Saturday, June 20, 2009

Guest post from James Brozek

Here's an open letter from James Brozek, one of our MRPA members. (I edited it for punctuation, clarity, and spelling.) It was sent to many public officials and others. He sent the photos, also.

Dear friends,

Last year the Milwaukee Riverkeeper organization stated they believe that removal of the Estabrook Dam would have the greatest positive impacts on water quality, sediment management, fish and aquatic life, terrestrial wildlife, and recreation. Here are my observations this spring of the Milwaukee River in front of my house.
As of June 6, 2009, the water level is four feet lower than its natural and historical level. I've seen a marked absence of Bluegills, Sunfish, Catfish, Bullheads, Northern, Bass, Western and Midland Painted Turtles, Common Snapping Turtle, Green Heron, Night Heron, Egrets, and Coots. But what I have seen is an abundance of hundreds of yards of mosquito-breeding puddles in front of my property. During the spring runoff, the river's currents scoured into the river gravel these wonderful, made-to-order incubators for the cute mosquito larvae wigglers. The abundance of algae covering this gravel is an exceptional food source for this Wisconsin State Insect. Can you say "West Nile Virus?" Ahhhh, did I mention the lovely aroma given off by the thin layers of ooze on the river gravel? No? Well, depending on the warmth of the day and the directness of the sun, this football field-sized area of river bottom rivals our hatched mosquitoes as the gift that keeps on giving. I've not seen anyone fishing. Where are the fishermen, now that the river is running free? Paddlers also have become an extremely rare site. I've seen a pair more drifting then paddling in the narrowed river channel. The Boys and Girls Clubs paddlers are nowhere to be found. Hikers? Nope, the river bottom is just too soggy and smelly. Long live the Lincoln Park Lagoon & Urban Wildlife Place.


River Bro
Now- River Otter here again- I missed Thursday night's MRPA meeting. It sounded like it was a good one.
I'm wondering, does anyone from the MRPA ever read my blog anymore? I no longer post much about the dam or the group. It just didn't seem like a useful tool for getting out any information, as was my initial hope and inspiration for starting it. I just got lots of nasty comments from anti-dam folks, and verbal comments like "Only our enemies read it, anyway." A few nice emails came in here and there though, and informational ones like this. So, I just post (almost) whatever I feel like now. The Internet is very accommodating that way.

If any MRPA members or sympathizers still read this (or enemies, or frenemies), leave a comment. At this point, I doubt that anything could hurt my feelings any worse than they were already today, so feel free to go at it.


Erik Helm said...

I share Mr. Bozek,s concerns, but the river will not change and heal itself overnight. It will take time for the river to find and form a channel, and for the banks to dry and grow grass again. All that mud and silt is the accumulation of 70 years of the dam preventing the river from cleansing itself. Time is the critical element.
The fish, turtles and birds are still there, they just have moved with the water.

I hope you don't consider me an enemy, as I do not consider the homeowners and MRPA my enemy. We just see things differently.
And as if the one person put it 'your enemies only read your blog', this 'enemy' hopes you had a happy birthday, and that you are getting to enjoy the sunshine today. 80 degrees!

Anonymous said...

There is habitat rehab that comes with dam removals. To imply that the river at draw down will be the same as the river with the dam removed is not accurate. Also, mosquitos breed in stillwater environments, such as impoundments. If you are really worried about some water-filled "potholes" in the river, you are not seeing the big picture. Mosquitos do not care for flowing water. Yes, they are along the banks and in the vegetation, but if you wade out into the current of water, you will notice that the mosquitos are absent. The comment implying that removing the dam will cause a West Nile Virus outbreak is ridiculous at best. Just another scare tactic by the MRPA to get the public freaked out. The MRPA needs to change it's name. I love how they use the words "conservation" and "preservation" in their name and on their website. It sounds so environmental! If they were really for the conservation and preservation of the river, they would do what's right for the river and support dam removal. Be honest! The underlying issue is money, not the environment.


Steve said...

Why do you use the "Anonymous" option and then sign it BEK? Why not choose the "Name/URL" button?

Anonymous said...


I signed it. What's the difference?


Steve said...

I apologize if my tone seemed abrupt. I just try to share info- people tend to take comments a bit less seriously (regardless of veracity,interest to readers, or adding value to the discussion) when it says in boldfaced type at the top that it's from "anonymous."