A Call for River Witnesses

A call to protect the Des Moines River, Saturday, September 10th! 

The Des Moines River, river of the Heartland, is threatened by Dakota Access’ crude oil pipeline.

Dakota Access has moved in heavy equipment to bore beneath the river. Come and camp with us at the River Witness camp as we continue to protect the river from further harm.

On September 10th, we will have a day of action. Meet at Pilot Mound Community Center (112 Pilot Street, Pilot Mound, IA) at 10 am on Saturday. After a short meeting and training, we will move to the E18 bridge and then to the construction sites nearby. More info. here.

  • FRIDAY the 9th: Join us Friday evening (all who are able!) for a community potluck at the Pilot Mound Community Center (112 Pilot Street, Pilot Mound, IA) Friday evening at 6:30. Please bring food to share with others. Following potluck, some will camp at our base camp at Norton’s Ford Access (map below).
  • SATURDAY the 10th: Meet at 10 am at Pilot Mound Community Center (112 Pilot Street, Pilot Mound, IA) for abbreviated direct action training and information sharing. Planned action will happen at 1 pm and a caravan will be starting from the community center. We will have pastries and coffee available at 10. Sandwiches and veggies for lunch. Please bring your own beverages.
  • NOTE: The peaceful prayer camp at Norton’s Ford Access has closed and we encourage people to camp at nearby Don Williams park if they wish to engage in river witnessing.


The Des Moines River, river of the Heartland, is threatened by Dakota Access’ crude oil pipeline. We call for those willing to stand with the River.

As Mark Edwards, river protector from Boone, Iowa, shared: “One spill, for one hour, has the potential to leave one million gallons of toxic crude in this river. With the recent earthquake this past weekend and shock waves affecting Iowa we could see this buried pipeline leaking into this river at any time. This means the city of Boone would be without water for a long time. Also, the city of half a million people downstream in Des Moines will have to make other plans for water.”

Local camping options:
Don Williams County Park (10 min): http://www.co.boone.ia.us/index.aspx?page=296

Spring Lake State Park (25 min): http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/springbrook-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=IA&parkId=610116

Ledges State Park (30 min): http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/ledges-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=IA&parkId=610148

Background: The 525 mile Des Moines River flows between the Missouri River to the west and the Mississippi River to the east. It is being stalked by Dakota Access’ pipeline which parallels its path across Iowa. She provides drinking water for millions. Among the most polluted of US. waterways, the River cannot stand one more assault. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted a nationwide permit to Dakota Access to cross this River and many others. However, DAPL still lacks two easements called 408 permits to cross two rivers, one in North Dakota and one in Illinois. In addition, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed an injunction against Dakota Access (for it) to halt construction until the Tribes lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for granting the nationwide permit can be decided. We add our voices to the Corps to deny the 408 permit and for Dakota Access to stop construction until the lawsuits are complete.

Rivers have been traditionally places to gather medicines, clean drinking water, and a place where we “lay our troubles down”. We will gather at the crossing of highway 18 and the River for our Witnessing. This particular location is geologically vibrant: it was the farthest reach of the last glacier’s toe. Ice has long been used to reduce pain. The Oceti Sakown (Sioux) used to gather there in the spring to harvest medicines. This River has been used for healing of humans over millenia. Now it is our turn to bring healing to this River. We will do our best to stop further harm to her.

Join us. Stand with the River. Bear Witness.

Take Action. Stop further harm.


River Guardians gather at camp along Des Moines River. Photo: Rivka Fidel