I was fortunate to be invited to speak at a July 8, 2017 event at Central Print in St. Louis. It was organized to introduce a new river advocacy and resource book by Cole Williams, an author from St. Paul, MN. The book is titled Hear the River Dammed: Poems From the Edge of the Mississippi. Local author Dean Klinkenberg also read from his Frank Dodge mystery series. Below is the text of my short talk.
By Brad Walker, Rivers Director July 12, 2017
The Upper Mississippi River is an icon, but its image is misleading and distorted.
We like to think of the river as a tamed immortal giant constantly rolling past us, its history providing us with nostalgic stories.
The reality is something quite different.
The river is actually highly altered and degraded primarily due to two major activities:
- Damming and channeling the river for barges.
- Disconnecting the floodplains from the river for industrial agriculture.
The result today is a river that is not recreation-friendly, is increasingly devoid of native species, and is more flood-prone.… Read the rest