River Rant,The Blog, debuted twelve months ago with a promise to focus on water and the Ozarks, and my concerns about threats to all. I have tried to remain true to that charge, with a few diversions into family, friends, and floating. My concerns remain, and in some ways have intensified.
Some good things have happened the past year, most notably the agreement to shut down the Buffalo River CAFO, obtain a conservation easement on the offending property, put a permanent moratorium on large scale corporate farming in the Buffalo River watershed, admit that the state of Arkansas was wrong to permit the facility in the first place, and stop polluting America’s first national river and surrounds with large quantities of hog excrement.
This is a major victory for those of you who have stepped forward to “save the Buffalo River – again!” And presuming the agreement is implemented as promised, it will serve as a model for passion and persistence prevailing over greed and opportunism.
Bad things have also happened these past twelve months. Beyond the continuing erosion of our national will to protect and preserve fifty years of progress in understanding and protecting our environment, the recent action of the Missouri State Legislature to eliminate local health and zoning ordinance protections against CAFO intrusions is gravely problematic.
Evidently nothing can be done by August 28 of this year to stop this law, snuck in the back door the last week of the legislative session. With a severely weakened state regulatory structure and a governor and state lawmakers committed to expanding corporate agriculture to all corners of the state, without regard to vulnerable water resources or small communities who don’t want the stench and waste of corporate farms as neighbors, and don’t have the political or financial clout to defend themselves, the short term outlook is filled with risk and uncertainty.
Many of us will be organizing in support of legislation to undo this power grab by the state from local constituencies, as well as restore some semblance of independent representation on the Missouri Clean Water Commission which approves CAFOs, but the outlook for immediate success is bleak.
So I guess I’ll just keep ranting for another year. Michelle West, who helps me get things posted assures me that you are supportive of this. She measures things in clicks and opens and reads, which mean little to me, but says my numbers are substantially higher than blog norms – on average, a 48% open rate and a 25% click through rate. Your written responses have been encouraging as well. So thank you for your interest! I hope it translates into action!
That said I am going to cut back to one post per month. I will invest some time with others to see if we can pull off a Buffalo River “miracle” in Missouri before too much damage is inflicted. I will also hopefully be busy offering an environmentally themed 35 minute presentation to encourage advocacy. I have mentioned “Life is a River – A Bend Beyond” before. If you know of any groups who might have a particular interest in hearing, please let me know. Several have already responded and I begin in earnest in August. Details are available here on my my website.
I will continue to try and get my recent release “Pig Farm” in the hands of those with an interest in how the Buffalo River CAFO might have come to be. And finally, I hope to release before year-end a second trilogy, “Children of the Creek.” It is a sequel trilogy to the Ozarkian Folk Tales, and while a bit silly and a trifle bawdy, it does speak to water quality and small communities in the Ozarks. Would you believe restoration of a thriving hellbender population in Skunk Creek? You’ll just have to read to find out!
And then, there is always another float trip to take. I had four of my most memorable ones this water soaked spring! Two on the upper Buffalo, well upstream from Big Creek and the Pig CAFO I might add, one on Swan Creek, and a particularly poignant one on Bull Creek which I shared with you several weeks back.
So, lots going on, and lots to come. Thank you for caring about water quality in Ozarks, and in so many cases, doing something about it! We must keep Ozarkian waters clean – forever – for our kids, and theirs, and theirs…
Coming next, August 1, 2019 – SPREADING THE WORD
I’m looking for the right audience.
Are you connected to organizations that care about water quality and other environmental issues? I’d like to share my passion for environmental advocacy with like-minded audiences and organizations that are looking to rally, energize and inspire their members and volunteers. Please share my blog with your contacts, or contact me to let me know who I need to be reaching out to. Thanks!