Friday, March 24, 2006

J-P Fish and Wildlife Reserve Hike

While our son was at the neighbors the other day, we picked up our new 2006 Ford Escape from the dealer -- a gas conserving 4-cylinder -- much cleaner for the environment than either of our two older vehicles.

When we went to pick our son up, the neighbor's two little girls wanted to come along for a little drive we had planned... through the J-P F&W Reserve. We brought them along, much to their delight.

There were 4 things I wanted to make note of:

1. The water levels of the streams and water bodies on the reserve.
2. The proximity to the CAFO fans for the Target range.
3. The proximity of the CAFO to our favorite family fishing holes.
4. The proximity/direction of the Sandhill Crane observation deck and waters running through that area.

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, the water in most of the small streams winding through the woods have dropped by almost an inch (basing this on the line green stems vs. old winter-dead stems above water level - not science). Considering the large amounts of precipitation we've had in the past week, I found this a bit disturbing.

Here's why...

When a large water-hogging industry enters an area, water tables tend to be affected further away (about 2 miles away, one site reported) before shortages are noticed as you get closer to the facility, from what I understand. It takes time for closer inhabitants to notice major differences.

The thousands of hogs have only been at the Jasper County CAFO for a week. Should water levels have gone down by a full inch owing to their water usage? The larger bodies of water and streams feeding into them at the J-P Reserve are about 1-1/2 to 2 miles from the CAFO.

We enjoyed our little hike through the woods, playing in the small playground, climbing onto the observation deck, watching hundreds of Sandhill Cranes coming in for the late afternoon/evening rest, and of course -- visiting our favorite little fishing holes.

It's difficult to say right now how much longer we have left to enjoy our little patch of nature in the heart of northwestern Indiana. My husband and I have both agreed to give it 2 more years here, providing the CAFO doesn't force us to move away before then.

I'll be taking several pictures and keeping you posted on developments in the months ahead as we take a front row seat and watch the impact a CAFO can have on such precious environmental habitat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what is the source of the water table depletion info ?