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Money to make lakes more natural

By Sean Ryan

We humans, being the noble folks that we are, plan to spend $475 million this year on Great Lakes’ projects to undo the damage our forefathers’ projects did on the Great Lakes.

I support the intention—we need these lakes to survive and Asian carp are really ugly—but it’s too ironic to not backfire in some way or another. We’re tinkering with the ecosystem with projects and studies that are intended to make things more natural and less affected by mankind.

It’s like the bull returning to the china shop with a tube of super glue.

There’s a lot of good-sounding projects in there—removing dams and bridges that block fish and snagging and poisoning invasive species, for example. Then there’s some sillier sounding stuff: $3 million to give grants to 25 American Indian tribes to restore wild rice populations in their natural habitats and $1 million to study bird migration patterns so we don’t build off-shore wind turbine farms along their main routes.

The smart money says fish and birds will be happier and healthier after we do all of these things. But I’m an eternal pessimist who cannot get over the dark humor of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. So I’m urging our federal planners to approach this effort with caution, lest our tinkering with nature disrupt wildlife more than if we had just sat back and done nothing.

Sean Ryan, a staff writer at The Daily Reporter, is out of super glue.

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