In the News: August 2023

On Minneapolis riverfront, ‘orphan hazard’ threatens St. Anthony Falls

A wall buried beneath the bed of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis supporting Saint Anthony Falls could cause significant damage if it breaks, but no government entity has claimed ownership of the structure. The Minnesota Legislature set aside $1 million this past session for the University of Minnesota to assess the situation.

According to MinnPost, “Those who have attempted to guess the results of a failure agree on one thing: It would be bad. Very, very, bad. What are the possible things that could go wrong if the wall fails?

  • St. Anthony Falls could collapse, and the river would eventually scour a new path.
  • The level of the Mississippi River could drop dramatically.
  • Crossings over the river and development on its banks would be threatened.
  • A huge part of the region’s water supply could be disrupted if the river level dropped below the intake pipes.”

“Rivers are dynamic systems and it is an act of hubris to locate a city along one and expect it not to change,” Carrie Jennings, the research and policy director of Freshwater, told MinnPost.

Source: MinnPost, minnpost.com

Back Channel Radio

Tyra Falk, featured in Episode 5 of Back Channel Radio. Photo courtesy Back Channel Radio

There is only one year-round habitable boathouse community left on the Mississippi River, and it’s near Winona. Gina Favano, an archivist who lives in the community, is telling its story with a new podcast series: Back Channel Radio.

“Queer stories, stories of radical resistance, stories of older women living alone in this insanely wild place. I was afraid they would slowly disintegrate like the shrinking shoreline, be absorbed by following generations, and eventually forgotten.”

Source: MN Artists, mnartists.walkerart.org; backchannelradio.org

How private interests benefit from tribal water settlements

“Given the history and impacts of forced removal and rapid colonial expansion in the Southwest, tribal water rights have taken decades to resolve. Companies, cities and farms moved in, becoming large water- users near reservations. As a result, they become part of the settlement process. … A review of decades of settlements by High Country News and ProPublica found that mining companies benefited from at least six out of 14 tribes’ water settlements in Arizona.”

Source: High Country News, hcn.org