LOCATION: 17,500 miles across the USA, Canada, Mexico

DATES: June-November 2010

MISSION: Exploration and Storytelling: Water Scarcity and Pollution in North America

Photos ©Blue Legacy/Oscar Durand

ABOUT THE EXPEDITION

Expedition Blue Planet: North America was a five-month interactive exploration of critical water issues across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The expedition toured more than 17,500 miles in a biodiesel tour bus converted to serve as a “rolling Calypso” for daily production and web broadcasting of films, photos, and findings. In addition to filming a range of critical water issues on the Colorado River, the Gulf Coast, the Tennessee Valley, the Great Lakes, and Chesapeake Bay, Expedition leader Alexandra Cousteau and her team stopped in 20 communities along the route to host watershed action days. These action days brought attention to local water conservation heroes, connecting them with their communities, raising funds for their work, and bringing their challenges to the attention of the media. This expedition was National Geographic's first ever "interactive" expedition.

Building on the Cousteau legacy of exploration and “experiential storytelling,” Alexandra has led Blue Legacy expeditions across 6 continents to tell some of the most critical water stories of our time. These interactive expeditions tell stories directly from the field to generate excitement and understanding around critical water issues with a network of media partners. Alexandra has produced over 100+ short films, thousands of images, blogs, and public engagement with over 100 million media impressions a month while she was in the field. These expeditions allow traditional and online media outlets to more effectively engage audiences and drive productive discussion around how people can protect their water and the places they love.

ABOUT BLUE LEGACY

Blue Legacy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Alexandra Cousteau – an iconic global water ambassador and explorer – who continues the storytelling legacy of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Through strategic collaborations, Blue Legacy infuses environmental science, technology, and exploration into digital media and storytelling assets to build public awareness of the interconnectivity and importance of local watersheds and global water resources, and to inspire more sustainable water management actions by business leaders, elected officials, communities, and citizens.

Blue Legacy’s mission is to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time.


In July, Expedition Blue Planet explored the headwaters of the Colorado River to investigate how this mighty river is overallocated from the moment its waters touch the ground up in the Rocky Mountains, where the continental divide rises like spine and demarcates the Mississippi watershed that lies to the East from the Colorado watershed that falls to the West.

The final stop on our 17,100 mile journey across North America, visiting the Potomac River gave us the chance to reconnect with the watershed we call home. This story, about the river which runs through our nation's capital-and through Blue Legacy's own backyard-really speaks to who we are and the work we do with local water keepers.


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 a particularly difficult thing to trace.
In August, 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.

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.
In July, Expedition Blue Planet explored the headwaters of the Colorado River to investigate how this mighty river is overallocated from the moment its waters touch the ground up in the Rocky Mountains, where the continental divide rises like spine and demarcates the Mississippi watershed that lies to the East from the Colorado watershed that falls to the West.