"Look Around, See the Changes"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011

As I drove around, thinking about making my annual southbound trip, I couldn’t help but notice how many things in our area’s environment have changed. Odd things that many people may not even notice.

When I am down at the lake and look toward the lighthouse, the reef appears to have risen from the water’s bottom. Some of us remember the reef with full-grown trees on it while most people just recall an appearance of a small island of rocks sticking out of the water. Today, as you look toward the reef on a bright, sunny day you can discern where the entire structure lies, from the shoreline to the lighthouse and beyond.

As I look in another direction, straight out from the new waterfront park, I see the old, slanted rock sticking way out of the water just offshore. I recall wearing out the seat of many bathing trunks, using that rock as a slide. The reef beyond that rock is also more definable than in the past.

Among the many changes I observe are the trees. What sad changes indeed. Most of the ash still standing were bare all summer. This past week I observed the removal of two such trees, both giants that had stood for years, one by ring count 132. I saw that the center of the tree at its base was eaten away by root rot, most likely having occurred after a borer attack.

The Emerald Ash Borer is native to Asia, Russia, Northern China, Japan and Korea. They were first discovered in the U.S. and confirmed in Canton, Mich., in June of 2002. The little green borers have killed millions of trees in 14 states around the country. The Ash Borers are killing trees in our area that are over 90 feet tall and leaving many wooded areas a mass of tangled dying trees. For detailed information look for Emerald Ash Borer, Wikipedia, the computer encyclopedia. I know I have mentioned the devastation afflicting our wooded areas in past columns but as I traveled throughout the state, the damage is difficult to ignore.

Ash trees are not the only trees I noticed having an unusual appearance. Maples, which provide such grand color variety during Huron County’s fall season, have what looks like a mold-type fungus in the center of the leaves. The mighty oaks, many 200 to 300 years old, have small holes or black dots apparent on their leaves as they flutter to the ground to cover the acorns which seem to be a smaller crop this year.

Our local animals know it’s that time of year again. Squirrels are storing up spare food and they are wearing very heavy coats — or they are the fattest squirrels I have ever seen. The deer are also changing coats and their winter coats look much darker and heavier than in past years at this time.

I saw fast moving clouds over the lake that sure looked like winter snow clouds, and as the temperature dropped, a few flurries did fall. As I see it, Brrrrrrrrr... I better get back to packing.




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