Echoes of Cry of the
Echoes of Cry of the Marsh is
a one-hour documentary that takes a deeper look at wetland restoration
in Minnesota, and chronicles one citizen’s dedication
to that issue. The film
is a collaborative effort among several public and private groups,
including the University
of Minnesota, Morris, the Upper Minnesota
Watershed District, U.S.
Fish & Wildlife
Service and Clean Up the River
Echoes of Cry of the Marsh explores the issue of wetland
restoration through the eyes of Bob Hartkopf, one citizen who has
worked more than 40 years to restore the marsh near his family farm
in rural Minnesota.
In the 1960s Hartkopf produced a short film called Cry of the
Marsh. With only a single 16mm camera, Hartkopf created a
stunning portrait of drained wetlands, devastated wildlife, flood-prone
conditions, and an environment cutoff from humans. The film received
considerable acclaim, but Hartkopf is still waiting to see those
Wetland restoration affects anyone living in an
area with industrial-scale agriculture, particularly in the upper
Midwest and along the Mississippi River. Since the early 1900s when
drainage of wetlands began, we have seen more frequent and severe
flooding, degradation of water quality, and the slow decline of many
animal species in rural ecosystems.
Federal and state governments have created
programs to restore wetlands, but older drainage laws prevent them
from having full impact. Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate those laws. Hartkopf’s
inspirational work reminds us that we can find a healthy balance
for our land use, that we can restore and strengthen our ecosystem,
and that working for environmental change is possible.