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How to Drown a Fish

Perhaps you read in the daily paper or saw on the TV news a story about 4.6 tons of dead fish being hauled out of Hoyt Lake last month. The fish kill is not the result of poison but rather a lack of oxygen in the water. Because Scajaquada Creek no longer flows through it, Hoyt Lake is like an aquarium whose oxygenating water pump is broken: still and overpopulated with algae that suck up the oxygen the fish need to live.

A couple months ago, State Senator Mark Grisanti met with representatives of the Olmsted Conservancy and Assemlyman Sam Hoyt’s office to hear a short-term solution to the problem devised by David Bradley, an environmental activist and energy consultant. Bradley suggested that the simple, elegant way to restore the oxygen the lake’s fish need to live is to purchase an air compressor, run hoses into the lake and along its bottom, and pump oxygen into the water through perforations in the hoses. In addition to creating a more balanced system, the mild agitation of the low-oxygen band of water along the lake’s bottom would make a more hospitable environment for aquatic plant life of the type that nurtures fish.

Cheap and easy—although, to be sure, the long-term, preferred solution would be to clean up Scajaquada Creek, which is poisoned with waste and runoff from the airport and roadways and parking lots and sewer lines. Once the creek is free of those pollution sources and restored, it could be redirected into Hoyt Lake, recharging it with fresh, oxygenated water.

In the meantime, there’s Bradley’s bubbler. Grisanti has appropriated $100,000 to make it happen.

geoff kelly

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