Close Window

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 364

W a t e r M u r m u r s

Thursday Oct 13, 2016

Clarksdale, MS —Helena, AR —Memphis, TN

Upcoming Events:

Oct 13-15: 9th Deep Blues Festival brings grassroots, alternative blues to the land of the proverbial Crossroads — Clarksdale, Mississippi. Featuring acts like Chicken Snake, James Leg, Possessed by Paul James, Watermelon Slim, Cedric Burnside and Hezekiah Early & Robert "Lil Poochie" Watson.

October 29: First Annual E-WASTE Day 8 AM to 12 PM, 836 S. State Street (Old Wal-Mart Bldg Parking lot) Sponsored by City of Clarksdale and Coahoma County. Free to the public as a Thank You for Recycling!

(keep reading below for more details)

W a t e r M u r m u r s

Ripples in the water, what do they mean? Every line and motion murmuring on the face of the river has a meaning. Every wave on every connecting bayou and back channel is saying something. Water never lies. It responds charismatically to everything around it, from the most violent wind gusts to the gentlest beating of wings from some of nature’s smallest creatures.

Earlier this week I witnessed mating pairs of red skimmer dragonflies laying eggs in tender caresses over still water pools along the edge of the Lower Mississippi, and over some of its adjoining wetlands above Helena, Arkansas. The people in my party witnessed the same. The male guards the territory while the female deposits the eggs directly into the water. It was another one of the those magic river moments. I have been paddling and studying the Mississippi River since 1982 and cannot remember seeing this before.

Dragonflies inhabit a small but very important niche in the cycle of life. We all want more dragonflies, not less. For one thing they have an insatiable appetite for small pests like mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums. Along the Lower Mississippi dragonflies need protected floodplain wetlands and back channels to complete their life cycle. What happens if we cut off wetlands? We lose important dragonfly habitat, as well as a myriad of other species dependent on same essential habitat.

For this reason, we river guides are opposed to the New Madrid Levee Project. Our clients are interested in the prolific expressions of life that are still found abounding along the Lower Mississippi River. Especially the kids we guide on the river. They want to see a lively river. A dead river is no fun. We need more critters not less. We need more floodplains not less. Please read the below, and join us in signing a petition to block the disastrous New Madrid Levee Project. For our children. For our river. For our dragonflies.

Sign Petition to Stop New Madrid Levee Project

(From 1 Mississippi)

If you care about clean water, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and a healthy future for our children and the Mississippi River, you will want to sign this petition urging the EPA to veto the proposed New Madrid Levee Project!

The only official floodplain for the Mississippi River in the state of Missouri is called the New Madrid Floodway. This area is essential for flood management and 53,000 acres of crucial habitat, but it is in danger of being closed by a levee. Closing the floodway would shove floodwaters elsewhere, endangering thousands of residents in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky (while benefitting a few sprawling dryland farms located in the floodplain). It would set a dangerous precedent for management of the entire Mississippi River and destroy wildlife habitat.

The project has already been opposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA Region 7, U.S. Department of the Interior, Missouri Department of Conservation, 90 conservation groups, 26 community leaders, including Mayor Coleman of Cairo, Illinois, and more than 20,000 members of the public.

Please don't let this dangerous project happen. Add your name to this petition to let the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency know that you support a veto of the project.

Go to 1 Mississippi and customize your own letter to the EPA.

What is the New Madrid Levee Project?

(From NWF)

The New Madrid Levee Project is a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a new 60 foot high, quarter mile long levee and two huge pumping plants along the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri. The Corps wants to spend $165 million taxpayer dollars on this project to allow intensified use of the New Madrid Floodway, an area that provides vital fish and wildlife habitat and flood protection.

The New Madrid Floodway is an integral part of the Mississippi River ecosystem, and provides vital fish and wildlife habitat. The area is particularly important because it is the last place where the Mississippi River connects to its backwater floodplain in the state of Missouri. The river and floodplain connection allows the regular exchange of water, nutrients, and energy that is the ecological driver of this vital area.

The New Madrid Levee would sever this vital river-floodplain connection with devastating impacts. It would drain more than 53,000 acres of wetlands – an area of wetlands larger than the District of Columbia – and eliminate the most important backwater fisheries habitat in the Middle Mississippi River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opposes the Project because it “would cause substantial, irretrievable losses of nationally significant fish and wildlife resources, and greatly diminish rare and unique habitats found in southeast Missouri.”

The New Madrid Floodway also provides critical flood protection. During extreme floods, water is diverted into the Floodway’s 130,000 acres protecting dozens of river communities in Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky. It has always been a challenge to operate the Floodway in a timely manner, and increasing use of the Floodway will make it even harder to do so. In 2011, Missouri sued to stop use of the Floodway and the resulting delay led to catastrophic flooding in Olive Branch, Illinois where 50 homes were destroyed. After the Floodway was activated in 2011, water levels at Cairo Illinois dropped 2.7 feet in just 48 hours.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the authority – and the responsibility – to stop the New Madrid Levee Project under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. This provision allows EPA to veto a project that would have an unacceptable adverse effect on fish and wildlife. A Clean Water Act veto would stop this project once and for all.

The National Wildlife Federation is working with ninety conservation organizations and dozens of community leaders to convince the Environmental Protection Agency to use its Clean Water Act authority to stop the New Madrid Levee Project. More than 20,000 members of the public have already added their voices to this campaign.

Go to NWF and sign petition!


Announcing: First Annual E-WASTE Day

October 29th 8 AM to 12 PM

836 S. State Street

(Old Wal-Mart Bldg Parking lot)

Sponsored by City of Clarksdale and Coahoma County

Free to the public as a Thank You for Recycling


Magnolia Data Solutions: Items We Recycle

Computers & Related Items

All types of Cables & Cords

Lab Equipment

Lithium Ion Batteries

Camcorders & Cameras

Cell Phones & Pagers

Hard Drives

Household Electronics


Mainframe Equipment

Networking Equipment

Testing Equipment

Telephones & Telecom Equipment

PCI Cards

Plasma TVs

Printed Circuit Board


Stereo & Components


Toner Cartridges

and MORE See complete list at

ALSO: Magnolia Data Solutions Certified Recycler on site Saturday October 29th

Drop off available week of October 24-28th Coahoma County Courthouse Parking lot corner of Yazoo & Court

Contacts: Marc Taylor Recycling Manager 503-998-3476/Morgan Wood, Coahoma County 662-624-3028

9th Deep Blues Festival

Starts Today — through this weekend!

Thursday Oct 13-15

Clarksdale, Miss

9th Deep Blues Festival brings grassroots, alternative blues fans to the land of the proverbial Crossroads — Clarksdale, Mississippi

Clarksdale, Mississippi — The Magnolia State boasts many music festivals centered around blues. But, according to organizers, none are anything like Clarksdale, Mississippi's annual Deep Blues Festival in October.


"There's nothing typical about this blues festival," said Robin Colonas, co-organizer and owner of the New Roxy concert venue. "This is a celebration of outsider and alternative blues. It's a crazy-cool mix of Hill Country blues, roots rock and Americana. As my favorite blues label Fat Possum used to say, 'It's not the same old blues crap.' This music is alive."

The festival runs from Thursday, October 13 through Sunday, October 16, 2016. It encompasses two "official" indoor venues plus many busking stages and other related events at clubs and juke joints around town.

"Our venues are as unique as some of the acts that play them," explained Colonas. "The Shack Up Inn's Juke Joint Chapel stage is literally built inside an old cotton gin, and the New Roxy is a two-stage venue built in the remains of an old movie theater — half inside and half with no roof. And that's not even getting into the crazy juke joint scene here."


The 2016 Deep Blues Festival $75 weekend pass offers the best deal. The pass acts as a "joint cover" and gets you into the festival's two main venues (the New Roxy and Shack Up Inn's Juke Joint Chapel) for three nights plus Sunday morning — October 13-16. Daily, single-venue tickets (price TBA) will also be available day of show, while they last.

Buy weekend passes online now at

There will be many FREE daytime performances around town as well at places like the Jeff Norwood Memorial Stage at Shacksdale, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and the Rock & Blues Museum. Other related nighttime venues will have their own usual cover charges at the door.


"We've got Deep Blues acts coming from as far away as Canada and Europe," noted Colonas. "We anticipate enthusiastic turnouts, especially for crowd favorites like Chicken Snake, James Leg and Possessed by Paul James."

And it's no wonder. As an example, Possessed by Paul James regularly receives accolades like these: "One-man folk wonder." - New York Times. "Akin to a live electric socket missing its cover." - Paste.

Other acts sure to please hardcore blues fans include Watermelon Slim, Cedric Burnside and Hezekiah Early & Robert "Lil Poochie" Watson.

The basic lineup is online now with more related events to be posted in the coming weeks.


"This year, the Benefactor's Ball is at Red's Lounge — Clarksdale's quintessential juke joint," said Roger Stolle, Cat Head store owner and Red's fan. "It's one of the last long-running jukes in existence. I strongly recommend that folks not only buy weekend passes but also become Benefactors, so they can attend. R.L. Burnside's son Garry Burnside is set to headline the event."

Become a Benefactor at


In 2007, BBQ master Chris Johnson held the first Deep Blues Festival in a field just outside of the twin cities — Minneapolis-Saint Paul — well north of the Mississippi Delta. While Johnson is no longer an active organizer, he is still a big fan of the festival and its eclectic blues-inspired music. This is the 3rd year for the reinvigorated Clarksdale event.

Festival information:

Weekend pass venues:,

This project is partially funded through Visit Mississippi and Coahoma County Tourism.


Email (recommended) -

Web site -

Robin Colonas (New Roxy) - 662-313-6220

Roger Stolle (publicist) - 662-624-5992

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

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

Our Friends:

Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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