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An Embarrassment of Riches: Minnesota Water News

October 4, 2016Patrick NunnallyRiversComments Off on An Embarrassment of Riches: Minnesota Water News

Looking for something to read, as the nights get longer here in the upper Mississippi River basin?  There is no lack of thought-provoking river material, beginning, of course with the continued coverage of the water protectors work at Standing Rock, North Dakota.  Find all you want through Google or on Twitter by looking for #NoDAPL.  It’s important to remember that part of the dispute centers on the threat to the Missouri River from the pipeline, a concern that is echoed by water protectors in Iowa and Illinois where the line is supposed to cross the Mississippi.  There will be more on this issue in subsequent posts.

Meanwhile…the Minneapolis Star and Tribune has a very strong, detailed set of articles on rivers in Minnesota that opened Sunday with a discussion on the Mississippi, continued yesterday with an article about the Red River of the North, and finishes today with a piece about agriculture and the Chippewa River, in western Minnesota.  These articles make it abundantly clear that water conflicts aren’t simply about “science’ vs “nonscience,” or “selfish interests” vs “the public.”  There are clearly articulated strongly held values in conflict in these dilemmas about managing land and water, and unpacking how those values form, how they can be understood more clearly and brought together is vital to any sort of long term stewardship that will work beyond the force of regulation.  Check out the graphics and special features also–great stuff!

Speaking of the Red River, Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources has denied a permit for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project that would flood thousands of acres of farmland.  According to the Corps of Engineers person quoted, this project has been in the planning stages for eight years.  Might be in the courts for another eight.

Maybe what the folks on the Red River need is their version of the report produced by the National Park Service and Friends of the Mississippi for the Mississippi River stretch in the Twin Cities.  The second version of the acclaimed State of the River report was released September 22.  The report is grounded in solid scientific data and includes specialized guides to recommend courses of action for policy, education, and personal stewardship actions.

Like us, the folks who publish Mill City Times are recognizing that there is a lot of activity and important policy and program development taking place with regard to rivers.  In their case, the response is to produce a very nice, focused “Great River Digest.” Check it out to keep up with what’s happening to impact the Mississippi River and nearby neighborhoods in the Central Riverfront area of Minneapolis.

Finally (for now at least) this past weekend saw the opening of the justly-famous “Water/Ways” exhibit and programming collaborative, this time in Red Wing Minnesota, where the Cannon River comes into the Mississippi.  The lineup of programs looks very rich and diverse; congratulations to the Goodhue County Historical Society and all the local partners who teamed up with the Minnesota Humanities Center, the MPCA and other statewide partners.  This series just keeps getting better!


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