Re: NANFA-- farm ponds and you...

mcclurg luke e (
Sun, 24 Sep 2000 16:59:41 -0500 (CDT)

On Fri, 22 Sep 2000, Dave Neely wrote:

> When I was an undergrad in Maryland, a professor there (who would become my
> mentor and advisor for my MS) was doing surveys for the Maryland darter. He
> may be the last person to see a live one- he saw a single individual in fall
> of 1989 while snorkeling. That winter, a small dam holding liquid manure
> broke on a small tributary to Deer Creek, sending a pulse of concentrated
> shit down the stream, causing a fish kill (excuse me for my use of
> profanity- there’s no better term to describe it) on the lower part of the
> river. No Maryland darters have been seen in the decade since, despite
> intensive surveys. Logperch, shield darters, fantail darters, and other
> benthic species were dramatically reduced following the spill, but have
> since recovered. This pattern gets repeated on a time frame that is way
> too common; like J.R., I spend a lot of time out in the field (out of my
> ivory tower?) collecting fish, and I see the direct effects of small farms
> on fish abundance, diversity, and community structure every day. Farmers
> may mean well, but in general, their actions are extremely damaging to small
> stream fish communities, and perhaps more pervasive than the large polluters
> that we usually think about… should they be responsible?

I'm not talking about these types of damns. I agree anything holding
liquid manure or wastes should be regulated. But the small farmers
generally don't have these types of ponds. There ponds generally not only
water livestock but also carry small fish populations for sporting. Most
have plant growth above, below and in the pond, but their primary purpose
is to provide water to livestock. (and wild life in dry times)


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