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LMRD 758 — Tuesday Jan 14th — New Year’s 2020
The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Mississippi River"

In this issue:

***Predictions 2020***
***Highlights 2019***
***Upcoming 2020***

Our Mighty Quapaw Predictions for 2020:

The following is a mixture of predictions based on 35 years experience paddling the Lower Mississippi River, and as such is part educated guess, part wizened observation, and part river rat fancy, you decide which is which:

In 2020...

*More Mississippi and Arkansas youth will experience the thrill of the big river than ever before.

*2020 will be another historic flood year. 2019 was the 2nd wettest recorded year ever in the Mississippi Drainage (everything in between the Rockies and Appalachia). 2020 will continue the trend, maybe as the wettest, or maybe the 3rd wettest. Disclaimer: this was written 2 weeks ago, before all the big storms swept up the valley from the Gulf. Today the river is above flood stage at Cairo (48.1 today, rising to 50 by the end of the week. Flood stage at Cairo is 40.)

*An ocean-going cruise ship will take advantage of the deep waters of the flood year, and set sail up the Mississippi River, only to get stuck in the notoriously shifty shoals found at Victoria Bend, mile 595. Four thousand passengers off-loaded onto nearby Big Island will be forced to take refuge with squirrels and black bears in the tall oaks, cypress and sweetgums, the only dry place found in the flooded forests.

*Giant blue log 20 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall is washed out of a muddy layer during high water and comes to rest on Island 62. Biologists revise upwards the maximum size of trees from the ancient forests of the Miss Delta.

*Lidar radar mapping reveals ancient civilization along Lower Miss — of mound-building mosquitoes.

*The Delta Triangle will flex its mysterious magnetic muscle and cause hundreds of unplanned cosmic and/or religious events for travelers and residents alike. This was recently played out by a friend of mine who experienced a near lightning strike on a cloudless day at Silver Cloud Lining church on Bog Dog Road near Friars Point.

*The New Madrid Earthquake Zone will speak more loudly, following up on a series of tremors felt in 2019 along the Chickasaw Bluffs above the river in NW Tennessee.

*The Bonnet Carre Spillway is re-opened in high waters. Bottlenose Dolphins flip upstream and stage protests across midwestern cornfield country and in major city water treatment plants (Memphis, St. Louis and Baton Rouge) in response to foul water conditions being sluiced into their homes and nurseries found in the Mississippi Sound and Breton Sound. Presidential Candidates get confused and proclaim “Dolphins for Iowa!”

*Mark Twain’s 1883 prediction that continuous cutoffs and engineering will shorten the river to “a mile and three-quarters long” is played out when Cairo, IL, washes downstream and makes landing at Audubon Park in New Orleans.

*An adventurer will seek to better the James B. Eads legend by attempting to walk the bottom of the Mississippi River in a diving bell. Last heard from knocking his metallic head against massive gates at the Melvin Price Lock & Dam #26 near Alton, IL. Big Muddy Mike and his faithful Dolly conduct rescue off Duck Island near mouth of the Missouri.

*Jim and Huck will be seen rafting out into the Gulf of Mexico, still searching for their freedom.

In the next 10 years...

*Record numbers of Delta youth will paddle the Lower Mississippi River as parents and schools recognize the great rewards to be gained in a powerful, wild, outdoor landscape for their kids, and the life-lessons to be learned in the challenges of nature.

*Snow Geese will take advantage of warming trends and begin migrating over the North Pole to reach new winter grounds in the northern steppes of Russia.

*Monarch Butterflies will evolve the ability to consume all toxic fluids, not just milkweed toxins, and as result flourish across Chemical Corridor (and the Louisiana/Texas coastline), causing major plant shut-downs and disruption of product flow. They prove to be immune to pesticides as result, and all efforts to remove are stymied. Chemical Corridor becomes known as Butterfly Corridor. Cancer Alley becomes Butterfly Alley.

In the next 100 years...

*The Mississippi River will find a new and shorter route to the Gulf of Mexico when it jumps channels into the Atchafalaya River basin. Morgan City becomes the new port of call for ocean going traffic.

*North America contribution of oxygen and carbon sequestration spikes as the alluvial floodplain is abandoned by permanent inhabitants, and 25 million acres of bottomland forests and swamps reclaim the region.

*A giant new lake will be formed, blue mud will be ejected upwards, and the Mississippi River will flow backwards for a day, after a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line.

*The residents of Vicksburg will seek shelter in muddy backyard caves, not from Union shelling this time, but from summertime heat.

Quapaw Canoe Company, new in 2020:

Oct 1-4, Mississippi River Yoga Retreat with Erin Mulligan

Highlights from 2019 — all to be repeated in 2020:

click on island63 dispatch for the full read from each:

*Week-Long Artist’s Retreat on Horn Island, March 23-28th with nature artists Robin Whitfield and John Ruskey





*Summer Camp for Delta Youth on the Mississippi River III

*Magic on the Big Muddy Expedition with Dave & Emma Cornthwaite

May the River be With You:
Episode #5 "River Music," featuring artists
Lucious Spiller and Meghan Maike!

Tune in on Stitcher -- Or on Apple Podcasts

Jump on board the big muddy with your guide Mark "River" Peoples and feel the powerful, storied currents of the Mighty Mississippi River pull at your feet and open your imagination. "May The River Be With You" focuses on how the largest river in North America influences and impacts our culture, from arts and education to ecology and commerce. In each episode, we discuss how the river affects us all in unexpected ways while also featuring music, poetry, tales and myths inspired by the river itself.

Quapaw Canoe Company in the news:

Recent stories and videos from the river... click on title to get to page:

Canoe trip on Mississippi offers nature stop on Arkansas' Buck Island

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct 27, 2019

By Pamela Selbert, photos by Guy Selbert

Big Muddy Connection

Mississippi Outdoors, Oct 22, 2019

Mississippi Dept of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

by Sherry Lucas

Redemption River

Mississippi Outdoors TV, Oct 4, 2019

by Scooter whatley

SACRED PLACE: Paddling to Walter Inglis Anderson’s Horn Island

The Oxford American, ISSUE 106, FALL 2019

By Julian Rankin | September 3, 2019

Upcoming Paddling Events in 2020:

*February is for Friends of the Sunflower River, cleanups and community paddling events

*Thurs, Fri, Sat, Feb 7-9 Full Snow Moon canoe trips -- Clarksdale, Helena, Memphis

*Sat, Feb 15, General Annual Membership Meeting, potluck, Sunflower River Cleanup

*March 13-15, Canoecopia, World's Largest Paddling EXPO! Madison, WS. Quapaw Canoe Company will be sharing a table with the MRN 1Mississippi Program.

*March 23-28th, Week-Long Artist’s Retreat on Horn Island, with nature artists Robin Whitfield and John Ruskey

*April 18, Bluz Cruz 22-mile Paddling Race on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg. Go to for registration and more info.

*June 7-13, Summer Camp for Delta Youth on the Mississippi River III

*Sept 20-27, Magic on the Big Muddy MISSISSIPPI ADVENTURE WEEK

*Oct 1-4, Mississippi River Yoga Retreat with Erin Mulligan

*Oct 4-12, SUP ADVENTURE MASTERCLASS with Dave and Emma Cornthwaite

*Oct 18-25 , Magic on the Big Muddy MISSISSIPPI ADVENTURE WEEK II

*Oct 27 - Nov 8 Mississippi River CREATIVE RETREAT with nature artist John Ruskey


Happy Ca-New Year Everyone! In this most sacred of seasons we hope your dreams are blossoming between the cracks in the calendar of time.

We are deeply troubled by the burning of Eastern Australia, and the inflamed passions of the warlords at home and abroad. There are too many fires in too many places, and mother earth and all her creatures are suffering as result. The cold winter weather is a blessing. Embrace the cold, as you would a friend you may not be seeing too much of if we keep on our present path into the future. Coldness is becoming a precious experience of increasing rarity. Ice, snow, sleet, cold rain -- these might all be sensations we know only as stories we share with our children and grand-children -- if we don't turn things around, and do it soon. What is happening in the southern hemisphere’s summer will be our experience in 6 months. We need more coolness, not less; more cool woods, not more wood pellet plants for foreign export; more cool waters, not dried-out wetlands, more cool heads, not hot-heads ignoring the pleas of our planet. Slow down and enjoy the sweet beauty of our common mother. Burn less fuel. Listen to the earth; she is speaking. If you are having trouble hearing, step outside and spend some time on her riverbanks, or in her woods, her deserts, on the edges of her fields and plains. Join us in one of our many trips planned for Winter/Spring 2020. The Mississippi eloquently speaks for the earth!


I Can Hear Their Calling

Mark River Blog

After a very short Fall, Winter has settled upon us with hope and dreams for the coming year. The River is holding steady above its normal level, causing anxiety and uncertainty for the coming Spring. The fleet of Quapaw canoes are resting side by side hibernating anticipating the taste of the fresh snowmelt and discharge of aquifers coming soon. We wonder why we get these epic high water events. Is it because of the natural order of life or the continuous stress that human activity has forced upon her? Warm winters in places that usually have frigid temperatures. Invasive serpents finding themselves migrating further and further north disrupting the natural order. The rise in depression, anxiety, and allergies in humans. We must come together, putting our bottom lines aside, and realize that the Creator put us here not to master, deplete, and decimate our natural world, but to serve and sustain it.

When I'm in the wilderness these days, I can hear the animals call to me. They feel my compassion and grief, as I reach out to them for understanding. They feel my soul, showing themselves to me, to show me that we are one. If they suffer, we suffer. We are so caught up in prosperity and infinite growth, that we are leaving our natural community to struggle and fight to keep the balance for all of us. They need us. I respect the trees that produce priceless oxygen, while depleting the carbon dioxide in the air. I watch the birds migrate from the South spreading seed, producing invaluable flora and fauna that feed us. I hear the buzz of the insects pollinating the plants bearing fruits of life, while their larvae feed the fish. I witness the beaver managing the forest, dropping trees in the River creating valuable fish habitat. I see the raptors soaring high taking only what they need, controlling the balance. I honor the hunter who selectively harvest animals to feed their families, but show respect for their taking, and leave nothing to waste.

I recently watched a young environmentalist plead to the world for mercy. I could feel her desperate call to world leaders that we are not doing all we can. As tears run down my face, it reminded me of my youth. Elders lying and deceiving their offspring and the anger and pain you feel when you realize the deception. I've spent time with my nephew, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on Sustainable Energy, gearing up for the fight of a lifetime to correct the problems developed by past generations, and it makes me optimistic for the future. The natural world and our kids are feeling the stress. We must own up to our shortcomings and set an example for the next generations because they will mature and wonder what we were thinking. Let's be humble and restore the balance.

Mark River


From Our Partner LNT, Leave No Trace

State Advocate Positions Available:
The Center is looking for an enthusiastic individual to lead the Leave No Trace movement in MS.

Volunteer State Advocates are the driving force of the Leave No Trace movement in their state. Advocates work to bring Leave No Trace to their communities through training, educational outreach, action-oriented events and volunteer engagement. They are the first line of contact for anyone looking for local Leave No Trace training or programming in their state.

Click here to learn more about the requirements of the position.


From Our Partner the Mississippi River Network:

We are hiring for a Policy Manager to join the Mississippi River Network Team. The job description is below and attached to this email. Please share with folks in your network or any individuals you think would be a great fit for this position, I would greatly appreciate it.

Policy 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 policy agenda. The MRN is a coalition of 55 organizations who have joined together to protect and restore the Mississippi River. The MRN has several initiatives: 1) a public communications program 2) improved and amended state and federal policies that restore and protect the River and 3) promoting communication and collaboration among the MRN members and partner organizations.

The Policy Manager will provide key analysis and proactive policy development in issues relating to water quality, restoration, and conservation of the Mississippi River, analyze proposed legislative or administrative changes to federal and state policies, appropriations and laws related to the River, educate members of MRN, the public, and the media on such policies and proposals, and cultivate support for those policies and proposals among policymakers and other stakeholder organizations. The Policy Manager will accomplish this by, among other means, coordinating policy work among the MRN members, educating MRN members, the public and decision-makers, and planning and attending briefings and meetings locally along the Mississippi River and in Washington, DC. The Policy Manager will work with the MRN Director and Engagement Manager on engaging interested members of the public (River Citizens) and building capacity of MRN members. With guidance and direction from the MRN Policy Committee, the Policy Manager determines what policy information and advocacy opportunities are relevant and appropriate for MRN Members and the public.

The successful candidate will be a self-starter with a solid understanding of environmental policy and have experience working with coalitions and in grassroots organizing. We are searching for someone with at least three years of professional work experience in the environmental policy arena and demonstrated organizational, communications, research, and writing skills. The ability to work well with diverse interest groups and within a team is a must. An understanding of and experience with Capitol Hill and the federal policy process is highly desirable. She, he, or they will be supervised by MRN Director

Roles and Responsibilities:
? Create detailed annual strategy and workplans to meet the MRN’s policy goals
? Partner with Mississippi River stakeholders with an emphasis on grassroots supporters on policy solutions
? Analyze federal and state legislation and communicate potential impacts to MRN member organizations and River Citizens
? Create an annual targeted list of decision-makers
? Communicate with MRN members, and River Citizens on Mississippi River related issues, including legislative updates and other pertinent activities or media coverage via newsletters, social media, webinars, print materials, webinars, action alerts, tool kits etc.
? Educate decision-makers, MRN members, and River Citizens on MRN policy priorities including related to nutrient pollution from agriculture and the protection and restoration of floodplains and wetlands by conducting in-person meetings, events, writing fact sheets and tool kits, blog posts, etc.
? Coordinate state-level policy work among MRN members and decision-makers
? Develop metrics to measure the impact of policy work and provide tracking of all policy activities
? Travel throughout the ten-state MR region and Washington, DC, to meet with partners and other stakeholders
? Represent the MRN in relevant policy meetings and workgroups
? Identify advocacy opportunities to educate River Citizens and MRN members about MRN policy goals and related issues
? Work with other MRN staff to support the integration of the policy work with the public campaigns and inform and communicate effectively
? Experience with and understating of how policy is made and changed at federal and state levels
? Familiarity with issues related to the Mississippi River, specifically the current status of federal legislation and appropriations (Farm Bill, Water Resources Development Act, FEMA’s Flood Insurance Program, Clean Water Act) and federal programs (EPA’s NPDES program, targeted USDA River Basin initiatives and US Army Corps of Engineers programs)
? Experience with managing several projects at the same time
? Excellent written and oral communication skills and attention to detail
? Computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft and Google software suites, Salsa Engage experience a plus
? Creativity and the ability to quickly adapt to new situations
? Passion for and a belief in the legislative process
? Bachelor’s degree is a must, preferably an advanced degree, but appropriate experience is equally important

This position can be located in one of the ten mainstem states the Mississippi River flows through, close to a large airport, as travel to and from Chicago (where the MRN Director is located), Washington, DC, and the ten main-stem Mississippi River states is expected. Depending on location, this is a remote working position.

Salary will be based upon candidate’s experience, but will range from $45,000 - $50,000 per year. Benefits include health insurance, dental and vision insurance, paid time off, 403 (b) plan.

To Apply
Please send cover letter and resume to the MRN Director, Kelly McGinnis at Applications are due by January 31, 2020. No phone calls please.



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 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.


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Our Projects:

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


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


Our Friends:

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


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 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"


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."


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.


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.


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


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.