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Rio Grande condition and importance  

Environmental Recording 20:56 - 24:32 Play 20:56 - More
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Rio Grande condition and importance  

Environmental Recording 1:10:31 - 1:13:12 Play 1:10:31 - More
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NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
11 Jul 1993

    Geography
  • United States
    New Mexico
    Sandoval County
    Locality
  • Bandelier National Monument; Frijoles Canyon; Cliff Dwellings
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 35.77861   -106.27278
    Recording TimeCode
  • :49 - 15:09
    Geography
  • United States
    New Mexico
    Sandoval County
    Locality
  • Bandelier National Monument; Frijoles Canyon; Upper Falls
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 35.76306   -106.25972
    Features
  • Waterfall
    Recording TimeCode
  • 20:56 - 1:13:12
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Spaced Omni Stereo recoded with B&K 4006 Omni mics; Split Track

New Mexico
DAT #4

JIM BONES LOG

00:1:00-00:3:50 --AMB. BIRDS OUTSIDE CAVE DWELLINGS AT
BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT.

INSIDE LIVING CHAMBERS.

INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER JIM BONES.

We're inside living chamber, decedents of Anasazi. who moved to Rio Grande
area around 1,000 AD. Excavated volcanic ash to build chambers. Later moved
onto valley floor.

Q: Why did they chose to live here. Not sure. Climate getting dryer over 2-3 thousand years. Maybe droughts or pol. or personal problems. Culture splintered. Somehow great water spirit was offended. They were cut off and had to come to the body of the water spirit...The Rio Grand. Many pictographs have interesting figure called plumed or horned serpent. ancestral water spirit.

Q: Talk about rivers role in early development here.

This is desert region and if it weren't for mountains that catch the rain and snow this would be very difficult place to live. But because of mountains that create own weather system and produce rain and snow...these where people could survive. water is thread of life, draws people. Rio Grande unites as opposed to divide people.

Would we be sitting here if not for water.

No, too difficult to haul. You go to the water.

Rio Frijoles 3 and a half miles from Rio Grande. Begins iin Jemez mountains to the west. One of biggest calderas in the world.

This river tied to older culture in N. America

Rio Grande one of biggest rivers in north america. Early people followed the river and were supported by it.

What did river look like back then. 5-10 thousand years ago it was much more lush. Pine and oak into Bib Bend. Climate getting drier. People starting having profound influence in 1500's with sheep and agricultural techniques. Native grasslands were used up. Huge herds ate grass off. Erosion set in . Soil lost. takes 1,000 years to created 1 inch of soil.

Is river still sacred to natives. Yes, spiritually and material source. Never lost importance.

Describes cave and how they carved it out.

00:15:30-00:17:15 AMB. INSIDE CAVE.

00:17:25-00:19:42 AMB. WALKING DOWN TO FALLS ... INCLUDES WALKING OVER WOODEN BRIDGE WITH WATER UNDERNEATH.

00:19:49-00:20:55 --AMB. AT WATERFALLS FROM DISTANCE. (AIRPLANE).

00:20:57-00: AMB. AT FALLS, CLOSE UP. UPPER FALLS FRIJOLES CANYON.

******** FROM THIS POINT ON TIMES ARE "COUNTER" TIMES.

00:24:41 ...INTERVIEW WITH JIM BONES BEGINS.

00:24:54 .. INTROS HIMSELF. I'm Jim Bones I'm a landscape photog. and teacher. I've lived along the Rio Grande for 15 years and we're sitting by Rio Frijoles in Bandelier National Monument.

00:25:08-00:25:56 Q: Where is this water going.. The water is coming from Jemez mtns. flowing to the east to meet with Rio Grande eventually to gulf of Mexico and rise as clouds and repeat this cycle as long as the earth exists.

00:25:40--What's happening to Rio Grande. Rio Grande being utilized extensively. industrial, agricultural. There is a finite amount of water. the more people take, the less for natural env. River utilized longer than any, by native americans and those who came. Shows wear and tear.

**00:26:42--00:28:29 Q: What sort of wear and tear? Tundra up north eaten by sheep has profound influence on ability of river to retain water. Must understand is not just water it is everything in the basin that gathers water that goes to that river so anything that affects the basin affects the river. Also leaching from mines adding acid laden waters. Areas that used to be lush grassland that have been converted to desert. Floodplain that used to be covered with cottonwoods, now with homes subject to flooding. Areas that were prehistoric homes to indians that are now under water. Parts of the coast that are sinking at mouth of river because of water being drawn from river.

**00:28:19--00:29:00 Q: Problems of Rio Grande in Colorado and NM are far less than Texas boarder. No, what happens at headwaters affects everything below. ONe thing I've learned is that it is one great being and you cannot cut it into pieces anymore than you can cut a cow into pieces. It's a great arterial system. And just as if you had you main arteries cut from heart too lungs, so river will die if cut off from its lower reaches.

00:29:12-Seems like two rivers. It's a combination of 20 rivers...rio san juan, sabinas, pecos. Rio Grande is youngest member to enter this stream.

**00:30:00--00:03:33 Q: Are stress on Rio Grande reflective of what's happening to many American Rivers?

It's the oldest river in human history occupied in sw. Because of arid atmosphere difficulties are more evident here more quickly than in wetter regions. because has been occupied for so long, excesses have accumulated. in this dry region water is precious, every gallon taken out and not returned endangered some other creature. This could be considered a canary of rivers, indicative of troubles to comes with other rivers in US.

00:31:28-00:32:30 Q: Seen river change. I have. Flow of river change from a more regular spring flood to summer low water , replaced by extraordinary floods, heavy runoff and then little runoff. extremes have entered.

**00:32:34--00:33:54--What we're finding as we talk to people who work and play along river, there are users who are self absorbed. not much communication.

Most people ignorant of totality of river. NM people think comes from border. Few realized input of Mexico. *** This is one entity, one living creature that threads all of these cultures into one family. The more we understand that what we do in the headwaters affects what happens at the mouth, the closer we'll come to resolving issues.

00:33:44-00:34:59 Do you think people are capable of understanding that while river is still able to be saved. We've already reached a point of crisis. This is most utilized river in us as far as percent of water taken out for irrigation. most flash flood prone. more and more p3eople are studying river .. just get people a few hours alone on the river is enough to wake them up. crisis can accomplish this.

00:34:49-00:36:20--Encouraged by all the studying of river, soul searching. Certainly, encouraged they are paying attention. Politicians don't always have the long term goal in mind. They will those who are able to do something to work on probs. *** It was not very long ago that people didn't even want to acknowledge the fact that Rio Grande and water in general would be one of the foremost issues of the later half of 20th century and perhaps most important issue of 21st. Water is going to be a much more valuable resource that oil and gas. Water and air are the two things we absolutely can't live without.

00:36:10--00:37:40 In all the work you've done on the Rio Grande. What sort of feelings and sentiments does it generate in you.

The river is a metaphor of my own life. Spent 26-27 years exploring it. Come of age exploring it. Most of my most wonderful memories deal with people I've met here. profound personal moments ...nearly drowning, close quarters with mountain lions, bears, Solitude has been most valuable experience in my life.. Allows me to hear inner voice that tells me that I am a part of this. No matter what happens to me, as long as this river runs a part of me will still live.

00:37:40--00:39:22 What is the personality of this river. Has multiple personalities, no psychotic because all integrated. Begins on tundra flows on down through alpine and subalpine with spruce and fir. Then deciduous. grasslands, deserts, eventually subtropical. Was called Rio de las Palmas by Spanish who sailed into the mouth and thought sailed into forest of palms trees. So each section has it's own personality. But viewed as a who its a multifaceted being that can at once show you arctic tundra, tropical palms etc.

00:39:22--0041:15 When you stand on international bridge at Brownsville do you see the same river.

No it's quite different. In El Paso you're looking at desert river, end of Rio Bravo. about to disappear. Essentially goes dry south of El Paso and then gets renewed by Rio Conchos. So you see a really tired and dusty river. *** Rio Grande is like Ambassador of Rivers. Flows through different zones. knits together complex cultures. and the water itself is the needle and thread that ties zones together. Many people see Rio Grande as boundary between nations, but for many years before we drew arbitrary line it was the center of life and it's waters drew people from both sides of river, not a dividing line, but unification. Must realize it will be that unifying no matter of political decisions.

00:41:10--00:43:00 But designated most endangered. How get people along lower Rio Grande to understand, it's not just utiilitarian dithch.

Uphill battle, what you're doing helps. Personal encounters can make profound difference. if only see water from tap, but if could take people to stoney pass or here and show them what's possible. this is your home whether you realize it or not.

00:43:10--00:45:59 When you see Box Canyon and then go to lower reaches and not so pretty. Doesn't inspire.
People don't see it in entirety. If could see Santa Ana and sub tropical wilderness. They would know that with our will as humans we can rehabilitate the river. Maybe not in our lifetimes. But we can do it. When you see someone pulling trash out of river think maybe I can do something. I believe that our perception of beauty is our intuitive understanding of relative health and harmony of landscape. When we see a place that is ugly we are perceiving disharmony. We have to accept our responsibility that we contribute to disharmony. It's our choice.

00:43:59-00:46:40 You think Rio Grande can be saved. I do. I will not ever be river early explorers wrote about. Just too many people living on it. But it can be beautiful and healthy. more than we could ever imagine. Just depends on our willingness

00:46:40-00:50:35 As well as bringing all the different users together. River trip analogy is good. all in the same boat. Got to high side at right time, hang on, look for obstacles. People in Brownsvill realize they have stake in the headwaters and and headwaters realize have stake in mouth they will cooperate more...hopefully even if just for economic reasons. Also compassion. Because if kill river at beginning will die at end. If kill end people will move up river...Think we're are on verge of that becasue of change in admin. Beginniing to look at big picture. Also see resurgence of nationalism, take pride in natural beauty of country. For a long time beauty was seen as suspect. Deconstructionist didn' see beauty. It's greater than sum of parts. *** If I stick my hand in this river I can join myself to the whole living being of the river.

00:50:35-00:52:00 Traces of plutonium. It's a fact. Rio Frijoles is south of Los Alamos. But some tributaries are radioactive. For may years material entered Rio Grande without public knowing although officials knew. Up to recently it was cheaper to pay the fine than to clean up...only past year or so has that changed. $1 million a day.

00:52:00 --00:53:43 How determined that. Take sediments. Radio active material showed up down river and traced up river and forced documents released. Happened in the past year. Heard that one area was simply paved over. but things go on for millions of years. So asphalt cap over radioactive sand is temporary and water passing through will pickup solid material and pass to Rio Grande.

** 00:53:43--00:54:55 But rivers can clean themselves. Yes, for millions of years. So why create alarm? Because of rate of pollution. Previously rivers given long time to clean themselves , but volume is much greater now and increasing. And at some point the ability of river to deal with abuses will be exceeded by abuses and it will be unusable. but I don't think that will happen.
00:55:13--00:58:10 Plutonium, sewage, pesticides and ago fertilizers. mine leeching. Sewage being trucked out from New York. Given long enough water will get out. One of biggest problems is having headwaters, overgrazed or timbers. Because job of well developed soil to retain water, when that ability is lost, have more flash floods, big floods causing dams to be built. And just building of home in flood plains, cost river resources

00:58:00-01:00:30 But it's utopic to think river is going to be returned to pristine state. No can't return to Eden. but compromise. and slowly over generations people will value natural things over urban. people will restore tributaries and realize there are place where we should live and where we should not. Going to have to work hard. Tools are there and will is there.

01:00:30--Hundredth monkey syndrome... washing sweet potatoes, everyone learned.

We're on a race between annihilation and education and I'm putting my money on education.

01:03:10--Geologic formations. These layers of finely banded material are volcanic ash called tuff. Above it is very dense rock called basalt. Lava that came from very deep in earth. come from crust. what ocean bottom made of. Standing where volcanic ash falls have been ejected then capped by lava flow and we're in a mare (mahr) volcano, erupted under water. Crater is what you're seeing in slope up. throat was where waterfall if. you're looking at the funnel. near the vent. the sound must of been something. This is dormant volcano. Sitting on Rio Grande rift one of the most active in world. little swarms of earthquakes every day and because plumbing is still there volcano could reawaken and put on a another show. Most active area is near Socorro big lake of lava being injected. Anywhere from 500 to 1000 years to reach surface. Many Rio Grande pueblos have legends of earth splitting open,. Their ancestors saw this happen and descendents will too.

We have rituals of renewal to remind us that we are not separate from natural. What do we know ancient cultures by...trash heaps and their art.

01:08:50--01:10:40 --AMB. BY STREAM

01:10:47-01:13:40 --AMB. BY STREAM AT HIGHER GAIN WITH TRUE STEREO CONFIGURATION.

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