Sunday, July 19, 2009

Great Lakes Restoration Hearing Tuesday Should Sniff Milwaukee's Zebra Mussel Stench

Foreign species invading and damaging the Great Lakes is not a myth.

Zebra mussels rode into the Great Lakes in the ballast water of ocean-going freighters: now these tiny invaders filter Lake Michigan water by the billions, over-cleaning the shallow waters near the shoreline.

That allows an a surplus of sunlight to reach the bottom, spurring algae growth, which dies and rots and smells to high heaven.

[Note to talk radio: that's not anything the fault of one of your favorite scapegoats, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage Commission. In fact, the MMSD is an important partner cleaning up Milwaukee County's stormwater contamination of Bradford Beach.]

You can smell the mussel-caused stench on the East side blocks from the lake, along Lake Drive, down Lincoln Memorial hill and all the way to the newly-restored Bradford Beach.

Zebra mussels, just one of scores of invaders harming the water quality, the fishing and the Great Lakes majesty, plain stink up the Milwaukee lakefront every summer.

So here's an idea:

Have the EPA's Great Lakes Restoration hearings that kick off in Milwaukee on Tuesday open early at the lakeshore on the soccer field next to the Linnwood Water Treatment plant for a first-hand smell test.

Everyone bring a sandwich.

Then go to hearing at the Doubletree Hotel Milwaukee City Center, Wisconsin Room, 611 W. Wisconsin Ave., on Tuesday, from 5 to 7 p.m., and demand a) tough laws prohibiting ocean-going ships from carrying out ballast water flushing in the Great Lakes, and b) a real budget for Great Lakes restoration - - oft-promised...not yet met.

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