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RIVERS THAT WERE
A Two Part Radio Documentary by Barbara Bernstein

The Columbia River, flowing through the Pacific Northwest, is the fourth largest river in North America. The Colorado River, the major river in the desert Southwest, is a tiny stream compared to the Columbia, but it is probably the most litigated river in the world. Both these rivers once flowed with a force that overwhelmed the people who tried to navigate their rapids or control their currents and flood flows. That was until the Hoover, Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams were built in the 1930s, finally taming these wild rivers and conscripting them into industrial service.

Alternative Radio presents Rivers That Were, a two-part documentary by Oregon-based award-winning producer Barbara Bernstein. These two hours explore the long-term consequences of over a century of redesigning nature to suit commercial and industrial needs. The programs contrast these historic mindsets with new approaches that try to design with nature. The programs juxtapose the voices and viewpoints of Native Americans, barge operators, water engineers, environmentalists, policy makers and others who live and work in the watersheds of these two mythic Western rivers.

2 CD Set: $20 Individual CDs: $12 available from Feather & Fin Productions, P.O. Box 82777, Portland, Oregon 97282. For more information contact the Media Project

 

Rivers That Were

click to listen:

WORKING WATER Part 1

WORKING WATER Part 2

BEAVER TAUGHT SALMON HOW TO JUMP Part 1

BEAVER TAUGHT SALMON HOW TO JUMP Part 2

 

salton sea hoover dam

 

Part One: Working Water compares two environmental crises.

On the Colorado River Basin, it’s the ongoing effort to restore the Salton Sea.

 

dalles dam
hanford

On the Columbia, it’s the confounding crisis of how to clean up one of the most toxic sites in the world, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

scaffolds
dalles dam

Part Two: Beaver Taught Salmon How To Jump recreates the once natural and free-flowing tributaries and mainstem of the Columbia River, the Great River of the West and compares what was with a transformed landscape of culverted urban creeks, inundated waterfalls and rapids and industrialized waterways.

River Radio Journal

Check out our River Radio Journal. The Journal includes photos and brief essays as producer Barbara Bernstein's documents her observations and experiences getting to know these two major river syestems of the West.

Thanks to our funders:
California Council for the Humanities, Washington Commission for the Humanities, Oregon Council for the Humanities, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Paul Robeson Fund, Ralph L. Smith Foundation, Utah Humanities Council and Nevada Humanities Committee.

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