WATERSHED: "That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."
- John Wesley Powell
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“This thing that happened here, you wouldn’t believe how much it’s changed our lives, “ Glenn Daugherty says. “It just took something out of you when this happened.”
We’re on the Emory River with Daugherty, a retired heavy equipment operator. It’s Sunday and his 20-foot Sweetwater pontoon boat gently motors upstream as the buzz-cut 69-year old charts a path of loss for us,cued by our surroundings.
“It’s the best place in the county to live,” Daugherty says. But like those that speak of their recently deceased loved ones in the present tense, he catches himself. “It used to be. Not any more.”
Alexandra Cousteau ventures out of sight, deep into the cool world of New Mammoth Cave in Tennessee. Water can spread for miles and miles underground in the network of caves of this karst landscape making water contamination particularly difficult to trace. With the guidance of the Nature Conservancy's cave and karst specialist, Cory Holliday, Alexandra delves into the unseen ecosystem to find out more about the importance of this fascinating watershed beneath our feet.
As Expedition Blue Planet explored the Colorado River’s headwaters, John Wesley Powell’s name came up again and again. In this short film Alexandra Cousteau, and the experts she interviewed, elaborate on the story of this remarkable man who rafted the Colorado’s uncharted waters in the late 1800s and foretold of its mismanagement long before it was tamed.
Hoover Dam is the heart of the American west’s water supply, a powerhouse for irrigation and farming in the region. But today a combination of drought and overuse have drained it half dry leaving a 135 foot high “bathtub ring” mark around Lake Mead. Will America’s largest reservoir ever fill up again as the water wars between cities, farmers and nature play out? Alexandra Cousteau’s Expedition Blue Planet investigates.
In August of 2010, Alexandra Cousteau's Expedition Blue Planet crossed over the Arizona/Mexican border to follow the Colorado's dry riverbed to its historic mouth in the Upper Gulf of California where its nutrient-rich waters no longer reach the sea. This short film tracks the ghost of a mighty river that used to run free over this land half a century ago.
The stately Colorado, that same iconic river of history that carved out the Grand Canyon and made the deserts bloom in the American southwest now ends in hypersaline mudflat rather than a punctuation mark of aquatic biodiversity.
Four months after the Deepwater Horizon disaster Alexandra Cousteau visits the Gulf States to find friends, communities and livelihoods burdened and broken by distrust and uncertainty in the aftermath of the the largest oil spill in US waters. In a region whose heart and soul can be found in the marine bounty of the gulf's rich waters, Cousteau discovers that people are not only losing their jobs, but their way of life. "Ocean of Doubt: Polluted Waters, Broken Communities" puts a human face and stirring voice to that story of incalculable loss.
Alabama is home to the greatest wealth of freshwater and marine biodiversity in North America. As the BP oil spill continues to cast its shadow over the Gulf Coast, scientists keep a vigilant eye on frogs, sharks, and sperm whales--all indicator species and proxies for ecosystem effects caused by the oil spill and its clean-up efforts.
In "Urban Watersheds: Runoff to Renewal" Alexandra Cousteau's Expedition Blue Planet explores the hidden world of water under Toronto, Canada's largest city. In this short film, Alexandra Cousteau examines the role of rivers in our urban ecosystems and interviews Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Mark Mattson and Lost Rivers Founder Helen Mills--among others--to learn of their vision of a healthy urban hydrosphere.
This short film tells the story of the Petitcodiac River which was almost dead, strangled by a causeway built across its width in 1968 on the outskirts of Moncton, New Brunswick. The causeway practically dammed the river, and as a result fish numbers in the river plummeted. Thus began a protracted battle to restore the river to its former glory, which saw victory in April 2010 when, for the first time in 42 years, the gates on the causeway were opened for good restoring free flow between this unique tidal river and the sea.
Nearly two years after the TVA Kingston Coal Ash Spill, many have already forgotten its impacts on the community and the environment and yet the TVA coal ash spill is still the largest industrial spill in American history. It was six times larger in volume than the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In September 2010 Alexandra Cousteau and Expedition Blue Planet visited Kingston, Tennessee to find out exactly what the toll of "clean coal" is on water quality, water ecosystems and the communities that lie fractured by the pollution of their waterways.