Posts Tagged ‘video’

Our Great Migrators

May 21, 2014

*NWNL thoughts prior to World Fish Migration Day-5/24.*

Many are unaware of the exquisite sarabande of life personified by our migratory species: anadromous fish, birds, monarch butterflies, dragonflies and others.

Most migratory species are threatened in one form or another during their annual passages by manmade impediments. Today, on expedition along the Snake River, NWNL is following the struggle of the Columbia River migratory salmon, steelhead and lamprey to overcome dams, pollution, warmer streams and other challenges as they seek their traditional spawning grounds. Fish passages at dams and fish hatcheries have helped them avoid extinction, but more help is needed to bring back healthy numbers of salmon.

US: Washington, Columbia River Basin, Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, bypass for juvenile salmon migrating downstream.

NWNL Expedition Spotlights California Drought! 

March 14, 2014

 Chasing California’s Thirst
  March 14-26, 2014 Expedition

No Water No Life will visit the Sacramento Delta from San Francisco Bay to Antioch, the Sacramento River from the Delta north to the Butte Sink region, and the San Joaquin River from the Delta south to Bakersfield to document causes, impacts and solutions of California’s drought with photography, video and stakeholder interviews.

– Increased Population and Growing Irrigation Demands with Finite Water Supplies
– Neither Consumers nor Regulators have sufficiently addressed The Value of Water

– It affects us all!  CA supplies 50% of US veggies, fruits and nuts.
– No Water – No Irrigation – No Farms – No Food – No Jobs = Economic hit for all of the US!
– CA’s Drought Solutions can help solve the global problem of  “More people – Less available clean water.”

NWNL will document causes, impacts and solutions to CA’s Drought.
How will CA move from Water Scarcity to Water Sustainability?

How Wolves Change Rivers

February 26, 2014

This video, How Wolves Change Rivers, explains the “balance-of-nature“ phenomena scientists call a “trophic cascade.” NWNL also documented this on its Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Expedition in 2008. When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park, it had a very beneficial impact on the ecosystem and on water flows. Although the video mislabels the elk as “deer”, its message is relevant.

The influence of just a small group of wolves on river systems is as magical as the cry of the wolf itself. For a sense of being on the Yellowstone River in the Missouri-Mississippi headwaters, do look at our Yellowstone Species photo gallery.

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director

Ethiopia: Dams threaten Indigenous communities, Omo Valley, Lake Turkana

February 21, 2014

A Cascade of Development on the Omo River by International Rivers, with photos by Alison M. Jones, 2014 (11:19).

This film outlines how Ethiopia’s new Gibe Dams will cause a 70% water-level reduction over the next 3 years – and thus drastically impact Ethiopia’s Omo River, its Lake Turkana terminus in Kenya, and ½ million residents in this Rift Valley’s Cradle of Humankind. These hydro-dams – and the new commercial agricultural plantations they will irrigate – threaten the livelihoods of local indigenous tribes and their ecosystems. The Gibe Dams will also imperil the Omo-Turkana Basin’s migrating birds, fish and crocodile populations, and the scant amount of wildlife left.

The film pleads that water flows be managed so as to maintain the sustainability of the Omo River, Lake Turkana, and today’s indigenous communities who represent 6000 years of self-sustaining flood-recession farmers and fishermen. For more information on the Omo River :
 Download the factsheet on Gibe III Dam by International Rivers.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM NWNL:  For many millennia, the Omo’s annual 60 foot floods from the highlands’ monsoonal rains have supplied nutrient-rich silt and irrigation for the crops of the Mursi, Suri, Karo, Hamar, Nyangatom, Dassanech and other
unique indigenous cultures. In a 2008 NWNL interview…. Read the full story here.

“GLOOP” threatening global watersheds

February 11, 2014

GLOOP by Gaby Bastyra, 2010 (3:48).

A documentary short told as a nursery-school chant by a young girl tracing the discovery and impacts of plastic on our oceans, rivers and environment in general. Putting this message in the mouth of today’s youngest generation adds a gutsy impact to the now-familiar story of the forever-here debris of non-biodegradable plastics that seem to be in every corner our life.

“…Plastic doesn’t go away, all plastic things are here to stay…”

I Am RED – a must see video poem

January 31, 2014

The Colorado River —
The Most Endangered River in America 2013

I have run these canyons for six million years.

I have traveled from the Rocky Mountains to the deserts, through scorching heat, and freezing cold. 

From the land of the dinosaurs to fields of food.

I lend my hand to seven states, two countries, nine National Parks and 36 million people across an arid west.

I am not the strongest or the largest, but I am the hardest working.

People love me, my playfulness, my beauty, my power, my life.

But I don’t think I can offer any more.

I am tired, tapped and tied.

Of the hundreds of major rivers in the world, I am one of the few who no longer kisses the sea.

Battles to harness my soul have been won and lost.

Use me wisely and I will sustain you.

Use me like you have and I will break.

My name is Red.

The Grand River, Red.

The American Nile.

The Canyon Maker.

I am the Colorado River.

And I am the most endangered river in America.


Directed and written by Pete McBride Productions.
Cinematography: Pete McBride, Ron Chapple, Skip Armstrong, Kontent Films.
Still Imagery: Pete McBride
Voices: Duke Beardsley, Alma del Rio.

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director


November 1, 2013


How many miles did Alison’s ’88 BMW (a.k.a. Black Beauty)
travel within the Tennessee and Ohio River Basins
during No Water No Life’s 5 week documentation of the
values and vulnerability of fresh water resources in
WV, VA, NC, TN, AL, MS, KY, IL, IN, OH, and PA?

It only costs $5 for each guess you submit!
Submit as many as you want! (Submit by Nov 8th!)

WINNER gets ¼ of the pot and a signed photo by Alison
Use Paypal or mail cash or check.
Include your mileage guess in an envelope or
e-mail to:

* Need a hint?
View the Expedition Itinerary.
View Distance Calculations below.

Check out photos from NWNL’s expedition on Instagram and Flickr!

Good Luck and Thank You for your support!

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 1.59.41 PM

2nd Annual ‘Mara Day’ to raise awareness of degradation of Mara River basin ecosystem

September 5, 2013

On September 15th, stakeholders from Kenya, Tanzania and surrounding communities will come together to celebrate Mara Day to focus on the health of the Mara River. Informative activities and presentations aim to foster discussions on water quality, pollution, deforestation, drought and other environmental and social challenges facing the MRB and its sustainable development.

More than 1.1 million people live in the MRB and a wealth of flora and fauna depend on its resources. It’s no coincidence the event takes place during the famous wildebeest migration in which the perennial Mara River becomes the destination for the world’s largest mammal migration of almost 2 million wildebeest and zebra. For more information about Mara Day:

The Mara River would seem to be pristine and unfettered as it runs from Kenya's highlands to Tanzania's Lake Victoria shores...

The Mara River would seem to be pristine and unfettered as it runs from Kenya’s highlands to Tanzania’s Lake Victoria shores…

But its very critical source, The Mau Forest in Kenya, has been suffering devastation for years as industry – and local people needing wood – have cut down this forest.  The forest’s retention of water during the seasons of heavy rains plays a crucial role to the entire watershed.

The Mara River, fed by waters from the Mau Forest, nurtures iconic plains species that bring lucrative tourism and jobs; commercial and subsistence farmers; fisherman; and the ecosystems of its Lake Victoria terminus.

And perhaps most important, the Mara supplies drinking water to its inhabitants and their livestock, yet it can no longer be guaranteed to be clean, healthy water.

In NWNL’s expedition covering the length of the Mara River and in our interviews with many stakeholders and stewards en route, it became clear that education is the key.  Those who live in the Basin now must learn the upstream-downstream consequences of their water and forest usage, and why it is critical for tomorrow and future tomorrows to adjust their habits and practices to ensure the sustainability of livestock, flora, fauna and their own communities.

View NWNL’s video “The Mau Forest, Source of the Mara River” from the 2009 MRB expedition here.

NWNL Honored; and a Reforestation Debate

May 22, 2011

This month the International League of Conservation Photographers has recognized me as their “Photographer of the Month.”  Having been an ILCP Fellow since 2007, I appreciate this honor, especially as it helps NWNL raise awareness of freshwater issues.  The timing of this publicity also coincides with national interest on the Mississippi River Flood, problematic pollution of our water supplies from fracking, and American Rivers’ announcement this week of 2011’s Ten Most Endangered Rivers.

Back to my ongoing NWNL research, I just read an article on the balance between honoring indigenous cultures versus protecting our forests which are critical headwater sources of our rivers. The Mau Forest, Kenya’s source for the Mara River, is cited in this discussion modifications needed by REDD and other proposed solutions.  However, there is an important point that is NOT made:  If forests are not conserved, indigenous people will suffer just as much as everyone else when water reservoirs are emptied by deforestation, climate change droughts and increased severity of weather events.

NWNL interviews in 2009 with the Ogiek in the Mau Forest and with UNEP officials in Nairobi indicate that everyone must leave our headwater forests, but that sufficient compensation – especially to the indigenous communities – must and will be part of an orderly and fair evacuation of this terribly degraded water tower.  Our NWNL Mara River video interview with an Ogiek farmer was taped during a punishing 3-year drought, when he agreed everyone must leave, but they need funds with which to start over.

Also complicating the issue, many Ogiek have married outside their community making it difficult to determine who is Ogiek and who is an imposter trying to cash in.  Furthermore, the Ogiek culture these days is much less based on a sustainable lifestyle in the woods as honey-gatherers.  Today, most are farmers logging trees to plant crops.  The plan developed by the UN is to move the Ogiek just outside the forest boundaries, giving them permission to enter the forest for their traditional ceremonies and honey-gathering.  This seems to be a carefully-thought-out balance to an environmental crisis exacerbated by climate change and demanding a solution.

Do be in touch if you have any questions or insights that would further No Water No Life’s work!

Funding the Mara River Expedition

August 17, 2009

For No Water No Life’s first blog, I am diving in with our project’s current challenge: EXPEDITION FUNDING! NWNL’s research, documentation and publications are based on its expeditions to North American and African case-study watersheds. By comparing approaches to freshwater issues and solutions in developed versus developing nations, NWNL distinguishes itself from most other organizations.

Mau Forest 

THE MARA RIVER EXPEDITION: In mid-September, a “lean and mean” NWNL team will head to Kenya and Tanzania to follow the length of the Mara River for one month. An award-winning video photographer and I, as leader and still photographer, will film the devastatingly-low, polluted Mara River. We will document issues from its headwaters in Kenya’s deforested Mau Forest – a critical key to the famine now facing 10 million Kenyans – to its outlet on the polluted Tanzanian shores of Lake Victoria creating “dead zones.” (For details: Mara River Expedition ’09.)


WHY $$ NEEDED: NWNL is seeking the final funding needed for travel and production expenses . The expedition products to be covered by $4,000 we still need (can be tax-deductible) and the $15,000 we’ve already received will alert Kenyans, students and conservationists world-wide of the perils facing the Mara River today. The loss of the watershed’s wildlife due to low water will impact fiscal and political stability in the Horn of Africa, a “hot spot” for terrorism. Email me at alison at to discuss donation details.

PROJECT SUCCESSES! With images from 3 expeditions to Ethiopia’s Omo River, NWNL has joined in an international effort to halt upstream dams threatening .5 million stakeholders downstream. After 2 expeditions to the Columbia River Basin, NWNL has promoted US-Canadian trans-boundary research and partnerships. NWNL’s successes are being covered in magazines, its imagery is receiving awards, the project is receiving high praise for its lectures and exhibits.

MARA EXPEDITION SUPPORT: This will be NWNL’s 10th watershed expedition. This expedition has received:

  1. Expedition flags from The Explorers Club and WINGS WorldQuest
  2. Endorsements from International Rivers, Global Information Network, et al
  3. Several generous grants
  4. Hefty in-kind contributions, worth six times the cash raised.

Kenyan conservationists are anxious for NWNL to publicize the degradation of the Mara River, saying international awareness is essential to create an East African political will to protect this critical watershed.

NEXT!!  This expedition WILL happen. Tickets are booked for myself and the videographer – another Alison!   Stay tuned to read upcoming blogs about the Mara that illustrate global fresh-water values, threats and solutions being explored today!

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