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A River Runs Through Us: New McKnight Foundation report features RiverFirst

February 18, 2014 by Janette Law

RiverFirst was a featured project in the most recent McKnight Foundation-commissioned “Food for Thought” report. In A River Runs Through Us, journalist and consultant Jay Walljasper, “aims to draw attention to … [the] gap in public recognition of this unique U.S. treasure” – the Mississippi River, wrote Neal Cuthbert, McKnight VP of Program, in the Foreword.

Walljasper reveals some interesting facts in his far-ranging essay about the “death and life” of the Upper Mississippi here in Minnesota (including this: “In a 1926 study, biologists found only two living fish in the river south of St. Anthony Falls,” due to untreated sewage and industrial waste), before exploring meaningful plans now underway to restore the river’s ecology, our connection to it as a community, and the river’s power as a regional economic engine.

RiverFirst is one such plan, which Walljasper explores to some detail, as is St. Paul’s Great River Passage. You can also read about ideas purcolating over at the National Park Service’s Mississippi Nation River & Recreation Area, along with a list of things to do on and in the river from Red Wing to Dubuque, IA. Maybe it’s time to start planning your summer vacation, yes?

McKnight commissions the Food for Thought series “to help inform our understanding of the fields in which we operate and our related program strategies.” The full report is available for download from McKnight. You can also explore the essays as a series of articles, adapted by MinnPost.

Note: McKnight Foundation has supported the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the RiverFirst Initiative.

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