The once and future river

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 12:15pm

By Jane Mazack

Exploring Daley Creek is a blog series that investigates the biological and physical processes at work in a small stream in Minnesota and what it means to consider rivers in a scientific framework. Follow along to learn more about life in the stream and its broader connections, both in the present and as we consider a future of climate change.

Over the past two months, we’ve been exploring Daley Creek by considering its geologic past, ecologic present, and climate-driven future. Each of these parts is essential — but it’s also important that we consider this stream as part of a larger whole. Daley Creek lies within the Mississippi River watershed; the water that flows through this small stream is only at the beginning of a long, winding journey.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River. Photo from the Institute for Advanced Study, UMN, all rights reserved.

This week, the John E. Sawyer Seminar at the University of Minnesota will be considering the past, present, and future of the Mississippi River. We’ll be exploring what it means to “know” or “understand” the river, and what traditions, narratives, and histories can help us move forward in living with the river.

The symposium kicks off tomorrow night with a keynote by Jim Rock, a local Dakota scholar and educator. Throughout the day on Thursday and on Friday morning, panel discussions will consider the Mississippi River in its multi-faceted roles as Frame, Place, Water, and Future. We expect that the wide-ranging discussions and insights gained here will be only the beginning of ongoing conversations and growth.

No matter where you may be located within your watershed – a small headwater stream, an urban river, a sprawling delta – your place is but a part of a larger whole. In our case, that whole is the Mississippi River. If your place is near or in the Twin Cities, consider joining us for some or all of the discussions this week as we explore “The Once and Future River”.

The writing and analysis of this blog series were conducted under the auspices of the John E. Sawyer Seminar “Making the Mississippi: Formulating New Water Narratives for the 21st Century”. Sawyer seminars are funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation; further information about “Making the Mississippi” can be found here.