Sunday, June 29, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
from the Troutunderground:
The Pebble Partnership’s hoping to reassure us sporting types that no way their giant open-pit mine - and all the toxic tailings associated with it - are going to harm wildlife in the area because, you know, they say so right in the ad.
Wow. If only they’d been this clear earlier, I’m sure the salmon themselves would have welcomed them with open arms.
My favorite line? “Pebble is just an exploratory project today. But already we’re setting new standards for environmental care.”
I’d like to point out that setting “new standards for environmental care” isn’t particularly difficult, given that prior open-pit mines have absolutely devastated the surrounding environment.
It’s a little like saying “Stalin set new standards in the creation of unpopulated territory” or “Donald Trump set new standards in hair styling.”
Meanwhile, the Sportsmen’s Alliance for Alaska continues its eBay fundraising auctions, so stop by and make a bid.
Until then, see you on the river, Tom Chandler.
From Buster wants to fish:
wherein we come to view the enemy’s face
The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
–from the Chomsky/Herman theory of propaganda
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In the same biological class as krill and shrimp, these rice grain-sized crustaceans dwell on lake bottoms and feed on descending algal plankton. Their bodies contain 30 percent to 40 percent lipids like fats and oils, making them a vital energy and nutrient source for the entire food web.
They are already gone from many large areas of lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, said collaborating researcher Tom Nalepa. In Lake Michigan, there are almost no Diporeia found at depths shallower than 90 meters. Just 15 years ago, their density often exceeded 10,000 animals per square meter at such depths, said Nalepa, a research biologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
The spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels - voracious filter feeders with an overlapping diet - largely coincides with Diporeia's decline and is widely believed to be at least partially responsible. But research cannot yet explain the link, Nalepa said.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
From the Cornell University "Making of America Project", a destination article about the fabulous Grayling fishing in Northern Michigan, for Scribners in 1879. The whole article is linked from the image above.
A determined and serious effort was undertaken to re-introduce Thymallus in the late 80's and early 90's - statewide, and it failed.
I don't beleive it can be conclusively said why the fish disappeared, beyond of course overfishing, destructive logging practices and introduction of exotics.
For me, this is what I think:
When the glaciers receded from Michigan 13000 years a relict population of grayling found a niche, that was allowed to gently and gradually evolve to fit an ecosystem that was unique, for them. This subspecies perfectly fit the rivers and streams that it had evolved into. Due to all of the above reasons, which simultaneously coincided with the widespread settling of Europeans in the area the fish didn't stand a chance. It was an ineffable expression of chance and evolution that is now gone - but maybe not for good.
At least with coming of the next ice age, which some say is imminent, the mile thick sheets of ice will come down from the artic in the next 5000 years or so, pushing the grayling in front of it, bringing it back to Michigan.
In 1920 on the Otter river in the U.P. an angler caught the same Grayling three times, and then no more, that was the end. That was less than 100 years ago.
So, the Michigan grayling is gone, but I think it is coming back. Maybe next time... things will be different.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Some things I thought I was gonna do didn't happen, others fell into place in a vague way. A bit of a window opened for take off Sat morning and the radar looked mostly not good. A single line of storms on sw to ne diagonal was looking to cross the driftless and so I figured I'd gamble on coulee hopping keeping an eye on the thunder heads and headed off for a June fish on the spring creeks. In the car at 11AM had me on the first stream at 2:30PM. I figured I'd play to hit the headwaters and watch the radar on the phone and jump the ridges looking for clear water to try to avoid being struck by lightning.
I knew that there was some H.I. bank work happening on the first spot on a largish drainage south of the sconny river, but apparently dropped in right at the top of the work. This is what spring creek bank restoration looks like when it is just a couple of weeks old.
This spot used to look very different.
Although very natural looking, in 2005 when this pic was taken it had had extensive brushing the previous season, including placing that log. The new bank work looks pretty raw. I could always get a brook trout or two from this spot - and apparently still could.
This is a brown from the next pool upstream.
Tucked into the bank and waited out the rain from an isolated thunderhead. The lightning wasn't too close.
15 minutes later 90 degrees and 100% humidity on cold spring water.
Another nicer brook trout amongst many.
Here's my June submission for the Calendar fundraiser. This is bank work that is one year old.
Another thunderhead rolled in from the south and I followed it up and over the sconny river to fish a different stream. Stopped to set up the tent, at the highest point on a little county campground, next to a dandy spring and hopped a ridge to another stream.
There was fish.
A little after 7PM the steady wind from the south stopped, and it was all perfectly still, and hot, sticky, and the sulfers started popping off the surface, and a cloud wall came bearing down the valley at about 50 miles an hour - from the north. After all this regular summer storms from the south - this had bad news written all over it. I didn't make it back to the car before the driving rain hit.
I made it back to the tent, had a couple of cheese snadwiches and drank the majority of the pilsner 6-pack and settled in with the lightning overhead and the first glo bugs of the season blinking down below and rain pounding on the tent.
Sometime in the night, I heard something a little different than the steady rain. Went down with the flash light and the creek had backed all the way into the spring head. It was topping the bridge and going over a few inches. I moved the car to higher ground and went back and figured I'd wait it out - went back to sleep in the tent. At dawn the rain had stopped and the river dropped down under the bridge. I tossed the wet gear in the back and took off driving in a non-stop hard rain all the way back to the state border.
The briefly back under the bridge river.
This is usually about 18 inches deep here and crystal clear, about 9/10 feet deep.
The sand on top of the bridge from the night's flash flood.
It rained six more inches that day after I left.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Since the shameful decision of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to approve permits to Kennecott’s controversial nickel sulfide mine on the Upper Peninsula’s Yellow Dog Plains, the opposition has mounted a variety of legal, administrative, and political challenges that have delayed the project. Despite growing public opposition to the project, Kennecott has tried to portray the opposition as an unrepresentative minority. This is exactly what Kennecott tried to do in Ladysmith. In both cases, the tactics of the company divided neighbor against neighbor and split the community into hostile factions.
In Michigan, these tactics have led to a violent assault on Cynthia Pryor’s husband, Robert, while Cynthia was attending a contested case hearing challenging MDEQ’s decision to permit Kennecott’s sulfide mine. He was assaulted by three unknown males in the late hours of the evening at his cabin which is located in a remote area near Big Bay. The three identified themselves by asking if he “was one of those anti-mining guys.” When he asked them to leave they knocked him to the ground and beat him, leaving him unconscious outside in the freezing rain. Cynthia, one of the most outspoken critics of the proposed mine, called the crime “beyond appalling, shocking and distressing – in my mind it is attempted murder. Bob is 60 years old, was attacked by three younger men and left to the elements…The fear and shock reverberating through our small community is something that should make everyone take note. What are the stakes in this project that would lead to such violence against a citizen of this state – unprovoked and at their home?”
Mining companies have increasingly resorted to violent tactics against opponents to mining projects in the Third World, but this is the first instance where pro-mining individuals have used violence to intimidate those who dare criticize ecologically dangerous mining projects in Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota. It is important that bureaucrats, company officials and politicians hear from citizens who are outraged at this assault. Their names and phone numbers are:
Governor Jennifer Granholm 517 373-3400
DEQ Director Steve Chester 517 373-7917
DNR Director Rebecca Humphries 517 373-2329
Jon Cherry – Kennecott Minerals 906 225-5791
Tom Albanese – CEO Rio Tinto (Kennecott’s parent company) 011 44 20 7781-2000 (London Main #)