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Tartan 27' owner
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Discussion Starter #1
No, not the sea sickness pills but the ancient sea creature type.

As explained in another thread I needed a break from this bizzarro world of SailNut and I got to spend a luxurious 2 nights and 1 nearly entire day sailing on my beloved and beheld sailboat on the mighty Hudson River in New York State, US.
As luck would have it Thursday August 12th, 2010 was overcast with a little spittle of rain here and there. At least no sunscreen lotion was needed. In the light (<15 K) SE winds we were able to sail about 6 nm. up the river to Croton Point where we saw not one, but two large Sturgeon break the surface of the water in this vicinity. We actually timed our sailing with the current in the river and sailed down river with a now following current. The sailing wasn't bad nor was the company of an old high school friend.

The point of this post is about the Hudson River and how it is not 'dead' yet as the ancient species of Sturgeon that were indigenous are apparently still living here.
Here is a link describing this family of amazing sea creatures:
Sturgeon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Got any Sturgeon or similar sea life in your local river, bay, inlet, sound, bight, fjord or ocean?
 

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One of None
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8,045 Posts
Caleb, I remember the Delaware River when I was a kid. the water was nasty. dark smelly. It's now clear enough to see your feet if standing in 2ft of depth or so.

We had a whale come upriver a couple of years ago. I think the shad runs are becoming quite large again and even trout are being found farther downriver then the catskill and hancock NY areas. Sadly.. All the waters are PCB contaminated and eating the fish in large amounts is not encouraged.

I think it's the river bottom that holds the PCBs and various other chemicals that will be there for centuries even though the water appears clean and the water life, and water fowl have returned.

"The PCB contamination of the Hudson dates back to a 30-year period ending in 1977 during which the General Electric Company (GE) discharged as much as 1.3 million pounds of PCBs directly into the river from their facilities in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, N.Y."

EPA Proposes Comprehensive Plan to Clean Up Hudson River PCBs | EPA History | US EPA

n 1966, Pete Seeger and Toshi Seeger founded Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. This is both an environmental education organization and an actual boat (a sloop) that promotes awareness of the river and its history. Clearwater has gained national recognition for its activism starting in the 1970s to force a clean-up of PCB contamination of the Hudson River caused by industrial manufacturing by General Electric Corporation (GE) and other companies on the river's edge.

GE's Hudson Falls and Fort Edward facilities discharged between 209,000 pounds (95,000 kg) and 1,300,000 pounds (590,000 kg) of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) into the river from 1947 to 1977. In 1976 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) banned all fishing in the Upper Hudson due to health concerns with PCBs.[29][30] In 1983, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared a 200 mile (322 km) stretch of the river, from Hudson Falls to New York City, to be a Superfund site requiring cleanup. GE began dredging operations to clean up the PCBs on May 15, 2009.[31] In 1980, Consolidated Edison agreed to drop its 17-year fight to build a pumped-storage hydroelectricity facility on Storm King Mountain.[32] This action spurred the Riverkeeper program that grew into a global umbrella organization, the Waterkeeper Alliance.[33]
Hudson River - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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5,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hi Denise,
It is good to hear even anecdotal evidence that some of our mistreated rivers and seas are in better shape then they were 30 or 40 years ago. I know that the Shad run in the Delaware is a pretty big deal locally. My sister used to live in Lambertville, NJ near New Hope, PA and the Shad run was a big event each spring.
I read a great non-fiction book on the American Shad called 'The Founding Fish' by John McPhee - Amazon.com: The Founding Fish (9780374528836): John McPhee: Books
Well worth a read as he did very thorough research for this book.
This spring NYS DEC electronically tagged about 50 Shad at the beginning of the run and tracked their progress up and down the Hudson. There are still Shad and Alewives here but nothing like the populations of a hundred years ago. It is a shame what we have done to our estuaries and rivers but I remain hopeful as nature has seemingly not yet given up.
The PCB situation in the Hudson certainly is alarming. NYS is continuing with the 'clean up' but there is some debate as to whether dredging the contaminated sediment will be more harmful then just leaving it there to be (hopefully) silted over. I am unsure which option is better or worse, I just hope for a positive outcome however we proceed.
Like the Delaware, the Hudson also has a nuclear plant on its banks that use the river as a heat sink for cooling the reactors. While the additional heat is not a chemical pollutant it is unclear what effect the higher water temperatures have on the creatures living in the river. We all certainly need the electricity these plants produce but it may take years to determine what changes (if any) ensue. Hopefully natures creatures can endure a few degrees of temperature rise if they can survive the chemical pollution we have thrown at them.
I have become curious about the Sturgeon as I have seen them now for two years running. I have reason to believe that there may be some in the Delaware estuary which is within their historical range on the US east coast. Have you ever seen one or heard of others who witnessed a Sturgeon broaching in the Delaware?
I'm simply curious for anecdotal evidence.
Rare Sturgeon Caught In Delaware River
and
Delaware River Voice - the Delaware Riverkeeper's blog: The Special Delaware Has Special Atlantic Sturgeon
 

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One of None
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8,045 Posts
PCB is oily.. you probably could use it for cooking would be great for pop corn! high flash point! Food would have a distinct chlor taste (imho)

Oh My Gawd Now i'm afraid to walk in the mud barefoot even! I should not have read the details on the stuff..

PCBs readily penetrate skin, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and latex (natural rubber).[4] PCB-resistant materials include Viton, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate (PVA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), butyl rubber, nitrile rubber, and Neoprene.[4]

PCBs are very stable compounds and do not degrade readily. Their destruction by chemical, thermal, and biochemical processes is extremely difficult, and presents the risk of generating extremely toxic dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans through partial oxidation. Intentional degradation as a treatment of unwanted PCBs generally requires high heat or catalysis

Polychlorinated biphenyl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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17,137 Posts
Its wonderful to see that many species have had a resurgence as water quality improves.

Port Jackson and the Paramatta River (aka Sydney Harbour) are in a similar situation with an astonishing array and quantity of fish and crustaceans reappearing the last few years.

Today I'll happily swim in the harbour, when I was a youngster you needed a serious tubbing if you went in anywhere west of the Coathanger (aka Syndey Harbour Bridge).

We've had whales under the Bridge, been escorted by dolphins as we sailed up the harbour and penguins inhabit the area near our mooring.

That said, the levels of chemical pollution seen in oysters, prawns (shrimp) and fish that spawn upriver suggests eating them regularly may not be all that advisable.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Discussion Starter #8
It would seem that the Atlantic Sturgeon is still fairly ubiquitous even if in diminished numbers from over 100 years ago.
BLJ,
I bet Mudpuppies taste like chicken! Think of Frog's legs! The Great Lakes ice fishermen probably are not too fond of pulling them up though. The Sea Robin of the Great Lakes, eh?
Sea robin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apparently the Sea Robin is used in Bouillabaisse (sea food stew). I bet no one would notice if your added some Mudpuppy into the mix. Then again, the French and Japanese will eat just about anything - not that the Japanese eat Bouillabaisse.
Andrew/TDW,
I have read some of Cook's early logs about his visits to 'down under'. He had a keen interest in the flora and fauna that he encountered in his voyages. Perhaps one of the strangest creatures any early European might have encountered in New South Wales was the Duck Billed Platypus. I wonder how that little beasty is fairing down under?
Your island continent must have been very strange to its early European inhabitants (criminals!) given the Marsupials wide spread of species found there.
I'm glad to hear that Sydney Harbour seems improved since you were a young squirt.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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17,137 Posts
Caleb,

The Platypus is actually doing better than my own mob. Australia is recently out of a decade long drought and there is more water in the river systems than is the norm. Platypus are also now aprotected species. As a result numbers are on the increase. BTW, when the first stuffed Platypus was sent to Britain the Brits refused to believe it was real, insisting that it was a hoax created by sewing two dead animals of different species, together.

Platypi are of course distant relatives of the Wombat. While the common Wombat seems OK the Hairy Noses Wombats (two species) like that other uniquely Australian critter the Koala, are endangered, principally due to habitat destruction.
Principle difference twixt Platypi and other marsupials is that they are egg laying. Here it gets even more interesting in that they keep the eggs internal for around a month, then lay them whereupon they hatch in about ten days. After hatching the young are suckled. Weird little critters, an absolute joy to observe.

On the subject of Sydney Harbour while the water quality is better than it was those areas that harbour chemicals in the bottom mud will remain a health hazard for unknown decades to come.

A further BTW...did you know that the Hudson and waters around New York Bay were once the world's largest and most important oyster beds? Those oysters were America's biggest export to Britain and one of the major reasons why the British fought so hard to retain the colony. Overfishing, effluent and disease from introduced species eventually took their toll and by the 1930s the NY industry was dead and buried. Mark Kurlansky's "The Big Oyster" is a fascinating account of the NY oyster industry.
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd point out that Platypi are far better looking than the fat fuzzy rodent like wombats... ;)
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Discussion Starter #11
+1 to SD in the backhanded compliment department.

TDW/Andrew,

Thanks for the update on the Platypi. Glad to hear the little buggers are still doing what they have always done which is to mystify the human race. Those egg laying, duck faced cousins of an otter must be a hoax! Small wonder the Brits had a problem swallowing that one at first. I enjoyed how Patrick O'Brian wove them into his Aubrey and Maturin series when they visited NSW. Natural history combined with historical fiction at it's best, IMHO.
Both the 'New World' (US) and 'NSW' must both have had extensive colonies of benthic organisms (clams, etc.), or filter feeders before Europeans discovered the 'New' places. NY Harbor and the Hudson, the Chesapeake and most US east coast estuaries must have had water that was clear as glass because the filter feeders. The same progression has happened nearly everywhere: Europeans discover they like Oysters, Clams etc., over harvest them while dumping all their unwanted wastes into the same waters, when they discover it is no longer feasible to harvest these creatures they turn to the edible crabs. I'm not sure which species will be next in the sights of mankind to harvest from the sea but our options are diminishing. This same progression has happened here in both the Hudson, Long Island Sound and the Chesapeake. It's no big surprise that this has also occurred down under.
If the vagaries of the tides of time continue and our waters become so poisoned we may not be able to laugh so haughtily at the Koreans and other Asian cultures who eat canines. Whether those dogs are land based or know how to sail matters not as I bet it all tastes like chicken or a cross between venison and kangaroo or wombat. Even the on board ship's rats were apparently used by sailors in the old days when their salt beef and pork got too old and stringy or fetid.
Our historical record as stewards of this planet has many miserable failures that have been propelled by our appetites, abilities and marketing of new food sources when the old ones dwindle with very little consideration of the future. Once we have our fill of the ocean and land animals McDonalds may soon be marketing a special blue/green algae sandwich, which would probably keep you alive if it was not deep fat fried.
Yet I remain an optimist (not the sail boat) about our future in spite of our lousy track record of caring for our ecosystems.
I'll have to find or buy a copy of "The Big Oyster" as it sounds fascinating.
Cheers mate.
 

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Banned
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Bass, perch, garr, turtles, catfish, and what I've convinced my boys lurks beneath the waves waiting to eat them...THE TRAVEN!



They don't swim as much as they used to.
 

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I saw a show about the sturgeon and why these incredibly long-lived fish are dwindling. It appears all the dams are allowing silt buildup in the stream beds. This suffocates the eggs. In some areas, they are trying to correct the problem by opening the dams for periods to simulate springtime snowmelt streams that flush the silt out. Until they get this nailed down, it appears most of the new sturgeons will continue to come from hatcheries. They are amazing fish.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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I'd point out that Platypi are far better looking than the fat fuzzy rodent like wombats... ;)
Point when you are pointed to and not before.....:p:):p...better looking than a wombat my fat furry arse.....:p
 

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An oft overlooked fact on the platypus is that they have spurs on their hind legs which can give a nasty *****.
Whereas TDW ............... :)

I have always admired the Groucho quote and often quote it to other people.
 

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Tundra Down
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Danger / Sturgeon

Yup, we got em! We have huge wild elk, too! Danger! If you run into either one of these amazing beasts at speed you risk your life!

Moose crossing signs warn drivers of the potential for encountering a thousand pounds of wandering mass in the road ahead. I have come to the conclusion that we need Sturgeon jumping signs on the rivers flowing through Merrymeeting Bay. I have seen many sturgeon completely air born along stretches of these beautiful rivers. Sturgeon 4 to 5 feet long are not uncommon. A couple of years ago, two marine wardens were sent to the emergency room when a 5 footer cleaned the windshield off their patrol boat. They were headed down river when the fish jumped across their bow, high enough to clear the hull and crash through the windshield. Like most moose involved in a collision, it returned to the wild.

I have seen fish that large clear of the water within 20 yards of my boat. It would be the end of your day if you were in a small boat and one of these critters landed on or in it. It would certainly sink a canoe or kayak and could injure you badly. 350 pounds of armored muscle thrashing around in your boat would be a good reason to go overboard.

Like the fish of the Hudson, I grew up on the Hudson and Croton rivers, these fish were over fished and now enjoy protection. It is nice to have them to avoid!

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I grew up in Indiana along the wabash river, as a kid my dad and I would go fishing on the river, we would usually catch a few sturgeon every summer. Now I know that they are down in their numbers, but back then we would break out the hack saw (it's the only way to open them up) and have a feast. They are rather good tasting, but wouldn't eat them now knowing they are having trouble..
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Discussion Starter #18
Jumping Jiminy!

What can't be explained with any certainty is why the Sturgeon routinely leap out of the water.
One theory holds that since they are bottom feeders they broach the waters surface to knock any parasites off of their bodies.
We really don't know why they behave like this.
They could be broaching to get clear visual clues of landmarks along the river's edge.
Nature's creatures surprise us more often then not.
Seeing a 1000 pound Moose standing in the middle of the road while driving would be a bit more then a surprise.

Yup, we got em! We have huge wild elk, too! Danger! If you run into either one of these amazing beasts at speed you risk your life!

Moose crossing signs warn drivers of the potential for encountering a thousand pounds of wandering mass in the road ahead. I have come to the conclusion that we need Sturgeon jumping signs on the rivers flowing through Merrymeeting Bay. I have seen many sturgeon completely air born along stretches of these beautiful rivers. Sturgeon 4 to 5 feet long are not uncommon. A couple of years ago, two marine wardens were sent to the emergency room when a 5 footer cleaned the windshield off their patrol boat. They were headed down river when the fish jumped across their bow, high enough to clear the hull and crash through the windshield. Like most moose involved in a collision, it returned to the wild.

I have seen fish that large clear of the water within 20 yards of my boat. It would be the end of your day if you were in a small boat and one of these critters landed on or in it. It would certainly sink a canoe or kayak and could injure you badly. 350 pounds of armored muscle thrashing around in your boat would be a good reason to go overboard.

Like the fish of the Hudson, I grew up on the Hudson and Croton rivers, these fish were over fished and now enjoy protection. It is nice to have them to avoid!

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