is trying to change that.

A year ago, a group called America's Watershed Initiative gave our portion of the Mississippi River a grade of "D+". The group says water quality, the health of the ecosystem, and other factors are used to determine the health of the river.

This years Upper Mississippi River Conference is looking for ways to improve that quality and add to the benefits the river already provides.

"Reducing the amounts of nitrate and phosphorous alleviates our cities and our farms, it has an impact on both our state waters and on the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of Mexico as well," says Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

A handful of Quad Cities high schoolers attended the conference as well. To attend for free, 16 students won an essay contest. They had to write about why preserving the Mississippi is important now and in the future. They urged leaders to take action now, and to not leave them with even more to clean up in the future.