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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 435

Randolph "Poopline" to dump
3.5 million gallons per day in river
at the Second Chickasaw Bluff?

~~~~~~~~ Tuesday, Oct 24, 2017 ~~~~~~~~

2nd Chickasaw Bluff as described in Rivergator:

"As you paddle along the Hatchie Bar, and then past the mouth of the Hatchie River, you will be afforded your first vista of the second natural wonder along this section of river, the 2nd Chickasaw Bluff… At first they [the 2nd Chickasaw Bluffs] are nothing more than a reddish brown line of convoluted earth strung across the river, rising slightly above the blue reflections on the muddy water and over the forested islands. But as you approach nearer they gain height and girth, with towering ridges that look like rock (but are actually mud) and deep fissures. For an unsuspecting paddler it’s something like driving across the Great Plains and seeing for the first time the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains rising heavenward. For a floodplain resident who has never witnessed the bluffs in their raw state you might experience vertigo. You will be filled with a strange feeling of not knowing where the heck you are, so foreign is the landscape. The bluffs keep growing and growing until you reach their base where they fill most of the southern sky in a roiling collision of colorful earth-tones, mostly yellows, oranges and reds, but some greens, greys and blues also, that collapse in chaotic sequences of horizontal layers and vertical precipices. With colors of the canyonlands and the texture of Iceland, it’s something like Utah meets Alaska, the topography reminiscent of a colorful calving glacier at the ocean’s terminus, replete with deep crevasses and deep dark earth cracks that seem to flow in a jumbled course from the distinct razor sharp line at the top of the bluff down through many layers of earth and spilling with gravity to the river’s edge..."

(From The Rivergator, Oscola to Memphis, page 6 -- Full excerpt and links found below)



(2nd Chickasaw Bluff)


Randolph Poopline Brings 3.5 million gallons per day of wastewater to 2nd Chickasaw Bluff?

The proposed Randolph Poopline would dump 3.5 million gallons of wastewater per day into the Mississippi River below the mouth of the Hatchie, just above the 2nd Chickasaw Bluff. A one-month extension has been granted for the comment period (Until Nov 13th). We thought it would be helpful for all concerned to see some images and read some descriptions of the 2nd Chickasaw Bluff -- from canoe level. Our unique perspective: there is no better way to see the river than up close from a canoe... or kayak... or paddleboard. These images and descriptions will help portray what would most directly be effected on the river. All of the below comes from the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi, which describes the river and its natural features mile-by-mile from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico.


Facebook:

You can weigh in on this issue at the Facebook Page “Say No To The Randolph Poopline (Toxic Sludge)” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1963006597274345/




Recent Stories in West Tennessee Press:

Memphis Flyer: https://www.memphisflyer.com/NewsBlog/archives/2017/10/13/opposition-grows-to-mississippi-river-poopline-project

Millington Star: http://millington-news.com/2017/10/19/roland-joins-opposition-tipton-county-pipeline/

Covington Leader: http://www.covingtonleader.com/news/residents-ask-for-more-time-in-pipeline-talks/article_5a437852-aee1-11e7-b494-cf42d8faf1c9.html



(2nd Chickasaw Bluff as seen from 3 miles away at Sunrise Towhead)

From Rivergator.org:

LBD 771-769

The Second Chickasaw Bluff (Richardson Bluff)

As you paddle along the Hatchie Bar and then past the mouth of the Hatchie River you will be afforded your first vista of the second natural wonder along this section of river, the 2nd Chickasaw Bluff, sometimes known as Richardson Bluff. Gaze downstream over your vessel towards the towering loess cliffs. It’s a little deceptive because of the great distances and the scale of the river. But you will probably be impressed by how much of your vision they fill. Even at five miles away The 2nd Chickasaw Bluff covers 180 degrees of the horizon!

At first they are nothing more than a reddish brown line of convoluted earth strung across the river, rising slightly above the blue reflections on the muddy water and over the forested islands. But as you approach nearer they gain height and girth, with towering ridges that look like rock (but are actually mud) and deep fissures. For an unsuspecting paddler it’s something like driving across the Great Plains and seeing for the first time the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains rising heavenward. For a floodplain resident who has never witnessed the bluffs in their raw state you might experience vertigo. You will be filled with a strange feeling of not knowing where the heck you are, so foreign is the landscape. The bluffs keep growing and growing until you reach their base where they fill most of the southern sky in a roiling collision of colorful earth-tones, mostly yellows, oranges and reds, but some greens, greys and blues also, that collapse in chaotic sequences of horizontal layers and vertical precipices. With colors of the canyonlands and the texture of Iceland, it’s something like Utah meets Alaska, the topography reminiscent of a colorful calving glacier at the ocean’s terminus, replete with deep crevasses and deep dark earth cracks that seem to flow in a jumbled course from the distinct razor sharp line at the top of the bluff down through many layers of earth and spilling with gravity to the river’s edge. Adding to the thrill of this exotic atmosphere is a thick kudzu jungle that covers much of the cliffside wherever it has been able to gain a perch, but also where it has consumed whole trees, filled shallow valleys, and created a green kingdom that could have come right out of the Tolkein’s Middle Earth. A notable scene is kudzu eating the Randolph Light day marker at mile 770.1.

Indeed this is the earth in motion, from the top of the two-mile long bluff to the shoreline below. The river has slowly but steadily been eating away the bottom of the bluff through the millennia and the bluff has been responding like some recoiling but ultimately helpless creature. It’s a land in flux, the feast grounds at the edge of the biggest river in North America, full of muddy leftovers that one day are seen and the next day are gone. As such you will need to be vigilant for slabs of falling mud, falling trees, quick mud, and mud slips, especially towards the downstream end of the bluff where the cliffs rise in a clean vertical leap several hundred feet high directly above the river’s edge. Almost no one save the bald eagle dares to make a landing here. If you do so your journey would be best protected by a safety rope, like a party of climbers on a Swiss Glacier, stay roped together as you walk anywhere along the base of the bluff or risk falling into one of the deep cracks or fissures. The responsible explorer would wear a climbing helmet and tote a 2nd safety rope and an emergency kit with food and water in case of the worst. Poisonous snakes, spiders and other creatures abound in the blanket of kudzu, which is sometimes chest deep, and sometimes over your head, and impedes any progress within its thick tangle. A machete could be useful, although it might make things worse when the loosened tangle falls on your head.

Camping or picnicking is unthinkable. For one thing there is no level place anywhere to make a camp, and for another nothing but gooey mud is found. There are flat looking places that when you make a step you discover they are actually pools of mud with seemingly no bottom (another good reason to rope up). What looks like rocks crumbles in your hand. What seems like sandstone is really sandy mud. What looks like slate is simply layers of gray loess which dissolves in the next rainstorm and falls in VW Beetle sized chunks from the heights above. Those needing a landing should do so above the sandy bluffs at Morgan Point (RBD 771-769) or continue downstream to Duvall’s Boat Ramp (LBD 768) or the sandbars around Reverie Landing/Cedar Point (LBD 766-763).

To be sure, the beauty of the Second Chickasaw Bluff is best enjoyed from the cockpit of your kayak or seat of your canoe (or even better standing on your paddleboard) as you slide along its base buoyed by the never tiring boils and eddies of the big river. In fact you will be enjoying a natural phenomena that no on on land can ever appreciate because there is no way to get there. The adage “you can’t get there from here” definitely applies! Stay on your vessel as you float along the base of the bluff. In places there are enormous boils and strong eddies that reach out a hundred yards, but you can easily skirt along all of these and enjoy the view.

If there are any upstream tows be ready for the big waves that pile up here, expounded by the wall of mud and turbulent waters. Paddler’s beware: deferring to large downstream tows, upstream tows sometimes hug the bank at bluff bottom (below the powerlines) and sometimes dive into the giant eddy a mile downstream (below Randolph Bluff Foot Light LBD 768.9). When they come upstream don’t get trapped against the jagged cliffs at bluff base bottom! Watch for tows and monitor VHF Channel 13 for any activity. Go to shore far above this location and let them pass, or paddle far RBD towards the Arkansas shore in advance of their passage and maintain a healthy 500 yards distance. You might miss close-ups scenic views along the base of the bluff, but you will gain the incomparable scenic view of the largest towboat/barge packages on earth dwarfed by the colossal mass of the Second Chickasaw Bluff!

The Second Chickasaw Bluff runs on a SE diagonal (opposite the angle of the First Chickasaw Bluff), hence it is best viewed (and photographed) in the morning light. For this reason, you can ideally experience the best light on both Chickasaw Bluffs leaving Sans Souci Landing or environs in the afternoon, passing by the 1st Bluff sometime late afternoon/evening and camping somewhere below, if it’s low water try the Hatchie Towhead, and arise the next day for the morning light on the 2nd Bluff. In particular, the winter time low angle sun occludes much of the bluff by noon. During cold spells ice can accumulate on the cliff seeps, icicles can form, and any rare snowfall will remain here longer than surrounding places where the sun reaches. Ice hastens the collapse of the muddy cliffs, so be especially careful of falling mud boulders and mud avalanches with any winter time visits.


Excerpted from Rivergator: Paddler's Guide to the Lower Mississippi River:

https://www.rivergator.org/river-log/caruthersville-to-memphis/osceola-to-shelby-forest.cfm/pg/6/


(2nd Chickasaw Bluff)