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Potluck, film and discussion on proposed pipeline endangering the Fox, Rock, Illinois and Kishwaukee Rivers.

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Do you paddle on the Illinois, Rock, Fox, Kishwaukee, or South Kishwaukee Rivers? Imagine arriving for a lovely paddle and being turned away because of an oil spill in the river!  The first step in protecting the rivers that you love is to find out what is threatening them, so come and learn about a proposed new pipeline that Enbridge, a Canadian oil pipeline company, wants to put through northern Illinois.  You have two opportunities: Monday, June 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Sycamore Public Library, 103 E. State St., Sycamore, IL, or Tuesday, June 18, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Ottawa Campus of the Illinois Valley Community College, 321 W. Main St., Ottawa, in Room 105.  These events, sponsored by Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL), are free and open to the public.   http://saveourillinoisland.org/

 

 

Both events will start with a potluck (bring a dish to pass – store bought food is OK – and your own place setting (but we’ll bring disposables just in case).  After supper we’ll watch a short (38 minute) film called “Pipe Dreams.”  Made a few years ago, it’s about the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline that TransCanada is still trying to put through the Sand Hills of Nebraska.  The issues are the same as the ones we face in Illinois:

  • the danger to rivers and creeks if there were to be a spill of the toxic cargo planned to flow through both the KXL and the “Line 61 twin,” aka Line 66 that would go through the counties of Boone, DeKalb, LaSalle and Livingston;
  • the danger to groundwater, farmland, humans and animals; and
  • the taking of land by eminent domain for private gain.

 

After the film, we’ll have a discussion about Line 66, what it would mean for residents and visitors to northern Illinois, and how we can stop it.  Please join us!  For more info, contact Phyllis at phyllisofsoil@gmail.com or call her at 608-628-2605.

 

For more info on how a tar sands spill into a river can be devastating, read this article from St.Croix 360, that refers to the Kalamazoo River spill in July 2010, where almost a million gallons of tar sands, mixed with toxic, carcinogenic, flammable “diluents” including benzene and hydrogen sulfide, fouled 35 miles of that river and 4435 acres of shoreline.

 

https://www.stcroix360.com/2014/10/oil-water-pipeline-to-triple-flows-under-st-croix-headwaters/

 

 

For a shorter article in Wikipedia, go here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalamazoo_River_oil_spil

Though some people say “You can’t stop a pipeline,” it’s a new day in America, and many pipelines have been stopped by citizen opposition. Check out this map that shows the 28 pipelines that were cancelled just in 2015 and 2016!

https://www.mythinkenergy.com/canceled-pipeline-construction-projects

 

Paddlers know what a valuable and fragile resource rivers are – please join SOIL in taking action now to protect them!

 

Sangamon River Alliance

By Scott Hays

Last November, several groups and organizations came together with a common interest in the Sangamon River. Over 240 miles in length, the Sangamon courses through several towns including Mahomet, Monticello, Decatur (where a dam on the Sangamon forms Lake Decatur), Springfield, the historic town of Lincoln’s New Salem, and Petersburg before joining the Illinois River at Beardstown. On that day, people from organizations spanning these towns were there.

The initial goal was to meet, talk, network and explore shared interests and opportunities. And out of this meeting, a new organization was formed that we feel could be a model for river stewardship across Illinois and indeed, everywhere: the Sangamon River Alliance (SRA).

Our current draft mission statement explains that this group will be “dedicated to the stewardship of the Sangamon River watershed” and will “promote watershed conservation, education, and recreation.” “Working together, members of the Sangamon River Alliance will amplify the voice and good work of all of the organizations committed to the well-being of the Sangamon River watershed.”

For a river group within the state of Illinois, the SRA is comprised of an impressive diversity of interests and organizations, including: the Friends of the Sangamon Valley, the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy, Heart of the Sangamon Partnership, Lincoln Heritage Water Trail Association, Friends of Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park, Macon County Master Naturalists, Menard County Trails and Greenways, Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Decatur Water Production, the Agricultural Watershed Institute, the Village of Mahomet, the Illinois Audubon Society, the American Canoe Association, Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, the Illinois Paddling Council, the Illinois State Museum, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Massie and Massie Associates,  which has helped with rivertrail plan development.

Not merely a paddling group or even a river group, the SRA seeks to take in the entire Sangamon watershed as the territory it covers, including the river, its tributaries and the surrounding landscape. In addition, we welcome expanded membership from any and all other groups, organizations, and agencies that are active throughout our watershed.

Again, quoting from our draft vision statement: “The Sangamon River Alliance creates a network for sharing and broadcasting information about the efforts of every organization that promotes conservation, and encourages educational and recreational opportunities throughout the Sangamon River watershed.”

For now, the group seeks to serve as a forum for coordinating the varied activities among the member groups. Currently there are no plans for the SRA to have a budget, a board of officers, although we are creating our website, which we hope will act as a ‘one-stop shopping’ site for any and all information about happenings, information, events, and stories for everything Sangamon River. Soon, we hope to hold a ‘Sangamon River Fair’ where all of our member groups can come out and meet the public, and visitors can learn more about the Sangamon watershed.

We hope that you will take an interest in our group and in our river in our part of the state. Come visit us and check out our website at sangamonriveralliance.org.

We’d like to leave everyone with this thought from our SRA draft vision statement: “We have an extraordinary capacity to document and analyze ecosystem threats and to conserve and restore habitats, and most importantly, we have a profound responsibility to ensure the vitality of nature for future generations.”