Wood duck by Danny Brown

Big River Magazine

November-December 2012 Highlights

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November-December 2012
Highlights and Links

Follow the links for more information about Upper Mississippi stories and news in this issue of Big River.

Feature Stories

Measuring the State of the River  

By Reggie McLeod

State of the River website

View or download a pdf file of the whole report.

State of the River Report — Water Quality and River Health in the Metro Mississippi River is a product of the Friends of the Mississippi River and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

The report looks at 13 indicators of river health grouped into five categories: river flow; swimming and recreation; fish and fishing; ecological health; and other contaminants of concern. The 48-page report provides a satisfying level of detail, succinct summaries and suggested solutions. The data used for the report is throughly referenced.

The report focuses on the 72-mile stretch of river from Dayton, Minn., to Diamond Bluff, Wis., but parts of the report include information extending down to Lake Pepin. Of course, it’s all connected, and much of the contamination in the metro river continues all the way to the Gulf.

The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and
Prison Camps on the Mississippi

By Connie Cherba

Dakota non-combatants were imprisoned over the winter of 1862 on the floodplain below Fort Snelling. (Benjamin Franklin Upton, Minnesota Historical Society)

The year 1862 marked a tragic turn for the native people who had called the banks of the Upper Mississippi River home for centuries. Over the next two years hundreds of Dakota and Ho-Chunk people died in prison camps on the river's shores. The survivors were transported by riverboat to remote, infertile reservations on the Missouri River.

Solo Canoeing from Lake Itasca
to La Crosse on the Mississippi

By John F. Sullivan
Blog: Irish Voyageur

Last June, John Sullivan paddled 650 miles from the river's source at Lake Itasca to La Crosse, Wis. Read about his adventure on the upper river in this issue.

Big River Book Reviews

Reviewed in this issue:

Gifts of the Crow by John Marzluff and Tony Angell

Phantoms of the Prairie — The Return of Cougars to the Midwest by John W. Laundre

Modern-Day Huck on America’s River Road by Neal Moore and Cindy Lovell

Under a Poacher’s Moon — Stories of a Wisconsin Game Warden by Steven Dewald

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America — by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie

The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America — a Peterson Field Guide by Bill Thompson III

Hawks in Flight, Flight Identification of North American Raptors, Second edition, by Pete Dunne, David Sibley and Clay Sutton

Mni Sota Makoce — The Land of the Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White


The Lake Pepin Pearl Button Company

Turning an Antique Building into an Antique Store
By Capt. Bob Deck

The building that housed the Lake Pepin Pearl Button Company was built in 1866, and, after a lot of work, now houses an antique store in Lake City, Minnesota.


My Favorite Place on the River

By Jason Dicus

"I was a lucky kid to be able to roam the bluffs that overlook the Upper Mississippi River valley or walk the frozen river during Christmas break with my own packed winter lunch cooked on a camping stove. At the time, I just assumed that every child had an outlet as grand and accessible — that all children had a river and a place to play and get lost."

Jason and his old friends reunite each year for a camping trip on a river island. Read about his favorite place in this issue.