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Follow That Fish Story

Not Hoyt Lake, but close.

Two weeks ago we published a short item about the annual fish kill in Delaware Park’s Hoyt Lake, caused largely by a lack of oxygen in the lake’s water. The lack of oxygen is caused by the dearth of fresh, oxygenated water flowing into the system, which causes an excess of algae that eat the oxygen the fish need. It’s a vicious chemical circle. The lake, we wrote, is like an aquarium without a water pump. State Senator Mark Grisanti has endorsed a short-term plan and found some money to address the issue.

For some reason, Grisanti’s plan has met with little enthusiasm, as reported in various news media. Last week, Thomas Herrara-Mishler, the director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, left a note on the online version of our story, apparently seeking to clear up some facts. He only muddied the waters.

Herrara-Mishler wrote that parks workers removed two tons of dead fish this spring, but a receipt from the East Side Transfer Station indicates the total was 4.6 tons. The quantity is not a big deal, but the following is an act of misinformation:

[Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy] was fortunate enough through our Institutional Advancement Department (Otis Glover) to secure a $100,000 grant announced by Senator Mark Grisanti for a new fountain to help add oxygen to the water. To clarify, the fountain will be helpful to add oxygen to the water but only in the summer months. The fountain cannot help the yearly “fish kill” which occurs quickly in the spring.

I attended a meeting in January between Olmsted Conservancy staff, including Otis Glover; Grianti’s office, who called the meeting; Assemblyman Sam Hoyt’s office; and environmental consultant David Bradley, at which Bradley proposed a solution to Hoyt Lake’s chemical imbalances. So I can attest to these discrepancies:

• Bradley proposed not a fountain but a pump that would feed air into the lake through perforated hoses lying along the lake bottom, a system that would help the problem year-round;

• Glover did nothing to secure $100,000 for the proposal—that was all Grisanti’s doing;

• in fact, Glover did not embrace the proposal at that January meeting (though I am told by Grisanti’s staff that later he became more open), but instead seemed to throw up obstacles to its consideration. Grisanti, meanwhile, suggested that the meeting adjourn to Home Depot to purchase the necessary equipment at once.

geoff kelly

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