Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lake Hopatcong Anchoring Restrictions Scrapped

According to the Daily Record, the plans to limit anchoring further than 200 feet from shore between May 15th and September 15th on Lake Hopatcong have been scrapped. No details offered in the story, I can only assume Knee Deep Club and its President Eddie Mackin have especially spoken effectively on the behalf of all of us who fish the lake to gain this result we need in order to continue fishing freely, although no doubt, everyone who wrote the  Boat Commission Chair has helped. Never assume people with more power will take care of such an issue for you. Everyone's voice is important.

So next time I'm on the lake between that period of time when restrictions could have stopped me from anchoring, when I do anchor, I will remember and feel grateful.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Shaping the Planet to Suit Life at All Levels

I'm finishing an article for New Jersey Federated Sportsmen's News about dam removal in this state, obliquely about dam removal nationwide. Alan Hunt at Musconetcong Watershed Association pointed out to me that free movement of migratory fish species positively affects the entire food chain. Brian Cowden of Trout Scapes River Restoration LLC told me striped bass have actually got caught in the pool below what was the Hugesville Dam, removed last year, and to now expect stripers up in the Musky Gorge. (We need to know how big, since we're 18 or 20-inch striper in the Musconetcong River isn't bad at all!)

Four rivers: the Musconetcong, the Raritan, the Millstone, and the Lamington will all involve migratory fish. Now, imagining a striped bass in the shallow Lamington River does seem to border on insanity if believed in, but does it really cross that line? I would put money on this. In the event of a flood, when stripers are moving up river such as during May, if things fall into place in the right ways, I think it could happen that a striped bass gets caught in the Lamington River; that is, if and when the Headgates Dam gets removed. Big ones get caught at the Island Farm Weir during floods. Otherwise, American eels are not all bad anyhow.

And once the two dams on the Millstone River go, stripers might get caught occasionally in Princeton at the Lake Carnegie Dam, not to mention gizzard and Atlantic shad. Homage to the great industrialist!

Where does dam removal lead? The food chain is an important concept. An even more important reality. It symbolizes a whole lot more possible in regards to our enhancing it more as it should be. Trout Scapes River Restoration LLC is the perfect name for Cowden's outfit, in my opinion, and I had already written, in an essay I've submitted to Agni, the Boston University literary journal, that river and stream restoration is really streamscaping, a creative enhancing in alignment with the generally natural course of the flow. I wrote this before I had heard of Trout Scapes, unless I had heard of it through my inner ear, but let's not get back to any temptation of debating insanity. I wrote of streamscaping back in September. It takes six months to get word back from Agni about acceptance or rejection and I'm hoping for the best in any event of placing this essay, but there are larger considerations.

As I see what's happening, dam removal and stream and river restorations involve the beginning of a new age in which we will have grown beyond initial industrialization to shape this planet to suit life on all levels. Honors to Andrew Carnegie, but when striped bass swim up to the end of the lake named after his philanthropy efforts, we will be moving on. As a literary writer who began writing during an amazing year of passion for zoology at age nine, and then first got published as an outdoor writer at 16 with The New Jersey Fisherman, appearing in a number of publications, many articles published until at 18 I took a radial turn for literature and began filling hundreds of handwritten notebooks, I know William Blake at least a little bit. A giant who rose at the industrial revolution's inception, proclaiming "Energy is eternal delight," on deaf ears. They thought him mad. So why did the 20th century begin to listen, until several decades or more ago, his genius is established as among the greatest?

For me these days, the most important idea of Blake's is Organized Innocence. We as adults cannot go back to Original Innocence, and we must pass the tests of Experience before we might reach Organized Innocence, a state of possible affairs I certainly think is synonymous with naturalist E.O. Wilson's hope for future paradise here on earth, despite his purported disdain for (departmental) humanities, this very shaping of the planet to suit life on all levels I've mentioned. This article does not promulgate Wilson's book specifically as focusing on my notion of shaping the planet, but it does refer to Wilson's "prophecy" (a dubious claim about a scientist) of our "turning" the planet into paradise, so there we are on the same page.

This is objective. We are improving the food chain. This is beyond any doubt a start in this direction of great hope.