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LMRD Vol 8 No 9c

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee

Paddle & Float 2012

Y’all come out and show your support! This is your chance to paddle the BIG RIVER on Saturday October 6th and help a great organization at the same time! 18 miles from the 3rd Chickasaw Bluff (Shelby Forest) to the 4th Chickasaw Bluff (downtown Memphis). Sandbar feast, music and stories amongst the company of some groovy & grizzled river-rats!

If you live anywhere in the mid-South and want to spend a day on the river, this would be a great opportunity! Heck, you could fly into Memphis from just about anywhere for a weekend of paddling the biggest river in North America -- and later enjoy a night of live blues music and legendary Memphis Bar-B-Q! Brunch and Gospel Church the next morning and then fly home.

For ten years now the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee has been producing a multitude of events, publications, bricks & mortar and much much more in promotion of better outdoor life for anyone living on or near the Mississippi River in the mid-South. Led by the dynamic team of Diana Threadgill and Glenn Cox the MRC-T has created The Great River Road Trail (Western Tennessee), The Shelby County Trail Segment of the Mississippi River Trail, and the Great River Birding Trail - Tennessee. WOW. Talk about the enhancement of outdoor recreation! They are creating Blue-Ways along tributary rivers the Forked Deer and the Hatchie. They are building a Reelfoot Lake Trail & Boardwalk around the North Basin of Reelfoot Lake. They are overseeing the construction of a Canoe and Kayak Port and River Center at the new River Park in downtown Dyersburg.

Y’all, if you live in Memphis or the River counties of Western Tennessee your life has been made better by the hard work of the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee. Your children and grandchildren will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Isn’t it time to show some love?


Paddle & Float 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

8:30am – 6:00pm

Mississippi River and Mud Island River Park - Memphis

Experience the great river by canoe or jet boat!

Hickman Bar will be our outdoor venue for lunch, music, river lore and a great view!

Sponsors: Gather at the River Conference and Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP

For more information or reservations, please visit

E-mail: or call (901) 278-8459

Limited seats are available so please reserve early!

Outfitters: John Ruskey – Quapaw Canoe Company

Michael Clark – Big Muddy Adventures

Jet Boat supplied by Memphis Riverboats Inc.

Captain William Lozier

The Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization and a portion of your excursion price is tax deductible. A receipt will be provided to you following the event

Quapaw Canoe Co.

Fall 2012 Schedule

This Fall

Get to know YOUR river!


Sat Oct 6 Paddle & Float a celebration of the Mississippi River with big canoes and legendary professional guides “Driftwood Johnnie” and “Big Muddy” Mike Clark, sandbar feast, music, and much, much more! 17 miles on the river. Join in voyageur canoe (no experience necessary) or paddle your own craft. Shelby Forest to downtown Memphis. A fundraiser presented by the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee. For more information or reservations, please visit

E-mail: or call (901) 278-8459

Limited seats are available so please reserve early!

Thursday Oct 4 - Sat Oct 6, Pass Da Biscuits! Its the 27th Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival! Helena, Arkansas. The best of the down-home delta blues with the Mississippi River right behind you! Headliners: Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. For complete lineup and more information go to http:/

Saturday Oct 13 the Eleventh Annual Phatwater Kayak Challenge 42 miles down the Mississippi River and no speed limit! Port Gibson to Natchez-Under-the-Hill. Go to for more info.

Saturday Oct 13 Woodville Deer & Wildlife Festival with a live dugout canoe carving exhibition. Woodville, Mississippi. Go to for complete descriptions and contact info.

Thursday Oct 18 -- 40th Anniversary Celebration of the US Clean Water Act! Free Paddling on the Sunflower River! Sunflower River Cleanup. 9am-5pm from Quapaw Canoe Company in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi.


Nov 2 - Nov 4, Paddle and Explore the Big Sunflower River through Delta National Forest! Anguilla to Holly Bluff to the Little Sunflower. Big trees, deep woods, spectacular fall colors and abundant wildlife. Contact for more information.

Nov 12 - Nov 23, Low Water Expedition Memphis to Vicksburg Put in above Memphis and paddle the lowest water in almost 100 years down the Chickasaw Bluffs and into the Mississippi Delta, past the Arkansas River and the land where the blues was born all of the way down to the towering bluffs of Vicksburg. Contact for more information.

40th Anniversary of the US Clean Water Act

This fall we are celebrating the rivers of America with the 40th Anniversary of the US Clean Water Act. The Oct 18, 1972 Clean Water Act led to the cleanup of the Mississippi River, as well as most of its tributaries -- and in fact most rivers everywhere in the Unites States -- most of which had long been suffering with neglect from industry, agriculture and cities along their channels. New York’s Hudson River, Ohio’s Cuyahoga, and New Mexico’s Rio Grande all benefitted from the Clean Water Act and subsequent enforcement. The Mississippi River rebounded from decades of degradation after the 1972 law went into place, although in recent years it has been increasingly suffering from nutrient overload (notably nitrogen) and urban storm-water runoff. This summer of low water has led to massive kills of river fish who have become trapped in dead back channels and isolated pools which dried up. The health of the Mississippi depends upon water quality, but also quantity. When the water gets too low at New Orleans there is a “wedge” of salt water that drives upstream along the river bottom and threatens freshwater intakes for all people who derive river drinking water between New Orleans and the Gulf. How can we ensure healthy levels of flow? By defending wetlands along the river and its tributaries and creating new wetlands in lowlands connected to the main channel. Wetlands connected to the river act as buffers to change in water flow, and furthermore clean the water as it flows in and out.

The current US Farm bill proposed by the Senate has provisions that encourage farmers to preserve wetlands and use simple conservation practices when farming in highly erodible soil. The House bill lacks these incentives. Call or write your representatives and let them know what you think of this shortcoming!

Americans deserve clean water - it is vital for our health, communities, environment and economy. We have made great progress in reducing pollution during the past 40 years. But many challenges remain and we must work together to protect clean water for our families and future generations. Everyone has an impact on the water and we are all responsible for making a difference. Water is worth it. Our children are worth it. Our grandchildren are worth it. Don’t you agree?

Go to for updates, photos, essays and more information.

I like what New Zealand recently did with its 3rd longest river, the Whanganui, in granting the river the same rights as a person… (see below for interesting news item sent to me from Joel Charles -- thanks Joel!)

New Zealand Grants a River the Rights of Personhood

(by Stephen Messenger -

“From the dawn of history, and in cultures throughout the world, humans have been prone to imbue Earth's life-giving rivers with qualities of life itself -- a fitting tribute, no doubt, to the wellsprings upon which our past (and present) civilizations so heavily rely. But while modern thought has come to regard these essential waterways more clinically over the centuries, that might all be changing once again.

“Meet the Whanganui. You might call it a river, but in the eyes of the law, it has the standings of a person.

“In a landmark case for the Rights of Nature, officials in New Zealand recently granted the Whanganui, the nation's third-longest river, with legal personhood "in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests". The decision follows a long court battle for the river's personhood initiated by the Whanganui River iwi, an indigenous community with strong cultural ties to the waterway.

“Under the settlement, the river is regarded as a protected entity, under an arrangement in which representatives from both the iwi and the national government will serve as legal custodians towards the Whanganui's best interests.

"Today's agreement which recognizes the status of the river as Te Awa Tupua (an integrated, living whole) and the inextricable relationship of iwi with the river is a major step towards the resolution of the historical grievances of Whanganui iwi and is important nationally," says New Zealand's Minister for Treaty for Waitangi Negotiations, Christopher Finlayson.

"Whanganui Iwi also recognize the value others place on the river and wanted to ensure that all stakeholders and the river community as a whole are actively engaged in developing the long-term future of the river and ensuring its wellbeing," says Finlayson.

“Although this is likely the first time a single river has been granted such a distinction under the law, chances are it's not the last. In 2008, Ecuador passed similar ruling giving its forests, lakes, and waterways rights on par with humans in order to ensure their protection from harmful practices.

“And, while it may seem an odd extension of rights, in many ways it harkens back to a time when mankind's fate was more readily acknowledged as being intertwined with that of the rivers, lakes, and streams that sustained us -- a time in which our purer instincts towards preserving nature needn't be dictated by legislation.”