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LMRD 555, Friday, Feb 23, 2018
The Voice of the Lower Mississippi River
The Sunflower River is Flooding...
but the Friends Must Go On!




Question: How many kids fit in Water Ram Canoe?
Answer: 28 Headstart Kids!

Saturday, Feb 24, 2018
RAIN OR SHINE!

Indoor Potluck Meeting: Meet at 12noon inside the Quapaw Canoe Company, 289 Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale.
Indoor meeting and potluck. Cleanup starts immediately afterwards (1pm). 70% chance of rain & T-storms. Windy. If you want to participate in cleanup wear warm clothes (preferably not cotton) and pack rain gear, including rain jacket, rain pants, poncho, rain hat and shoes you don't mind getting wet & muddy!



March 2016 Flood Redux?



Due to heavy rains last week, the Sunflower River is creeping upwards of 20 feet on the Clarksdale USGS Gage. This means that the water is lapping at the doorsteps of houses in low-lying neighborhoods around town. The parking lot behind Quapaw is overtopped, another foot rise will bring it to the door of "The Cave," our original office and business location. Another foot rise (22') will put flood water inside approximately 250 local homes, and potentially 1,000s more around the Delta. In 2016 it rose to approx 26.5' (we don't know exactly because the gage stopped working between 22' and 23' when the satellite transmitter was submerged). Back in 2016, with four feet of water in our offices, we evacuated from the Cave and moved 2 stories higher, street level Sunflower Avenue, where we are presently situated. Flooding in March 2016 was reported to be a 1,000 year flood event. But here we are a mere two years later and it looks like we are experiencing the same kind of very wet cycle of super-drenched atmospheric systems spiraling off the Gulf of Mexico in repeated waves and nailing the greater Mississippi Valley, included the Red and Arkansas to the West, and the Ohio River Valley to the Northeast.



You can monitor Sunflower River levels using the Clarksdale USGS Gage



Saturday, Feb 24, 2018
RAIN OR SHINE!

Indoor Potluck Meeting: Meet at 12noon inside the Quapaw Canoe Company, 289 Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale. Cleanup starts immediately afterwards (1pm), if you want to participate pack rain gear.

Lower Mississippi River Foundation 2nd General Annual Membership Meeting. Friends of the Sunflower River 16th Annual Meeting.


The 2018 meeting is 12noon Saturday, Feb 24th, inside of the Quapaw Canoe Company, 3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale. We'll start with a bonfire and potluck meeting, and then jump into a Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. Quapaw Canoe Company is donating canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. Dress for the weather. Bring a loaf of bread, a bag of chips, or some hot dish to share at potluck. We’ll provide serving and eating utensils.


Pack Rain Gear!

Indoor meeting and potluck. Cleanup starts immediately afterwards (1pm). 70% chance of rain & T-storms. Windy. If you want to participate in cleanup wear warm clothes (preferably not cotton) and pack rain gear, including rain jacket, rain pants, poncho, rain hat and shoes you don't mind getting wet & muddy!

Love your River

Dear Y'all: The general annual membership meeting of the Friends of the Sunflower River traditionally takes place at noon on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day. As you know, the Friends is now overseen by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. So we will now carry on this fine spring tradition with a broadened scope. Our focus tomorrow is the Sunflower. But the LMRF is concerned about health & recreation on the entire Lower Mississippi Valley, the big river and all of its tributaries. As result our caring group of river lovers can operate from the same lonely river, but now with a bigger dream and broader vision. This and more to be shared tomorrow around the bonfire potluck!

Soul Searching: the LMRF 5-year Strategic Plan

During the winter/spring 2016 we did some intensive soul-searching for the long-term health of the LMRF. With the help of the Community Roots of Vermont we crated a 5-year strategic plan. We realized that the river has become a rarified environment accessible to a few. We seek to restore the balance. We think our most important work we can do is to help diversify and democratize the river by making it accessible to all. “The Lower Mississippi River Foundation promotes stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.” This is our mission statement. Our 5-year objectives are focused on deeply engaging kids of all ages, with particular attention to Mississippi Valley youth and college students from the southern states along the river. We also intend to share the river with more community leaders and decision makers. At the same time we will work with our partners to make sure that no species are lost, that more public boat ramps will be created, and more public lands will be saved. These are very challenging objectives, for sure. But this is what we are best at. We just want to do more of the same. And strengthen our reach. We want to your help to enable us to do any even better job at what we are already doing, and to be able to do it more proactively... in other words: more thoughtfully, more thoroughly, and as always with the best of intentions.

Benefits for members with current standing:

20% Discount on Sunflower River Rentals

10% Discount on rentals or any guided trips offered by Quapaw Canoe Company

Internal Items to Share & Discuss:

Structure:

Board, supporting members, volunteers, constituency

Budget:

Income, Expenses, Percentages of Programs, In-Kind, Partners

Privacy:

Names and email address only used for LMRF business, for the newsletter, and with 1 Mississippi. 1 Mississippi does not share info with anyone else.

Any other Items to Share & Discuss?

Questions?




Action Items to Share & Discuss:

Search for Board Members:

Anyone interested? Any suggestions?

Committees:

-strategies

-policy

-decision makers (legislators, CEOs, etc)

-colleges

-youth

-public lands (identifying, creating, protecting)

-suggestions for other committees?

Any other Items to Share & Discuss?

Questions?

Sunflower River Paddle
Mark River Peoples

It’s an early Spring morning as I launch my Grumnan canoe below the bridge at Lee Drive. A local friend drives by slowly, examining my intentions, while showing off his bounty of the day-- a turkey in his truck bed. The water's up and flowing swiftly, as I congratulate him on his Delta turkey, and he wishes me well on my journey. The weather's warm and everything’s at blooming speed. The beautiful green is in the trees, and the birds are communicating in high tunes. I take a couple paddle strokes, readjust my angle, and float into the first bend. Tall reeds of river grass blanket the cut-banks, while turtles are dropping off logs simultaneously. White-tail deer get spooked from their grass beds, running off towards the nearby soybean field.

Trees start to appear as I get closer to the residential neighborhoods. A friend has his fishing poles side by side along the shoreline, but he is nowhere to be found. The river bends right as the old and young cypress are scattered throughout the channel. Some are leaning at a 30 degree angle, some are dead center, but beautiful and unique in every way. Low-lying branches are littered with harmless water snakes fresh from hibernation enjoying the heat from the sun. The mud banks have tracks of raccoon, beaver, and otter. Beaver scent mounds are strategically placed along the shore. A curious red fox runs in the thicket, while occasionally stopping to examine me. Wood ducks are pairing up looking for the best tree to nest. The female has to be careful, she has to consider a nice landing spot for her chicks first leap of faith.

The backyards and neighborhoods get closer to the waters edge as I get close to town. You can hear kids playing in the nearby streets. Gar fish suspend themselves showing their enchanting arrangements of spots. A large cottonmouth sunbathes on a huge beaver hut. The sun is peeping through the canopy as I get close to the Soldier’s Field. I think about how fortunate it is to have a river flow through your downtown area. How it attracts the birds and keeps wildlife part of our everyday lives. How it brings calmness and peace to myself and my GRIOT Arts kids. How it keeps the blue herons around. How it makes me feel when the beavers swim upstream first thing in the morning. Become a friend of the Sunflower River and help keep OUR river healthy and clean. Mark River.


Chief Guide and youth leader, Mark River is also the southern leader of the 1Mississippi River Citizen Program, connecting people up and down the river to the leaders who are making decisions about the river.






You can monitor Sunflower River levels using the Clarksdale USGS Gage