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."
Now Available Online!
May the River be with You
Episode 1: MICRO PLASTICS
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
Quapaw Canoe Company guide Tanner Aljets recently on PRI!
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:
The Mississippi: Pushed to the brink
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!
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 email@example.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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