PROJECT DIRECTOR’S NOTE:  I am just back from following New Mexican reaches of the Rio Grande; called Rio Norte in Mexico; and called The Lost River where it disappears due to intense water extraction. Once a mighty river draining southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the Rio Grande’s water is now diverted and reused dozens of times before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, the river was seen as a source of water for agriculture and a flooding threat to be countered. This led to extensive drainage, reclamation and channel-ization. While the Rio Grande is not one of NWNL’s case-study watersheds, it exemplifies many issues we study, such as transboundary rights, damming and intense water extraction.

NWNL’s calendar indicates our increased outreach via exhibits and lectures. Check images of our NWNL Exhibit in Canada, and contact us to book future exhibits and lectures in your community.

Our research and field documentation continues, and I hope some of you can join our Lower Omo Expedition this August. And even if not, do be in touch with any interest in involvement, information or input. We welcome upstream/downstream partnerships, as well as river to river and continent to continent connections!

Alison M. Jones

Watershed Issues In Focus

Read “For Love of Fish”A story on our website about the convergence of diverse stewardship experiences in the Columbia River Basin at the recent Fisher Poet Gathering in Astoria Oregon, by Alexa Wiley.

Sanitation in Africa: In 1925 Mahatma Gandhi remarked, “Sanitation is more important than political independence.” More than 80 years later, access to basic sanitation remains out of reach for 546 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Not only does this cause health and social problems, but also contamination of water courses, fisheries and groundwater.

Gibe III hydro-dam in Ethiopia’s Omo River Basin. The third Gibe Dam has caused much concern to stakeholders in the Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, the river’s terminus, particularly over impacts of expected water level changes. International Rivers has completed a very thorough study of the impact of Gibe III and included a link to NWNL as a resource. Read article. As well, Kenyans are protesting the impact of Gibe III Dam on L. Turkana, the terminus of the Omo River. Read article.


FUTURE: OMO RIVER BASIN TRIP August 23–Sept 4, 2009 – JOIN ME as I lead my 4th trip to visit Africa’s ancient, remote and intact river-based cultures. The dependence of today’s indigenous tribes on the waters of the Omo qualified this river as one of NWNL’s case study watersheds. Now proposed upstream dams threaten their future livelihoods, so I urge you to find a way to go this year, despite this difficult economy. Don’t miss this chance to witness tribal body painting, a bull-jumper’s right of passage and flights of carmine bee-eaters and fish eagles as we boat from Lake Turkana through the delta into the Omo River.

PAST: Upper Columbia River Basin, August 2008. Read Flag Report Summary.


(Click here for more details)


March 19: Lecture: “NWNL: Managing Our Watersheds,” 7:00 pm at The Darien Community Association, 274 Middlesex Road. (203) 202-2694.

March 22Solo Exhibit: “NWNL: North America and Africa’s Thirst,” 4–6 pm Opening, The Darien Nature Center, 120 Brookside Rd. (Exhibit: March 22 to April 24.) (203) 655-7450.
NWNL again thanks Art for Conservation for printing NWNL’s canvas-wrapped giclées for this. Nine new prints are in this exhibit, which opened in Canada in Aug. 2008.


April 24Lecture / Exhibit: “Trees and Rivers,” 10 am Lecture at Tewksbury School, 109 Fairmont Rd East, Califon NJ. 11 am Exhibit, Christie Hoffman Park with NJ Governor. (908) 832-2514.


April 1: Lecture: “NWNL: Managing Our Watersheds,” 6:30 pm at Masters School, 49 Clinton Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, in Estherwood. (914) 479-6433.

April 20: Group Exhibit: African Rainforest Conservancy, “Artists for Africa Benefit.” For location/time: (212) 431-5508.

June 18-27: Prix de la Photographie-Paris Competition Exhibit, “Water,” with NWNL photo essay “Thirst in the Omo Valley.” Farmani Gallery 111 Front St., Brooklyn, (718) 578- 4478.




Public Recognition of NWNL’s work:

1. August 2008: Article in Alive Magazine

2. October 2008: The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and Art for Conservation fine art exhibit in Ft. Collins CO of conservation photography. Images were chosen both for their artistic quality and strength of conservation message, and included 22 ILCP photographers: Gary Braasch, Connie Bransilver, Annie Griffiths Belt, Alison Jones, Frans Lanting, Garth Lenz, Chris Linder, Balan Madhavan, Cristina Mittermeier, Boyd Norton, Pete Oxford, Norbert Rosing, Joel Sartore, Kevin Schafer, Florian Schulz, Wendy Shattil, Igor Shpilenok, Roy Toft, MicheleĀ  Westmorland, Staffan Widstrand and Art Wolfe. The gallery exhibit then moved to The Center for Fine Art Photography to run with its “Our Environment: the Good, Bad and the Ugly” juried exhibition.

3. Nov 2008 The Explorers Club in NYC hosted Alison M. Jones’ NWNL lecture and displayed many photos from NWNL’s Traveling Exhibit. WINGS WorldQuest Annual Report included NWNL’s Source to Sea 2007 Expedition Report on the Columbia River Basin.

4. March 2009 Thirst in the Omo Valley, a NWNL photo essay, was accepted by Prix de la Photographie-Paris for its traveling exhibit on Water, opening in NYC in June.


NWNL | 330 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075 | | 212.861.6961 | |