Sunday, May 9, 2010

Let's clear up a few things?

As of late, it seems like every time something nature or environmental acts up, or "extreme" events happen everyone likes to blame global warming. I will do one blog at time, tackling each issue individually. Here are a few things I have heard being the "result" of global warming:

Our state:
1. New Jersey trout population decline in almost every river
2. Increase in snow events (past winter)
3. Increase in flooding events
4. Decrease in ski resorts
5. Increase in annual temperature

World Wide:
1. Increase in volcanic activity
2. Increase in earthquakes
3. Katrina
4. Increase in flooding events
5. Increase in annual temperature
6. Increase in tropical activity
7. Decrease in arctic and antarctic sea ice

What is really happening with Jersey native brook trout?

1. First off I want to talk about the New Jersey native trout population which has seen a near extinction in the state except for a few small creeks in the mountains of the northwest corner. The belief is that since trout are a cold water species, global warming has warmed up their water ways depleting the amount oxygen they can breath and eventually die. And in fact this is almost exactly what happens, but sorry it's not the full truth.

The problem is man made, and it's called dams. Trout are a species that swim upstream in order to spawn, and dams prohibit them from getting there. Not only that, after years and years of sediment and deposit the area behind dams becomes more shallow and eventually seaweed begins to take over. The weeds slow the current allowing it to bask in the warm summer sun, and on top of that the weeds suck even more oxygen out of the water that the trout need to breath. Also these dams create more turbidity in the water, giving it a muddy and grimy look which is also a negative for native trout.

The only way to bring back the native trout is to remove dams. And in places where dams are needed those areas need to be dredged of sediment as it builds up and those old step dams need to be replaced by step dams. The step dams allow the trout to jump up a few feet at a time to make it back to their native spawning grounds. Currently the state is working on removing dams, reconstructing the old ones, and removing seaweed. One day, in our life times the native brook trout will return to the future clear water streams and rivers of New Jersey. It just takes one step at a time.

There is still another issue that will limit the amount of trout that could roam our future water ways. And it's caused by man yet again. The introduction of non-native fish, the biggest problem being carp. Brought here from Europe and other parts of the world the carp thrive here often reaching 20"-40" inches in length and weighing 8-40 pounds (And they get even bigger). These fish are gentle giants and in almost every pond, lake, stream, and river in the state and that's not a good thing. They are bottom feeders, which means they eat the eggs of the native species of fish including trout eggs. Carp populations are extremely high in the state and I personally know of areas where you can see dozens of them swimming around and eating everything in sight. They are always hungry and eat continuously, with only three natural predators. That being the occasional human(most people consider them garbage fish and throw them back), the blue heron(eats a very limited number of them), and the musky which is a fish that poses another threat.

Just yesterday I was fishing a deep hole in the Musconetcong for trout (stocked of course), and I see a musky swimming around, then another, and then another. The hole also had several dozen walleye all near two foot in length. Those fish are eating something, and it's most likely the trout which go down quite easily. They can swallow them whole. My point is here that musky and walleye are not native to New Jersey, and introduced by humans for sport fishing around the state.

We can never get rid of the carp, walleye, and musky. They do very well here in the state and populations have soared. Walleye and musky populations are still not large enough to deplete trout populations but carp are. Carp fishing is fun, what isn't about pulling out a three foot fish using a single piece of corn? My solution to the carp problem is to open up a bow hunting season for them, with contests, events, and other incentives for people help at least control their population. Just like we do for other land based animals such as deer.

Now some of you may be thinking why should the state do all this work for some fish species that practically disappeared decades ago? And that's an easy question. It benefits all types of fish species, as well as land based species that feed out of the rivers, which in turn affects us. It's a chain of events that betters the environment as a whole. Also it will help our dying lakes which have become so overwhelmed with seaweed it's becoming a health hazard. Lake Lackawanna in Byram township in the summer gives off such a smell that a passerby may become sick to their stomachs. Lake Musconetcong on the boarder of Sussex/Morris county once had beaches, boating, and swimming. Now it breed mosquitoes that make it hard to enjoy a warm summer night, once successful business on the lake all now all but gone, the beaches are so mucky that it's dangerous to enter because the 15 feet of quick sand like sediment. The max depth is 5 five and the water is so dirty it's impossible to see the bottom, and the weeds can't even grow past four feet because the sunlight can't reach bottom!

It's not just about brook trout. It's about new jobs, enhancing the economy, bringing revenue to lake communitys, addressing health issues, and helping to repair the environment that man altered the wrong way. Don't get me wrong, nature can be altered. It just has to be done the proper way without changing the ecology of the ecosystem. Man made global warming is not the cause of everything, and in fact it's not even proven to exist. Even if global temperatures went back to what the alarmist consider "normal", the environmental issues will not be solved. Not one of them.

P.S. -There is no "normal" temperature. Natural variability has been occurring for 4 billion years. Let's drop this global warming scam and actually address the REAL issues that we are facing. Next blog will be about how some blamed global warming on this recently harsh winter... yeah that's right. Warming means cold and snow. People need to stop talking out of their you know what's...

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