Project Proposal: Make the Pond Friendly

August 31, 2011

The as of yet name retention pond behind Meek Aquatic Center is not stocked with wildlife, or so I am told (I saw a duck there yesterday).  As a project I want to pursue stocking the pond with fish.
Buildings and Grounds can help me, as can associates who I know have stocked their artificial pond with fish.  (Bass)

UPDATES:

This, as Professor K informed me, would be an example of reconciliation ecology, which is inserting wildlife into human dominated areas.  Examples of this include birdhouses and bathouses.

Stocking a retention pond with fish is not unheard of.

After looking at the feasability of stocking the pond:
Financially I have no clue.

I don’t know what OWU, state/county wildlife management would have to say.

 

Studies call into question whether the long term survival would be plausible.  Runoff (cause the pond’s next to a road) could pollute greatly and kill what would be stocked.  Also to be taken into account is salt.  Salt from roads and sidewalks could runoff into the pond and harm wildlife.

Let’s try something else.  Instead of reconciling by placing wildlife there.  I want to reconcile by adding things that would attract wildlife.  Specifically I want to attract birds.

The retention pond already attracts ducks and geese, this is partially because they can swim upon it.  Smaller birds like to preen and drink water, but the water is too deep for them.  The shore isn’t a shore, it’s a steep rough rock incline small birds can’t quite stand on.

Birds I could be attracting include Cardinals, Swamp Sparrows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and Purple Martins.

After doing some searching I have found ways to make the retention pond more bird friendly:
1. Plants-specifically cattails and anything native to the area.  They like it thick and they like it diverse.
2. Anything that attracts prey(insects).  Insects can be attracted with less kept areas of plants.


He’s Got a Shoe

August 31, 2011

The Meadowlands reads out like any other horror novel.  Wait?  It’s not a horror novel?  Could have fooled me.  I swear this book is some sort of zombie allegory.  It figures that a horror novel is set in New Jersey.
The movie that most comes to mind is Poltergeist.  Americans (as portrayed in real life by Americans) began encroaching on the lands of the Native Americans (The marshes of the Meadowlands).  Soon, the Native Americans are driven out (Americans kill off native floral and fauna).  Now where the Americans are being tortured by the ghosts of the Native Americans (killed by the mosquitoes, carcinogens, and tortured by the smells and trash where the Meadowlands have been tainted)

This book is not about the battle between Man and Nature.  Man won that battle 200 years ago.  This book is about how Man never properly disposes of the dead from the old conflict, and how the dead are rising to strike back at Man.  Football players died from cancers when they played near the marshes.  Nature didn’t do that, chemicals pumped into the area from Newark and Rutherford did that.  Nature is more a means through which man is killing himself.

A nice illustration of that is the end of the Treasure chapter.  Leo tells a story of an old woman who couldn’t clean her house.  When she died the house was riddled with cockroaches.  Her family set of a bomb to rid the place of roaches, so the roaches went to the next house.  Leo then expresses anxiety over the possibility of the new house bombing the roaches and the roaches going to his house.  The roaches aren’t the problem as much as the methods of getting rid of them are.  Nature isn’t killing us, how we are dealing with it is.

Also striking about the book are the many failed attempts to heal the Meadowlands over time.  From John Smith and his mosquito campaign to the Startwout Brothers to the EPA all sorts of ideas and plans have been made to either clean the swamps or make them into something more useful to society as a whole.  They have not succeeded.

Now, people dumb garbage in the swamp for the fun of it or for business.  This is what you get.


Playing in a creek

August 31, 2011

My desire to do stream restoration is born of my childhood love for exploring creeks.  Now, as a senior in college, I still care very much about the status of streams.  I plan on pursuing a career in environmental law to work on issues of conservation and restoration.  Working to improve the quality of the Delaware Run would not only be fun, but it would teach me things I may very well be able to use later in life.  I could tackle aspects of stream restoration ranging from litter clean-up to field studies on wildlife to policy-related subjects such as dumping laws and any legislation protecting the stream.  This is definitely a project that would be most successful with more than one person working.  Glenn and I have discussed taking this on as a joint project, and I think we have very similar plans for the project.  I would love to be able to pursue this project with her as my partner.


Delaware Run

August 31, 2011

I really like the idea of working towards local stream restorations. I don’t yet know what restoring something like Delaware Run would require but I feel as though it would take more than a semester. If I could find a faculty member to agree I would really like to work on this project for Environmental Geography and then continue working on it for an independent study. Because of the scope of the project I also think it would be a good idea to try to get another student to partner with.

Emily and I have decided to work together on the project. She will be looking at the problem from a policy perspective while I will be working to figure out physically,  best steps to take to restore the stream. I have talked to Dr. Fink who is OWU’s wetland ecologist and he has agreed to help look at what things could be realistically implemented. I have also emailed the coordinator of the Upper Olentangy Watershed to see what assistance they might be able to give. In addition to this I will be looking for reports from other stream restorations that have been done in Ohio.


Japanese Breakthrough Will Make Wind Power Cheaper Than Nuclear

August 31, 2011

As reported by the Mother Nature Network, Japanese scientists have developed an idea for a new wind turbine.

That’s the basic design of the new windmill.  Instead of fans mounted on polls, the new fans will be suspended in a giant wheel.  Kyushu University calls it a “Wind Lens.”  They are estimated to produce three times the energy of a traditional wind turbine.  The article goes on to say that if these could in theory provide enough power to meet America’s annual electricity consumption…provided we fill up an area larger than Nevada with them.
Yes, these giant turbines could be the saviors of America’s soon to be energy crisis, but they would require massive tracts of land.  Beyond massive tracts of land they would also need massive workforces to oversee their maintenance, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily.  America needs some jobs. Building and installing these will produce many.   President Obama, are you by chance reading some college student’s blog about the environment?


Idea for Class Project

August 31, 2011

A project I would like to work on would be getting recycling bins near most trash cans, especially outside. I know some people have already asked to work on recycling on campus, but I think it is a big enough project where I could help. I have not read through all the posts yet so I am not sure who is doing what, but if anyone else is doing recycling this should be something we discuss in class regarding the project. I would like to put a trial recycling bin by one of the trash cans on the Jay and see how effective it is to start.


Meadowlands/Cronon

August 31, 2011

The Meadowlands was essentially a very choppy adventure story that had many long irrelevant side notes. Some of the stories in the Meadowlands provided some background and context, but I felt the book was based upon the idea that wilderness/nature is a matter of one’s perspective. Robert Sullivan claimed that the meadowlands were a rich bio-diverse area, that was basically a diamond in the rough. The majority of people from around that area thought the Meadowlands were an industrial waste site, which it essentially was. Through Sullivan’s perspective the meadowlands were a pristine wilderness. His definition of pristine wilderness may be completely different from yours and mine, but this concept carries over to what Cronon discusses in “The Trouble with Wilderness”. Cronon states that there is no set definition for nature or wilderness, it varies from person to person. A few of my friends from the north Jersey, who have been to the Meadowlands, would never consider the area an ideal “get away” destination, but Sullivan and the individuals he discussed in the book could not wait to get back in the swampy waters of the Meadowlands.

Something I found very interesting in the Meadowlands was some people’s opposition for economic development in the area. Economic development on top of an old land fill is a great way to utilize land. If development happens many of the hazardous/toxic problems in that area would need to be cleaned up or regulated, in order for businesses to safely move in. I doubt the meadowlands will ever be considered a great attraction for public recreational use, and it would cost millions of dollars to clean up the area. These costs would be necessary for economic development as well, but at least the town would receive a big boast in tax dollars. There are so many negative connotations associated with the area, that it would be extremely hard to convince people to take their kids to play at the meadowlands.  The idea of an industrial waste site becoming a recreational area is definitely a feel good thought, but I do not find it practical at all.

Over the summer one of the projects I worked on was trying to spark development on an old landfill so if you would like to learn more about the project got to Centerhill Landfill.

Questions:

If you had never heard of the meadowlands prior to reading this book what would your perspective have been regarding the area from Sullivan’s story?

How did you relate the reading by Cronon to The Meadowlands?

If you were given the choice between economic development or conservation of the meadowlands, which would you choose?