Holding Back the River

The havoc caused by the buildup of sediment behind Gavins Point Dam is detailed in a new book by Brooklyn-based author Tyler J. Kelley. Holding Back the River: The Struggle Against Nature on America’s Waterways tells the story of our attempts to bridle the country’s most powerful rivers through personal portraits of the men and women whose lives and livelihoods depend on these tenuously tamed streams. The Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition asked veteran radio news director Jerry Oster of Yankton to visit with the Minneapolis native about his book exploring the nation’s aging waterway infrastructure.

What follows is an interesting look at river management that sparks questions of how do we plan for the future. Kelley spent four days visiting Yankton, Springfield, and Niobrara in 2018, getting to know the area and its people including MSAC and the Santee Sioux Nation.