Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sign warns fishermen away from catfish caught in Mona Lake and deep frying fish, locking in the PCBs. Norton Shores, MI


How did our fisheries arrive at a condition where pollutants lace the fat of our catch? Western humans didn't arrive at the Great Lakes until the early 18th Century. In the first decade of the 21st century, less than 300 years later, women with child and nursing children are advised to pass on the fish dinners brought home by their husbands. Nothing says "WTF" like a sign on the way to shoreline fishing that recommends trimming away all the fat and throwing away the skin. Who has the time to read the sign or take all those steps? I have to wonder where all the submerged junk lies, and staff on the watershed staff know the point source. When the pollution is polychlorinated biphenyls, which my spell check can't spell check, the point source often has electrical industry materials. Thrown in the active water of the Black Creek watershed, the water has had many years to build up Mona Lake's toxic load. Mona Lake needs the full Lake Muskegon and Spring Lake treatments. Lake Muskegon has had streams restored, habitats established, shoreline recovered and point sources of heavy metals and PCBs covered with sand over the lake bottom hot spots. Spring Lake had a magic powder sprinkled over its surface that sank and bound the excess nitrogen and phosphorous to the lake's bottom. Mona Lake could use a round of remediation, especially curing the nutrient load from the former celery flats, now with busted dikes and flooded fields. The flats make an interesting wetland, especially with Eagles living in the tall trees overlooking it. Families show up day and night on the shores to catch the surprisingly abundant fish. The eagles keep busy on the waters. One fisherman whose name I won't release has fished Mona Lake for all of his fifty years, now practicing catch and release. Sometimes a fish is disabled during retrieval and those fish won't dive and will flop and float on the surface. That flopping is enough to summon an Eagle to swoop down for a pickup. Heck, I've heard of Mona Lake Eagles swooping down for lunch meat. We have a good opportunity awaiting in the Mona Lake watershed. Action is worth it.

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