Friday, February 22, 2013

The Investigative Measures of the Crayfish Kill, Part 1

So, after exhausting all crayfish huntin’ in this once crayfish rich area, I finally broke down and bought some night crawlers. Three dozen. $7.50. Not much but still money I wouldn’t had ta spend if I still had my creek crawlin’ with crawdads. 

‘Cause the stream I’d planned ta fish, Kite Creek, was so low, I had ta walk up stream from my startin’ point…a considerable distance. Nice day, though, and the water felt pleasing even with it bein’, mostly, only low shin deep. Most of the holes which normally had big fish potential only held small ones.

Small mouth bass mostly, six ta ten inches. Still fun ta play with, yeah, but they sure ate up my worms: a problem that ya don’t have with crayfish ‘cause mostly only the bigger ones can handle ‘em, swallow ‘em er pull ‘em off yer hook.

Eventually I worked my way into an area with deeper, log-strewn holes and I did end up with five acceptable bass, two large mouth and three small mouth; all of ‘em legal keepers, er real near to it. Draggin’ them fish behind me, I was amazed at how far I ventured from my pickup. The sure knowledge of a beer on ice in a small cooler kept me goin’ until finally we made it. This “we” meanin’ me and my three dogs. They like these fishin’ days, every bit as much as I do. And I guess at that point it could’a meant them five fish I’d drug there too. This was the end Of the line fer them fishes though. A whack in the head with a hard stick and inta the bucket they slid.

I clean my fish soon as I get home. In the cleanin’ process I always check stomach contents, and inspect their guts in general. All these fish were healthy, no tumors er spots in their livers. What was obviously missing in their digestive tracks, though, were crayfish parts.

In nature there is no “always.” So finding a bass in late August with no crayfish parts still in its digestive track is a possibility, albeit, a rare one. The norm is (and this is fer both bass and catfish) that from gut to anus their system is turned orange, that’s the color the digestive juices of the fish turns them crayfish hulls. With yer fingers you can easily detect the bigger chunks, sometimes still whole crayfish with parts getting’ smaller as ya move down the intestines. And if ya squeeze the large intestine close ta the end you’ll squeeze out an orange tinted paste. I’m sure the fish benefit in this digestion of hard parts. It’s got to be good for their own growth.

I cleaned them five fish. Partly digested minnows, one of ‘em had been feedin’ on large brown beetles…but there was no remnents of crayfish ta be found. Five bass outta Kite Creek in August without crayfish in their guts. The odds against that, er at least the way it used ta be….

I don’t want ya thinkin’ my investigation of this matter hasn’t been done seriously, and in depth.
I’m waitin’, ya see. Gotta find ways ta keep entertained. And what I was waitin’ on was the Dept. of Ag’s. complete investigating report, which I’d requested through “Freedom of Information.”

And in a reasonable amount of time this big fat packet does land in my hands.
I’m happy ta say that the investigator did a rather complete and accurate job. He used Google Earth effectively and had also included hand-held photos, all of this showing what had gone wrong.

During his visit to the aerial spraying Co. he’d discovered that Tombstone was only one of three deadly poisons mixed in this cocktail sprayed from the air. Headline and Sniper were mixed inta the soup, also. All three of these chemicals are highly toxic to aquatic life. All three of ‘em tell of what they do ta bees. And I go on ta add to almost all invertebrate life in sprayed zones. Good er bad doesn’t matter, they’re goners.

Invertebrates. Do you understand how we depend on invertebrates? How a healthy eco-system can’t be achieved without them? Stand in a prairie field and listen, feel all the invertebrate activity. Now go stand in a corn field. Dramatic, the difference. And while yer at it bring yer shovel and try ta find some earth worms... in the corn field, that is.

So we’ve got a highly toxic cocktail being applied with high speed crop dustin’ plane.
An interesting aside here is that the chances of anyone doing’ research on what kind of synergy might be released into the environment with these mixtures, are essentially nil. Research takes time and costs money.

Research inta long term consequences of these chemicals, many of which never existed naturally, doesn’t exist either, ‘cause this crap hasn’t been around long enough. Fifty years of exposure, a hundred? Nobody’s got the answer fer that one…but let’s not let trifles like this interrupt immediate profits.

The investigator talked ta pilot of offending aircraft. “The applicator,” stated, “he did not realize a stream was next to the field,” and a buffer zone was not left next to the stream.

A stream running over a beaver dam and a succession of riffles, with the sun at the angle it was at that time of the morning…and the guy flyin’ the plane is unaware of its existence? This statement simply snaps any strands clinging to credulity. I’ve been in small aircrafts. Ponds, streams, hell, puddles are obvious to even an untrained eye. Don’t pilots have ta get regular eye exams?

The photos of the investigator, the goggled topography, even his spray plan for the day should’a given this guy a tip off. Com'on, Stan, yer not tryin’ ta pull our collective leg, are ya? 
(Visit the Evidence section of this blog for aerial photographs of the area.)

The pilot was also off on the wind speed. Stan had “guessed” the wind speed at eight miles per hour and outta the east. In fact, according to “Daily history. HTML? Reg,” it was a steady ten mph wind from E.NE. Grove Creek does not pass through this area in anything but the lee of corn field, exactly in direction of drift, with an E.NE. wind.

I started thinkin’ about how long these deadly droplets might stay adrift? Four seconds? Twenty? I know I’ve smelled ag. sprays from as much as a half mile away.

I got out my calculator. Let’s see…if the wind is flowing past a fixed position at ten miles an hour…that means it’s traveled 5280 feet ten times. That’s 52,800 feet, er exactly ten miles. An hour now divided inta minutes, 60 divided 52,800 = 880 feet per minute. Now ta get the drift per second all we gotta do is divide that 880 feet by 60 seconds and we come up with a drift that’s 14.66 feet per second. Again I’m only guessin’ just how long some of this stuff lingers in that ten M.P.H. wind, me givin’ due respect ta things like prop wash.

Just fer arguments sake let give the “time in air equation” five seconds. That’s fair, don’t ya think? I mean this stuff isn’t lead shot but a vapor.

Five seconds at 14.66 f.p.s. comes out to 73.35 feet of drift. Way more than enough distance ta cover the whole length of Grove Creek and certainly have an effect on our neighbor’s large ponds. Nice shot, Stan. Direct hit.

You didn’t see that stream, Stan? You didn’t see those quite large ponds? Have you ever sat down and done any serious wind drift calculations? I’m left hopin’ that this is a one-time fluke experience, and not a common practice. However, my thus far evaluation of things points in that “common practice” direction.

I have a copy of Stan’s work sheet here in front of me, for that day. He was a busy pilot, no doubt about it. I count 20 aerial sprayings, him startin’ at 5:51 a.m. and keepin’ at it till 8:20 p.m. This confirmin’ my remembrances of dawn ta dusk aerial spray activity fer that more than one week period. Not all this noise comin’ from Stan, ya understand. I don’t know yet what other crop duster were workin’ this area but I’m gonna find out.

Stan completed 20 missions. He musta been a tired man. I’m wonderin’ if his eye sight had deteriorated through the course of the day, er improved. He sprayed 1,631.00 acres with this, er similar deadly cocktails. If Stan kept up this incredible pace fer at least a seven day week, which I’m pretty sure he or other pilots did…well…one can imagine the huge scope of eco contamination.
(Stan's worksheet is available for viewing in the Documentation section of this blog)

Also in the fat envelope I received a copy of a “pesticide misuse complaint enforcement evaluation form,” this is the form which Dept. of Ag. chief of bureau of environmental programs and pesticide misuse, Warren D. Goetsch, used to determine what kinda action ta take against poor- sighted and overworked Stan.

Under the first category: #1. Harm or Loss Incurred. Stan got nicked fer one negative point on line at which states exposure to plants, animals or humans with no symptoms of damage; and then there a notation scribbled in a large box for comments, “Death of crayfish could not be confirmed.”

First off a crayfish is an animal, and I think death is pretty serious damage. And that comment about non confirmation of dead crayfish? Even his own investigaters report confirmed the death of crayfish. None-the-less Stan only gets one negative point here. What the hell would one have ta do ta confirm the death of crayfish?

This form, by the way, makes very little sense. Nowhere does it give demerits for eco damage. It’s concerned with property losses but not environmental ones. It makes one wonder why it’s in the hands of the bureau chief for “Environmental programs.”

Stan gets hit fer two negative points in the next category #2: Signal Word…whatever in hell that means. I think he’s awarded these demerits ‘cause he ignored the obvious warning with respect to aquatic habitats that the three chemicals in this cocktail so obviously give.

Stan really gets clobbered in #3: Degree of Responsibility. Wham! A four pointer slam biased upon his negligence.

In category #5: Violation Type, he picks up another three negative points for use contrary to label directions “resulting to exposure to other persons or the “environment.” Ha, ha! Usin’ my magnify’ glass I do finally find this one single word relating to the environment.

In the comment section for this category here is where Stan stated he did not realize that stream was next to field.

With his own investigators report which pictorially shows that that would be all but impossible, except fer someone who was near legally blind, how could this bureau chief not rap him harder fer that whooper!

Three negatives was all that could be given on this evaluation form, though. There are no higher numbers.

Usin’ some logic that escapes me completely, Stan comes up with a negative score of only ten. And that throws him in line fer that toothless warning letter.

Absurd, this evaluation form. Judge fer yer self. A joke is how I’d rate this paper shuffling, paper eatin’ work.
(The Complaint Enforcement Evaluation Form is available for viewing in the Action section of this blog.)