Entitlement and Privilege

Entitlement and Privilege   Freshwater is the one essential resource that every living thing has to have. No matter what you are, what complexion, what you believe in, where you come from, who you voted for, what you do, how rich, how poor- we are all entitled to have freshwater. Industries are constantly buying land connected to the river, building silos, docks, conveyer belts and natural gas hubs and tapping into the approximately 1.5...

Read More

“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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More