Comment by: Jack Patterson ( )
Left at: 8:45 PM Monday, October 15, 2012
I have to disagree with you Lynne.
In my view the river has degraded one way or another, continuously since about the mid 1960's. I fear, we may now never be able to reverse this damage. But mostly I don't see us caring.
We are to eventually become the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and the like. And the water of the St Lawrence River may, will come, to eventually smell.
It is what our concerns should be about, however. There is no greater issue.
My involvement commenced about in the 1960's. Then we had phosphorous from soap detergents. I sent a sample of the water to the International Oceanographic Foundation. They said based upon my sample, our water was, 'changing'.
We CAN start- not do anymore damage. Simply stop doing what we did...is a start. I see piecemeal efforts. Some truly wonderful.
There is the clean water act (1972). Some areas have seen improvement- certainly one of them being water clarity. I used to (personally) measure water clarity.
One lowers a round tin disk into the water until the disk is lost sight of. Paint the disk white. I used a six inch diameter disk.
Put a knot at each foot of line. Conduct the test annually at the same relative location; ensure day (date) and weather conditions match. I did this myself- on and off for maybe fifteen years (not consecutively).
Water clarity varied- between Sugar Island and Axeman Island in the Lake Fleet Group (using the above method), from as little as twelve feet over the period to as much as thirty two feet- the latter reading after the advent of zebra mussels.
We used to have the water tested for ecoli in Gananoque. Tap water (drawn from the river). One could get that done- then, quite easily and cheaply.
No one tests the water now that I know of- chemically (most needed) or manually. If someone is doing so I would like to hear their results.
The water is overloaded with nutrients...phosphorous, nitrogen and potash or potassium. The, of course, usual suspects. "Scott's" steroid for plants, say. All such come at us from every direction: farms, lawns, storm drains, septic systems...to name only a few that feed five great lakes and a vast drainage system.
I do not need a test to see the slime and weed at our swim dock- a metal ladder inserted in June (2012) is completely bedecked, shaggy with weed, etc., by August.
And I KNOW yours is similar.
We on Axeman are well off shore (almost three miles from the Canadian mainland) yet we had the blue green 'stinging' algae last summer.
I 'traced' a bubble that swimming kicked up. It refused to dissipate after drifting along perhaps twenty yards (which with my swimming alongside took 30 minutes of watching and breast stroking next to a bobble that wouldn't dissolve).
As a boy (have come to Axeman since 1938...) rocks were as clean/clear of weed in the water as out. If and where they weren't, one could see what the cause was directly- a waste pipe, industrial dumping, etc.
Thank you for initiating something on this. I look forward to more. I have watched much water go over this dam next to Axeman. I see no let up in the destruction of a once amazing and beautiful waterway.