Stream Management
by
Eugene P. Macri Jr.

Anglers fishing from stream management at www.riverscientist.com

What is "Stream Management?" You will get completely different answers from aquatic scientists, fishery people, anglers, politicians, and especially fishermen. The problem is you shouldn't!  The reason you get such divided responses is that the stream isn't being managed for the resource but for the politicians, agency policy, or fishing viewpoint rather than a scientific one.  I'm not saying that there is only one way to manage a stream, river or a watershed but what we call management today has little value in the scientific realm.  If such waters were managed in the best scientific way possible we would eliminate much of the nonsense not to mention the amount of money that is wasted.

Is it possible to manage waters in such a way?  In many instances it is.  However, when we manage for the short term, or for some political end it almost always comes back to haunt us.  I give you the famed Chesapeake Bay Fiasco.  I believe it is the greatest environmental boondoggle in history. When the drive to "Save the Bay" started over thirty-five years ago it was all the rage with politicians, scientists, fishermen and everyone.  The pollution in the Bay and the inputs into the system were deliberately under estimated.  Why?  Well once it was really calculated how much time, money, and trouble it would be no one really wanted to do it.  No one wanted to stop the development right up to the edge of Bay because the realtors and developers would lose too much money.  No one wanted to stop the farmers from doing what they always did so "cooperation" with the farmers was preached rather than enforceable protocols.  I could go on and on but what shape is the Bay really in today?  In many ways worse than ever.   I remember everyone trying to stop the people who really knew what was going on at scientific conference that I attended many years ago. One chairman or dean of a department told another chairman these people need to shut up or their going to ruin our grant possibilities and the amount of money we can get for the Bay. I actually saw one dean or chairman get into a young scientist's face and warn him to tone down his rhetoric about this stuff not being the right approach. That's right --shut up...because an entire cottage industry immediately sprung up of getting money for some type of research on "Saving the Bay."

Chesapeake Tidal Wetlands at Stream Management from www.riverscientist.com

No one wanted to do what was necessary to save the Bay.  And that was to save the streams and rivers that empty into the Bay!  More than fifty-eight percent of the pollution that enters the Bay comes from the Susquehanna River System. I have worked in more streams going into that river system than anyone in the country, and most of those streams and rivers are getting worse not better.  Too much money was given for and spent on "trying to understand the Bay" rather than cleaning up the streams and rivers emptying in to it! I believe over seventy-five percent of the money for such grants and research was wasted.   Today the Susquehanna River is a chemical soup with it's once famous Smallmouth Bass fishing damaged because the fish are changing sexes! The Chesapeake Bay Model serves as what not to do in trying to save ecosystems!

 

 

  

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