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Hello, I’m the Quad Cities Waterkeeper
Posted By Staff On April 28, 2010 @ 7:00 am In Outdoors | No Comments
Editor’s note: On very, very short notice, Art Norris agreed to represent the counties of Henry and Rock Island at the April 16 Creating the Rock River Trail Conference, held at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center and CoCo Key Water Resort. Everyone working on the project offers our happy thanks, and welcomes him to a regular column in The Rock River Times. Mr. Norris actually takes a public stand, and undertakes public action to affect public policy on the environment, unlike too many comfortably hiding in the “Green Fashionista” safe zone, while they expect others to act.
By Art Norris
Quad Cities Waterkeeper
Thank you for the opportunity to help the Rock River. I am very excited about getting the Rock River Trail established as well as assisting with the Rock River Sweep.
First, I should tell you a little about myself. My name is Art Norris. I am the 191st WATERKEEPER in the world with WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE. We are located in 22 countries. This is the first WATERKEEPER post on the Upper Mississippi and Lower Rock River. I have jurisdiction on both. I need your help in saving our rivers from being destroyed. Please read below and remember the Rock River fish kill just last year.
I was born on a farm in Mercer County, Illinois. We raised row crops, as well as hogs, cattle, chickens, and even rabbits. Our animals were raised in a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Our animals only knew one bad day on our farm, as it should be today.
I moved onto the Rock River in 2002 and instantly fell in love with the Rock River. As a child, whenever they wanted to find me, I was at the creek or our farm pond. I ran bank lines and trout lines on the Mississippi and Rock River in my canoe, and have always had a passion for our rivers. I have watched thousands and thousands of migratory birds resting in a wetland on the Rock River that I have been trying to save from development by industry for years.
After seeing thousands and thousands of dead fish go by on the Rock River I decided it was time for someone to take action. I had already started my proposal to WATERKEEPERS. I picked up the pace significantly after seeing the devastation this train derailment on our Kishwaukee River caused. I realized just a few thousand gallons of chemicals dumped among billions of gallons can devastate our rivers.
Many of the Rock River’s problems stem from deteriorating infrastructure, bad farming practices, industry, and development. My program revolves around bringing the rivers to the public. I believe if people don’t see what they have, then they don’t know what they stand to lose.
I use photography to show the good and the bad. I upload photos to public galleries for viewing as well as submit the links of these photos into USEP and IEPA complaints. I believe exposing the polluters to the public or the threat of doing so, brings fast and certain change. No one likes their neighbor seeing them pollute our environment. Everyone sells a product or a service. My thinking is we don’t need their product if they pollute or threaten our rivers or drinking water.
The beauty of the Rock River Trail is it will give the people access to all of the Rock River and the opportunity to photograph and document the problems this beautiful river is having. This will aid us in figuring out ways to fix these problems with advocacy, complaints, and if need be, litigation. We can use this information to get them to stop. This trail will also give the public an active part in saving the Rock River as well as the enjoyment of sharing this beautiful river with family and friends. A child could run a digital camera and be a part of the QUAD CITIES WATERKEEPER (QCW) program. We welcome, and need our youth. After all, it’s mostly about saving the rivers for them.
Please read Wasting Our Waters from Environmental Illinois.
Below are just some excerpts.
“Of the dozen waterways ranked highest in the nation for toxic discharges, four are in Illinois: The Ohio River ranked first in the nation with over 31 million pounds, the Mississippi ranked third with over 12.7 million pounds, and the Illinois and Rock Rivers ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.
“Tyson Fresh Meats released 3 million pounds of toxic chemical waste into the Rock River, a Mississippi tributary, in 2007, ranking it Illinois’ largest reported polluter of toxic chemicals in 2007—and 12th largest nationally.”
Please join the QUAD CITIES WATERKEEPER, and together we can make change. Please, it is essential, support the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787)
I look forward to working with the people from the northern sections of the Rock River to save this national treasure from those who are destroying it.
Below is a link to our QCW galleries of cases we are working on as well as fun photos, gardening and Rock River wetlands. Please go to http://picasaweb.google.com/home .
For you Rock River lovers, I have been fighting to save the Rock River from Triumph Foods building one of the world’s largest hog slaughterhouses on the Rock River in Illinois wetlands. Please read under News and Events on our web site. It’s been years of struggle, but the Rock River is worth every moment of effort. That Web site is: http://quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/index.html .
Please join, or donate to help us make change that is long overdue. Please drop the QUAD CITIES WATERKEEPER an e-mail at email@example.com with your contact information, and together we will get started.
Also, become a friend of QCW on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/junglejenny?v=wall&story_fbid=107953019245885#!/profile.php?id=100000587340194&ref=profile 
Or feel free to mail me, too, at:
QUAD CITIES WATERKEEPER
101 Main St. P.O. Box 67
Port Byron, IL 61275
Feel free to also call at 309-721-1800
From the April 28-May 4, 2010 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
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