Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lake Superior report card

This evening I will pick up the SKOAC club trailer and swing by the hanger to grab RonO's boat and then head over to friendly Fridley to load up the ManFromSnowyLeg's craft. The VOR has consented to let son GalwayGuy use her beloved blue Avocet if he promises not to beat it up; there was a spare paddle scratching incident this summer that still causes sullen moments when recalled. We will be heading north to the Annual Grouse Kill, an event where no grouse has been harmed for a decade or so but the name remains. The scheme is for some Lake Superior paddling near Saxon Harbor and what could likely be the last rolling session in the inland lake that Camp O sits on. Good food and an adult beverage or two may be consumed also.

Since this could quite possibly be the last kayak trip to the big lake before it becomes too solid to paddle on, I thought it would be a good time to look at the report card. A group of scientists, meeting Monday at the "Making a Great Lake Superior" conference in Duluth, handed out some mixed grades. Most agreed that development along the shores could be the greatest threat. Pollution, rising temperatures, and invasive species are also a threat to the worlds largest lake and its cold and very sensitive ecosystem. I noticed that a trucker was fined for transporting a large water pump from the east coast that had roughly 5,000 Zebra Mussels (a very prolific Euro import that got over here in the ballast water of some freighter). As usual we are still the worst enemy of the lakes health. That being said, many of the scientists at the meeting agreed that the lake is generally in good health. Toxic pollutants have decreased yearly in recent years and the fish communities in the middle of the lake are very robust. Most of the areas of concern are the tributaties and near shore areas, once again the areas that we homo sapiens have relatively easy access to. So lets try to look past the end of our noses, use our heads, and do our personal bit to make sure this wonderful resource maintains its luster and mystique for years to come.

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