The major concerns of conservation authorities in Mississippi are the prevention of soil erosion and water pollution, reforestation, the reclamation of infertile and wet lands, and flood control. The principal conservation agencies at work in the state include the United States Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). State agencies concerned with conservation are the Mississippi forestry commission; the state game and fish commission; the state board of health; and the state department of environmental quality, which houses the office of geology and the office of pollution control.
Severe soil erosion has resulted in a great loss of topsoil in some areas of the state and destruction of the land by gullying in other areas. In addition, continuous cotton cropping during the 19th and early 20th centuries robbed the land of its fertility. To restore soil fertility and to reduce soil erosion in the state, large areas of eroded cotton land have been taken out of cultivation and planted to pasture or trees. In other areas such soil-conserving measures as contour plowing, strip-cropping, crop rotation, and the use of cover crops have been instituted. Reforestation measures in the state have greatly replenished Mississippi’s forest resources, and because forest soils are able to absorb much water, soil erosion and surface runoff have been reduced. Much of the reforested land is in the state’s six national forests.
Some of the most disastrous floods in the history of the United States have occurred along the lower Mississippi Valley. To control the floods, the Congress of the United States in 1928 authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to construct and maintain an extensive levee system along the river. In addition to flood control, conservation measures to prevent floods are widely used in the state.
Major flood-prevention measures, all of which aim to retard the runoff of water from the land, include reforestation of watershed areas, contour plowing, strip-cropping, and the conversion of cotton land to pasture.
The problem of pollution of rivers, lakes, and streams by new and expanding industries, evidenced in particular by incidents of large fish kills, prompted the formation in 1966 of the state’s air and water pollution control commission, now the Office of Pollution Control. Its scientists and engineers have developed water quality standards and have made progress in abating water pollution. The major polluting industries are under orders of the office to construct adequate pollution control facilities. In 1998 the state had one hazardous waste site on a national priority list for cleanup due to its severity or proximity to people. Progress has been made in efforts to reduce pollution; during the period 1995–2000 the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment was reduced by 9 percent. "Mississippi" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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