Monday, February 08, 2010

camille at my gate

laguna is dying.

I can see that much.  So could you if you came to visit.

What was it Tolstoy said about families?  "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."  Of course, it sounds far more bleak in Russian.

Well, waters are similar.  Dying waters die in many different ways. 

I shot the photograph at the top of this post in July 2008.  A year and a half later, this is the laguna.  What was blue is now green.  From the air it appears to be a field.

I shot the photograph at the top of this post in July 2008.  A year and a half later, this is the laguna.  What was blue is now green.  From the air it appears to be a field.

And that green is the problem. Almost all of that verdant carpet is Eichhornia crassipes -- the dreaded scourge of tropical waters: the common water hyacinth.

Water hyacinths do to waterways what my triglycerides do to my bloodstream; they stop the flow. 

In the process, they gather silt that will eventually turn what was an area to catch water into an area that floods homes and businesses. Floods that cause inconvenience, a lot of property damage, and occasional deaths.

However, a dead laguna is far more than a potential flood problem. 

While it is slowly gathering silt to create a new Bonneville Salt Flat, the plant cover starves the water of oxygen.  Dead fish.  Dead turtles.  Dead frogs.  And the hyacinths provide perfect cover for mosquitoes to do what they do best -- plot the elimination of the human race, one bite at a time.

But people are newcomers as far as the laguna is concerned.  Before people arrived, animals ruled its shores.

The laguna is famed for being the home to 75 different bird species -- more during migrations.  The warblers that visit my bougainvillea every morning would not be here without the laguna.  Rumor has it that the bird population has dwindled by half during the last two years.

And that sentence elicits this caveat.  I have been conducting research and interviews the last two weeks to prepare this post.  My hope was to uncover facts about the laguna.  But there are none.  No studies.  No bird counts.  No lab reports.

But there are lots of anecdotes and opinions.  Many of those opinions are driven by the same interests that divide every small town.

When I am told most of the iguanas have disappeared, I can only report that I have seen very few on my walks.  The same goes for the snakes, turtles, crocodiles, and small mammals that usually thrive around tropical waters.  From my observations, they are very rare.

So, here is the question.  You have a friend who is dying.  What do you do?

A good topic for tomorrow's post. 


norm said...

Is it salt or is it fresh water?

Anonymous said...

Move him to Portland. Just guess...

Chrissy y Keith said...

Pray. In fact I will put one in the Wall for the lagoon right now. Along those same lines, could your tiny Church approach the Catholic Churchs in the area and have them get on board with you?

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Wow, that's sad. We have this lirio problem with the entire lake up here and they are always trying to come up with ways to clear it out. Since I've been here they have:
1.Hauled it out and carted it off in a continual train of soggy dump trucks to a landfill area.
2.Sent boats out to the source, where the Rio Lerma empties into the lake, and chopped it all up and it sunk to the bottom.
3.Finally, they used the dreaded glyphosate (despite an injunction) when the lake was over 30% covered by lirio. Remarkably, it didn't kill off all the lake-life as we thought, some tho.
Good luck, sure do hope the powers that be can do something to change the course of your laguna.

el jubilado said...

Bring in the mystery lirio munching machine .... or with the high water level - open the beach to let it drain?

Makes a mess of the bay for a few days but gets rid of lots of lirio

Anonymous said...

Someone must know the repercusion of this environmental disaster that is happening at the laguna.
There is no reason for apathy regarding this matter. Something must be done now.

Nita said...

I wish I could help. Unfortunately the same thing is happening in some waterways in the states. It has sometimes been given a band-aid approach. If you find a solution, please post it.

Arnie B said...

" You have a friend who is dying. What do you do?"

I make sure that their remaining time on this earth is filled with happiness.

Even though it may contradict doctor's orders.

Tancho said...

Seeing the before and after pictures is a sad revelation indeed. The real sadness lies in the loss of wildlife habitat that future generations will not see. Only tons of money or the caring of people who really want to get vocal and involved can fix the problem. Too many locals probably just see it as "nature" doing it's thing and figure they cannot do anything about it.
Sound like a perfect "project" for you Steve!

Steve Cotton said...

Norm -- Brackish. Mainly fresh.

Anonymous -- ???

Chrissy -- Good ideas all. I am not certain if the local Catholic church has been approached. But you do understand that such an approach could easily backfire in Mexican politics?

Mexican Trailrunner -- I doubt I will see the answer. I hope I do.

El Jubilado -- It is so firmly implanted, I doubt opening the mouth to the ocean would now work.

Francisco -- I hope you are correct.

Nita -- Water problems permeate the planet -- always have.

Arnie -- That may be it.

Tancho -- It may be "my" project when I return.

Calypso said...

I tried for nearly five years to get people to stop polluting the river that runs by our property.

We have gringo neighbors that drink wine at Al Gore Eco film opening s and rave about the environment. In five years they have continued to dump their raw sewage in the river - all the while saying soon they will install a septic system or???

People are the cause - nature will cure itself if need be. We had an earthquake here in Puerto Escondido last night - nature is getting restless.

Anonymous said...

I shall leave you another clue to my identity:

(Jeremy Irons as Claus von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune"-his Oscar-winning role) "What do you give a woman who has everything?" (Pause) "You give her a shot of insulin."

You have a limited number of friends who have the capacity to remember that quote AND think it actually funny--and relevant to your return to Salem. And is still trying to meet up with you when you fulfill your pact with Maleficent. You may publish this if you wish, but I suggest you send a private email to acknowledge that you finally have grocked (as the the young would say) to the froth of cultural references.