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A letter from a concerned citizen in the Great Lakes Region:
Posted 10/24/2002
Great Lakes
Example of fish in her lake. Open wounds and sores on body.

We live in Auburn Indiana. It is in DeKalb County just north of Ft.Wayne. My Husband and 6 year old son decided to go fishing earlier this summer. What they came back with made me feel sick for a couple of weeks. I just had this heavy, nauseated feeling every time I thought about it, because reality had sunk into me. To know that right in our back yard were these poor mutated examples of what were supposed to be fish. Some having only one eye, one set of whiskers, and most having lumps and sores all over their bodies.

Great Lakes
All of these fish were found in the lake. They have no eyes.
I had no idea how bad things were actually getting. I knew the rivers around here were bad. In fact I call the rivers "the rivers of death" because not much can survive in them anymore. I know it is even much worse in other areas in the country, and it is a very sad thing to see our waters are poisoned by the pollution of what we call "progress". We cannot safely consume the fish anymore. When I look at the rivers, I see what was once a beautiful ecosystem, now decimated to a point of which most of it is dead or dying. Water which used to be alive now flows with poison and decay. Some shellfish, as well as other creatures, are now even endangered and have to be protected by law. It's too bad those laws don't protect the waters they live in as well.

 

That is where the problem lies, we need to get to the root of the problem here and fix it. Protecting the creatures will only save them from being harvested. It won't help their long term problems and it won't help ours either if we continue to live in denial and look the other way. Remember people, if it affects them, it is affecting us too since we are at the top of the food chain and much of the city water comes right from these rivers. Think about that the next time you go to the sink.

Where does your water come from? Are there signs around those rivers warning you not to swim there because of the sewage overflow that goes into them? What about the industry in your area? Are there any landfills beside these rivers? In our area we can say "yes" to all of these questions. In DeKalb Co., there is a landfill (now closed) right beside Cedar Creek. Where does Cedar Creek flow into? Of course that landfill was probably put there before people even thought about or cared what would overflow into that creek.

In our wetlands, there is overflow from the county tiles which are broken down all around here which now feed the wetlands. We are surrounded by fields, some of which I believe are no-till. There is much run-off from these as well. I have not had anything tested, I can't afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to have and EPA certified person come in and test the water and sediment samples here. It is now my duty to spread the word and show my pictures of my "Frankenfish" as I call them.

It is the only outlet I have to educate people on how bad it is getting, and what we can do about it. I have told everyone I know in hopes they will tell everyone they know. I am still hoping I can get in on that study that is going to be done on wetlands and the effects of pesticides and herbicides on the ecosystems. I think it is DNR that is working on that one. When I talked to EPA, they told me these are called prairie potholes, and are very important to migratory birds. I told them about all of the great white egrets, ducks, geese, herons, and at one time a swan which used to come every year with the geese.

IDEM would have nothing to do with me because we are not on public waters. Most other places don't have the testing capabilities around here. Conservation sends there samples to a lab at Purdue University. My samples come from private land, I pay for the testing. I have a small garden. I do not use ANY pesticides or herbicides out there. We know that the main aquifer we sit on has been known to be polluted for years. That means the well water is not safe from contamination, nor any other bodies of water. The chlorine they put into city drinking water only kills living organisms. You can't kill pesticides or volatile organic compounds with chlorine. I once had a reverse osmosis system dealer tell me that the government does a really good job at preparing the water we use to flush our toilets with, but it's not good for our bodies to drink that stuff. Needless to say, I but only reverse-osmosis water for drinking and cooking now.

Eventually I want to put in my own R.O. system when I am able. My Grandmother and Grandfather both had cancer. I know of so many people with cancer these days it's unreal. I belives it is a direct result of what people are doing to this planet. Our bodies can only take so much. What will be left for future generations? How will our decendants live?

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