Monday, May 23, 2016

Dog River Escort

A sole dolphin gave me a 45 minute escort down Dog River. That was a special treat.

Sometimes the dolphin swam in front and sometimes on the side or behind.


Much of the dolphin was covered in a thick algae and it swam pretty slow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

eWaste Apathy


This is a broken computer monitor that has been sitting in the water 50 FEET away from Dog River Park in Mobile Alabama for YEARS. I have alerted the City of Mobile leaders, the State of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and the US EPA to the fact that there is a hazardous television floating in the water in Dog River. That was in 2012. No one bothered to contact me or reply. Four years later and there are STILL a number CRT televisions floating in the watershed.

I thought documenting the dense pollution in Dog River (been doing it for 5 years) would provide local leaders an incentive to develop a program to address the pollution problem in the trashy Dog River watershed. My recommendation was and still is to get a litter boat working the watershed full time removing the trash. I mean, the City can afford to pay 2-3 dozen workers to mow grass, surely the City of Mobile cares enough about the public waterways their drainage system pollutes to dedicate at least one worker to keep it clean.

Hooray! Supposedly the City of Mobile now has a litter boat. So how is the City of Mobile's litter boat doing? I don't know because I have never seen a litter removal boat in action and the storm water trash is not being removed from the trashy shorelines in Dog River. This is a problem.

You see, not all trash is benign. Glass cathode ray tubes in old computer monitors and televisions, also called CRTs, contain several POUNDS of toxic lead. (1)

LEAD content in a CRT monitor can be as high as 20%, which means that one 34” television can contain up to 2.2 POUNDS of lead. Allowing this hazardous material to seep into soil and water systems can be extremely harmful to human health.(2)

If the monitor or screen gets broken then lead dust or cadmium dust can get out and that stuff is very, very toxic. (3)

Lead is only one of several toxins in old Televisions.

Sadly, there is still no one to call to get HAZARDOUS trash removed from Mobile waterways. I know because I've tried for years to get the trash removed from Dog River. The City of Mobile will not even keep their park shorelines free of trash. ADEM is useless to get the trash pollution removed from Dog River. The US EPA is just as useless. Gonna be a lot more cancer in the future as long as hazardous trash in public waterways is ignored after 5 years of complaints to the authorities.

So, enjoy your swim in Dog River and Mobile Bay because no one in Mobile or the State of Alabama or the Federal Government gives a shit what is floating in the watershed. Nor do the residents who live in the area.

(1) http://m.timesunion.com/business/article/After-Jan-1-Toxic-tubes-from-old-TVs-5986626.php

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25776743/

(3) http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2008/06/01/By-the-way-that-big-old-TV-is-really-toxic/stories/200806010187

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kayak launch sites in Mobile?

The shoreline of the Mobile Convention would make a decent kayak launch spot for Mobile River access. Instead this small and rare City of Mobile shoreline sits idle and remains lined with recyceable trash all year long. What a pathetic waste of a valuable City of Mobile waterfront asset.

This is the trashy Mobile Bay shoreline seen from the wooden walkway at the City of Mobile's Arlington Park. Arlington Park is an embarrassing black eye on the City of Mobile's promised committment to deal with its community storm water trash pollution. Ignore, ignore and ignore the waterfront trash pollution year after year is a clear indicator of lousy City of Mobile leadership and a community that absolutely does NOT give a shit about their community's polluted waterfront properties despite Lawsuits and Fines by environmental groups.

No wonder why the bayside boat and kayak launch at McNally Park is rarely used. No one seems to maintain this City of Mobile Park launch site.

As usual, the fishing pigs who use the City of Mobile's Helen Wood Park keep it littered with trash. What kayaker trusts parking and launching a kayak at a poorly maintained trashy park?

I did find one kayak launch site in Mobile that was free of trash. Sadly the Robinson Bayou launch site is rarely used because parking for the relatively new launch site is poorly marked.

The community of Mobile should be happy that I am not in charge of the City's waterfront parks. If I was in charge all the parks would be shut down until the community implemented a plan to keep the parks free of litter. People will never appreciate the things they have until they loose them. I can guarantee you if all the waterfront parks in Mobile became no trespassing zones there would be public outcry, especially from the boaters who no longer have places to launch the expensive boats.

City leaders should be clear what they expect from their community with regards to trash in parks. As long as City of Mobile leaders allows its community to freely litter City parks without any consequence to those violating the law, the fishing pigs and retards in Mobile who break the litter law will continue to do so unabated. The continued trashing of City parks comes at significant cost to its taxpayers and tourism. 

What Mobile needs is some volunteer litter police in all its parks to document the litter law violators. If the volunteer's video of some asshole littering in a park results in a conviction and $500 fine, the City should reward the volunteer $100 for each conviction. I can guarantee you if the Mobile community was aware that people of all ages and colors were secretly trying to get video of people littering, littering in public parks would become a rare thing in Mobile.

I wonder how many "litter cams" the City of Mobile has deployed in littering hot spots...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mobile Bay Double Crosser

Woke up bright eyed at 1:00 am feeling full of energy. Moon was shining brightly overhead. Marine forecast called for smooth waters in the upper Bay. Wind forecasts predicted 0-5 mph winds and 3 inch waves. Perfect forecast for a 10 mile crossing of Mobile Bay to Fairhope and back.

Nearing Dog River Bridge. Waters slick as glass.

Going under Dog River Bridge.

Got to pay attention on night paddles. That green light is on top of a Mobile Bay Ship Channel navigation post. Hard to see the post eh? Not all the posts in Mobile Bay have lights on them. The lights in the background are on the Dog River Bridge.

Made it to Fairhope Beach by the Pier. The 10 mile crossing took 2 hours and it would be another 2 hours on the return crossing. Wind was from the NNW and was closer to 10 mph causing foot high rolling waves. The Bay waters were anything but smooth. I was disappointed. You can never trust marine forecasts. Open water Kayakers should always be prepared for stronger than predicted winds. Paddling at night in cross waves can be challenging if there is no moon. Rogue waves can blindside you causing a capsize or a really good soaking. Luckily my kayak is 27.5 inches wide so it is really really stable in cross waves.

The nearly Full Moon shed enough light to illuminate the waves giving me enough time to rock the kayak on the bigger waves. That way I avoided getting soaked from the spray when the big waves hit the side of the kayak.

That is the downtown Mobile skyline to the North barely visible on the horizon.

Enjoying the 6:15 am Sunrise on Mobile Bay.

Toward the west, even though the sun had already risen, the moon was still visible. Flocks of birds that call Gilliard Island home were seen flying in all different directions as they commute to their feeding grounds.

Finally getting close to Dog River bridge again. That meant the waves were getting smaller.

Ahhh, sure enuf, no more freaking waves. The Bay crossings which I expected to be on smooth waters was certainly NOT on smooth waters. 3 out of the 4 hours on open water was like kayaking in a never ending boat wake hitting the kayak from the side. You know you have been kayaking in open water waves for a while when hours after the paddle is over you are still feeling the motion of the waves even though you are on solid land. 5 hours later and the room is still rocking...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rabbit Creek

Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) was in bloom near the shoreline.

On a smaller scale Dwarf Sundew (Drosera brevifolia) was about to bloom. This wetland plant supplements its need for nutrition by capturing and digesting insects. The yellow circle highlights one insect being eaten by the Sundew after it got stuck on the sticky droplets.

Fishing spiders are frequently seen on trees next to the water. Yes, these spiders capture and eat minnows.

What scares some people is just how big fishing spiders can get. This spider that was about 8 inches from leg tip to leg tip.

The fishing spiders do not bother me. What does is the storm water trash.

Motorized litter removal boats cannot reach this trash. This floating trash in Rabbit Creek can only be accessed by canoe or kayak. Unfortunately I know of no effective program in Mobile that regularly removes trash accumulations from upper creeks and tributaries. The City of Mobile, Mobile County, the State of Alabama, and all the environmental groups just ignore the waterway pollution even though some of it may be hazardous to public health and marine life.