This writer was fortunate enough to attend a very informative seminar this past week on the Great Lakes. Panel members began talking about some of the history of Lake Michigan and the North Shore Channel and about the Channel’s connection to Lake Michigan. There was a good discussion on ways to help conserve the water supply for the future. Unless people become better stewards, everyone could face a future without drinking water. And their children could face even greater shortages.
One panel member talked about the problem on Lake Erie just a year ago, when there was a huge algae bloom so thick and large that citizens along the Ohio shore were advised not to drink or shower using lake water for an extended number of days.
It is not impossible to imagine a similar disaster’s occurring along Lake Michigan, since many believe that one of the causes was the runoff from fertilizers and other plant foods that fed the algae in the lake. The same runoff that created the drinking water problem also impacts fishing, because the algae depletes the oxygen in the water, driving the fish from the area and killing some invertebrates the small fish feed on.
Since the seminar, it has occurred to this writer that a similar problem can and does exist on most, if not all, of the lakes he fishes. This area has been so built up over the years that the water that comes down as precipitation – rain or snow, for example – historically would have been absorbed into open ground areas and returned to the water table, filtered by the earth.
Today all that contaminated water runs off into driveways, streets and into lakes.
The more building that occurs around watersheds, the greater the potential for problems. This is especially true in areas like the Skokie Lagoons, forest preserve lakes, and area rivers, where hard work has been done to create great fishing close to home.
Everyone needs to be careful with fertilizers; to start thinking about permeable pavement; and to start using rain barrels to help conserve water.
Until next time…keep a tight line.
Contact Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org.