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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 4, 2008

Bus tour will address relationship with the Iowa River on Feb. 8

The health of the Iowa River is failing, and a University of Iowa professor wants to do something about it before it's too late.

Barbara Eckstein, a University of Iowa English professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has organized the second annual public bus tour to encourage cross-county activism to protect the Iowa River. This is the second of three events focused on the Iowa River, declared "endangered" by the organization American Rivers.

The tour will leave from the south side of the UI Main Library at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and head toward the Coralville Dam for a presentation from the Army Corps of Engineers, and Lake McBride, where UI faculty will present on beach testing. On the bus, participants will hear about the state of local creeks. Afterward, participants will see model dams for the Columbia River, receive a briefing on the Iowa River construction project, and attend a photographic exhibit and reception in the UI Main Library.

The tour culminates in a public lecture by Jacques Leslie, at 7 p.m. in the Iowa City Water Treatment Plant following a participants' tour of the facility. Leslie has written for nearly every major American periodical and recently authored "Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment."

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required for the bus tour and box supper. To register, contact Cory Sanderson at or call 319-353-1021.

This is the second tour in a three-part series titled "An Endangered River Runs Through Us."

The first Iowa River tour went upstream to Iowa Falls where participants met with citizens in Hardin County concerned about the condition of the river. The Feb. 8 tour is local to Johnson County. The third tour, scheduled for April 18, will go downstream to the mouth of the river and then back to the confluence of the Iowa River and the Cedar River at Columbus Junction in Louisa County. All tours involve a nationally known guest lecturer.

"We felt a swell of activism after our first tour to Iowa Falls last October," Eckstein said. "Now we want to bring that energy to Iowa City. The Iowa River's appearance on the 10 most endangered rivers list is a call to reassert its importance among us."

By bringing together public officials, engineers, academics, students, environmentalists and members of the community, Eckstein said she hopes to foster debate and dialogue to address the Iowa River's failing health.

"All of these efforts are meant to create communication and action across usual political jurisdictions," Eckstein said.

Eckstein is the author of "Sustaining New Orleans: Literature, Local Memory, and the Fate of a City" and is co-editor of "Story and Sustainability: Planning, Practice, and Possibility for American Cities" along with Jim Throgmorton, UI professor of urban and regional planning. She is also UI interim associate provost for academic administration.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, call Sanderson at 319-353-1021.

The following are sponsoring the series: the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Departments of English, history and American Studies; the Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction, administered by CLAS; the UI Office of the Provost; and the UI Office of the Vice President for Research.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Eckstein, 319-335-3565,, Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; 319-335-3565