Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The River’s Story Flowing By

By Nan Hammel

Nan is a Resource Specialist working in the Upper Eel River Watershed. Nan is a 2010 graduate of Purdue University, with a degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering. 

It seems like the river, always has a way of bringing people together.  Maybe it’s the sound of the water rushin’ on by…or the chance to cast a line in hopes of the ‘big’ catch that does it.  Maybe skippin’ a rock or two over those sunlit rippling pools…or perhaps people just come down to the river to cross the bridge to get to the other side.

Well, this weekend in the Upper Eel River Watershed the small town of Roann held their annual pancake breakfast on the Roann Covered Bridge.  Folks don’t just come down to the river to cross the bridge, but to sit a spell with family and friends, eat a pancake or two, and sip a cup of coffee on Independence Day weekend.  For the small town of Roann, the covered bridge is a particular point of pride for gatherings such as these, as well as, their very own covered bridge festival held in September.  To folks around here, it’s important

On the same note, some folks may ask what’s so important about conservation and environmental stewardship.   Well, I reckon it’s important because it’s something we all share in.  When someone really gets conservation right the whole community benefits from that one landowner’s efforts, and when someone really gets it wrong the whole community is affected by the results.   Speaking of good conservation in addition to all the rain we’ve been having here lately, I was looking at a field just the other morning and the water running off of it was quite clear.  It was a no-till field that had cover crops planted on it last fall.  This was one of the first times that I had seen a real life demonstration of good conservation working on the land (since my first year on the job was last year’s drought!).  Every river tells a story about every acre of watershed in its reaches, the question is what story would you like to be told?  So next time you find yourself down at the river…for whatever reason, give it a thought.  And if you’re ever in the neighborhood on Independence Day weekend, please drop by and grab a seat on the bridge over the Eel River in Roann, Indiana.  We’d love to have you! 

I’d like to wrap up this blog with a verse from that good ole Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley,

“The river's story flowing by,
Forever sweet to ear and eye,
Forever tenderly begun --
Forever new and never done.
Thus lulled and sheltered in a shade
Where never feverish cares invade,
I bait my hook and cast my line,
And feel the best of life is mine.”
~James Whitcomb Riley

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