front cover of Land Between the Rivers
Land Between the Rivers
The Southern Illinois Country
C. William Horrell, Henry Dan Piper, John W. Voigt
Southern Illinois University Press, 1973
Situated between the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Southern Illinois country is rich in history, folk­lore, scenery, and natural resources. At about the latitude of southern Virginia, and extending from the flat prairie farm­land of central Illinois to the rugged Illinois Ozarks, the area is the natural terminal boundary for hundreds of plant species reaching out to all points of the compass. It is also the oldest and most sparsely populated part of Illinois, a region of small towns and independent people.
Surveying the area in words and pic­tures, the authors sensitively and appre­ciatively portray the region’s special qualities. Land Between the Rivers, a perennial classic since it was first published in 1973, provides an uncommon portrayal of American life in a distinct region, a memorable journey in both time and place.

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The Land between the Rivers
Thomas Nuttall's Ascent of the Arkansas, 1819
Russell M. Lawson
University of Michigan Press, 2004
An adventure story from the wilds of early America, The Land between the Rivers recreates the journeys of the English botanist Thomas Nuttall, one of American history's most well-traveled scientists.

During the early nineteenth century, Nuttall explored the waters, valleys, plains, and mountains of the Great Lakes, Ohio River, Mississippi River, as well as the Missouri, Arkansas, Red, and Canadian river valleys of the former Louisiana Territory.

In this fascinating account of Nuttall's travels through the wilderness of the middle west, author Russell Lawson-using Nuttall's own journal-captures the sense of excitement of the early wanderer. As much a delight for the mind as the senses, The Land between the Rivers details the unremitting weather and rugged geography of uncharted lands within the Louisiana Territory. A sense of discovery pervades the narrative as Nuttall's odyssey builds to its climax in the prairie wilderness of what is now Oklahoma. Sickened by "ague"-in his case, malaria-Nuttall at times was barely able to go on; yet he continued to search for and catalog plants and animals.

The Land between the Rivers expands our knowledge of the work of one of the country's earliest botanists. We also learn a great deal about the early explorers, the inhabitants of the unsettled land, and about the land and culture of the times.

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The Last River
Life Along Arkansas's Lower White
Turner Browne
University of Arkansas Press, 1993
With 68 compellingly beautiful photographs, Turner Browne documents a fast-disappearing way of life for the people who live on the lower White River and issues a plea to save the river from irreversible damage by the Army Corps of Engineers. By demonstrating that the endless dredging and flood control projects of the ever-active Corps are destroying the river's natural beauty and the livelihoods of those who make the river their only home - on houseboats and along its banks - he argues graphically and heroically for the preservation of a unique culture and of a great river. The black-and-white photographs, taken between Batesville, Arkansas, and the confluence with the Mississippi River, tell a story of loss, nostalgia, and fortitude as they portray the river's remarkable character and the exceptional lifestyles of acorn gatherers, sturgeon fishers, mussel divers, and others who extract a meager but satisfying existence from the river's resources. The damage the Corps of Engineers has wrought, including cleared forests, piles of debris, and "containment structures," certainly tolls a death knell for much of this natural waterway. The Last River is a journey, a journey probably never to be taken again.

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The Lessening Stream
An Environmental History of the Santa Cruz River
Michael F. Logan
University of Arizona Press, 2002
Newcomers to Tucson know the Santa Cruz River as a dry bed that can become a rampaging flood after heavy rains. Yet until the late nineteenth century, the Santa Cruz was an active watercourse that served the region’s agricultural needs—until a burgeoning industrial society began to tap the river’s underground flow. The Lessening Stream reviews the changing human use of the Santa Cruz River and its aquifer from the earliest human presence in the valley to today. Michael Logan examines the social, cultural, and political history of the Santa Cruz Valley while interpreting the implications of various cultures' impacts on the river and speculating about the future of water in the region. Logan traces river history through three eras—archaic, modern, and postmodern—to capture the human history of the river from early Native American farmers through Spanish missionaries to Anglo settlers. He shows how humans first diverted its surface flow, then learned to pump its aquifer, and today fail to fully understand the river's place in the urban environment. By telling the story of the meandering river—from its origin in southern Arizona through Mexico and the Tucson Basin to its terminus in farmland near Phoenix—Logan links developments throughout the river valley so that a more complete picture of the river's history emerges. He also contemplates the future of the Santa Cruz by confronting the serious problems posed by groundwater pumping in Tucson and addressing the effects of the Central Arizona Project on the river valley. Skillfully interweaving history with hydrology, geology, archaeology, and anthropology, The Lessening Stream makes an important contribution to the environmental history of southern Arizona. It reminds us that, because water will always be the focus for human activity in the desert, we desperately need a more complete understanding of its place in our lives.

front cover of Lifelines
The Case For River Conservation
Tim Palmer
Island Press, 1994
In Lifelines, Tim Palmer addresses the fate of our waterways. While proposals for gigantic federal dams are no longer common, and some of the worst pollution has been brought under control, myriad other concerns have appeared—many of them more subtle and complex than the threats of the past.

Palmer examines the alarming condition of rivers in today's world, reports on the success in restoring some of our most polluted streams and in stopping destructive dams, and builds the case for what must be done to avoid the collapse of riparian ecosystems and to reclaim qualities we cannot do without. He documents the needs for a new level of awareness and suggests ways to avert the plunder of our remaining river legacy.

Lifelines offers a fresh perspective on:

  • the values of natural rivers
  • current threats to streams and possibilities for reform
  • the continuing challenge of hydropower development
  • water quality, instream flows, and riparian habitat
  • ecosystem management and watershed protection
  • the need for vision, hope, and action

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Liminal Zones
Where Lakes End and Rivers Begin
Kim Trevathan
University of Tennessee Press, 2013
     After the death of his paddling companion, a German shepherd–labrador retriever mix named Jasper, Kim Trevathan began a series of solitary upstream kayaking quests in search of what he calls “liminal zones,” transitional areas where dammed reservoirs give way to the current of the rivers that feed them. For four years he scoured the rivers and lakes of America, where environmentally damaging, and now decaying, man-made structures have transformed the waterways. In this thoughtful work, he details his upriver adventures, describing the ecological and aesthetic differences between a dammed river and a free-flowing river and exploring the implications of what liminal zones represent—a reassertion of pure, unadulterated nature over engineered bodies of water.
     Trevathan began by exploring the rivers and creeks of his childhood: the Blood River and Clarks River in western Kentucky. He soon ventured out to the Wolf River, the Big South Fork of the Cumberland, and other waterways in Tennessee. In 2008, he looped around the country with trips to Indiana’s Tippecanoe River, Montana’s Clearwater River, Oregon’s Deschutes and Rogue Rivers, and Colorado’s Dolores River, as well as adventures on such southeastern rivers as the Edisto, the Tellico, and the Nantahala. To Trevathan, paddling upstream became a sort of religion, with a vaporous deity that kept him searching. Each excursion yielded something unexpected, from a near-drowning in the Rogue River to a mysterious fog bank that arose across the Nantahala at midday.
     Throughout Liminal Zones, Trevathan considers what makes certain places special, why some are set aside and protected, why others are not, and how free-flowing streams remain valuable to our culture, our history, and our physical and spiritual health. This contemplative chronicle of his journeys by water reveals discoveries as varied and complex as the rivers themselves.

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Listening to the Land
Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley
Jamie S. Ross
West Virginia University Press, 2013
The Cacapon and Lost Rivers are located in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. Well loved by paddlers and anglers, these American Heritage Rivers are surrounded by a lush valley of wildlife and flora that is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Although still rural and mostly forested, development and land fragmentation in the Cacapon and Lost River Valley have increased over the last decades. Listening to the Land: Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley is a conversation between the people of this Valley and their land, chronicling this community’s dedication to preserving its farms, forests, and rural heritage.
United around a shared passion for stewardship, the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust and local landowners have permanently protected over 11,000 acres by incorporating local values into permanent conservation action. Despite the economic pressures that have devastated nearby valleys over the past twenty years, natives and newcomers alike have worked to protect this valley by sustaining family homesteads and buying surrounding parcels.This partnership between the Land Trust and the people of this Valley, unprecedented in West Virginia and nationally recognized for its success, greatly enriches historic preservation and conservation movements, bringing to light the need to investigate, pursue, and listen to the enduring connection between people and place.  

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Little Otter Learns To Swim
Artie Knapp
Ohio University Press, 2018
In this endearing and beautifully illustrated picture book, a baby river otter learns to swim, dive, and play in her natural habitat. Encouraged by her mother, the little otter soon sets out to explore on her own, quickly learning to escape shoreline predators and to find her way back to the security of home. From children’s author Artie Knapp and wildlife artist Guy Hobbs, Little Otter Learns to Swim is an entertaining and colorful tale for ages four and up. The story is followed by two pages of fun facts about river otters as well as information and resources from the River Otter Ecology Project.

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Long Way Round
Through the Heartland by River
John Hildebrand
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Inspired by tales of a mythic Round River, a circular stream where "what goes around comes around," John Hildebrand sets off to rediscover his home state.
Wisconsin is in the midst of an identity crisis, torn by new political divisions and the old gulf between city and countryside. Cobbling rivers together, from the burly Mississippi to the slender wilds of Tyler Forks, Hildebrand navigates the beautiful but complicated territory of home. In once prosperous small towns, he discovers unsung heroes—lockmasters, river rats, hotelkeepers, mechanics, environmentalists, tribal leaders, and perennial mayors—struggling to keep their communities afloat.
While history doesn't flow in a circle, it doesn't always move in a straight line either. Hildebrand charts the improbable ox-bows along its course. Long Way Round shows us the open road as a river with possibility around the next bend.

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