A brief breather in yet another Busy Period, which means I will have to fit blogging into a schedule of actual paying work, as opposed to the make-work work I do for myself in the name of research. Like? Like flying, via Google Earth, over the coastline of Grosse Pointe Shores, to see the accretion.
The what? The accretion, the silt and vegetation buildup along the western Lake St. Clair shoreline. Not long after we moved here, someone told me the lake would make a lot more sense if I didn’t think of it as a lake at all, but rather a river delta, a very wide spot in a watery road between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. We have a map of the entire Great Lakes watershed in our living room now, and there’s a diagram showing the lakes in cutaway. Superior, Huron, Michigan area all deep trenches in the earth. Lake St. Clair is a dinner plate. It holds less water, so water moves through it faster. It’s also smack in the middle of a densely populated area, which means lots of recreational boaters, which means lots of docks. Some years ago, one of the Grosse Pointe municipal parks expanded their marina and blocked off their existing flow-throughs.
Well. If you’ve visited the water-play feature at a children’s science museum, you know what happens when you block moving water. It backs up. Gunk in the water settles. Thus, accretion. It’s the result of some natural phenomena — low water levels being the most obvious — but mostly that of the man-made sort. In fact, the longer it goes on, the more people look at it and say hmm, the more fingers point to a couple of specific construction projects in years past that started the problem and continue to aggravate it.
But here’s the thing. The accretion is happening in front of some of the area’s most expensive homes, in Grosse Pointe Shores. And so the local weekly is covering it and covering it and covering it, and printing letters from angry homeowners saying their property values are eroding (even as their property is, technically, expanding, which is sort of an interesting irony when you think about it) and they want it all dredged out. This will, of course, cost millions of dollars, and if the government won’t pay, then everyone in the community should pay (some say), because declining property values are everyone’s problem, etc. etc.
This creates more problems too boring for non-residents to give a fig about, so I’ll spare you. But another irony of this problem is that because this stretch of waterfront is entirely blocked from view by the expensive homes, if you don’t live there, you can’t even see it. (This could all be an elaborate plot to get ordinary taxpayers to finance what is, in actuality, a private waterfront theme park.) The chances of some plutocrat giving me a walking tour of his front lawn is unlikely, so I figured I’d fly in via Google Earth.
Google Earth is very cool. Download it today.
Because I’ve been wasting time on things other than web-surfing, only a single item of bloggage today, and that is A Thing I Will Regret On My Deathbed: That I didn’t spend 6/6/06 in Hell, Michigan.
Enjoy the heavenly day.