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LMRD 740, Monday, Sept 9, 2019
The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Mississippi River"



The Water Recedes
by MARK RIVER

We head towards the end of August and the River finally recedes. High bluffs of newly deposited sand is distributed throughout the islands in different places than last year, igniting the fire in my soul to explore more. The contoured and striated sand tells the story of hydronic movement of water. The water is twenty degrees cooler than the air, holding its temperature longer due to the long high water season. The sandbar looks flat, but as I continue my exploration, the topography reveals blue holes and scoured indentions throughout. The landscape is littered with tracts of wildlife returning to benefit from the foliage explosion of flora and fauna that's accelerated by the fresh topsoil underneath the sand. Turtles go into overdrive laying eggs on the highest bluffs trying to disguise their location to out wit the scavengers. Many mammals are nursing young, so the protein supplement from the eggs are important for milk production. The eggs that successfully hatched are shape like canoes or tacos, depending on your imagination, and the ones that are scavenged are perfectly round, with a small straw- like hole in the top. Least terns show up to try to catch up to their kin that got lucky early and found a sandbar to populate. Schools of shad are pushed to the surface by large fish taking advantage of the time of plenty. You can see the rejuvenation of all life benefiting from the high water.

The water continues to recede, as hunting camps along the Mississippi and Arkansas border scramble to repair roads and infrastructure. The River has taken back the land by creating new blue-holes and interrupting the planting of food plots. The bayous and wetlands are replenished. The amphibians rule the shallow puddles, while egrets, herons, and eagles gorge themselves with the spoils. New blue-holes exist teaming with sport fish like largemouth bass, hybrids, spotted, and stripers- species that are incredibly difficult to find in the murky water of the Mississippi River. They flourish in these silt less lakes. Some of these blue-holes were form during the 1927 flood and I had the pleasure of fishing one. My fishing partner and I, "Lucky 13", headed to Joe Sample Blue-hole, named after a floodplain farmer in the 1940's. The lake is now a over 90 years old, lined with falling trees, brush, and dead fall, while having dignified drop offs throughout, creating prime habitat for all species. My partner uses a top water lure designed in the 1960's, "Lucky 13", hence his fishing name, and I switched between crank baits, spinner baits, and rooster tails. We manually trolled once around the lake in a old John boat for three hours catching over twenty bass 4 to 6lbs. We kept half for food and released the rest, so someone else can have the same experience. When done, we follow the main road through the hunting camp, as turkeys dart across the road, while male whitetail deer sporting their majestic velvet antlers, forage in the open grasslands. Each side of the road is rutted up by wild hogs, devastating food plots and front lawns. Many members could only reach their lodges by water during the rise, so the pigs moved in and made themselves at home. I look around and witness how nature flourishes after the high water. It's the most important cycle of life for the animals that live and thrive in the Mississippi River floodplains and wetlands.

My mood goes from excitement and joy, to confusion and anger, when I see the willow trees draped with decayed and compromised plastics hanging from their limbs like discarded holiday trees. As we drive through the forest you can see where eddies formed, leaving a land field of plastics of all kinds. Cellulose acetate, aka cigarette butts, mix in with the kindling on the forest floor. You can even see abandoned bird nest constructed of fishing line and barge rope. I take these images with me as I continue my journey through life and realize plastics are a major, major problem and should be a priority in our stewardship of the Mississippi River.

BY MARK RIVER



Mark River is Chief Guide and Youth Leader for the Quapaw Canoe Company. He is also the Southern Coordinator of 1 Mississippi's River Citizen Program. Tune in to the Mark River podcast "May the River be With You."

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Now Available Online!
May the River be with You
EPISODE #3
Micro Plastics




Episode 1: MICRO PLASTICS
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/may-the-river-be-with-you

In this episode, we talk to Maya Dizack, a University of Vermont student who is spending her summer traversing the entire length of the Mississippi River to collect water samples to study water quality and micro plastics within the ecosystem. We also talk to Quapaw Canoe Company founder John Ruskey about his observations on how micro plastics could be affecting the river environment. Also featuring "River Stories" with Coop Cooper, "Reflections" with Mark River and "River Time" with John Ruskey.

go to: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/may-the-river-be-with-you



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Quapaw Canoe Company guide Tanner Aljets recently on PRI!

Environment
The Mississippi: Pushed to the brink

Up and down the Mississippi River, new pressures are being put on America’s inland hydro highway, which helps deliver US goods and commodities to the rest of the world and allows trade flows to return. The strain on the river system is only becoming more acute with the impacts of climate change.
PRI's The World

September 03, 2019 · 2:00 PM EDT
By Jason Margolis

For story, click here:

Environment
The Mississippi: Pushed to the brink


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Shout out to Scott Shirey:

Our paddles up and a special shout out to our friend and passionate, dedicated, educator, poet, leader "Bold Eagle" Scott Shirey -- Eastern Arkansas KIPP founder/director extraordiniare -- also founding treasurer of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation -- we look forward to whatever adventures for you down the great river road, Scott!

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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write info@island63.com for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to www.island63.com and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.

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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Quapaw Canoe Company

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Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River, overseen by the LMRF:

www.rivergator.org

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Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

www.wildmiles.org

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Our Friends:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.

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1Mississippi River Citizen Program: River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America’s greatest River. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Together, we can protect the River for future generations. Take the first step today and sign up for free as a River Citizen at www.1Mississippi.org. 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"

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The Walter Anderson Museum of Art inspires discovery, imagination, and community-building on the Gulf Coast and beyond through programs, exhibitions, and outreach; and embodies Walter Anderson’s vision for societies in harmony with their environments. "Our mission is to empower lifelong curiosity and connection to the natural world through the art of Walter Anderson and kindred artists."

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LEAN: the Louisiana Environmental Action Network: Before LEAN was founded in 1986, polluters ran roughshod over Louisiana’s unique environment and way of life. Since then LEAN has fought to safeguard not just Louisiana’s scenic beauty, wildlife and culture but more importantly those underserved citizens that don’t have a voice. Help LEAN serve the needs of Louisiana's communities.

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The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people every year. Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace.

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Coahoma Collective catalyzes arts-driven, community-inclusive revitalization in downtown Clarksdale

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Big Muddy Adventures: adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.