Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you are visiting for the first time...

Welcome. Between coverage we’ve received recently from Minnesota Waters, Minnesota Trails or Field and Stream magazine, it occurs to me that a good number of folks might be visiting this site for the first time. So let me catch you up. is neither a non-profit organization, nor a for-profit enterprise. It is simply a blog, which we use to share what we’ve learned and experienced... as my wife and I develop some new ideas for river restoration and conservation. We like to share our photos (click on any image to enlarge it). And we like to share our simple premise: Anyone, on any given day, has the power to improve a place.

Geo-trashing is one example of an idea we've developed. When we adopted our third river segment--this one on the Mississippi--we found a much different pollution problem that the light trash we were used to on our two stretches of the scenic St. Croix River. There were tires, barrels, construction debris, appliances… things that you cannot lift and carry away on a kayak. So we started collecting digital photos and GPS waypoints of where these items had been discarded, with the idea that we could return with the appropriate tools to collect the trash later. So, it's something like geo-caching, except the treasure we're hunting for is trash. (A recent KARE 11 TV news story explained geo-trashing well. Click here to watch it.)

But that’s just one example of what we’re learning. We’ve also learned how to create GPS maps of trash targets, sorted by debris type, and how to convert them into “ARC-compliant” maps (the kind used by many government agencies). Now, some of our trash maps are actually being used to guide one park district’s conservation effort in a series of riverside re-development projects. We’ve learned how jurisdictions work—and sometimes how they do not—between cities, counties, state and federal agencies. And we’ve learned how dumping and pollution are often crimes of convenience and opportunity. (With nowhere else to put them without getting caught, crooks love to toss emptied safes in the river. We’ve found ten safes, so far). And we’ve learned a little bit about how to clean this junk up.

There is no revenue model for our project, and we do not solicit donations. We absorb our modest expenses out-of-pocket… and have to save-up for new equipment the same way anyone else would.
The web has been an economical tool, and we’re trying to use it as it was intended to be used: To share ideas. If you’d like to get in touch, just drop me an email. If you have knowledge about or experience in matters of conservation… please share it! And if you have a question, please feel free to ask it. Perhaps you’ll take an idea from this site that helps you make an impact in your community... or maybe you'll share an idea that makes us more productive.

So again, thanks for stopping in. And enjoy.


© 2009 Mike D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.

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