Science is science. Facts are facts. Scientist says Red river water quality is pretty good as far as US river quality goes but citizen group Red river cleanup disagree. It would seem the truth is dependent on your perspective. Comparatively the river’s water quality meets State standards for fish and recreation with low levels of bacteria and salinity but if you live in the Red river valley as part of the community you see the effects of illegal dumping and other activities affecting water quality in larger safety and aesthetic senses. In other words, the standards are set higher because you live there. Both truths are valid with in their defined context – brings to mind NIMBY.
Ronnie Kay with Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says about water quality of the Red River “is safe to swim in. It is safe to boat in and it is of high quality for fish to live in.”
But if you ask people who stage cleanups and eye the banks of its many tributaries, it needs help.
“It’s a cesspool,” says Adam Willard, who heads the Red River Cleanup, with annually brings out river boosters to pick up plastic foam, plastic bottles and other debris that clogs the river’s tributaries. “I have ridden with the sheriff’s marine division up Twelve Mile Bayou and Cross Bayou and can show you places where guys dump illegal trash into the bayous that eventually gets into the river, where black substances are boiling up out of the ground… We’ve found meth labs on the banks. It’s horrendous. Just how people treat it, eventually it’s going to die. I don’t see how anyone can say it’s in good shape.”
Ken Guidry with the Red River Waterway Commission said “my understanding is the (U.S. Army) Corps (of Engineers) has made sufficient inroads into point source pollution,” referring to natural sources of salt — salinity — in Texas and Arkansas. “Other than that we are not aware of any pollution sources that impact the river.”
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