Ben Harper Plugs Living Lands And Waters

By Karen Bliss 3/17/10 |

Ben Harper
Musician Ben Harper is calling attention to one of his number one charities, Living Lands & Water (, dedicated to cleaning up and preserving America’s rivers.

“It’s run by a gentleman named Chad Pregracke and his life devotion is to cleaning up rivers,” Harper told “He built his own barge and he travels around [..] and goes up and down rivers and cleans them up by hand. He’s built his own crane, his own barge, and he is a true revolutionary and a true hero.”

In the bio area of the Living Lands & Waters web site, it reads that Pregracke founded the not-for-profit organization in 1998 at age 23 out of East Moline, Illinois. The charity now operates with 10 full-time staff and has four barges, a towboat, six workboats, two skid steers, five work trucks and a large box truck.

“With this equipment, the crew is able to travel and work in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Potomac Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries.  Since the project’s inception, Chad, his crew, and over 60,000 volunteers have collected over six million pounds of debris from our nation’s greatest rivers.

“Most recently, Chad expanded the mission of the organization to include Big River Educational Outreach, The Million Trees Project, and the Adopt-a-River Mile programs.”

Harper says he’s usually a “silent donor,” but will go on record as saying he has donated his own money as well as raised money for the cause. “It’s odd because then it’s, ‘Oh, he donates money, but what if I can’t donate any money, but I still want to support him somehow?’ That gets awkward.”

Most people likely don’t have that view and recognize people give what they can, when they can and an amount they can afford. Harper feels this way too.

“I don’t believe that Bill Gates giving a billion [dollars] is anymore important then me walking up to a guy and giving him 200 bucks,” says Harper. “I know that’s probably foolish, but I believe that [nobody] should ever feel intimidated to give what they can, where they can. Because as far as I’m concerned, buying a guy four nights at the Midnight Mission [], giving him 50 dollars to get some new clothes, and then giving him 50 bucks to get a beer or something, you know, one life is as important as a million lives. Change a life. Just help a life. That’s my cause. That’s my mission.”

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* is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.