...What Can We Say?...
Todays and Tomorrows Issues
2009 INTO 2010 As it did in 08, the 2009 season on the "Big Lake" started off with a great deal of anticipation. Eastern Basin anglers were greeted with hungry schools of eager shallow running browns and even steelhead. The impact of exorbitant fuel costs lessened considerably and seasonal future looked promising. As the season progressed the fish, especially KIngs, became increasingly more difficult to locate and, once again, conservative anglers were reluctant to use their precious fuel to locate them. Those who did find fish were relatively closed mouthed. As fishermen we always look forward to the better season. Lake levels were consistent with, or slightly above, the long term operating rule curve throughout 2009; and, egg quotas were easily met at the Altmar Fish Hatchery. If all goes according to schedule there will be ample fish available for direct stocking and netpen activities in the spring of 2010. Also on the brighter side - there were fewer reports and sightings of dead or dying fish, gulls, and loons. Like the common cold we know these problems will continue to lurk in wait. In the meantime the lakeside communities can amuse themselves or get involved with the Government,s (yep, the guy's who are up for reelection) feeble attempts to curb the spread of Asian Carp while it adamantly endorses the development of an industrial windmill complex at a scope never before imagined. What ever happened to NYS's SEQRA and It's constant references to unique resources and commitments to future generations?? It would seem that a resource of world wide significance would fall into this category. Not to mention the total commitment of the largest of only two islands in US waters. It appears that we just plain stink as "CARETAKERS". What Can We Say??
This page was last updated: February 23, 2010
A realistic look at the chain of events and hurtles that Lake Ontario resource managers, property owners, recreationists, and environmentalists are confronted with on a daily basis. Maybe "What Next" would be more appropriate??
What goes around seems to continue to come around
Indigenous Invasive Species (we the people) continues it's all out assault on the lake.
Wind Power – The Wrong Color Green Again???
The Great Lakes stretching across the country’s northern tier have aptly been described by the scientific community as “a jeweled necklace consisting of five sparkling diamonds”. These vast inland seas represent a fresh water resource with life supporting amenities that are without equal on a global scale. New York State is indeed wealthy and privileged in this respect. It is one of a few States with the opportunity to contribute to the management and perpetuation of these National treasures for generations to come.
This is an immense task that requires perceptive and knowledgeable leadership. Do we have that leadership…apparently not? Our governor and representatives are plunging headlong into the development of energy producing alternatives that are based upon nothing more than thoughtless green generated knee jerk reactions. The proposed Galloo Island wind farm is a glaring example.
The Hounsfield project involves the installation of 84 wind turbine/generators approximately 1000 feet apart across the width and breadth of the little four mile long island. The units, which are well over 400 feet high, will essentially be placed upon shallow bed rock which ranges up to an additional 55 feet above lake level. Any approval to convert one of the few US islands in the entire lake into a visual eyesore of this magnitude will literally destroy the aesthetic qualities of the Eastern Basin...not to mention the unthinkable precedent it will establish.
In its I Love NY and Seaway Trail literature, among others, New York State proudly extols (at considerable public expense) the virtues of the “Big Lake” and its tributaries. Prospective anglers are lured by visions of noisy riffles and clear waist deep streams flagged with shade producing trees and shrubs. Open water boaters are shown enjoying an uncluttered endless horizon…not unlike that experienced on an ocean. These images just touch upon the visual qualities that contribute to the overall fishing and boating experience.
Once again it appears that the only shade of green involved here is in tax payer subsidies and higher costs to the rate payer. On the bright side…look at it this way. We will have our very own uneconomical non-reliable monument to justify the need for the proposed nuclear addition at nine mile point. Let us also not forget that DEC’s endless and expensive political tap dance around the cormorant predation issue in the Eastern Basin will also be resolved. The birds simply can’t tolerate us!!! What can we say???
So what's the State's next move??
That is an easy one to foresee. DEC has informally admitted that staff knows very little concerning wind turbines and related impacts. It is also obvious that our buzzword Representatives, who are committing taxpayer money by the "green" fistfuls into this trumped up energy alternative, are equally as ignorant. Developers contend that the industrial footprint of a wind turbine is quite limited. From a visual perspective that is like saying that the inch and a half hole created in the sand represents the total visual impact of a 12 foot beach umbrella.
A great deal of information has been generated in Europe concerning the audible emissions of the 128 mile per hour blades on nearby residents - that's us. Very little information is available on the impact of low frequency noise (LFN) below 20 Hz on fish or invertebrates.It is believed that these species can hear or sense LFN sounds, as low as 1Hz, when are transmitted through the water. The impact on their ability to detect and home in on prey species, among many other physical conflicts, has not been determined. At least these questionalble concerns have not been addressed by any Agency in a manner that would satisfy applicable proceedural requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
DEC has informally suggested that siting the concrete masts, with rocks strewn about, within a soft substrate area (infauna habitat) might create a hard substrate (epifauna habitat) that would attract smallmouth bass. This would seem to assume that staff considers the invertebrate supporting soft substrate habitat to be of lesser value. It certainly would be more appealing to smallmouth anglers. Yet to be determined is the massive amount of desirable quagga mussel habitat that this same conclusion would also create.
So, my guess is, those who are up for re-election will direct the New York Power Authority to conduct a sufficient number of self serving studies, again at tax payer's cost, to support the recreational and visual demise of the 'Big -O' as we know it. There will be no mention of potential knee jerk reactions by Homeland Security to prohibit all fishing within the turbine areas should they deem it necessary.
What can we say???
Off-shore wind farms – what a view
That could be a question or a statement? Whatever your choice, I don’t think the label “farm” is appropriate for an industrialized complex of this magnitude. Wind marinas would be more realistic; but, that might imply that these abominations contribute some redeeming social or economic value to the resource. Let’s just call them Lake Ontario’s “Dead Fleet and examine this incongruous visual intrusion from an angler’s, home owners, tourist, recreationist, or boating enthusiast’s perspective These selected groups are currently being charged some pretty stiff rates to enjoy this gift of nature.
Ironically, it is these same local and State political voices who, without thought for their higher tax justification, are committing every aspect of the Great Lake’ unique aesthetic qualities to highly questionable long term and far reaching non-compatible impacts of wind generation. An act that extends far beyond the the limits of acceptable future management considerations identified and stressed in our State’s mandated environmental directives. The pending public reaction to this contradiction alone should raise an eyebrow or two in the not so hallowed halls, barns, and garages of local and regional governments.
This raises the question? Why does a home owner with frontage on the lake have to cough up more dollars for the same or less services available at much cheaper rate in-shore? It can’t be the opportunity to swim. Most of our sandy beaches were eliminated when the lake’s elevation was raised for the Seaway in the 1950’s. It can’t be boating access. The higher lake levels have also created an eroded wind ravaged rock and debris strewn strips of untamable no man’s land at the lake’s edge. Maybe it is the summer stench of rotting weeds and algae that was once exposed to killing temperatures during seasonal low water events.
A simple process of elimination suggests that it is still the visual quality of the lake that justifies a premium value. After all, Eastern Basin sunsets are considered to be among the most outstanding in the world. At least that’s what the local hype says? You don’t have to be an authority in the field of aesthetics to realize what the introduction of hundreds of design redundant 400+ feet high wind turbines will do to this scene. Under the circumstances it would appear that a substantial reduction in lake side property taxes or a refund is warranted.
Anglers and boaters looking forward to the total outdoor experience on what is now an endless inland sea can get some consolation from the fact that they will be able to simply navigate from “Unit 1” to “Unit two” and so on. The horizon we all enjoyed in our lifetimes will be non-existent for future generations. Now, we ask officials who claim to be responsible caretakers with vision, isn't that a legacy to be proud of??
“What can we say”