June 03, 2010
Usually in May, the river water is high enough to cover the dock at my parents' camp, and we pile rocks on the top to keep sections from floating away. Then the water level drops as the summer goes on, with more rocks appearing in the river as August comes to a close.
This year, the water is unusually low, about a foot and a half lower than last year. We had less snowfall this winter and a dry spring — and I'm not really sure what all the factors are. The water level is partially controlled by climate and partially controlled by human institutions. Commercial interests -- the need to produce hydro-electic power, the need to keep the Seaway functioning as a shipping lane, the money made by tourism that relies on recreational boating -- often dictate the water level, which can be controlled at the locks. I'd like to think that local ecology, and the needs of the creatures of the marshes, come into play, but I think environmental issues are secondary to commercial interests.
In the 42 years we've had the camp, we've never seen water quite this low on Memorial Day.
Posted by jo(e)