Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoveling Sand or Snow?

What would you rather shovel-sand or snow? This is the question that comes to mind after reading account of clean-up from the recent storm in North Carolina.

Cathy Clementz and her husband are owners of North Country Campground near Newberry. Cathy writes about their life there at Yooper Yarns. Her humorous writing style makes her blog one that I look forward to reading every day.

Cathy and Dan are on a new adventure this winter. They closed up North Country and took their 5th wheel to North Carolina to work at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. They were there last week for the big storm that hit the coast. Cathy's account of the damage to the nearby Atlantic coast is amazing. Here is an excerpt from Yooper Yarns.

Our snow drops from the sky, the wind howls from the north and west (normally) and we know that our snow storms aren’t usually going to occur till November through April. For these people, sand is there all the time, as is the force of the ocean and the Nor’easters that push it inland. I can’t recall any time where the snow storms have changed the face of the earth, but these dunes are GONE. The landscape is flattened.

The pictures show the extent of the damage. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Cathy as she and Dan continue on their adventure. I'm living vicariously through her writing.

Asian Carp in the St. Marys River Update

Yesterday's post brought up the idea of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes system. I had an interesting post which you might want to read from a follower in France. I used Google Translate and posted the comment in English in case you don't read French. Thanks to Mr. Beamish's French class at Sault High, I could read most of it.

Last night I was watching our local weather and there was a segment on Asian carp. Thanks to my broken ankle, I'm sitting and watching TV news. Our local anchorman was interviewing Dr. Dan O'Keefe from the Michigan Sea Grant organization. I had never heard of this organization but they are involved in 'promoting understanding and intelligent use of the Great Lakes".

I emailed Dr. O'Keefe about the Asian carp problem and the chances of Asian carp reaching the St. Marys River. His response was:

As for the St. Marys, it is probably too cold for successful reproduction of either Asian carp species - but they could still potentially enter the St. Marys from other areas if breeding populations do become established in other rivers.

The words 'could still potentially' strikes fear in me.

The rest of Dr. O'Keefe's explanation follows:

Hi Brenda,

It is hard to say how long it will be before Asian carp are documented in Lake Michigan. The bighead carp has already been documented in Lake Erie, but has not established a reproducing population. Silver carp have not been documented in any of the Great Lakes, but are now (along with bigheads) within 7 miles of Lake Michigan with nothing but a navigational lock between them and the Great Lakes. The sample that verified their presence at that location was taken between Sept. 23 and Oct. 1, so it is possible that they have moved closer already.

Here's an article from the site. Varocious carp could quickly take over Great Lakes. It has some good basic info about the carp.

The Wall Street Journal also did an article on the carp today. Asian Carp could hurt boating, fishing industry in Great Lakes.

The New York Times is also featuring an article. Varacious Eater may be nearing Lake Michigan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Lakes in the News or Time to Read the News

My life has taken quite a 'turn' this week. The turn was in my ankle. I was out running very early Monday morning as usual. I've been running several times a week with my sister-in-law for the past 17 years. We run outside year round in the dark. Whenever we're asked how we manage, we just say, "It's never been a problem for us." Well on Monday the dark became a problem. I stepped in a pothole and twisted my ankle.

I went to work Monday although it was sore, the pain wasn't too bad. But on Tuesday as I worked most of the day, the swelling continued and my co-workers encouraged me to get it checked out by the doctor.

I did that and found out my ankle was fractured and now I'm off my feet. I returned to work yesterday but because I work in a school and have to visit many classrooms, by the end of the day I was exhausted and very sore-mostly my arms and shoulders from walking on crutches.

So I'm off my feet today and I'll see an orthopedic doctor and find out how long I have to be on crutches and what my limitations are going to be.

But the good news is that now I have time to read the news.

The fish kill in Chicago is getting lots of attention. It is being done to keep the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. You can read about it at this link. Corp to Kill Every Fish in Canal. It is to our best interest in the St. Marys River to keep the Asian carp out. We have had so many challenges to the environment here and this would be a serious threat.

I try not to be political in my blog but what are your feeling about the environmental impacts in the Great Lakes. Do you have any favorite blogs that you read?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

St. Marys River Rescue

Alonzo Knowles and Maisey

There was a remarkable rescue last Friday from the St. Marys River in Munuscong Bay. Three friends from downstate were duck hunting on the river and ended up fighting for their lives. The Evening News stated it,

"At the beginning of their hunt the weather was warm but very windy — out of the south at 30-plus mph. On their journey from Barbeau to Sand Island, they experienced 2 to 3 foot waves, which Knowles said aren’t uncommon on the bay and their boat handled it well.
“But our trip back was entirely different,” Knowles said.

On the trip back, their boat was swamped and the men were in the water, clinging to their overturned boat. One of the men was able to use his cell phone to call for help but the phone quickly died. They then waited in the 46 degree water as hypothermia began setting in. About an hour into the ordeal, their dog, Maisey, slipped off the bottom of the boat.

The men were rescued by Chippewa County Sheriff and Michigan State Police personnel.

One of the men described the event, “Shaking uncontrollably from the onset of hypothermia on the bottom of our boat, much of the ride back to shore was a blur to me. We were greeted by an ambulance with warm blankets open arms and smiling faces."

The focus then came on Maisey, the 18 month old lab. "On Sunday morning, after 36 hours in the marsh, Maisey and Knowles were reunited. They found her after driving down several miles of flooded two tracks off of 18 Mile Road.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!,” Knowles said. “Never could I have imagined an outcome like this. I can’t begin to express how thankful we all are for your combined efforts."

I am reminded of a trip Tom and I had from St. Joseph Island back to the cabin on our waverunners. Our trip over had been fine but the return trip was very scary as the wind had picked up and it was all I could do to hold on to the handlebars while being whipped around by waves that were crashing over my head. The St. Marys River is a large body of water with potential for quickly forming storms.

Read about it in the Soo Evening News.
Munuscong Bay Rescue

This comment was left on the news story in the Evening News by one of those involved.

A heartfelt Thank-you to all involved. From all the first responders, the 911 dispatcher for hanging in their with us, the Ambulance personel, The fine folks of Barbeau and the surrounding area.......... You All Rock !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I speak for my friends that were with me as well as myself , when I say Thank-you for all that you did for us over the weekend and on that illfated night. Best Regards to you all, Alonzo Knowles Traverse City