“Do it for the dolphins!”: Relieving Our Rivers One Bag at a Time

Every time I’ve thrown my laptop in my backpack and set off for the Mississippi sunset to put a couple words down, I instead end up with the same blank screen and a green, Missouri Stream Teams bag full of mostly Styrofoam, jugs, broken glass, and the occasional propane tank.  At times, this pattern of distractions has been a curse, especially when I lose track of time, forcing me to rush to the office before the doors lock at 7 P.M.  While...

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Farm Fresh, Just Around the Corner

Soon, the seasons will be changing again into my personal favorite – spring. Springtime brings nature to life again from the dormant, cold winter. The rains and melting of northern snows bring a bursting Mississippi River to all the cities and towns along the way. This also means it is time for local farmers to begin planting delicious fruits and vegetables. Many farmers will offer their goods at farmers markets and stands along the side of...

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Little Orange Stream

The little stream was bright orange behind my grade school. Even as a first grader in the late 1960s in those days before the first Earth Day and before the Clean Water Act, I knew that it was bad to have an orange stream. The unnatural color came from a steel plant. People in the small northern Ohio town had jobs at the plant and chose not to complain about the orange color and chemical smell. Folks in neighboring communities downstream...

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Electrified Fish Fences and Oil Slicks: One Woman’s Paddling Adventure

Beginning mid-August, Margo Pellegrino will paddle her outrigger canoe from Chicago to New Orleans with the hopes of raising awareness about water quality issues. The journey will take her through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (a human-made “hydrologic connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins”),¹ down the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, to Kentucky Lake, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, and...

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Highway to the Dead Zone (no more?)

Protecting Traditions by Making New Ones On hot summer July days, many of us turn to our local creeks, rivers and lakes to cool down and have some fun. Going swimming is as much of an American summer tradition as apple pie and Independence Day fireworks. Unfortunately, too often these days we see lakes and beaches closed due to algae blooms that make it unsafe for swimming. These algae blooms are triggered by excess fertilizer run off from...

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How to Support Farmers AND Clean Water

As some of you may have heard, Des Moines Water Works is suing three Western Iowa counties (Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun) that lie upstream from Des Moines, Iowa. This action is unprecedented as a utility company has never taken regulatory action against a governance for the quality of the public resources it treats. Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager, of Des Moines Water Works told Iowa Public Radio, “When they build these artificial...

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The Green Machine-Promoting Food Security one stop at a time!

In May’s River Citizen newsletter you got a chance to explore the benefits of local foods for you and the River.Well, I would like to share a success story about my neighborhood’s journey to fresh foods with their mobile food bus: The Green Machine. Did you know that only seven out of 77 low-income census tracks in urban Memphis have access to a full-service supermarket? Less than seven years ago, Memphis was the #1 food desert in the...

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