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April 07, 2015     Post 58
Odds and ends and updates from the Log

Lake Ontario Log on line

My last post stated that we would investigate a possible 'game changer' in water management. But I'm still working on that chapter, waiting for a fact check. So in the interim here are a few odds and ends.

First I got some feed back from a log subscriber on the topic of wind farms and birds. ( note the buzzard's eye view of the lake shore above). He generously said I could post his response to the last 'water and energy' post. The 'trial mitigation' he refers to is the Detect radar that has been used in some areas to automatically shut down wind turbines or activate bird repel noise makers. The Wolf Island wind farm does have higher avian and bat mortalities per turbine than many other wind farms. There is little doubt that it is having an adverse impact on birds.

Here is the subscriber's e mail.

Thanks for your recent references. I’ve been following Ostrander Point and Amherst Island issues over the last 3 years.

Regarding Main Duck and detection possibilities. I am not interested in some trial mitigation.  Many of us do not want turbines anywhere out in the Lake. It is not an area to be sacrificed for urban over-use of electricity or for some corporations bottom line. I’ve watched this lake of 10,000 year old, pristine, glacial water be degraded for 70 years and fought the decline for 50 of those. I am not interested in negotiating its further demise.

To me the area around Main Duck is as sacred wilderness, one of the last places free of the built environment. As a sailor, you feel this way too, I suspect.

Have a look below at Trillium’s plan for SW “offshore”. If you stand on Main Duck it will appear onshore. The superintendent of St. Lawrence Islands National Park told me that Parks Canada has no jurisdiction over structures placed offshore, even 2 feet from Main Duck! In the USA the view-shed of NPs is protected. Not here, apparently. The province of Ontario decides what can be built on the lake bottom.

I have reviewed the environmental analysis done by hired contractors for Wolfe Island. These large consulting companies give corporations what they want to hear. The “studies" on Wolfe Island would not get a D- in a freshman course. The survey were under whelming to say the least. I’ve taught this stuff and read lots of them. We have no reliable research on the impacts of turbines on wildlife. Just like the Seaway, our gov’t went ahead. Now we have some 196 invasive organisms that changed the lake forever, and still is occurring.

That’s my 2 cents worth. Feel free to post on your blog.

Now on another topic- last fall I posted a note about a historic old NYS canal worker we encountered during a cruise to Oswego. The old tug Urger does appear to have one more season coming to her. And a descendant of her ownership in Michigan has sent along a couple of photos of the then named Dornbos. I will attempt to post them. She was, of course steam powered at that time. He also sent a clip of the ice dam breaking incident.

At some point I may be able to re print part of that. It was quite a struggle to save the city from flooding! Mr. Ver Duin writes that he hopes some day to visit New York with his family and see the old family boat in her present mode as canal ambassador.

Mean time I am of the opinion that New York, the Empire State, should have a state boat. Little Rhode Island has a state boat. Maryland and California have state boats. We have salt water coasts, freshwater coasts, rivers, lakes, and the most extensive canal system within the U.S. Urger would make a great state ship- and perhaps that would make it easier to raise funds for her preservation too. How about it? A hard working classy old tug for New York State, still home to a great maritime past?

Here is a photo from Mr. VerDuin showing the Urger (ex Dornbos) towing another tug to safety on a lumpy day on Lake Michigan. Now it's our turn to see her to safe harbor for another century!

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