Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Patron Saint of Long Island Sound - Part 3 - Battle Lines

In the Advocate this Sunday the USEPA passed along its normal piece of propaganda they call the Sound Health magazine It talks of its involvement in the Sound since 1987 and some data goes as far back as 1987. They actually talk about climate change, but only because the Pres. has said it is okay to do so, 2 years ago they couldn't say anything and where steadfastly against mentioning it. I bring this up only to show that The Long Island Sound Study is really only a political vessel, not a scientific or an environmentally based group of people. They based the info on the all pervasive "Hypoxia" which really occurs mostly in the Western part of Long Island Sound and say that it is due to nitrogen. They want to blame the East River and the treatment plants in Westchester County (This is where Art Glowka and I differ slightly, because the treatment plants in Westchester are Combined Sewage and Storm water systems and can not handle anything over 2" of rain in a 24 hour period and must bypass a lot of sewage when those rains happen.) But I am as unconvinced as he is that the East River has anything to do with the Western Part of the Sound. The tidal flow of the Sounds waters in Westward with clear tidal front along the Throgs Neck Bridge showing Long Island Sound Pushing all the Water Westward even at low tide. One of the big issues is that for a very long time has been that the LISS simply ignored past evidence and the Living Marine resources (fish and such) as they pushed an issue of TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Load) particularly emphasizing Sewage Treatment Plants and Nitrogen.
When you look at the finfish report, you will see interesting discrepancies between what the State DEP reports and what the USEPA is reporting.
I will say again if the size of algae is important to one group of fish and not to another, the group it is not important to will flourish and the other decline.
Of interest though is the discussion concerning Sea Robins, which might be compared to lobster in the junk that they eat. They have increased significantly.
Talking about Lobsters everyone was scratching when the die off happened, but no one remembered what happened, really and we saw a small repeat last year.
So what did happen - does Art Glowka and Whitemeist have some mistical powers that saw what no one else did?
No powers, just curiosity. Hurricane Floyd Hit in September or October - I forget now (and do not want to look it up) and really stirred up the bottom, more so than in awhile. Moreover there was a significant Low rainfall period for over a month before it hit. Art smell awful low tide water after the storm and brought me samples. There was significantly measurable H2S ( hydrogen sulfide, a very toxic agent that is produced in the muck of the Sound by bacteria living "anaerobically) in the water column, shortly thereafter the Lobster were being found dead in the Lobster Pots. Three weeks later the H2S had cleared, but the Lobster population was gone!
The rebound did not happen and you can ask if the Sea Robins had anything to do with it? Or the size of the algae to feed the lobster larva? Or was it disease?
Slowly it began to pick up, but last fall we had a wicked noreaster' which created about the same situation and again Lobster were found dead in the lobster pots. This was not the same intensity as Floyd, but still showed the same result, H2S in the water column, killing slow moving, bottom feeders.
So the battle lines were drawn, the USEPA will uninvite Art to any public meetings, because he asks these questions and asks them to make sure what they are doing before they do it. He challenges them on wasteful spending and making policy without really knowing what they are up against.

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