Archive for the ‘conservation’ Category

Michigan Govenor’s race: the environment

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The Michigan Republican primary, particularly the gubernatorial race, was pretty interesting this year for a number of reasons.  The primaries are over, so the Great Lakes Echo has a breakdown of the environmental positions of the republican and democratic candidates for this November’s election.  While the article is informative, the first comment is pretty interesting too.  Why is there so much resistance to wind power in Michigan?

Oil is worse than carp?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

The Great Lakes Echo notes that Chicago mayor Richard Daley, obviously bitter about requests to close the Chicago locks to prevent the spread of Asian carp, lashes out in press conference saying that oil is worse than carp, referring to the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River last week. An illustrative example of the state of the Great Lakes, both politically and environmentally. But to keep from going insane, you have to see this video clip as hilarious, not depressing as hell.

Great Lakes Water Wars

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Kevin had lunch last week with Peter Annin, author of a book regarding the Great Lakes water diversion controversy, The Great Lakes Water Wars, and an authority on global water issues. Annin’s maintains a fantastic, very up to date collection of links to news and information about water issues on his website that focus on the Great Lakes but range far beyond as well. Definitely worth checking out.

Pere Marquette gear restrictions update

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The public meetings concerning Michigan’s new gear restriction miles are now more than half concluded. Word is that while there has been substantial opposition to new gear restrictions on the PM, a slight majority of public comments supported them. The Grand Rapids Press’ Howard Meyerson wrote this piece after attending the public meeting in Bitely.

He comes out against extending gear restrictions on the PM, apparently for two reasons: (1) gear restrictions are not an appropriate tool for managing the social dynamics on a fishery and (2) “responsible bait anglers should have a place where they can fish, too, on the PM — at least until compelling scientific evidence shows otherwise.”

Regarding (1), Meyerson offers no reason to not use gear restrictions to manage social dynamics. He simple asserts that another solution, increased funding for law enforcement, is the proper tool to manage said dynamics. We maintain that while increased law enforcement would certainly help, it is not a feasible option at the current time. State and other sources of funding for increased law enforcement are simply not available nor can be made available through the means Meyerson suggests: “communities concerned about their business and image might need to find a way to pitch in or help pay for more law enforcement.” Secondly, the improvement in social dynamics on the river are only one of the benefits of gear restrictions, albeit an important one. If the implementation of new gear restrictions can solve two major problems on the river at little to no cost, why not think they are an appropriate and effective way to manage these problems?

The second major problem on the river is the health of the fishery itself. Regarding (2), Meyerson claims that no new regulations should be put in place until compelling scientific evidence shows they will benefit the fishery. We believe this is an irresponsible position to take. It is widely agreed that the PM’s fishery is in decline. While there is no scientific evidence that this is the case, we believe it is best to take a conservative approach to managing this rare and valuable resource.  We believe that new gear restrictions should be implemented until there is compelling scientific evidence that shows they do not benefit the fishery.

And regarding Meyerson’s claim that bait anglers should have a place to fish on the PM as well, we wholeheartedly agree.  The new gear restrictions were never to be extended to the entire river.  We simply want important spawning and nursery areas to be protected so that the wild fish in this river can flourish.  Even if gear restrictions were extended to Walhalla, there would still be over 40 miles of river open to bait fishing and creel limits of 5 fish a day.  Furthermore, improving the health of spawning and nursery habitat will improve the quality of bait fishing in the lower river.