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Twin Cities flooding from record-setting Memorial Day rain, via WCCO.

"That’s Future Mississippi River!"

It has rained--a lot--throughout most of the Mississippi River basin this spring.  In St. Paul, the Mississippi was in flood stage for 42 days, a record. At the other end of the river, in Louisiana, the Morganza Spillway will be opened to drain excessive floodwaters for only the third time ever

People in a rowboat, in front of a structure during a flood on the Bohemian Flats.

The Past(s) and Future(s) of River-Adjacent Communities

In the Twin Cities, there is always a touch of nostalgia about river-adjacent communities such as the Bohemian Flats in Minneapolis, or the Little Italy community on St. Paul’s Upper Levee.  Now that the river is much cleaner than it was a century ago, and water levels are regulated

Aerial photograph of downtown Minneapolis showing imagery from 1968 on the left, and 2018 on the right.

Mapping the “Retreat of the Industrial Glacier”

The urban designer Ken Greenberg has written about the “retreat of the industrial glacier” as a figure of speech describing the availability of land in cities that was formerly taken up by now-obsolete industrial or transportation uses.  In Minneapolis and St. Paul, the central riverfronts of

Detail of Schuylkill River Map

Knowing a River’s Past as a Way to See its Futures: The Schuylkill River Corps

Here at River Life, we think a lot about what a university like ours should do to be a good citizen of our place.  The campus at the University of Minnesota is on Dakota land; that is a responsibility we must take seriously. We are in a national park, on one of the world’s great rivers, and

Detail of northern Minnesota section of the Nicollet Map

Issue Twelve of Open Rivers: Watery Places & Archaeology

A year or so ago, when I met with Amélie Allard about her work on the fur trade in Minnesota, I was interested generally in her observations about that contested, fraught place and time. When she mentioned that participants understood space from the perspective of rivers and water, rather

Moraine Lake, Canada

Blog Tips from the Hydrosphere

There are lots of reasons for academic professionals to blog, probably as many as there are academics blogging.  One of the blogs that regularly informs our work is “Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the