Thursday, February 24, 2011
A carp hit me! At least it wasn't a Lear Jet
I promised to get down off my anti carp soapbox unless something significant popped up. It would appear that a couple of things have, one on the public level and one on a somewhat more personal level. Congress voted against closing the Chicago locks last week and a kayaker was forced to withdraw from a race last summer after being struck in the head by a flying carp.
A Republican House member and Democratic Senator from Michigan introduced legislation to cut off funding for operation of the locks in Chicago, the Interstate Carp Highway from the Mississippi watershed to the Great Lakes. This provision in a budget bill was torpedoed and sank one week ago today. Meanwhile the hearings in various cities from Minneapolis to New Orleans drag on (at slug-like speed according to the Detroit Free Press), the potentially worst spring flooding season in years is just around the corner, and the carp are gearing up for a little hot carp lovin' as the spawing season approaches along with the flood waters.
In an incident much closer to home for we kayakers, a kayaker in the MR340 in Missouri was struck in the head by what observers thought was a 2-3', 20-30 pound carp. An alert blog reader sent me the link after a previous anti carp/government ineptitude post. Be sure to save the 6 part, "Tips for Avoiding Carp on the Missouri". We can easily modify it to "Tips for Avoiding Carp in Lakes Michigan and Superior" in a few short years. One very succinct paragraph in the article seems a bit foreboding given the anticipated spring flooding and glacial speed of the government response: "Because these carp have been found to spawn in high waters, the floods of the mid 90s only exacerbated the problem. Now, bighead carp have penetrated the electric barrier that blocks fish from the Mississippi River Basin into the Great Lakes Basin, creating a growing economic concern that threatens the multi-billion dollar fishery industry in that area". As we used to say in junior high, 'no shit Sherlock'!
As depressing as that tidbit is, there is some good news from the Bayfield peninsula. The Twin Cities developers that want to build a development and jet landing strip in the Town of Russel not too far Little Sand Bay ranger station and launch in the Apostles, were shot down by the Bayfield Co Board of Adjustment. According to the Ashland Daily Press 'Members of the Bayfield County Board of Adjustment voted 4-1 Thursday to overturn a conditional use permit issued by the Bayfield County Zoning Committee for the Waypoint residential fly-in development proposed for the northern Bayfield County community of Town of Russell'. Two good friends, the GreenThumbChef and WoodFondlingBarrister were intimatly involved in this process. I had the pleasure of having a drink last Friday with the GTC but missed the Wood Fondler, as he had left the Deepwater before we arrived but left but left several derogatory comments that he instructed be passed on to me. At least for the time being we won't be hearing the engines of Lear jets and Gulfstreams as they throttle back over Oak Island on their final into Waypoint Field. Part of the lure of the Apostles is that peace and quiet and its nice that it will continue, at least until the anticipated flurry of appeals hits.
The lesson from these two stories is pretty simple. We need to keep up the pressure on these officials and good things can happen. I'm sure our old buddy Scott Walker down in Madison is well aware of that fact as he attempts to go to work and answer phone calls from his billionaire supporters. Let your opinion be known loudly and often. Don't get distracted or a carp might hit you in the head.
(carp action shots courtesy of the AP and Brian Kaufman of the Detroit Free Press)