Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fish Fry Ecology Stumbling Amuk While The River Rebuilds Its World.: An Example Of Our Changing World

Last summer in 2012 I took a tour through the Yukon.  When we purchased the trip it had a long Yukon River ferry trip from Dawson City, Yukon to Eagle, Alaska.  When we got there the Ferry trip had been cancelled.  Indeed the whole damn ferry was gone, sold and trucked out to somewhere else.  Why?
The story was that the road to Eagle was such poor repair that the buses couldn't get there.  When will people learn that their lies can be checked out on Google.

What happened to my boat trip down the Yukon river for 125 miles through pristine wilderness?  Fish, the  ecologist conservationist for the local tribes and the wildlife service said the wake of the ferry was killing the salmon fry (seems they found five dead ones on a tour of the river and extrapolated up to thousands).

This all was of utmost importance to them because the river had created such an ice flow in the break up of 2009 that it had scoured the river for hundreds of miles and created an ice damn flood that almost destroyed the village.  The people of Eagle were desperate for this precious food resource of salmon to re-establish itself.  The older residents said it would anyway, if the fish coming back to spawn did not die at sea. However the number of fish in the return spawn that had gone out to sea before the ferry was there and the ice damn and flood scoured the river were fewer each year.

But the tourist ferry was deemed the villain and was a threat to their food source.  It had to go.

So I missed my ride of a lifetime.   Yes, I was a little pissed.  The ecologist were pushing data that they knew was extreme, and the tour line neglected to inform us that the wilderness ferry ride was no more.

The 2009 ice dam supposedly was a 200 year flood.  People who had lived there 50 years had never seen anything like it. Indeed nothing like it was recorded since the first trading post was established in 1874.  But people are persistent, they rebuilt the town.

Now it is May, 2013 and , well, it does it again.

Plain old ecology is not the approach to the problem.  Saving a few fish fry is not a solution when a whole river, a whole valley is undergoing complete geomorphic change.  Ask most of the people in the area about climate change and they say they don't know whether it is happening or not.  Again the mantra of climate change, extreme and erratic.

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