How Low Can it Go?

On days, in sections, low-water has brought barge traffic to a standstill and forced dredges to work around the clock to keep the River open for commerce. But the River is not too low for paddlers and anglers and waders and water birds. John Ruskey's Aug. 13 "Lower Mississippi River Dispatch" describes the River's majesty at low-water:
If anything it has become more majestic and more awesome -- if nothing else than for the visual effect of the mind-boggling unending landscape of the still very wide and deep big river running in between steep muddy banks and giant piles of rip-rap, and convoluted sections of revetment that have been rolled up as surely as they were originally unrolled. Now exposed wrecks of barges and steamboats glare darkly and menacingly, along with deep muddy cuts into backwater places and slot channels which disappear into overhanging forests.

...We are learning exactly what the bottom of the river looks like. And we don’t even need diving gear. Over one century ago James B. Eads walked the bottom of the river in a special diving bell he invented and learned it better than anyone before or since. But this year us river runners don’t need any life-support system. We simply make a canoe or kayak or SUP landing and start walking!
Read the fascinating "Dispatch" HERE.

For information about paddling the River with Quapaw Canoe Co., click HERE.

Bright Colors & big signs DON'T belong on beautiful waterfronts


Weehawken, NJ


Not a sign in sight. That's why when the "colorful topper" suddenly appeared on Beale Street Landing, people were shocked. Some thought it was a joke.

The Downtown Memphis Commission had just brought in experts (Winter & Company, an urban design firm out of Boulder, Colorado) and held 3 public meetings to actively involve Memphians in setting sign code and design guidelines to determine the future look of downtown. Drafts were posted on April 12, 2012.

Draft design guidelines for the Memphis riverfront:
  • Maintain a distinct identity for the riverfront that conveys its heritage and respects the natural environment.
  • Preserve view opportunities to the river from public viewpoints.
  • Enhance pedestrian access to the river and connections that lead to it.
  • Provide pedestrian connections to the riverfront.
  • Promote creative new design for public features that subordinate to the natural character and heritage.
  • Preserve historic features that exist in the area.
Link to Design Guidelines, draft - apply to public projects or projects that seek public money or incentives.
Link to Sign Code, draft - apply to all projects within downtown
Link to Current Sign Code.


Stone vs. Concrete for Cobblestone Landing Restoration

It's a confusing issue, but to simplify --

1. Everybody in Memphis (including the RDC and the Memphis Landmarks Commission staff) says they'd rather use real stone to repair the Cobblestone Landing infill section. That's most of the light gray area in the aerial illustration.

It's marked "cobblestones" in the cross-section illustration.
(click illustrations to enlarge)

2. But, according to Landmarks staff and the RDC, somebody in Nashville told us we couldn't use real stone, that it would not meet the historic preservation guidelines.
Read more »


Stormwater - Help Solve the Problems

This is a photo of Lick Creek in Overton Park. It's a storm water system. It's also a living creek or could be, and it flows into the Mississippi River. The water does not go through a treatment plant.

It's time for the City to seek a new permit for the discharge of stormwater. A component of the process gives citizens the opportunity to share their comments with the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the permitting agency. The City and TDEC will hold a public meeting

Monday, Aug. 13
5:30 pm
Benjamin Hooks Main Library (3030 Poplar)

Councilmembers Jim Strickland and Lee Harris, and representatives from the City's Public Works division will be on hand.

Do you want to see more garbage cans, enforced fines for littering, more green roofs, rain barrels, daylighting of our streams and creeks, floodplain restrictions, wetland creation...? Some small changes can lead to big changes. Take advantage of this opportunity to share your suggestions.