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LMRD 690, Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018
Clarksdale, Miss

Mark River Blog:

~ The Continuous Struggle for Balance ~

The many years I've spent exploring the Mississippi River and all its life forms, the single most important condition to maintain is balance. As humans try to decipher the animal kingdom and its significance to the food chain, we fail to see that every species depends upon the health of all others. Think about it. We are no more imperative to this life than the smallest organisms. There was first the heavens and earth, then, light, water, vegetation, water creatures, land creatures, and finally humans. We were put here to sustain, manage, and protect all the plethoric species.

In 2011, a great flood on the Mississippi River swallowed many parts of the Delta. That year, the least terns, who migrate up the River from the Caribbean, Central and South America, to take advantage of the great fishing and ween their young. Their eggs are laid on the sand bar, which acts as a natural camouflage. If the sand is not there, the population plummets. The following year we had a record low, there was plenty of sand, and the population reestablished itself.

That same year, the sand bars were littered with silver and big headed carp. What made this unusual was that there were no catfish, crappie, bass, buffalo, and other native fish. This was wonderful for the scavengers who were nursing young. They had taken a serious hit in population during the flood, and now they were raising the first generation afterwards. What was the River doing? Seems as though the River was taking inventory and cutting its overhead. I think we could learn a lot from these natural occurrences if we would just listen and feel our environment.

Early spring, while the migratory birds were in full force, island hopping, looking for a good nesting tree. The sky was in abounding song mood. Orioles, warblers, cardinals, red-wing black birds, and indigo buntings flying from tree to tree eating insects. Pelicans, anhinghas, storks and ibis gathered at the top of Island. Gulls float in the wake of the tow boats surprising confused fish. Cliff and barn swallows swooped up and down feasting on mosquitoes and hatchlings. Dragonflies assist them, being aware of their nemesis, the Mississippi kites gliding high above. I witness all this while sitting in the canopy of cottonwoods near my tent, enjoying natures teachings while swatting an occasional mosquito. I made it a game and piled them up to the side, keeping count. It amazed me. It didn't take long for a colony of ants to carry them off one by one. Nothing goes to waste in the wild, keeping the balance.

At this moment, the river is rising. We saw a high mortality rate for the big head and silver carp when the river dropped earlier this year, but now the rains from the hurricanes have rejuvenated the river channels and swept the sand bars clean. The fall is coming fast, which symbolizes the transition of the times of plenty, to the desolate. The birds and waterfowl are making their way south. The trees are thinning. The turtles are submerging themselves in the mud. The mammals' offspring prepare for their first winter. The water will eventually drop-- as it does always in winter-- and only the die-hard river rats, paddlers, fishermen and hunters will engage in this immense, incredible, iconic wilderness- because it's where we find balance.

-Mark River

Capt. Mark River is chief guide and youth leader for the Quapaw Canoe Company. He is also Southern Coordinator with

Position Opening for the
Mississippi River Network:

**1 Mississippi
Campaign Manager **

Position Description

The Mississippi River Network: Headwaters to Gulf (MRN) is seeking applicants for full-time, salaried position to work on the coalition's public outreach campaign. The MRN is a collaborative effort of 55 organizations who have joined together to protect and restore the Mississippi River. The MRN has several initiatives: 1) a public communications campaign 2) improved and amended policies that restore and protect the River and 3) promoting communication and collaboration among the MRN members and partner organizations.

The Campaign Manager helps to implement and grow the MRN’s public communications campaign called 1 Mississippi. The purpose of the campaign is to build a nationwide community of people (River Citizens) to protect the Mississippi River. The overarching goals of the campaign are to increase the number of River Citizens, to better engage and educate River Citizens, and to encourage River Citizens to take advocacy action.

As a full-time manager of the 1 Mississippi campaign, the Campaign Manager collaborates with the Regional Hosts (MRN members) to hire, train, and manage 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistants. Outreach Assistants are responsible for recruiting River Citizens as well as cultivating the River Citizens’ relationship to the River through education and engagement events with support from the Campaign Manager.

The Campaign Manager is responsible for organizing meetings, events, and engaging River Citizens to use their advocacy voice throughout the basin and specifically in Illinois and Iowa on MRN priority policy issues. He or she works towards acquiring press and increasing exposure for the 1 Mississippi campaign by building relationships with member’s communications staff, partners, and media. This person identifies, tracks, and manages all aspects of the campaign and analyzes how to continually improve the campaign’s communications strategy. He or she will develop and guide a Campaign Committee to ensure that the communications strategy is delivered effectively to the public.

The Campaign Manager uses web development, social media, and research skills to maintain, update, and promote the 1 Mississippi website and social media accounts. The position requires staying up to date on policy issues involving the River, translating these and other complicated ideas to the general public, and inspiring people to take action to help the River. The Campaign Manager creates presentations and informative materials (i.e., fact sheets, infographics) to further educate and engage River Citizens on MRN priority issues (key problems that affect the River) and how River Citizens can help. In addition, the Campaign Manager seeks to increase the reach and resources of the campaign through grant writing as needed. The Campaign Manager reports to the Director of MRN.

Additionally, The Campaign Manager manages the 1 Mississippi Campaign Funding Program (CFP). S/he creates campaign funding guidelines and applications, conducts consultations with interested members and, in collaboration with the MRN Director, reviews CFP member proposals, and weighs in on projects to be funded by the Campaign Fund. The Campaign Manager regularly communicates with CFP recipients (MRN members) and provides guidance to these recipients in planning their projects or events.

The position involves other types of outreach such as presenting the 1 Mississippi message and campaign at conferences and networking to increase MRN’s exposure.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the implementation and growth of a national public engagement campaign in order to engage people of voting age about the River
  • Within the context of MRN’s policy priorities, organize in-basin meetings around policy issues and engage River Citizens to use their advocacy voice
  • Identify and develop new and exciting outreach strategies consistent with MRN’s overall strategy and grant deliverables
  • Write and produce all 1 Mississippi campaign materials and communications to River Citizens, including blog posts, newsletters, action alerts, and all event materials
  • Develop and manage current content on the 1 Mississippi website, regularly track its progress and promote it through online media
  • Research and cultivate outreach techniques via social networking tools
  • Recruit, train and manage regional Outreach Assistants (located throughout the ten mainstem states) including planning a yearly training
  • Oversee each region’s implementation of the 1 Mississippi campaign, providing guidance and support when necessary to coordinate engagement and recruitment events
  • Collect and track data on campaign activities such as events held, River Citizens recruited, advocacy actions taken, letters/articles published; design and distribute annual River Citizen survey and report findings
  • Manage the 1 Mississippi Campaign Funding Program.
  • Attend and participate in all appropriate internal MRN planning meetings
  • Assist with creation of MRN Campaign Committee meetings and attend and participate in other MRN committee meetings (Steering and Policy) as needed
  • Research, draft and submit grant proposals that contribute to 1 Mississippi campaign funding
  • Assist MRN Director in planning and conducting large meetings, including the MRN Annual Meeting
  • Other duties as needed

Requirements for this position:

  • College degree
  • 3 to 5 years experience with managing and implementing a public engagement campaign
  • Organizing experience with a particular understanding of event planning
  • Marketing knowledge with specific experience in social media and public communications
  • Understanding of conservation-related environmental issues and advocacy
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to collaborate and communicate with internal and external stakeholders; friendly and outgoing manner
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to direct and motivate others
  • Strong organizational, planning, and time management skills; excellent attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
  • Willingness to travel in 10 state region of Mississippi River
  • Motivated self-starter who will eventually require little guidance
  • Innovative and strategic thinker who is continually developing ways to improve campaign
  • Experience working on teams
  • Current, valid Driver's License

Ideal candidates possess the above and are:

  • Experienced with Salsa Labs, Adobe and Drupel
  • Quick learners eager to take on new tasks

The location of this position is in Chicago or at a location near the Mississippi River and a large airport, as travel to and from Chicago and the ten main-stem Mississippi River states is expected.


This is a salaried, full-time position. This position requires overnight travel approximately once to twice a month and at times requires weekend work for outreach/campaign events.

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary $40,000- $45,000 - commensurate with experience
  • Health insurance, paid time off, 403 (b)

Application Instructions

Interested individuals can apply by sending their resume, cover letter, and three professional references to No phone calls please. The position will remain open until filled.


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Year in 2018. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.