March 25, 2009
New UI Press book travels the Upper Iowa River
"Oneota Flow: The Upper Iowa River and Its People" by Luther College faculty member David S. Faldet will become available April 1 from the American Land and Life Series of the University of Iowa Press.
The book will be available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at http://www.uiowapress.org. Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at http://www.eurospangroup.com/bookstore.
Faldet has spent 40 years in the basin of the Upper Iowa River, which winds from the flat farm fields of southern Minnesota through the wooded valleys of northeast Iowa to the Mississippi. In this book, he tells the story of the Upper Iowa as it flows through land and people, holding true to Aldo Leopold's conception of land as a community in which water, people, and soil play interactive parts. His account moves through the history of life along the now-polluted Upper Iowa, always focusing on the ways people depend on the river, the environment and the resources of the region.
He blends contemporary conversations, readings from the historical record, environmental research and personal experience to advocate that the health of the river is best guaranteed by maintaining the biological communities that nurture it.
Whether profiling the chief of the last hunter-gatherers on the river, the duo of an early settler witnessing her first prairie fire and a modern wildlife biologist using fire to manage prairies, the manager of the Granger Farmer's Co-op Creamery, or a landowner whose bottomlands are continually eaten away by floods, Faldet steadily develops the central idea that people are walking tributaries of the river basin in which they make their homes.
Former UI faculty and staff member Drake Hokanson, director of the Center for Mississippi River Studies at Winona State University, observed: "Faldet's 'Oneota Flow' gathers stories small and large -- like river tributaries -- to form a great, flowing whole, a deep, curving story of an entire watershed and those who have called it home. Tributaries and stories: Spring Creek, South Pine, Coldwater Cave, Canoe Creek, prairie fires, rural electrification, Ho-Chunk ways, PCBs, brook trout, and family tales all contribute to this rich narrative, so much like the Upper Iowa in full summer flow."
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