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Cheap Pork or Clean Rivers

By Don Mueggenborg

Spoon River

Most of us like a pork sausage with pancakes, or a slice of bacon with eggs (or almost everything). I enjoyed a pork roast at Christmas.

Since we are the Illinois Paddling Council, I can assume that most of the people reading this are paddlers.   We all enjoy a nice summer paddle on our favorite river (and almost any river I paddle is my favorite at that time).

At one time (and maybe it is still an annual event), Bob Evans invited people to paddle to his farm and enjoy his famous sausages. (Now that is a great way to enjoy both!)

If the price of pork is kept low, we may eat more. This is what the pork producers want. (Of course, their profits will grow as we eat more.)

In order to cut the cost of hog production and make more profits, the pork producers are threatening our rivers.

A three-page article in the Chicago Tribune (Dec 28, 2016) exposes the threat to our rivers.

Pork producers have been building mega-hog farms. The one mentioned in the Tribune article is for 20,000 hogs. No, I did not put in an extra zero.

Besides a lot of bacon, 20,000 hogs produce an awful lot of waste products. This is stored in concrete bunkers, eventually dried, and becomes fertilizer. In the meantime, it produces an unbearable stench.

Nearby wells and streams are threatened with pollution.

If one of the holding bunkers should rupture, be damaged in a tornado, overflow due to heavy rains, millions of gallons of toxic sludge will be set free (it has happened a few years back).

It will flow into our rivers, killing fish, and making the waters unfit to paddle on.

The closest river to the proposed mega-hog farm mentioned by the Tribune is the Spoon River, which flows west and south of Peoria into the Illinois River.

The Spoon is called by some the “Grand Canyon of Illinois” for its colorful red and yellow high clay banks. It is a river that is fun to paddle and was the site of a race I looked forward to for years. It is probably best known for the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.

ACTION TIME – the Illinois Department of Agriculture apparently has limited jurisdiction according to the article – so – IT IS TIME TO WRITE, EMAIL, CALL our state senators and representatives. Urge them to pass laws that will safeguard our rivers.

I will pay a little more for my spareribs, bacon, and sausages, to save our rivers.

 

Calling / Requesting / Soliciting All Paddlesport Event Organizers

With this year’s paddling season drawing to a close – except for some die-hard paddlers that love breaking ice – it is time to think about next year.

IPC has an events calendar where we list all paddlesports-related events we become aware of. This also helps in promoting your event(s).

If you are a paddlesport event organizer, or know someone who is – whether a competition/race, a river cleanup, a paddling festival or any other event involving paddlesport – canoe/kayak/SUP/raft- on a river, lake,  bayou (ok – we may not have some here in Illinois) – please forward such information to

news@illinoispaddling.org – or to spconsult@comcast.net

We would like to compile a master list for next year’s events to publish in upcoming newsletters with details (so include background on – and details of – the event). Hopefully, we can also avoid having major events take place on the same weekend.

If you have any questions, please forward these to spconsult@comcast.net

Thank you – Sigrid Pilgrim, Director, PR & Marketing

Congratulations To The Friends Of The Pecatonica Foundation

For Winning the American Canoe Association’s Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Award

green paddle

There once was a creek in Freeport

Yellow was its name

And paddlers needed to report

When launching a canoe in the same

A written permit was needed

To put in a river just knee deep

So for help they came asking

And dozens of letters were tasking

The City Officials for permits

When one of them finally said “That’s it –

no more written requests to go paddling.”

And even a launch site was opened.

Which was more than the paddlers had hopened!  (it had to rhyme)

And the rest is history!

This was the beginning of the involvement of Joe Ginger, Lee Butler, Roger Schamberger, and the many friends who eventually formed www.paddlethepec.com  and the Friends of the Pecatonica Foundation (http://pecriver.org/) to help restore, appreciate and celebrate, a nearby river – the Pecatonica.

Their efforts over the past decade are deservedly recognized by the American Canoe Association with their Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Award.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE FRIENDS OF THE PECATONICA FOUNDATION

Check out the Friendliest Paddle in Illinois here, and join the Friends on one of the many trips they offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Call To The IEPA

By Don Mueggenborg

For several days now, besides the seaweed in the river, there were globs of something floating in the river.

I have called the IEPA about possible pollution before – time to call again.

I paddled on a Tuesday and saws the stuff – whatever it was.

Wednesday I called the Des Plaines office of the Illinois EPA. After a bit of a discussion, I was switched to a field officer (or whatever the title).

Me: “There is stuff floating in the river, it might be raw sewage.”

EPA: “Is it green or brown?”

Me: “Ahh – brownish-green or greenish-brown.  Anyway – I paddle the river frequently and this is something different.   It might be sewage.”

EPA: Where are you paddling?  We will try to get out there to see what it is

I gave him directions, just above the first bridge north of the river – turn right – well, left if you are coming from the north, right if from the south. Wind your way to Madison Street, but it is not marked – go toward the river past the treatment plant.

THURSDAY – the river is as clear as I have ever seen it.

Call the IEPA back – they are not going to find anything today.

Me: “I’m the guy that called yesterday about the pollution on the Des Plaines.”

EPA: We haven’t –“

I cut him off –

Me: “You guys really act fast.  What a great job.  I called one day and the next day the river is clear.  Great Job!”

EPA: We haven’t got there yet.  Probably the heavy rain and cooler weather today.  With hot dry summers, the algae tend to grow.  Treatment plants also add phosphorous.  We will check it out.

By the way – I can’t seem to find the place you mentioned. Wind around where?”

I gave him better directions – turn East at the stoplight on Bluff Road – by a gas station – dead-ends into Madison St, turn right to the river.

Moral?

Call the IEPA if you think the river is being polluted. In my experience, they really do respond.

The photos are of places on the lower Des Plaines.

Des Plaines River Des Plaines River

Call to All Paddlers: The Chicago Harbor Safety Committee Needs You

By Susan Urbas, Vice President, CHSC

Photo Credit Larry Dostal

I know that the Illinois Paddling Council counts among its membership many paddlers, who, like me as a rower, have several decades of experience plying the Chicago area waterways, particularly the River, under their belts. We know the stark difference between then and now; between the long, slow, steady growth of human-powered and other traffic, and the explosion of all varieties of traffic which has occurred in the last decade. While on the one hand we are heartened to observe the tremendous growth in human-powered craft usage, on the other hand we, and other types of users, are gravely concerned about the safety implications inherent in waterways crowded by a rich diversity of vessels and users operating at widely divergent levels of operational knowledge, skill, and safety practices.

Increasing concerns over safety risks on Chicago area waterways led to a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) being conducted by the Coast Guard on March 27-28, 2012. The purpose of the PAWSA was to identify major safety hazards, estimate risk levels, evaluate potential mitigation measures, and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to further reduce risks in the Port of Chicago. PAWSA participants included representatives from marine stakeholder organizations and government agencies at the federal, state and local levels, including law enforcement.

By conclusion of the PAWSA process, it was clear to the participants that a new harbor safety committee structure was needed that would effectively bring together the diverse variety of Chicago waterway users who have mutual interests in the use of navigable waterways, with the agencies which oversee the waterways. The challenge in drafting a charter for this new harbor safety committee was building a structure that at every level ensured the appropriate marine interests would be represented and the appropriate expertise applied to solve problems and educate the public.

(Remember that last sentence as you read on, for the application, as appropriate to the issue at hand, of all of the relevant marine interests and their expertise to solve problems and educate the public is at the very heart of the CHSC. If your voice, expressing its concerns and knowledge are not in the CHSC room, then you, and the marine community collectively, may just as well hand it over to other interests or unenlightened third parties to make decisions about our waterways’ usage).

The Chicago Harbor Safety Committee (CHSC) was formed on July 15, 2013. The CHSC Charter, which required approval of the Coast Guard, was the result of a year-long effort to devise a harbor safety committee for Chicago which suited the nature of this marine community and its waterway challenges. The approved charter emerged from historical elements in the Chicago marine community (its less formal predecessor harbor safety committee, the 12-year old Port Development and Safety Council), best practices gleaned from other harbor safety committees around the country, and many rounds of input from marine stakeholder and government agency representatives.

Despite the heavy workload to get the new organization up and running, the CHSC did not hesitate to take immediate action to improve the traffic safety on the Chicago River. Faced with a rapid increase in the number of “close calls” between commercial and industrial vessels (tour boats and barges) and rental boats (kayaks and electric boats) during the 2013 boating season, the CHSC sprang into action less than a month after its inaugural meeting on July 15th, and proposed a traffic and hazard warning signage plan which received Coast Guard approval. The signage that you now see posted along the Chicago River alerting to hazards, directional instructions, and no wake zones was the result of this collaboration between the CHSC, the City, and the Coast Guard.

Other accomplishments of the CHSC since its formation in 2013 include successful collaboration with the City on Chicago Riverwalk project construction activity; dissemination of numerous safety relevant alerts, documents, and publications; coordination and collaboration on filming and special events projects on the River and Lake; operational modification of the Centennial Fountain; development and presentation of a Chicago waterway-specific safety education presentation; and perhaps most importantly, CHSC’s very detailed and recently released Safety Recommendations and Guide to Rules and Regulations. New projects now underway include development of a web portal for user-relevant safety training and certification.

For more information about the CHSC and how to join as an individual member or marine stakeholder organization member, please drop me a note at info@chicagoharborsafety.com. Pardon our mess while we complete work on our website, www.chicagoharborsafety.com. A couple of weeks from now, that will be the place to go for everything CHSC and Chicago area waterways related.

logo

 

$169.00 (after $30 rebate) – 10’4″ Kayak – Stable, High Performance Multichannel Hull – Paddle Included

kayak adSo read the ad on the front page of a big box home improvement store’s flyer included in Sunday’s paper. I wonder if the sales clerks at this store will tell their customers that they should also purchase a life jacket (I hope the store carries that). This may be one of the reasons we likely will read again about people getting in trouble on swollen rivers or on Lake Michigan – the “stable, high performance multichannel hull” leading buyers into a false sense of security.

When we started paddling back in the early 1970’s, there were few places one could purchase a canoe in the Chicago area. Once we did, we were provided with information on how to participate in the sport safely by joining a paddling club, which we did too. Club members freely shared their paddling knowledge and skill and educated us to make our canoe outings safer.

Where does the buyer of the $169.00 boat – after rebate – with free paddle – go to safely enjoy his or her purchase? Maybe on some river where skilled kayakers may have been seen playing at the bottom of a dam? Maybe somewhere on Lake Michigan when the weather was warm, but the water temperature in May or June is still cold enough to lead to hypothermia, in the event of the capsized paddler wearing jeans and a t-shirt with the PFD in the back of the boat? All of which we know have happened.

What is the answer? IPC is trying to develop a Safety Task Force to disseminate basic safety information to as many organizations, businesses selling canoes/kayaks/SUPs, and the press as possible, and also respond to reports of paddling-related incidents by submitting this information in letters to editors and other media.

We are looking for your ideas as well on how to provide basic safety information to the general public.

Thank you – Sigrid Pilgrim

2016 Des Plaines River Marathon Participants to Support Chicago Voyagers

By Jack Snarr, Marathon Co-Chair

CV

For each of the past several years, the Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon has identified an accessory tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization with related interest in paddlesport and/or the preservation and recreational potential of the Des Plaines River. Marathon registrants have been encouraged to supplement their $22 registration fee with an additional $3 (or more) to benefit the designated organization. Included have been the Upper Des Plaines River Ecological Partnership, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services of Lake County, Openlands, the IPC Paddlers’ Patrol and Water TrailKeepers Programs, and Prairie Rivers Network. Each organization has thereby received a several hundred dollar contribution from Marathon participants.

Inspired this year by Bob Faber’s presentation at the 2015 IPC Annual Banquet/Meeting of the Chicago Voyagers (CV) Organization, the Marathon has identified CV as the 2016 target of these donations. Chicago Voyagers uses the outdoors as a tool to quickly and effectively impact inner city, at-risk youth. Engaging youth in activities such as canoeing (lake, river, wilderness and whitewater), camping, and environmental stewardship teaches them the importance of teamwork, of acting responsibly, and of communicating respectfully. It is hoped that such life lessons will empower the youth to stay in school, avoid unhealthy behaviors, and create a better future for themselves.

Moreover, the Voyagers are being encouraged to participate in the foreshortened, 5.25 mile Minithon option of the 2016 Marathon. To learn more about the organization, please take a moment to review their website for further insight at www.chicagovoyagers.org. Naturally, the Voyagers would welcome the volunteer assistance of individuals or paddling clubs in the enactment of their programs!

Your comments on the proposed $140,000,000 Longmeadow Parkway are urgently requested.

Your comments on the proposed $140,000,000 Longmeadow Parkway are urgently requested.
By Gary Swick
President, Friends of the Fox River
December 9th – January 9th is probably the worst time of the year tosolicit volunteer efforts, as it is the busy holiday season. But this is the window thathas been assigned to have a voice on the proposed Longmeadow Parkway. Please raise your voice, as this is significant in the approval process. We have found that the Army Corps of Engineers do consider our comments. Requesting a public hearing would allow foradditional time to comment.Below are links for background information, and comment submission guidelines.

http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices/tabid/3692/Article/633408/lrc-2013-839.aspx

http://www.epa.illinois.gov/Assets/iepa/public-notices/2015/kane-county-division-of-transportation/public-notice.pdf

http://www.stoplongmeadow.com

https://www.facebook.com/stoplongmeadow

http://www.curblongmeadow.com

https://www.facebook.com/CURBLongmeadow

http://www.co.kane.il.us/dot/foxBridges/longmeadowPkwy.aspx

http://www.friendsofthefoxriver.org

Please educate yourself on the associated issues. The sample letter to the Governor on the CURB site offers four main points. There are however a long list of concerns that are associated with these categories, especially relative to environmental impacts. Contact either the stoplongmeadow or CURB folks through their web sites for specific information. Sample letters are also available. The Environmental Law and Policy Center, Openlands, and Illinois Sierra Club’s comments on the legality of building a highway through a County Forest Preserve are especially compelling. I welcome the opportunity to work with individuals or groups on this issue.

Please develop and submit your public comment before January 9th. It is very important to strictly adhere to the comment parameters. The Army Corps and IEPA have different requirements and are two different permits, but they are accepting joint letters of comment. Also please share the need for public comment with your own social circles. We need to demonstrate that the public cares. This is a very important opportunity to take action on a project that could have significant impact socially, economically, and environmentally. We need your voice.

 

LMP public comment call

LMP talking points sample 1

ACE public comment – 2

lmp assessment by ed

jointpermitflyer

It’s Gift Giving Season

By Sigrid Pilgrim

LOOKING FOR A HOLIDAY GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING – THAT’S ALWAYS THE RIGHT SIZE –

WON’T BE RETURNED – DOESN’T TAKE UP SHELF SPACE AND ABOVE ALL….

BENEFITS YOU, YOUR RELATIVE, FRIEND, NEIGHBOR, COLLEAGUE AND PADDLERS

Give a gift membership to any one of these national, state, and local organizations.

Many come with interesting monthly magazines as well. Read more about each on their websites. Then chose one or more for the gift membership that best fits you and your recipient’s interests.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCYwww.nature.org/ – its mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Their vision is a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives. Chapters are located in all 50 states and 35 countries. Closer to home, the organization has recently reintroduced Bison in the Nachusa Grasslands Preserve.

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCILwww.nrdc.org – is the nation’s most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of more than 2 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of nearly 500 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

SIERRA CLUBwww.sierraclub.org – Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with more than two million members and supporters. Successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

AMERICAN RIVERSwww.americanrivers.org – protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers®

RIVER NETWORKwww.rivernetwork.org – envisions a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective and courageous champions for our rivers by empowering and uniting people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. River Network’s work is primarily focused on helping small and medium size organizations working at the local level who provide a voice for the needs of specific rivers and their watersheds by providing resources and expertise in three areas essential to healthy rivers.

AMERICAN WHITEWATERwww.americanwhitewater.org – conserves and restores America’s whitewater resources and works to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely. The organization is the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States, and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve the goals within its mission.

AMERICAN CANOE ASSOCIATIONwww.americancanoe.org – founded in 1880, is the oldest sports association in the U.S serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

PRAIRIE RIVERS NETWORKSwww.prairierivers.org – advocate for clean water and healthy rivers in Illinois. PRN champions clean, healthy rivers and lakes and safe drinking water to benefit the people and wildlife of Illinois. Drawing upon sound science and working cooperatively with others, PRN advocates public policies and cultural values that sustain the ecological health and biological diversity of water resources and aquatic ecosystems.

ALLIANCE FOR THE GREAT LAKESwww.greatlakes.org – the organization’s mission is to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring  healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.

OPENLANDS www.openlands.org – protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trail believing that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.

On a slightly different theme – consider giving a gift subscription to SILENT SPORTS magazine. This monthly publication covers all self-propelled sports in the Midwest and is a great resource for places to paddle, bike, hike, ski, and for events you may not know about.  Subscriptions are $24.95 for twelve issues.  Thank you SILENT SPORTS for donating two annual subscriptions to our door prize raffle at our annual dinner.

Joel Patenaude, Editor,Silent Sports Magazine, 715/258-4354, P.O. Box 620583, Middleton, WI 53562

silentsportseditor@mmclocal.comhttp://www.silentsports.nethttp://www.facebook.com/silentsportsmag

ILLINOIS PADDLING COUNCIL – www.illinoispaddling.org – brings you this list of Holiday Gift Giving Opportunities, hoping that you may also consider joining or renewing your membership in our organization. If you have renewed after July 1, 2015, your membership will extend through 2016, but of course, we will always welcome early renewals. THANK YOU.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A GOOD NEW PADDLING YEAR

From the President’s Desk Year In Review and Looking Forward

 

 

Wow, Has it been a year already? At the beginning of the year I discussed the following five priorities for the IPC, coming from last year’s paddlers’ survey

 

  • Development of Water Trails and Access Points.
  • Advocacy
  • Safety and Education
  • Stewardship
  • Our Web Page and Online Presence

 

So how have we done? Some Highlights of the year

 

 

 

I would like to think that we are heading in the right direction, but still have a lot to do! Should anyone want to take a more active role in the IPC, I would welcome the increased participation. There are a number of board positions available. Please feel free to contact me so we can discuss how to get involved.

 

 

 

Tom Eckels,

President, Illinois Paddling Council

Program Manager, Illinois Water TrailKeepers

thomasreckels@gmail.com

847-863-7046