Mantoloking, New Jersey, October 30, 2012.
Ten years ago this week, Category 3 Hurricane Katrina left nearly 2,000 people dead, hundreds of communities uprooted, and more than $100 billion in damage along the Gulf Coast. Adding in Superstorm Sandy’s devastation in October 2012, just two events swallowed the equivalent of: five months of Medicare spending, or two years of the federal education budget, or four years’ worth of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, our national gasoline tax-funded infrastructure bank that is now running on empty. So much money, washed out to sea.
The following was published in the Biddeford-Saco Journal Tribune Sunday edition, 8/23/2015.
Perhaps a butterfly flapped its wings in Hong Kong, or perhaps the gods who play dice with the sky rolled double sixes. Whatever the cause, the atmospheric disturbance that formed over the southeastern Bahamas on August 23, 2005, would go on to have massive effects.
Not often you see a dude rounding a hedgerow, coming down the trail at a lilting half-run, tripod hanging off one hand, but that's exactly what I saw last Tuesday. It was Josh Fecteau on the chase. He had news I hadn't heard. Wilson's Phalarope. In the marsh. From the dike.
This summer, in our fifth year working with our partners to improve aquatic habitats in Branch Brook, we took on a Herculean task: Remove a four-foot-long wall of large granite blocks, trapped sticks, and sediment from the brook, restoring access to a seven-mile network of stream habitat for native brook trout and a host of other aquatic organisms.
Erosion had caused stones from old bridge abutments to fall into the brook, creating a barrier and raising the upstream water level by several feet. But getting heavy equipment to the site was impractical. How would we maneuver the massive chunks of granite?
If you’re a clean water junkie like me, this week’s response by the EPA to the mine wastewater spill into Colorado’s Animas River — that their own contractors inadvertently caused — is a fascinating and sad event to watch from the sidelines.
The daily updates on the EPA’s website are quite good and informative — nice transparency and responsiveness by the agency so far. (I wonder if there was a pre-written Disaster Response Plan.)
Critics are legion, however, particularly on the anti-government / right-wing side.
I think this is a great example of people seeing what they want to see and how opposing camps deliver their storytelling in real time.
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