Tuesday, April 27

don't dump -drains to harbor

Great piece on WBUR this morning, relating the recent rains in New England to the closing of oyster beds off Buzzards Bay due to runoff. The rainwater runoff is an issue due to its high levels of bacteria and chemical content (yum...) In the radiopiece the warden explains that every home that improves its septic, or gardener that sprurns weedkiller and lawn chemicals, can directly affect the runoff and in a better world the oyster beds could stay open.

Love this sort of stuff as it is a solid example of best practices... and goes much further than preachy fingerwagging. It is not rocket science... the poison crap you spray on your lawn/road/fields ends up in the water, and then we will all be eating it later. Listen below; condensed text version below that.

It’s Gary Sherman’s job to monitor and maintain the shellfish in these waters, just off Buzzard’s Bay. That means it’s Sherman who has to tell local fisherman when it’s not okay to do their jobs.

The recent heavy storms sent bacteria-rich runoff into clam and oyster beds, leading many to be closed for almost a month. They’ve only just reopened.

We run into Jim Manchester — or “Crab,” as he’s usually called. You can see in his face every one of the 56 years he’s been working on the water.

Crab shows us his haul. “If you can get 1,000 pieces a day, you’re a hero,” Crab says.

“We’re beating our heads to death here now, you know? I don’t want to see it close,” Crab says.

That’s the tension. Heavy rains mean closed beds, which means fisherman can’t work. But the wardens and the state wildlife and fisheries have to keep the beds safe from contamination.

Sherman is trying to change how it works. He says the most important part of his job is education — and that’s the education of homeowners, farmers and even school kids. Because what’s in the fields, on the roads and in the yards will eventually end up in his river.