Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Waiting For Someone
To Do
There's Anything
To Do

We've had a recent melt off in the state, and some of the rivers are running high. Still, Lake Michigan approaches record lows. This pier, just south of our south shore launch site, isn't all that old, yet you can see from the water marks how much the lake has dropped in recent years.

Some insist this has resulted from dredging done on a connecting river to Lake Huron. Some "experts" claim that the flow there hasn't changed over the years. Besides, the lake has actually been lower and has recovered. The hard part, at least for me, is not knowing if this is a natural cycle or if we are standing around with our hands in our pockets while something that could be done is not getting attention.

All this is on top of the other problems we've managed to create in this precious body of fresh water. We once had lake trout that spawned a fishing and a restaurant industry here in Wisconsin. Then the lamprey eel invaded, and we poisoned the streams to get rid of the critters. It worked, but it also took out the fish. Eventually, the seaway was opened, and Katie bar the door.

Trans oceanic ships shared their bilge water with us along with the critters that lived in it. Zebra mussels invaded. At first it wasn't so bad. They ate a lot of stuff that made the water much clearer. But, then, they began plugging up intakes and latching on to everything imaginable. As the sun penetrated deeper into the clear water, some of the plant life began to over grow. Since then, a fish hemorrhagic virus has shown up, and we are waiting to see if the Asian Carp make it upstream to us.

Most of the smaller or pan fish have all but disappeared. Those guys were the basis of the food chain for the larger fish, including the coho salmon introduced into the lake. The coho have created a sports fishing industry here, but (in my opinion) one has to be suicidal to eat these PCB-laden teleosts.

Oh well, if we get a good enough cold spell we might have a nice skating ring that's 85 miles wide.

Paddle safe...


DaveO said...

Lets not forget the newest mussel that can survive in deeper waters. I read the article in you local rag, . This is veriy worrisome since they have no clue how to eradicate them. This could mean the end of the Friday perch fry as we know it. Good thing coleslaw, french fries, and beer don't come from the lake!

JohnB said...

Just remember the goal of our rescues: "Maintain your position in the food chain." While this is particularly true in jungle waters, the oceans, and swamps, with all their creatures; it is also true on the smaller bodies of water too.

Now we've got everyone paranoid about kayaking anywhere other than a swimming pool!!!

Kristen said...

We humans do have a certain knack for being able to mess things up, and so well, at that.