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"Returning the River" by Molly Van Avery, Dameun Strange, and Michael Hoyt. Image courtesy of Michael Hoyt.

Review of Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

As the water quality coordinator for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) for nine years, I organized and hosted the Mississippi River Forum. A monthly informational and networking series, the River Forum was one of my more visible tasks. A fundamental organizing principle of this ongoing series was to bring together a disciplinarily diverse group of water resource practitioners and decision-makers for conversations with people beyond their typical working relationships…

Climate Land Leaders are learning that soil health is needed for healthy waters. Image courtesy of Sharing Our Roots.

Creating Our Water Futures

This issue of Open Rivers invites us all to envision the kind of future we hope to have with water. It encourages us to see the possibilities. By imagining the relationships we want with water, imagining the water conditions we want to see in our future, we begin to see both the challenges and potentials in our present and the steps necessary to move us to these desired and desirable water conditions…

Sunrise at El Mirador, Guatemala. This was one of the largest cities in the Americas about 2000 years ago. Now it's located in one of the largest "virgin" forests in Central America. Image courtesy of the author.

An Archaeologist Writes against the Anthropocene

Much of what archaeologists do is study how humans adapt to the environment. After Gordon Willey’s (1953) groundbreaking investigation into the entire history of occupation of a small valley in Peru, understanding how humans lived in and modified their environment became commonplace. Indeed, the “New Archeology” that took the American academy by storm in the 1960s and strove to make the discipline more scientific made human-environment interactions and the understanding of human-environmental relations one of its central goals…

The fall colors along the Mississippi River are framed nicely by the Ford bridge. This photograph was taken looking upstream of Lock and Dam 1 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. USACE photograph by Sam Mathiowetz.

An Endangered River: The Mississippi River Gorge

Almost 500 river miles below its source at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River tumbles over its only waterfall in downtown Minneapolis. Dubbed the Falls of Saint Anthony by explorer Father Louis Hennepin, the falls were formed by glacial action more than 10,000 years ago. The magnificent waterfall was once over 200 feet high and located in downtown St. Paul. Over the years, the falls migrated upstream to their present location in downtown Minneapolis.