The Grateful Dead — Troubadours of Stormwater

The turning of the new year made me nostalgic for the Grateful Dead.  This is odd, as I was never a committed Dead Head (but there was that amazing show at RFK Stadium with The Dead, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, along with the giant mud pit).  I think my nostalgia was fueled by the realization that The Dead were the original Troubadours of Stormwater — a little known fact, even in the water resources biz.

Another Dam Done Gone

Another Dam Done Gone

The crowd of close to 3,500 gathered on the riverbank of the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA on February 23, 2004. They had come to see the explosion. The atmosphere was celebratory, even jubilant, with dignitaries and media buzzing around. The crowd had come to see the Embrey Dam be blown up by an Army Engineering team from Fort Eustis, ultimately opening up 700 miles of river and tributary waters to migratory fish and creating a unique river paddling experience. John Warner, a U.S. Senator from Virginia at the time, donning his floppy brimmed fishing hat, pushed the symbolic demolition plunger, and the crowd held its collective breath.

The Best Lecture I Heard in College: How to Tie a Canoe Onto A Car

Recently, I had the occasion to put a canoe in the water, which of course involved getting the canoe on and off of the car. When it came to lashing the boat to the car, my companions for the day just stood back and watched. They observed the placement of the canoe on the racks, the positioning of the ropes, and finally the slip knots that sealed the deal. One actually muttered softly, “oh, that’s how you do it,” as if I were performing a magic trick.

I assure you, there was no sleight of hand involved. Far from it – it was the direct product of the best lecture I heard in college, delivered by the renowned lake researcher, Dr. Daniel Livingstone.