September 2009, Vol. 21, No.9


A Basin By Any Other Name


I was wondering why WE&T is describing the Mississippi River Basin as the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins? I Googled the latter, and it looks to cover about one county in Louisiana — maybe 0.1% of the Mississippi River Basin. Is this some Army Corps or EPA nonsense?  It seems like referring to “my dog Jess and the flea Mike on his backside.” Would it be possible to save some ink and skip the politically correct?


Britt Bassett
Bassett Engineering Inc.
Montoursville, Pa.


The story “GIS Mapping Reveals Targets for Reducing Gulf Dead Zone” (July) refers to a specific study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya river basins. According to USGS, the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi, accounts for 25% of the nitrogen discharged from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. It is therefore a significant contributor of nutrients, if not water volume, and that’s why it was named specifically in the context of the article.


typically uses the term “Mississippi River basin” when referring to the entire watershed.

Appreciative Measures

Thank you for promoting the metric system in WE&T. Much appreciated!

Lyle Hammes
Environmental Engineer
Ames Water & Pollution Control
Ames, Iowa

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