Doing nothing about Asian carp probably isn’t going to work

Salmon Fishing on the Sable River Outlet

Salmon Fishing on the Sable River Outlet, Ludington Michigan, photo by Craig Sterken

Traverse City based AP Environmental Writer John Flesher is (for my money) one of the best reporting on Great Lakes issues. His latest piece Effort to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes appears stymied begins:

When scientists discovered six years ago that aggressive Asian carp had made their way up the Mississippi River’s tributaries toward the Chicago area, the Obama administration and alarmed state officials pledged swift action to head off an invasion they feared could devastate fishing and boating on the vital Great Lakes.

Since then, federal agencies have spent more than $300 million on stopgap measures, including placing electric barriers on one likely route, a shipping canal that leads to Lake Michigan. But as the carp get closer_some are within 80 miles of the lake— the quest for a surefire deterrent seems to be coming up empty.

An advisory panel that has debated solutions for several years is scheduled to hold what may be its final meeting Thursday, with no sign of a consensus plan, several members said in interviews.

Even if talks continue, chances are growing that the carp will arrive before anything conclusive is done to stop them. At their recent pace, the first young carp could reach Lake Michigan within two years, although a number of obstacles could slow them considerably.

“It’s one of the things that keep me up at night,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat whose state borders four of the five Great Lakes. “Asian carp could devastate our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them.”

…Environmental groups and the region’s fishing and boating industries, which generate $23 billion annually on the lakes, are most worried about two varieties of Asian carp: bighead and silver, which weigh dozens of pounds and gorge on the same tiny plant and animal life that feeds the lakes’ other fish. Scientists are still measuring their impact in rivers, but under worst-case scenarios, the large carp could leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fish connoisseurs regard them as a poor substitute for the walleye and whitefish.

Additionally, silver carp are notorious for springing from the water when startled, sometimes ramming boaters with bone-cracking force — a hazard that some fear could damage the Great Lakes’ tourism industry.

Read on for much more, and be sure to follow John on Twitter for more of the story. And please, make it clear to every elected official you interact with how important the health of the Great Lakes is to Michigan!

View Craig’s photo bigger, see lots more Great Lakes goodness in his slideshow and view & purchase photos from him on his website.(this one is in the Ludington collection)

More about the threat of Asian carp on Michigan in Pictures.

 

 

Mackinac Wake

Mackinac Bridge from ferry

Mackinac Wake, photo by Bill Johnson

Bill took this photo in May of 1987 and writes:

We had been out to the island and were returning via ferry when the captain announced a slight detour in our route. There was some kind of a special group aboard and as a treat, our boat went under the Mighty Mac, something they hardly ever do. It was pretty neat. The five mile long bridge is no longer the longest suspension bridge in the world, but to me it’s still the prettiest. I’ve personally seen several other suspension bridges, including the Golden Gate, and I’ll pick the Mac every time.

View his photo background big and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

Lots more of the Mighty Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

November 18, 1958: The Wreck of the Carl D Bradley

Steamer Carl D Bradley Rodgers City Mich

Steamer Carl D Bradley Rogers City Mich, photo by UpNorth Memories/Don Harrison

Every year, I revisit the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th. I do this because I remember the ferocity of the winds on the day of the wreck vividly from my childhood, because as a Michigander Lightfoot’s song is probably coded in my DNA by now, and also because it’s very popular with readers. Nonetheless, the feature Should musicians decide the shipwrecks we know? from IPR News Radio by Peter Payette & Morgan Springer definitely struck a chord. There are thousands of ships that have gone down the world’s eighth sea, and so many families that have felt the loss when a sailor doesn’t return from one of the most dangerous jobs there is. We’d do well to remember some of the others as well!

On this day in 1958, my vote for the most devastating Great Lakes shipwreck of the modern era took place. 33 of 35 crew members perished in the wreck, and 23 of them were from the town of Rogers City that boasted a population of less than 4000 people. The Presque Isle County Historical Museum’s website for the Steamer Carl D. Bradley tells the tale of the wreck of the Bradley:

The steamer was 638 feet long overall, with a 65-foot beam, a depth of 33 feet and a cargo capacity of 14,000 tons of crushed stone. The unloading boom was 160 feet long. The engineering and propulsion plant on the Carl D. Bradley was similar to that on the T.W. Robinson which was built two years before the Carl D. Bradley.

…The Carl D. Bradley, traveling light departed Buffington, Indiana around 9:30 pm, Monday, November 17, and headed up Lake Michigan bound for the Port of Calcite. Roland Bryan, a sailor since age fourteen, was the master. This trip was the last for the season and the steamer was going home. The Bradley never made it. In less than 24 hours the Carl D. Bradley was on the bottom of Lake Michigan and 33 of the 35-man crew were dead or missing.

When the vessel left Buffington, the winds were blowing up to 35 miles per hour from the south. The storm that was about to engulf the Bradley was developing over the plains when a cold front from the north met a warm front over the plains. The temperature in Chicago had dropped about 20 degrees that day. The forecast warned of gale winds. The crew prepared for severe weather by securing the unloading boom and the hatches. The steamer followed the route up the Wisconsin shore to Cana Island then changed course and cut across Lake Michigan toward Lansing Shoal. As the wind velocity increased, the crew filled the ballast tanks to maximum practical condition. By 4:00 pm of the next day, the 18th, the winds had reached 65 miles per hour. Even though the lake was rough and the winds high, the boat rode the heavy seas with no hint of the laboring.

Captain Bryan had asked the cooks to serve an early dinner. He knew the turn from Lake Michigan toward Lake Huron would put heavy weather broadside of the vessel. He wanted to give the mess crew the opportunity to clean up and secure before turning. The mess room was full of crewmembers anticipating going home.

About 5:30 pm First Mate Elmer Flemming radioed Calcite that the Bradley would arrive at 2:00 am. Then a “loud thud” was heard. In the pilothouse Captain Bryan and Flemming looked aft and saw the stern sag. Flemming immediately sent a distress signal over the radio. “Mayday! Mayday! This is the Carl D. Bradley. Our position is approximately twelve miles southwest of Gull Island. We are in serious trouble! We’re breaking up!” Captain Bryan sounded the general alarm, signaled the engine room to stop the ship, and blew the whistle to abandon ship. The power system failed and the lights in the bow section went out. The Bradley heaved upward near amidships and broke in two. The forward section rolled over and sank. The stern end plunged to the bottom. Within a few minutes the Carl D. Bradley was gone.

Read on for much more including theories of how the ship sank and the story of how deckhand Frank Mays & Elmer Flemming survived the wreck. At the website you’ll also find some cool old photos of the ship, newspaper clippings and photos of the crewmen lost at sea. The Wikipedia entry for the Carl D Bradley is particularly good as well with a lot more details!

This trailer for November Requiem, a DVD about the Carl D Bradley, the impact on Rogers City and the dive to the Bradley:

View Don’s photo big as the Bradley, check out more of his freighter postcards & pics, and friend him up on Facebook for lots more great old photos of Michigan.

PS: I added a new category that I somehow didn’t have already: Michigan shipwrecks – enjoy!

PPS: Apparently great minds this alike – check this out from today’s Interlochen Public Radio!

Way above the Mighty Mac

Mackinac Bridge from Above

The Mackinac Bridge, photo by FotoLense

Well while we’re up in the air (see yesterday) why not stay there?

View this photo background bigtacular and see more including some more aerials from the area in FotoLense’s Mackinac Island July 2013 slideshow.

There’s some great facts about the Mackinac Bridge if you click the photo and a ton more on the Mighty Mac from Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: Beach Day at Port Austin

Beach Day at Port Austin Lake Huron

Beach Day at Port Austin, photo courtesy Don Harrison/UpNorth Memories

I believe this spot is now the Port Austin Harbor, but if you’re looking for a swim, the Port Crescent State Park on Lake Huron looks pretty great!

Check the photo out background big and see TONS more pics mainly from Michigan in Don’s massive UpNorth Memories Photo Tribute to Michigan Historian Dave Tinder slideshow.

More beaches, more Lake Huron and more Throwback Thursdays on Michigan in Pictures!

Michigan Rock(s)

Michigan Rock

Michigan Rock, photo by Seasons Photography

A few weeks ago I featured a great shot of kayaking to Turnip Rock from Seasons Photography. Here’s another shot from that trip!

View the photo bigger, see more in their Michigan slideshow and visit the Seasons Photography website.

Kayaking to Turnip Rock

Kayak at Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock, Port Austin, MI, photo by Seasons Photography

The second in our series of “Cool Places Your Kayak Can Take You” features this cool rock formation in Lake Huron. Port Austin Kayak’s page on kayaking to Turnip Rock says:

A trip to Turnip Rock in Port Austin is unmistakably one of the best activities for kayakers on Lake Huron. The trip consists of a 7 mile out-and-back trip via the Point aux Barques trail. The shallow waters surrounding Turnip Rock allow you to get out and enjoy the area as well as snap a few photos while you are there. Be sure to wear suitable footwear if you are going to exit the kayak as the rocks are slippery. For an account of what it’s like kayaking out to Turnip Rock, read this adventurer’s great story. While this story also goes out to the lighthouse, that leg of the trip is for experienced kayakers only and is reserved for the calmest weather days, as you will be kayaking two miles out into Lake Huron.

Please note that the property surrounding Turnip Rock is privately owned, which is why kayaking is the premier way to access the rock. The owners of the surrounding properties take great care of the land and we ask that you respect their space by not trespassing or littering.

If you don’t have a kayak, they can certainly rent you one. That link goes to one of my favorite photographer’s trips: Lars Jensen and his Turnip Rock expedition.

View the photo bigger and see more in Seasons Photography’s Michigan slideshow.

More kayaks & kayaking and more about Turnip Rock on Michigan in Pictures.