Editor’s note: Art Norris is the Quad Cities Waterkeeper (QCW). He looks after 150 miles of the Mississippi River and about 100 miles of the lower Rock River.
By Art Norris
Quad Cities Waterkeeper
Hi team! Yes, we consider the readers of The Rock River Times as part of our team, and we appreciate your encouragement and support! So, I’m just going to talk to you as I do to all of our folks.
Our dream is almost a reality. Our new 20-foot patrol boat is paid for and built; now, we just need a non-polluting motor. You can see our new baby at http://picasaweb.google.com/quadcitieswaterkeeper/20101112QuadCitiesBoatArrivesInPortByronAtQCWOffice#.
We need to work on funding for the outboard motor over the winter. I wrote for a grant to cover most of it, but I still have a ways to go. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. We need to send out a year’s-end letter inviting new membership and donations toward the outboard engine. Want to help?
Our board member Doug May has been amazing with his computer efforts, and those could help us ask for funds from the database he is creating.
I talked to many other Waterkeepers, and they said a boat that can take passengers out for rides is one of the best ways to raise awareness and funding. (Please read Tennessee Riverkeeper’s letter below). We need some safety seats as well. That’s another reason you have to have a Coast Guard-approved boat to get insured.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions for accomplishing this task. We are very close now with the boat, licensed trailer, and a good grant may be coming our way.
With the 501 (c3) status, we can offer a nice tax write-off. The real advantage to this, let’s say a potential donor made $75,000 this year, and the cut-off is $70,000, they can donate the $5,000 to a nonprofit to keep themselves in a lower tax bracket and save substantially.
I wasn’t sure you all knew this. This is the time of year to offer this tax break to businesses, like river boats, restaurants, anyone who loves or enjoys the river. I could really use some help in the next few weeks to accomplish this.
Also, we had a generous offer to do water monitoring in our area for free with new technology. We need to pick some sampling points.
Here’s what the Tennessee Riverkeeper, David Whiteside, wrote in asking for funds for his motor. We have the same standards.
Nonprofit Tennessee Riverkeeper is raising funds that will go toward the purchase of a fuel-efficient, four-stroke outboard motor for the organization’s official patrol boat. While more expensive, four-stroke marine engines are among the cleanest outboard engines in the market. In the four-stroke engine, the intake and exhaust valves are never open at the same time, preventing unburned fuel from escaping the combustion chamber and entering into the environment. As the most fuel-efficient marine engines available, four-stroke engines run on straight gasoline and do not require consumers to mix oil with the gas.
From March through November each year, the Riverkeeper patrol boat travels on the Tennessee River while conducting regular pollution patrols, environmental research, and bringing very important guests such as the media, volunteers and community stakeholders out on the river. On these trips, the Riverkeeper staff members educate passengers with their knowledge of the river, wildlife, environmental laws and pollution threats to the watershed.
The Tennessee River is one of the most aquatically biodiverse river systems in North America. It is also habitat for the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the United States. The Nature Conservancy considers the Tennessee Basin as a whole to be the single-most biologically diverse river system for aquatic organisms in the United States. It also harbors the highest number of imperiled species of any large basin in North America with 57 fish species and 47 mussel species considered to be “at-risk.” The southeastern U.S. possesses about 90 percent of the world’s species of mussels and crayfish, about 73 percent of the aquatic snails, and about 50 percent of the freshwater fish of the continental United States. The Tennessee River system alone is home to about 230 species of fish and 100 species of mussels, many of which are endemic to the watershed. The Tennessee River is currently the most important source of commercial mussels in the world.
The patrol boat program is critical to Riverkeeper’s work and unique in the role it serves on the Tennessee River. The mission of Tennessee Riverkeeper is to protect the Tennessee River and its tributaries by enforcing environmental laws and educating the public.
We have the same mission as our friends on the Tennessee River here on the Rock and Mississippi rivers. Help us help you and us to get out on the water to protect our watersheds by providing for the purchase of a clean motor for our new patrol boat. Please send a tax-deductible contribution to:
Quad Cities Waterkeeper
101 Main St., P.O. Box 67
Port Byron, IL 61275
Please join your Quad Cities Waterkeeper in stopping any more damage from occurring to our rivers. Go to the QCW website and join up. Together, we can make change.
From the Dec. 1-7, 2010 issue