Mississippi basin gets grade of D+

ST. LOUIS — A report card gave the Mississippi River basin a grade of D+, with an aging transportation infrastructure topping the list of concerns.

The report by America’s Watershed Initiative, released Wednesday in St. Louis, assesses categories such as the abundance of clean water, flood control and risk, ecosystem health, and recreation on the river and its watershed, which includes the Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers and other tributaries. The watershed touches 31 states and covers two-fifths of the continental United States.

The category of biggest concern is the condition of infrastructure such as locks and dams, creating what initiative members call a threat to the nation’s economy. The report card gave a D grade to infrastructure condition, and an F to infrastructure maintenance.


The report said key parts of many locks and dams are in poor condition, and lack of funding for maintenance ‘‘means that multiple failures may be imminent.’’ Poor marks were also given to issues related to water supply, flood control, and flood risk.

To control floods and reduce flood risks, the report said, new strategies are needed that respond to climate change.