In the 1960s, “Save Our St. Croix” was a rallying cry for those who cherished the river that forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. This cry, together with the actions of concerned residents and river lovers, led to the St. Croix becoming one of the first eight federally protected Wild and Scenic Rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
As America marks the anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act this month, state and national partners celebrate the success of those protective measures. Over fifty years later, the St. Croix River continues to be a cherished natural and cultural resource that offers good water quality, excellent fisheries, and exceptional recreation for hundreds of thousands of people every year. But while the St. Croix is held up as a shining example of successful water quality protection, there are some trouble spots and threats on the horizon.
Two newly released reports from the Wild Rivers Conservancy and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency highlight the natural features, cultural significance, and exceptional fishing and boating opportunities of the St. Croix while highlighting the need for continued efforts by local, state, and national partners to protect the St. Croix.
The State of the St. Croix River Report from Wild Rivers Conservancy offers an overview of the river’s history and health, highlights the features that make the St. Croix special, and outlines some of the threats facing the river. The MPCA’s report, The St. Croix River: Study of the River’s Health, assesses the river’s water quality compared to Minnesota’s water quality standards, from the point where the river enters Minnesota to its confluence with the Mississippi River.
Preserving natural features that guard against climate change and reducing phosphorus levels are two of the reports’ calls to action for local, state, and national partners, but there are many actions that all of us can take to help protect our beloved St. Croix.
“We are blessed with a truly special wild and scenic river, a generally healthy and intact riverine system seldom seen elsewhere. But the river is vulnerable,” says Deb Ryun, Wild Rivers Conservancy Executive Director. “From preventing the spread of invasive species to being mindful of everyday actions on water quality, everyone can do something to help preserve the St. Croix.”
If you would like to support Wild Rivers Conservancy’s important conservation work, please donate today.