River Life Projects
Some of our most important work comes about through projects, whether initiated through working with others, or from our own direction. Through collaborations between campus and community partners, River Life produces innovative projects, programs, and research. Our work takes various forms including developing a public program or series where innovative perspectives and points of view are brought together, undertaking research projects, or generating new knowledge that advances thinking about how rivers and people might have sustainable, inclusive futures together.
John E. Sawyer Seminar : “Making the Mississippi: Formulating new water narratives for the 21st century and beyond.” (2014-15)
In 2014-15, River Life helped lead the John E. Sawyer Seminar “Making the Mississippi: Formulating New Water Narratives in an Era of Climate Change,” which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Faculty, University staff, students, and community partners gathered regularly to share insights from common readings in environmental history, theory, and literature, as well as readings about the Mississippi River. The seminar culminated in a multiday symposium exploring diverse narratives and practices for reconsidering human relationships with the Mississippi.
Living with the Mississippi
Living with the Mississippi was a blog series River Life ran in 2014-15 that examines the history of the river flats communities in the Twin Cities and what it means to almost literally live on the Mississippi River. Explore this series to learn more about life on the Mississippi prior to luxury condos and clean river water, before the riverfront was considered a desirable place to live.
Mississippi River Gorge Restoration Study: Synthesis of past work and feasibility assessment of restoration actions, by Chris Lenhart (2012)
“The Twin Cities reach of the Mississippi River has historically been dominated by commercial navigation and hydropower. Yet with increasing recreational usage and evolving economic priorities in the Twin Cities there is growing interest in recreational, aesthetic and ecological uses of the river, particularly within the area known as the Gorge (between St. Anthony Falls and Ford Dam). The City of Minneapolis’ 'Above the Falls Master Plan' proposed closing the upper harbor to barge traffic, creating opportunity for restoration of ecological, historic, aesthetic and recreational features. The University of Minnesota working with government agency and non profit partners: the National Park Service, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Great River Greening, the Minnesota DNR and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, conducted an assessment of existing restoration and management work and a preliminary investigation into the feasibility of restoration and management actions.”