Further Information:

Mike Swift & Gary Wagenbach: The Cannon River Basin-Its Rivers and Lakes: Historical, Scientific, and Contemporary Perspectives

Expanded description:

Perspectives informing our study include ecology, environmental science, policy, and conservation via readings lectures, and guided discussion. Some class readings will be provided in Word or PDF format; graphics and videos will be shown during instruction and URLs provided to participants. Recommended text: Sandra Postel and Brian Richter. Managing Water for People and Nature. (Washington D.C.: Island Press, 2003. Paperback and e-versions available).

An individual exploratory/discovery trip is a part of the course. *HOW TO CHOOSE A LOCATION WITHIN THE C.R. BASIN TO EXPLORE/INVESTIGATE. DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW ABOUT WATER AND PEOPLE AND REPORT DURING SESSION 7:

  • Consult maps of the watershed, choose a location you either have not visited or one you have heard about and about which you want to know more.  Gary and Mike will also offer some ideas and locations for you to consider.
  • Visit, explore, photograph, obtain Google Earth or other aerial images of that location.
  • Prepare a 5 min. summary of your findings about the chosen location. Emphasize connections with the syllabus for this course
  • Needing help with preparation? Send images and text to Gary for help in converting into a form suitable to show during class.
  • During session 7 Gary will help guide your 5 min. presentation by assisting you in showing elements that support your findings.  You provide the narrative interpretation.

Course schedule (subject to modification of sequencing and readings depending on participant interests):

Session 1: Cannon River pre-19th century: physiography and river ecology

            Recognizing geologic history and that of Native Americans

            The very early Cannon River and its life forms

Session 2: The Nicolette expedition to 21st century: settlement, agriculture, industry

            Native Americans, European settlement, and political economy

            Nature of the Cannon River in mid to later 19th C., estimating human induced changes

Session 3: Cannon River today: – Estimating impacts of changes identified during session 2.

          Applying concepts from Postel and Richter, Chapter 1

Session 4: Cannon River health I: rehabilitation, recovery, and conservation

          Applying concepts from Postel and Richter, Chapters 1 & 2

Session 5: Cannon River health II comparison with selected rivers in Minnesota and elsewhere

          Minnesota’s Impaired Waters List:

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/minnesotas-impaired-waters-list

Session 6: Forging the future of rivers in Minnesota I, including the Cannon system;

“One Watershed One Plan” effort taking place in Minnesota.

Applying perspectives from Postel and Richter.

Session 7: Discovery reports by participants (Guidelines, see above*)

Session 8: Forging the future of rivers in Minnesota II- applying participant learning

          Climate change, issues, and responses here in Minnesota

          Applying concepts from Table 3-2 in Postel and Richter.

Optional readings and videos will be recommended during the course.