Pic taken from the Greenpointers site
Early last week the passenger ramp linking the India Street pier and the landing platform the ferry got dumped into the East River, with passengers narrowly avoiding getting dumped themselves into the icy drink. No injuries, but ferry access was shutdown for a while at India Street.
Have you ever ridden the East River Ferry? It’s a great way to get around in Brooklyn as traveling north to south by train sucks, and you can also get a fun view of the city via the water, but what about these drivers? These guys seem to fancy themselves the pirates of the East River, mowing around at top speed at all costs without abandon, playing bumper boats with the landing platforms before hauling ass off to the next spot. They’ll get you to your destination posthaste, but Lord I don’t feel safe riding on those things. Where does the company, New York Waterways, get its drivers? Rikers Island? What are their qualifications? Although the platform collapse may or may not be directly related to the drivers’ acumen, I have to say I’m not really surprised that something like this happened. I’m only surprised nobody got hurt, thank Christ.
What else is happening this week? When is this snow going to finally fuck off? In the meantime, I’ve been gearing up for the spring season. I picked up a nice little toy from a guy out East a couple weeks ago: a VS 275 and a custom-built (for him) Lamiglas 10321M, cut to 10’6″—so I pretty much fulfilled my goals for dedicated surf gear in one fell swoop. I just booked a guide trip with the maestro Bill Wetzel for June, so there will definitely be a post about what I can learn on that trip. I’m going with my uncle who fishes the Indian River Inlet in Delaware pretty hard, and has for the last 25 years. It should be a good trip, as we are explicitly not going “trophy hunting,” but rather looking to learn something about fishing a really challenging place, something we can use and share with others as an edifying building block to what’s known as the Striper Mecca. Somewhat related, does anyone here fish in a wet suit? Any recommendations?
I’ve read some interesting articles over the week, most brought to my attention by our members. This one, with a heads up by Thomas, is a really cool look at the progression of fish size, or reduction if one so considers, on a single fishing “bragging board” over time in Key West, Florida. The research was done by a graduate student named Loren McClenachan, who found the series of photographs, dating back to the 1950s and ranging to 2007, documenting what is really no surprise to anyone, the reduction in size of fish over the last 50-60 years and the effects of overfishing. I haven’t read through the entire document yet, but here’s the link if you’re interested.
Also I’ve read some intriguing articles about the illicit marijuana industry in Oregon and northern California and how the allocation of water resources is affecting the salmon and eel populations out there. Here’s one of them. The article is based on a radio program (which you can listen to here) interviewing, among others, Scott Bauer from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Scott Greacen from Friends of the Eel River, a conservation group. From the article (with some edits for clarity):
“After California voters approved medical marijuana in 1996, the Emerald Triangle’s culture of small-scale, homestead pot cultivation that dates back to the 1960s found itself increasingly overwhelmed. Many local growers, plus thousands of newcomers, geared up to take advantage of the profits to be made in the so-called Green Rush.
That’s led to an explosion in the number and size of pot farms dotting the hills. And that’s meant more water being pulled from the streams, and more sediment, pesticides and fertilizers draining back in.
Scott Greacen says what he’s seen reminds him of an earlier era, when poorly-regulated logging caused extensive sediment damage to salmon-bearing streams. ‘The dirt in the creek doesn’t care if it came off a logging truck or a grower truck. It’s dirt in the creek and that’s bad for fish,’ [he says].
‘I think it’s pretty clear that the marijuana industry at this point is the biggest single business in terms of its impact on the river.’
Scott Bauer works on salmon recovery for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says research has shown huge amounts of water are being diverted from streams and rivers across the region. In fact, he says, ‘It’s possible that in some watersheds, marijuana cultivation is consuming all the water available for fish.’
Fortunately for me, I don’t smoke pot. I only drink beer. However, a Mother Jones video (below), made by Anthony Silvaggio—an environmental scientist—shows not only the impact marijuana farming has the rivers and waterways, but on the forests farmers cut down to make room for their operations.
From the TakePart article: “The fact that it’s unregulated is a real problem,” Silvaggio says in the video. “Talking with agricultural commissioners of different counties, they report to me that it’s difficult for them to help growers that want to do the right thing because they can’t talk about it because it’s federally prohibited, and they get federal dollars.”
The comments in the TakePart article are entertaining. One can blame logging, farming, or whatever, argue about anti-pot propaganda, which might be one of the most productive things some people have done all week, but it’s all just yet another example of human impact on the world. I’m no hippie, but I also don’t think weed should be illegal. The fact that (federally) it is, and that’s complicating efforts to do the right thing for their immediate environment, is classic bureaucracy, a tragic comedy of folly and red tape.
In other news, there’s a big surfcasting show this weekend in Lincroft, New Jersey. Lots of valuable seminars by the likes of Don Musso (Superstrike), Bill Wetzel, and more. Lots of top-notch vendors too. Not sure if I can make it out this weekend, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be sorry if I did.