Recently I read an article in the Syracuse Post Standard that a lake in the Adirondacks Park was discovered to have native species of trout that apparently had survived the acidification from rain in the 1960's and 1970's. As coal fired generating plants have reduced emissions the lakes of the Adirondacks have recovered enough to support both native and stocked trout. This article prompted me to remember a Cornell academic associate E. Stanley Shepardson who passed on several years ago well into his 90's. I have a special connection to him since he was my undergraduate advisor at Cornell.
In relation to acid rain effects on ponds and lakes of the Adirondacks the destruction of fishing was especially painful to my advisor. He was as avid a fly fisherman that I ever knew. His passion for that activity mirrors the passion that many of us have for skiing! And just imagine if our ski venues were to suffer that same devastation as the ponds and lakes. Global warming seems to be a threat for our southerly ski areas and maybe we have a responsibility to work toward mitigating the sources this change in our environment. If we work hard enough we might be able to see recovery of glaciers that have disappeared.
Back to the issued of the acid rain and recovery. The good news that recovery seems to be happening is encouraging. So what did E. Stanley Shepardson do about the acid rain issues in the 1960's and ;1970's? Shepardson and colleagues who were members of the Adirondack League Club attempted to neutralize the effects of acid rain. The base lime was injected into the bottom of some of the ponds as a means of neutralizing the acid with the hope of restoring some of the favorite fishing ponds. I don't know if their efforts actually were sufficient to overcome the the continuing acid rains, but at least they tried.
Recovery seems to be on the horizon these 40 to 50 years later. Is that the time table for combating global warming? Shepardson did not live long enough to see native trout recover. Will my children and grandchildren live long enough to see us recover from global warming ? I hope so! As avid skiers they surely will want to have great snowfalls on their favorite slopes.
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