Immortal River

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2005-01-03
Publisher(s): Univ of Wisconsin Pr
List Price: $34.95

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This engaging and well-illustrated primer to the Upper Mississippi River presents the basic natural and human history of this magnificent waterway. Immortal River is written for the educated lay-person who would like to know more about the river's history and the forces that shape as well as threaten it today. It melds complex information from the fields of geology, ecology, geography, anthropology, and history into a readable, chronological story that spans some 500 million years of the earth's history. Like the Mississippi itself, Immortal River often leaves the main channel to explore the river's backwaters, floodplain, and drainage basin. The book's focus is the Upper Mississippi, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Cairo, Illinois. But it also includes information about the river's headwaters in northern Minnesota and about the Lower Mississippi from Cairo south to the river's mouth ninety miles below New Orleans. It offers an understanding of the basic geology underlying the river's landscapes, ecology, environmental problems, and grandeur.

Author Biography

Calvin Fremling is professor emeritus of biology at Winona State University and former aquatic ecologist at the Resources Studies Center, St. Mary's University of Minnesota. He has written numerous articles on the environment and the Mississippi River.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introducing Old Man River
Part 1. The River Primeval
Majestic River Bluffs and Beautiful Valleys
Glaciers: Sculptors of the Upper Mississippi River Basin
The Upper Mississippi River: Child of the Pleistocene
The Land Missed by the Glaciers
After the Glaciers
The Mississippi's Prehistoric Native Americans: Hunters, Gatherers, Farmers, and City Planners
Part 2. Exploration and Early Exploitation
The Quest for Furs and a Northwest Passage: Changing Ownership of the Mississippi River Basin, 1673--1803
Prairie, Savanna, and the Big Woods: The Riverine Landscape at the Time of Exploration and Settlement by Americans and Europeans
Early Exploitation of Natural Resources
Part 3. Caging the Giant
Steamboats 'Round the Bend
``Improving'' the River, 1878--1930
Mission Impossible: The Nine-Foot Channel Project
The Glory Years
Diesel-Driven Towboats and Steel Barges: A Rebirth of Commercial River Transportation
Part 4. Ecological Relationships
The Corps Giveth, the Corps Taketh Away: Long-Term Impacts of the Nine-Foot Channel and Related Projects
Vital Strands in the River's Web of Life
``Mayflies! What the Hell Good Are They?''
Flooding: ``The River Is a Strong Brown God---Sullen, Untamed and Intractable''
Pollution: Has a Defiled River Been Reborn?
Part 5. The River Today and Tomorrow
Who's in Charge?
Can This Be the Same River? St. Louis to the Mouth of the Ohio and Beyond
Epilogue: The River Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Bibliography 399(18)
Index 417

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