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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 416

Following the Arkansas River

Monday, July 24, 2017 ~ Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR

Note: All photos are from our 2014 & 2015 circumnavigation of Big Island, an island formed by 3 rivers: the Mississippi, the White, and the Arkansas.

We won Advocate of the Year Award for the Rivergator Project from the Arkansas Trails Council! On behalf of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation, and all of our Arkansas partners, river rat Bill Gregg and I appeared in Fayetteville, AR, to accept this honor from the Arkansas Trails Council.
Passionate video artist Bill Gregg is an example of the many people and partners required to complete such an enormous project as the Rivergator. In Arkansas we have many to thank, including Robert & Beverly Moore, Rep Chris Richey, Leah DiPietro, Zoe Clift, Katherine Stewart, Judge Parker, Kevin Smith, Scott Shirey, Stacy Hurst, Bill Branch, Katie Harrington, Jay Hollowell, Alana Pinchback, Cathi Cunningham, Joel & Amber Tipton, Terry Eastin, Dawna Parker, Greg Patterson, Norwood Creech, John Edwards, Debbie Doss, Bill Gregg and Rosemary Post. We accepted this honor from Toby Von Renbow and Mike Sprague, State Trails Coordinator & Project Officer, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Following the Arkansas:

On the way over I followed the Arkansas River up into the yawning verdant valley opening westward in between the Ouchitas and the Ozarks, with prominences like Pinnacle Peak and Magazine Mountain clearly visible through the early morning haze, fog drifting in the valleys, and the long bluish green ridges extending far over the horizon westward into the Oklahoma Hills, red clay country. I decided to turn off at Ozark (nearby Post Family Vineyards is a must stop) and follow the Pig Tail Scenic Byway, which climbs quickly up the Bois d'Arc ridges leading to the high mountains, the roads meanders its way in and out of hollows and through deep mountain woods, around small farms and mobile home hideaways, down into river valleys with more small farms, over the Mulberry (stop for a swim) and the White, and then into the foothills beyond, which descend gracefully and gradually northwestward into Oklahoma and Missouri. Fasting enhances all of your senses, so the many aromas and sounds of the forest burst through my open windows as I wound up and down the Pig Tail, fragrances of still blooming flowers, the earthy understory of the woods, the willows, alders and river birch of the bottoms, and the sun-drenched forests up high. My morning swim was the Mulberry, an afternoon refresher in the headwaters of the White, where the overhanging trees blazed striking green patterns into the atmosphere and made my imagination swell like Chihuly’s electric glass extravaganzas. (On my return drive I stopped again on the banks of the White, this time opposite DeVall’s Bluff, where the White has swollen into the expansive muddy-green stream of its lower reaches, creating and commanding the largest bottomland forest in North America next to the Atchafalaya).

A sad scene presented itself parallel to the headwaters of the White, a baby raccoon crushed by a passing motorist, a mound of fur and claws in the middle of the highway 16, momma chittering for baby to follow, standing in the nearby ditch with the rest of the crew in tow, standing, sniffing, chittering for baby to come, wondering “where is baby?” Leaving the others behind in the roadside drainage to investigate she is quickly crushed herself by another vehicle… And so two raccoon souls tragically swept away into the ether, and the remaining kits suddenly jerked out of a happy childhood and forced to fend for themselves to forage and foray, to learn the dangerous and difficult ways of the world, for themselves, without anyone to show them, or give them direction and guidance, and to save them from the most hazardous challenges, “the motherless child has a hard time when the mother is gone,” holds true for all mammals, maybe that is part of the definition, needing guidance by our elders to learn the ways of the cruel world. It’s amazing that any orphans survive at any level of life.

A fast is an interesting way to employ a control all of us have, but few exercise. You can choose not to breathe, but not for long; after a minute or two your automatic reflexes will take over and your lungs will gasp for breath*. You can choose not to drink water, and that will last a few days before you die of dehydration, especially in heat like summer in Mississippi. Most people think eating is the same way, that you will surely die after several days of not eating. My daughter is one of these people. This fast has been a source of endless curiosity for her. She has been sure that I will not survive for long. But this is not the case. I am still standing after almost 2 weeks. This is Day 13 of my fast, and Day 8 of liquids only, mostly water.

I started this fast as a spiritual quest, but also to help bring some sanity back to my world, which has seemed a little out of control lately. This helplessness for me spiked with the immoral decision to exit the Paris Accords. How is it that one man can irrationally make a decision that the majority is against, and negatively affects all of us? Not only the 317 million or so people that he is charged to represent, but all people on earth? 5 billion lives at stake? (Not to mention the bizillions of members from the 2 million species of other life forms still intact on this planet!) And not listen to the majority of us that did not want this?

For example, Mississippi River mayors**, representing the interests of agriculture and industry in the heart of America, the bastion of his support, sent him a letter imploring him to stay signed on for economic reasons (Including mayor Jay Hallowell of Helena and ex-mayor Bill Luckett of Clarksdale). This letter is published below. He seems bent on repealing everything the previous president created, as if that was what made a good ruler, one who simply undid everything that was done before, regardless of whether it was good or bad, moral or immoral, made good sense or not. (See below for another example of this bitter crusade of repeals: the 2015 Clean Waters Act — and send a letter to your legislators asking them not to repeal).

Is global warming for real? This preposterous question gets endlessly bantered around social media. You could also ask: Is Delaware a state? The Delaware-sized ice shelf that just broke of Antarctica would seem to be shouting that yes it's for real. Unfortunately the people studying the situation are creating more than their share of CO2 and more heat as they drive giant machines around the ice, and fly back and forth long distances around the world. And yet it is not they to blame, it is all of us. This is one example of the many contradictions surrounding the issue. As the days get hotter, air conditioners run longer, leading hotter communities, leading to more air conditioning, and so on and so forth, the solutions making the problem worse. We need more shade, we need more trees to create shade and absorb excess CO2, we need more solar panels to absorb more solar radiation, etc, etc, etc. We all need to look deep down inside of ourselves and ask ourselves what kind of world we are leaving for our children, and what we can do to make it abetter world, not a lesser world. I have an internal conversation with myself in regards to my daughter, who is complaining more and more about the heat.

If nothing else, my fast will result in an infinitesimally small reduction in power consumption and the tiny warming it produces. It will also ease my family’s budget a little, we won't have to spend as much on food this month. There are 3 of us, my wife and daughter and I. And I probably consume as much as both of them combined! (My growing daughter is catching up). Other practical aspects of this fast: 1) weight loss program — I’ve gone from 163 down to 148, 2) quiet moments — I’ve enjoy more down time sitting, meditating, and journaling 3) reading — and also catch up on some reading, a great week to do that in honor of Thoreau’s 200th, 4) closer to mature — as a non- consumer you become less of a threat to nature, maybe because you’re slower, calmer, more inward, or maybe the animals sense that you are no longer desiring to eat them! 5) walking feels even better than it used to, 6) my thinking is clearer, 7) I am less fatigued, 8) My senses are all sharpened, sense of sound, smells, and sights, I am more in the moment, 9) I feel a closer connection to my spirit, and 10) I am seeing more clearly. This fast has been remarkably easier than any previous. I have been alternating between light-headedness, euphoria, and dreaminess, a sleepiness that is more like meditation than exhaustion.


*If you are the world champ breath holder, like river angel Dale Sanders once was, you would be able to hold your breath for over 6 minutes. Try as hard as you can, even if you have a death wish, your involuntary muscles will take over.

**Mayors belonging to the MRTCI — Mississippi River Towns and Cities Initiative

Earth Overshoot Day Aug 8, 2017

To avoid Earth Overshoot Day Aug 8, 2017, when we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year, environmentalist Tony Long recommends going to the Global Footprint Network and calculating your Global Footprint to see how sustainable your lifestyle is, and maybe em[ploy some small changes that might make a big difference.

The Mission of the Global Footprint is to help end ecological overshoot by making ecological limits central to decision-making. The Global Footprint vision is that all people live well, within the means of nature. Keep reading below to see more about the Global Footprint Network.

Examples of Global Warming?

As a way of realizing global warming, maybe it would be good to share examples of how it is affecting all of us in our own homes, in our own towns? I will share mine below, but maybe you have some of your own to share? If so, send and will re-post in the next dispatch. (PS: these are purely descriptive, non-scientific observations, but could be signs of a hotter climate).

Some things I have noticed:

1) The 30th annual Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival decided to move its outdoor acoustic stage inside to beat the heat. This means the afternoon acoustic stage that Quapaw Canoe Company traditionally hosted will be indoors, at various air conditioned venues downtown such as Crossroads Cultural Center, Hattie Jean’s, Hambone, Stone Pony and Levon’s. (See below for full schedule, and come enjoy the purest blues in America — indoors.

2) Our air conditioner seems to never stop running.

3) My daughter complains more about the heat.

Arkansas Trails Council Annual Awards:

This year’s nominees were:

2017 Trail Advocate of the Year:

· Chuck Maxwell

· John Ruskey

2017 Trail Organization of the Year

· Carroll County Ozark Off-Road Cyclists “CC Riders”

· Crafton Tull

· Lower Mississippi River Foundation

· Ozark Off-Road Cyclists (OORC)

· Ozark Highlands Trail Association (OHTA)

2017 Trail Professional of the Year

· Tom Ledbetter

· Julie Luther

· Dave Renko

2017 Trail Volunteer of the Year

· Jacque Alexander

· Ron Mayfield

· Paul and Melanie Norris

· Steven Parker


The trail advocate’s efforts on Arkansas trails: List examples of work projects, specifying advocate’s role. (Include information such as: their influence on trail development and improvement, number of years the advocate has been involved with trails, working with volunteers.)

2017 completion of the 6-year project called the Rivergator (online at The Rivergator connects Arkansas to the America’s Heartland. The Rivergator includes 321 miles of Arkansas from Osceola to Lake Village.

His/Her efforts at coalition building: (Explain partnerships formed with user groups, agencies and organizations.)

To successfully complete the Rivergator it was necessary to collaborate with a broad spectrum of Arkansas businesses, organizations, clubs, and gov’t agencies including 1) Arkansas Parks & Tourism (who has sent writers to cover the story, and create blog postings, and also imbedded links on tourism websites); 2) Helena Advertising & Promotions (engaged journalists, imbedded links on tourism websites); 3) Edwardian Inn (cooperative advertising); 4) Walton Family Foundation (grant support, networking); 5) Delta Cultural Center (artwork, cross-promotions, networking); 6) the Arkansas Dept of Heritage (artwork for 2015 Heritage poster); and 7) many others including Arkansas Trails, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Old State House Museum.

Connecting Arkansas to the rest of the Lower Mississippi Valley, partnerships were necessary with the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission, Visit Mississippi! (Mississippi Development Authority), Louisiana Lt. Governor’s Office Dept of Tourism, Arkansas Parks & Tourism, National Geographic Geotourism Project, Big Muddy Adventures, 1 Mississippi/Biodiversity Project, Quapaw Helena, Quapaw Natchez, Quapaw Vicksburg, Quapaw Memphis, Bluz Cruz, Outdoors Inc (Memphis Canoe & Kayak Race), Mississippi River Trail, Paddle Northeast Louisiana, Bluff City Canoe Club, Mississippi Outdoors Club, Houston Canoe Club, Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, Lower Mississippi River Paddlers, Missouri River Paddlers, Kinship of Rivers, Delta Posts, Delta Radio News, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, University Press of Mississippi, Louisiana Delta Adventures, Great River Road - Kentucky, Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana Environmental Network, the Ozark Society, Gulf Restoration Network, and Lower Delta Partnership.

Significant trail accomplishments:

321 miles of detailed writing about the Mississippi River Water Trail in Arkansas. The Rivergator is an online paddler’s guide to the Mississippi, from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico. Free of charge, we created it as a public service to help diversify and democratize the river. Six years in the making… one million words with thousands of photos, maps and videos. (It’s not perfect, but it’s the best resource out there — for recreation on the Lower Miss). We are overseen by a non-profit called the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

The Rivergator is changing the perception of the big river as an industrial canal and superhighway for towboats. There is definitely industry, and it’s definitely the most important route for getting grain out of the heartland and oil back up to the refineries.

But it’s also the longest stretch of free-flowing river in the continental US (1154 miles), and is in fact mostly “wild" (according to It’s big and deep and powerful. Very dangerous. Full of myths and stories. Full of the raw wild exuberance of any free-flowing river. We seek to identify and enjoy the wild places. It’s one of the least traveled, least understood, and yet most magnificent wild places left in the country. In 2014 600+ people summited Everest. And more than 700 thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Meanwhile, 146 paddled the length of the Mississippi River (as recorded by John Sullivan, the Mississippi River Paddlers Group).

Accomplishments in promotion and education related to trails in Arkansas: is alive and functioning, with 130,000 visits in 2016, 316,000 views and almost two million “clicks.”

-Promoted all 321 miles of the Arkansas portion of the Mississippi, from Osceola to Lake Village, including West Memphis, Helena, and Arkansas City.

-Alignment with goals AR Parks & Tourism might have for Eastern AR and/or for nature tourism.

-Helped to add Arkansas to the map of the Lower Mississippi — not only as the place to access the river, but as the place to go to access the big river.

-24 million paddlers in North America. Eastern Arkansas is natural link to the Mighty Mississippi. Big Island is the wildest part of the entire Lower Miss. Osceola, West Memphis, Helena, and Arkansas City are possible connections to the river — Helena and Arkansas City are standouts.

-Arkansas social media during celebration expedition

-Created added value for nature tourism in Eastern Arkansas.

Aug 8 Earth Overshoot Day

From the Global Footprint Network:

By August 2, 2017, we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester.

We say “stop!” Stop to Earth Overshoot Day creeping up the calendar year after year, as our global Ecological Footprint expands further beyond what the planet can renew.

Currently, carbon emissions make up 60% of humanity’s Ecological Footprint. Consider this: If we cut carbon emissions in half, the date of Earth Overshoot Day would be pushed back by 89 days, or about three months. This is possible, and would reduce humanity’s demand to the ecological resources of 1.2 planets instead of 1.7 as is the case now.

Over a year ago 190 countries committed to maintaining global warming below the 2 degree Celsius threshold. Imperfect as it may be, the Paris Climate Accord generated global goodwill and hope that humanity was ready at last to tackle its biggest challenge yet. On June 1st the Trump Administration reneged on America’s promise. We, in contrast are doubling up our commitment— together with many governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals. Because it is necessary, possible and desirable to #movethedate.

Gaining 5 days every year is all it takes to bring humanity’s Ecological Footprint back to one planet before 2050. And solutions abound.

PLEDGE 1: I try a new vegetarian recipe

PLEDGE 2: I ride social!

PLEDGE 3: I dive into data

PLEDGE 4: I reach out to my city leaders to challenge them to #movethedate

PLEDGE 5: I take on food waste

30th Annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival

For immediate release with thanks from the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, Panny Mayfield, publicist,

Six cool Sunflower acoustic stages will ‘Beat the Heat’

CLARKSDALE – “When temperatures soared to 105 degrees in August 2016, our Sunflower River Blues Association members pledged to do something about it for 2017,” says Melvita Tillis Presley, festival chair.

“The answer was more Saturday afternoon acoustic stages in air-conditioned facilities,” Presley continues.

Saturday’s six free acoustic stages on August 12 include:

1. The air-cooled VIP Tent, John Lee Hooker Lane: 12 noon – 4:45 p.m.

2. Levon’s Bar and Grill, 232 Sunflower Ave.: 2 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

3. Crossroads Cultural Arts Center, 332 Delta Ave.: 2 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

4. Stone Pony, 226 Delta Ave.: 2: p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

5. Hattie Jean’s, Corner of Delta and Third Ave.: 2 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

6. Hambone Gallery, 111 East Second St.: 2 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

The Sunflower’s Saturday Aug. 12 main stage kicks off at 5 p.m. with David Dunavant & continues through Charlie Musselwhite’s finale at 11:45 p.m.

Presley says Friday night’s main stage Aug. 11 opens at 6 p.m. and continues through back-to-back super-charged performers: James Super Chikan Johnson, Nathaniel Kimble, and O.B. Buchana.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 a free Mississippi Bicentennial program “Conversations with Charlie Musselwhite” will feature blues guru Jim O’Neal interviewing the Grammy winning headliner in the Muddy Waters Wing of the Delta Blues Museum.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, the free Sunflower River Gospel Festival opens in the air-conditioned Civic Auditorium and continues through 8:45 p.m. with The Eternal Light Singers.

For updates and complete lineups, view

Do you value Clean Water? We need to continue to protect our sources of water for good health, for cooking, drinking, for our children to swim in, and our citizens to play in!

From 1Mississippi:
Repel the Repeal:
Protect Clean Water!

Polluters and other opponents are pushing repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule as part of a assault on basic protections for clean water, including the Clean Water Act. They are demanding that the federal government be required to ignore the economic benefits provided by wetlands. Act now to support the Clean Water Rule. Repel the repeal.

In 2015, the US EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers jointly finalized commonsense protections for streams and wetlands across the country. These safeguards protected the small streams that feed the drinking water sources for nearly 1 in 3 Americans. They protected wetlands throughout the nation that filter pollutants from water, absorb floodwaters, and provide habitat for countless wildlife. It was a no-brainer supported by millions of Americans and backed by science. It was a huge victory for our water.

The US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers diligently worked through the federal government’s normal rule-making process to release the clarifying rule that received over 800,000 comments of support, hundreds of which came from River Citizens like us.

Repealing the rule is bad governance, bad for businesses who rely on regulatory certainty, and bad for our communities that deserve clean water.

Small and rural communities, who rely on private wells or whose water systems lack the resources to deal with polluted sources, may be hit the hardest by the roll back.

Clean water is essential to the outdoor economy. In 2011, hunters spent $34 billion, anglers spent $41.8 billion, and wildlife watchers spent $55 billion. Repealing the Clean Water Rule and attacking the Clean Water Act puts our economy at risk.

Click Here to write a letter to your legislators!

PS: River Citizens: for example, see below for the customized letter I sent to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and also my governor, and my leaders in Congress.

You can easily send your own letter with the help of the 1Mississippi action alert

Or, if you prefer, cut & paste this into your browser:

Letter sent to my legislators and governor
July 20, 2017

I am John Ruskey, Owner and operator of Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale, MS.

A healthy Mississippi River, Sunflower River, Yazoo River, and Big Black River are essential to the health of communities across the Mississippi Delta, Hill Country, indeed the entire state. Furthermore, our nature tourism business is dependent upon the same. Nature tourism should not be ignored. It the fastest-growing segment of all tourism, and has great potential in all communities connected to our plentiful rivers, which are still mostly clean-running vibrant waterways. That said we need continued best possible protection — most importantly for the health and livelihood of our families, children -- and to insure a successful future of our entire state.

I know that what happens upstream impacts everything else downstream. If we allow our smaller streams and wetlands to be polluted, our larger rivers and lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico that the Mighty Mississippi flows into will become polluted. That is why I am strongly opposed to repealing the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

The streams and wetlands protected by the Clean Water Rule are essential to drinking water, small businesses, and our communities. Gutting these protections will put the drinking water sources for more than 117 million of us at risk. Too many communities throughout the nation already struggle with access to clean water. As with many issues, low-income communities and communities of color will be disproportionately impacted by removing this safeguard, which could increase water contamination. Contaminated water can cause a variety of health problems, especially for children. In addition, small and rural communities, who rely on private wells or whose water systems lack the resources to deal with polluted sources, will be hit hard by this rollback.

Repealing the Clean Water Rule also will endanger 20 million acres of wetlands. We all have known for many years that wetlands provide many important economic benefits - they filter pollutants from water, recharge groundwater, protect communities by absorbing floodwaters, and provide habitat for wildlife. We are losing wetlands at an alarming rate - the last thing we should do is make it harder to safeguard them. President George H. W. Bush’s “no net loss of wetlands” decades ago recognized the economic benefits of wetlands and showed that protecting wetlands enjoys bipartisan public support.

The Mississippi River basin drains most of the central United States, crossing many state lines. Protecting its tributary streams and wetlands needs to happen on the federal level with a level playing field provided by the Clean Water Rule that doesn’t allow upstream states to push their water quality and flooding problems off on downstream neighbors.

The Clean Water Act has a very bold goal - to make all of our waters swimmable, fishable, and drinkable. Repealing the Clean Water Rule will make it much more difficult to achieve that goal. Please listen to the majority of Americans who expect EPA to protect clean water, not polluter profits, and stop this wasteful and dangerous repeal process.

Thank you for your consideration of my concerns.

John Ruskey, Clarksdale, MS

Catholic Climate Movement

Last week LMRF President Kevin Smith recommended a cool website in an unexpected place: the Catholic Climate Movement -- where you can go to take climate action immediately -- such as signing a petition urging Donald Trump to to accept climate science and protect creation before it’s too late. Other recommended actions include helping your parish go green, reducing your carbon footprint, helping your institutions divest from fossil fuels, fasting for the climate (which I am doing!), and joining meatless Fridays.

Laudato Si

If you haven’t yet, go read the Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si, which is a spirited guide to connecting humans and nature, and our moral responsibility to care for creation and our brothers and sisters in poverty. You can read the Laudato Si by going here:

Climate Mayors: As of July 10, 2017, a total of 350 mayors have joined the Climate Mayors agreement, including the 10 largest cities in America — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose — along with hundreds of additional cities large and small in both red and blue states. The group of mayors, who represent more than 65.8 million Americans in 44 states, outlined a plan to align with the other 194 nations that adopted the accord.

In May, 2017, a bipartisan group of mayors from the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative have published their own letter pledging climate action in the face of federal withdrawal, which is here reproduced in whole:

Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative

May 31, 2017

The Honorable Gary D. Cohn
Asst. to the President for Economic Policy Director

The Honorable George Sifakis

Director, Office of Public Liaison Executive Office of the President

Dear Mr. Cohn and Mr. Sifakis:

We write to you with the utmost urgency imploring your assistance in maximizing American competitiveness for export of our commodities. The United States remaining a signatory in good standing to the Paris Agreement preserves low-cost access of our commodities to foreign markets.

Mayors, business executives, and representatives of the agricultural industry stand united in ensuring our trade surplus remains. The Mississippi River Basin is the most agriculturally productive zone on Earth supplying more commodities trade by volume than any other river basin in the world. This trade status is made possible through unfettered access to international markets that may close to us or become prohibitively expensive to retain our surplus standing.

Commodities from the Mississippi River Valley Make Possible a Trade Surplus

Waterways and ports in the Mississippi River ten-state corridor move $164.6 billion in agricultural products to U.S. and foreign markets. The vast majority of this volume is for export.55 to 70 percent of all U.S. exported corn, soy, and wheat move on the Mississippi River, majority of which is exported creating a trade surplus for the nation.

The Mississippi River has the largest global trade footprint of any inland waterway in North America giving it a significant stake in maintaining access to global commodity markets. As the signatories to the Paris Agreement move to implement their plans under the Agreement, the Mississippi River Valley has a large and tangible interest in the United States maintaining its seat at the table to keep markets open to U.S. products and services.

Protective Tax Structures Will Impede our Exports

If we do not adhere to the Agreement, the rest of the countries who have agreed and maintain this agreement will be moving forward unilaterally with carbon pricing through taxes or trading systems designed to increase the cost of U.S. exports. The U.S. will not be at the negotiating table for how high these taxes will be, or what the structure will look like once imposed. We will simply be subject to the decisions of these countries until such time as the WTO makes a final review.

Our Supply Chain Advantages are Tied to the Fate of the Agreement

The United States will miss out on the majority of the investment opportunities arising from the Paris Agreement and carbon emission reduction planning; 96% of countries have submitted national climate plans, putting global business operations, supply chains and investment portfolios in the same international policy framework for the first time. If we remove ourselves from this framework, we will be behind on international economic trading platforms and put our own economy behind the growth curve.

The waterway transports more than 60 percent of America’s corn and soybean exports and 40 percent of the nation’s total agricultural output. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the waterways and ports of the ten-state Mississippi River Corridor alone provide over 500,000 jobs generating $83.6 billion in annual revenue.

Bottom Line - we must do all we can to bolster American competitiveness and maximize our exports.

Very Sincerely,

Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, MN, MRCTI Co-Chair
Belinda Constant, Mayor of Gretna, LA, MRCTI Co-Chair
Roy Buol, Mayor of Dubuque, IA, MRCTI Treasurer and Immediate Past Co-Chair David Lattus, Mayor of Hickman, KY, MRCTI Secretary

Tim Kabat, Mayor of La Crosse, WI
Russell Loven, Mayor of Guttenberg, IA
Brant Walker, Mayor of Alton, IL
Harry Rediger, Mayor of Cape Girardeau, MO
Jay Hollowell, Mayor of Helena-West Helena, AR Bill Luckett, Mayor of Clarksdale, MS
George Flaggs, Mayor of Vicksburg, MS
Paxton Branch, Mayor of Tallulah, LA
Darryl Grennell, Mayor of Natchez, MS


The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary, United States Department of State

The Honorable Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
Secretary of Commerce
Office of the Secretary, United States Department of Commerce

Solar Eclipse of the Century — on the Mississippi River!

Solar Eclipse on the Big River Sunday Aug 20th - Tuesday Aug 22nd: Avoid the crowds and join us for a spectaular viewing the Total Solar Eclipse August 21st from the middle of the mighty Mississippi River! We will paddle to remote Mississippi River island and set up an eclipse-viewing camp to observe this incredible phenomena from the perspective of the biggest river in North America. Our location is within the band of total eclipse, which for us will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Rain or Shine. (Note: the effects of the eclipse will be seen and felt regardless of sky cover. In cloudy weather it will become even darker.) 3 days/2 nights. Contact John Ruskey,, to reserve your seat in the big canoe, or for more information.

Other Upcoming Events:

Aug 18: Rivergator Celebration Exhibition: On Friday, August 18th we will be celebrating the Rivergator with paintings, photos, writing, film, music, food and drinks! Starts 6pm at Catalpa House in Clarksdale, Miss. 6-9pm. Featuring paintings by John Ruskey, writing by Boyce Upholt, photos & film by Chris Battaglia, and adventure stories from John and LaNae Abnet. Music TBA. Catalpa House is located at the corner of Riverside & Catalpa (110 Catalpa Street — across the Sunflower River from downtown Clarksdale). For more information contact John Ruskey,, Lena Von Machui,, or Mark River

Aug 19: Quapaw Canoe Company's annual Canoe, Kayak & SUP Safety Workshop -- in the Helena Harbor 12noon to 5pm. Meet 11am at Quapaw Helena headquarters 107 Perry St in downtown Helena, last building on levee headed to river. Open to public, $50/person for one-on-one instruction in what to do when your vessel flips over in the big river. Other topics covered include navigation, big river protocol, and emergency medical considerations.


Nov 1-Nov 10: Continuation of the Rivergator Expedition: We will return to Bonne Carre Spillway in early November and resume the expedition to the Gulf of Mexico. More details forthcoming, but dates are approx Wed, Nov 1 to Fri Nov 10th, weather dependent of course.


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