Water Closet for June 10, 2016
[pullquote]”He describes permanent wildlife crossings called – ecopassages which are concrete walls that funnel animals to a series of culverts.” [/pullquote]Sir Walter Raleigh no doubt seeking some favor is said to have laid his coat across a muddy puddle for Queen Elizabeth to cross on. We doubt he was worried about dirty regal toes. Here is a better modern story without obsequiousness or chivalry but rather with compassion for an animal whose ancestors’ tenure on Earth far exceeds that of helping humans. Our Stream Team photographer and vice president Judy Schneider stopped to help a turtle the Elizabethans would have conked over the head and ‘et. Not only that, Judy had another lady and a police officer helping with her good deed. Others in cars stopped as a snapping turtle1 was coached across the road. Below is Judy’s report of the incident that occurred Wednesday, June 1, on Forest Street, Middleton. This month is turtle crossing time. Slow down and keep an eye out.
I was coming back from Harold Parker State Forest and there was this big snapper in the middle of Forest St. I pulled over and tried to remember what the turtle rescuers (ladies of the Turtle Rescue League) said to do/or if you could lift them. Another woman stopped and she had a lacrosse stick that we used as a little prod. But he/she didn’t move much. So then I got a blanket out of the car thinking I could pad my hands and maybe lift it. Ha . It jumped and struck out when the blanket got close (We weren’t near head.) We didn’t know which way it was trying to go and didn’t want it to end up on the wrong side of the road. Anyway, a Middleton cop came along, stopped all the traffic both ways, and the turtle decided to move. Hustled right over under my car beside the road. The nice policeman kept watch under the car so I could drive away without running over it. One saved, maybe, speaks to the Water Closet article a couple weeks ago about animal crossings.2
The paved barriers to wildlife are here, most often in the form of asphalt that should be deep underground where time has safely stored most other ancient hydrocarbons. (See the face in Judy’s photos of the snapper so close to foreign asphalt instead of soil and plants.) Man brings them to the surface and separates them into polluting fuels and mixes a fraction with sand and crushed stone to make pavement for a vast network of dangerous wide roads for his own species, conveniently without thought for others. We whining Closeteers will stop here, at least for awhile, with this hypocritical ranting about what we’ve done and are doing to our planet. The die has been cast, now it is time to back off, to mitigate.
Let’s take the plentiful energy of the sun reaching us as photosynthetic organisms have been doing for two billion plus years. Let’s raise more windmills, play Don Quixote in reverse at the risk of being called crazy. Remember fossil fuels for power were crazy to many once and now for others are becoming so again. During Water Closet discussions about such things many Stream Teamers are optimistic; they see the scientists and engineers working on all kinds of promising schemes. In time we’ll get lagging governments to help those endeavors instead of pouring money into fossil fuels and methane farting and defecating cattle. Both mining and cattle are great inefficient water users; both ranching and mining lay waste to the land.
Governments should, like Judy, the other lady, and the “nice policeman” with the turtle, stop and help sustainable energy sources cross over. Use some of the enormous savings bound to come to build more and wider culverts under narrower roads.
Friend of the Middleton Stream Team and an editor of the Water Closet Karlene Johnson asks: “Would a turtle know and be able to find the culvert if it wasn’t in its usual path?” She then refers us to an article by Matthew J. Aresco of The Humane Society of the United States. The title of his article about personally saving turtles and other animals endangered by roads is “Turtles and Highways: Crossing the Killing Zone.” The author rescues turtles along U.S.Highway 27 near Tallahassee, Florida. He describes permanent wildlife crossings called – ecopassages which are concrete walls that funnel animals to a series of culverts. A few have been made. We wait the day when enlightened people will shift from spending on bombers to funding ecopassages. What fine challenges for new generations of engineers. The old joke “why does the turtle cross the road?” will then have good answers rather than the stupid old chuckles. A new one might be: “It crosses because we’ve made it possible.”
1 Chelydra serpentina. Serpentina refers to its long mobile head and neck which scares rescuers. Lift by grasping the carapace, upper shell, just above the hind legs. Do not lift by tail or move by pushing along. Both methods may do harm.
2 NETWORK OF BARRIERS CLOSING IN, May 6, 2016 WC
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||Mar||Apr||May||June|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||4.65||4.53||4.06||3.95|
|2016 Central Watershed Actual||3.80||2.65||2.5**||1.3** as of June 6|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For June 6 2016 Normal . . . 47 CFS Current Rate . . . 23 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru April.
** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for May and June
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584