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Showing of 'Troubled Waters' is planned for March 10

Hastings residents are no strangers to the value of the Mississippi River, but they might not be as familiar with the human factors that have changed it. To help them understand it better, the Hastings Environmental Protectors (HEP) is sponsoring the showing of "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story," a documentary film about the Mississippi River. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the Pleasant Hill Library.

"Troubled Waters" is about the state of water due to man's influence along the country's waterways. It describes the condition of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the Mississippi and discusses how urban water runoff is treated.

"It's got some very interesting points to think about," said HEP member Kevin Smith.

Produced through the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota, "Troubled Waters" met some initial resistance from the university. University Relations delayed the film's opening, citing concerns about commercial interests and the need for further scientific review. After a few weeks, the issue was resolved. The film premiered in October in Minneapolis.

The commercial interests at stake had to do with Minnesota farmers. "Troubled Waters" does point to Minnesota agricultural practices as having a negative influence all along the river, Smith said, but there's data to back up the truths the film presents. At the same time, it does not insist on immediate changes.

"You can't solve it overnight," Smith said.

Rather, the film aims to educate people about the problems. HEP hopes that people who view the film will be able to see solutions and then influence their politicians to affect changes that will "hopefully clean the river up even more," Smith said.

"Troubled Waters" is about 30 to 40 minutes long. After watching the documentary, viewers are invited to join in a discussion about the river with HEP as well as an expert or two. HEP has not yet confirmed who the experts will be. Discussion could go on as late as 8 p.m.

There is no charge to attend this event, and no registration is required.