Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WUWM Morning Edition interview with Jon Apple

Photo is from the WUWM Flickr set- I could not find a photo credit. It depicts Jon Apple fishing at the Kletzsch Park Falls.
When two of my co-workers mentioned to me separately that they heard about the dam on NPR, I just assumed (incorrectly) that it was negative spin. Here is the link to the online article by Susan Bence.
From the article/radio show:
"I spot someone fishing a stone’s throw downstream, hip-deep in the river. Jon Apple is fully equipped with waders and a waterproof jacket, topped off with a camouflage cap. He’s also caught up in the sheer pleasure of the moment... Apple grew up watching this river change with every season...
'We pick it up and flip it in back of us and then cast it out and then the fly drifts along through the water,' Apple says. With an elegant flick of the wrist, his long graphite rod sends the line sailing downstream. If and when the fish bites, Apple says he might have a 20 minute tussle on his hands. He seems to be taking in everything around him. As Apple makes his way back to shore, he reels in his line and glances down at the fly attached to the end, bouncing along in the shallow water.'Did you ever see anything better than that? Look at that, dancing in the water like that,' Apple says. Apple admits there’s a bit of nostalgia mixed in with his love of the river. He grew up nearby, in Shorewood. 'And I can remember going over to Lincoln Park when we used to be able to rent rowboats there and fish for little sunfish, or whatever they were, I don’t know, it’s been a few years I guess,' Apple says. It’s those childhood memories that drive his feelings about the future of the water in Lincoln Park. Apple says he understands if the Estabrook Dam is removed and the Milwaukee River runs free, it might be cleaner. But he’s concerned about how that move will affect Lincoln Park. Without the dam, water won’t pool and the park’s waterways might dry up. 'You would think as a hardcore fisherman I would be for removing the dam. I’m very much against removing the dam, and this is going to choke me up a little. That dam serves Lincoln Park and Lincoln Park is part of our county park system and it will absolutely gut Lincoln Park and the people that have Lincoln Park will not have that type of water available to them,' Apple says."

I have met Mr. Apple. He is a kindly, thoughtful man, just the sort of person one would expect to hear on NPR.


Erik Helm said...

I know John Apple. He is a passionate fisherman, but not an environmentalist; thus his shortsighted stance in my opinion.

The River Otter said...

I do think that it is important in a densely-populated area to consider the balance between people and the environment. The recent study showing that urban dwellers have lower per-capita greenhouse emissions is a good case in point- cities are indeed polluted, but their per-capita pollution is lower than that of rural areas. No person has zero environmental impact, even a leave-no-trace camper. Balance in all things is the key.

Erik Helm said...

Balance so that you can have an impoundment that degrades water quality and keeps the Milwaukee River above the dam in a stagnant silt filled state? At what cost to the environment is your "balance" obtained? Sometimes people and the environment cannot be separated because humans live IN the environment they are in direct proximity to. People, flora, fauna, the environment, the air, the water... it all combines to be called an ecosystem. What happens in your back yard effects me, and vise versa.

Jason Schroeder said...

It's funny that this report mentions New York, where public transportation is almost mandatory due to such extreme congestion. Add to the fact that New York is a pollution disaster totally offsets any benefits gained from less per capita greenhouse emissions.

I would hate to see what the per capita consumption for Milwaukee is in comparison. We do not have a viable public transportation system and we are in the process of widening our highways to allow for more cars.

Balance sounds nice, and is a good way to dream. I don't think we can balance anything with our current population so we have to try to do our best.

Speaking of balance, I think the best balance for the water resources of the area would be for free flowing rivers that could manage themselves. Look around you anywhere to see that we aren't very good at managing anything.

How about we get rid of that trash collector and fish migration prevention device called the Estabrook dam? The best thing about rivers is that they know how to take care of themselves. Is this why they flood so frequently?

A 12 million dollar garbage collector sounds way out of balance to me. It is especially out of balance if you expect me as a taxpayer to pay for it!

Steve said...

I've heard the argument about "I'm not paying $12 million" which is an inflated cost that includes bloated supervision payments to county workers. It won't cost that much. My real point is that when it comes down to it, all taxpayers pay for things they don't take part in or approve of. School sports programs? Never participated, and my kids don't either. Interstates? Hell, I don't drive on 'em. WIC? Never used it. County Stadium? Never went, but I'm paying the sales tax, and you know that won't ever go away like they promised years ago. The excellent health and dental care provided free to imprisoned criminals? Never used that either. It comes out of your and my taxes though.

The River Otter said...

Hi again Erik- please do remember that we have agreed civilly to disagree. I would, however, welcome the chance in the future to work together with you on a project that we feel equally passionate about.

Erik Helm said...

Still civil ;)
And yes, as we discussed at the county board meeting, we may need each other in the future. This goes for all of us involved on both sides of the issue. We cannot let this get personal or to the point where passions obscure logical thinking.

As I have stated before, I have a lot of sympathy for many of the issues you and others raise. You moved where you live partially because of what the dam creates, and the last thing I want to see is the removal of the dam without remediation of the streambed and surrounding riparian habitat.

That being said,and the issues weighed, I still believe that removal of the dam is the best for the people and environment.

And a belated Happy Easter!


Jason Schroeder said...

Inflated or not, it is a reality that this is wasteful spending.

All of the programs that you mention with the exception of Miller Park are necessary programs, and yes, I believe that criminals have the right to health and dental care. What I don't understand is why the citizens of the County should pay for a dam that benefits so few and has so many negative environmental impacts.

The River Otter said...

Thanks for your comments, Jason, but do please take a walk in Lincon Park on a summer weekend. I don't believe the dam benefits a few. This park is really a beautiful place that was built around the water and serves the neighborhood and its people.

Anonymous said...


You should check out this video if you have not seen it.

It tells the story of West Bend and their decision to remove a dam on the Milwaukee River. They created more park space and got rid of a stagnant impoundment. I think it has a lot of similarity to what's going on with the Estabrook Dam.