Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th Update On The Cass River, Lyle And Davis Parks In Bridgeport Township Michigan

This was the best thing I saw at the Cass River today, a Soft Shell Turtle basking out on one of the many logs that lie all along the bottom of the river.

There used to be so many turtles in the river and the pond in Davis Park but it has been years since I have seen any.  In the pond and park area you could always see my favorite turtle, the Painted Turtle.  But since the pond is silted in and dried up the turtles aren't there anymore.  There used to be Snapping Turtles also but I haven't seen one of them in years.  I miss the Painted Turtles but not the Snapping Turtles.
So I took my dog for the long walk and thought I would check on the water levels inside of the seven tires that lie alongside the walking trail in Lyle Park.  I could only get to one of them because of the high thick weeds.  There was plenty of water in the one tire I could get to and it wasn't too nasty since we have had so much rain lately. I took three scoops of water out of the tire and didn't see any mosquito larvae swimming around in it.  Normally the mosquito's would be so thick down at the river that you can't even stand to be there but they weren't bad today.  I went during the sunny afternoon period so that helped but I give most of the credit for the lack of the "mosquito swarms" to the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission.  I placed the one tire up alongside the walking trail and if I can get someone to help me I will get the rest of them up out of the low area and out of the park.
I let my dog go swimming today and she was happy!!  The water level is a little higher than normal for this time due to the rains but there are still places where there are only several inches of water.  Soon the sandbars will be exposed and you can walk from one sandbar to the next all around in the area of the river by the Fort Street Bridge.  It just boggles my mind trying to figure out how Bridgeport Township thinks anyone will be running canoes up this river.  With the low water levels, sandbars, trees, and the many logs that line the bottom of the river, and the garbage; this is the last place I would want to go for a canoe ride.  Something has to be done to fill the canal back in that Bridgeport Township dug and to repair the damage to the pond and river!
The pools of stagnant water in the canal are back up, but the pond in Davis Park is still mostly dried up.  So the fish and turtles are gone now that the pond is gone, but so is most of the other wildlife that was there.  The pond and river would be so full of Blue Herons, Great Egrets and Canadian Geese, various breeds of ducks.   I even saw a pair of Comorants that came for several years to the river.  Out of water, the birds that you would commonly see here in the park and river area were Bald Eagles,  various breeds of Hawks.  There were a pair of Red Tail Hawks that were in the park almost everyday for years.  Lots of other birds like Northern Flicker, Baltimore Orioles, Bluebirds.  Most of these birds are gone now from the park and river area.  I did see a pair of Bluebirds along the river twice this spring and there was a pair of Bald Eagles that came during the flooding earlier this year.  This is the first time in years that I have seen either of these birds here. There were also a couple of Canadian Geese and their hatchlings in the pond when there was still enough water there for them.
There is the huge Rookery over in the wetlands across Fayette St. and it appears that they had a good hatching over there this year, but you can watch them flying away everyday to various points, but not to the pond or river here.  Only three times have I seen Blue Herons in the pond and river here this year.  There were Fox, Muskrats, Groundhogs, Raccoons, Coyotes, even some Mink that were here for several years in the park.  No mistaking their smell!  I saw them several times over the years but there has been no sign of the Mink in years now.  The one animal that is still here are the White Tailed Deer, maybe not as abundant as they were in the park and river area, but still here.  Most of this wildlife is gone now and all I can think is that is seems to have corresponded with the decline of the river and pond because of Bridgeport digging that stupid canal and screwing this whole area up.  All of this was destroyed so Bridgeport could put a canoe launch in the pond in Davis Park back in the 1970's.  Now the canoe launch is gone, everything is destroyed and Bridgeport Township now wants to put in two more canoe launches.  I don't think the Township employes that are planning on doing that have any idea what is going on down here at the river.  They have probably never walked down here, never observed the wildlife, never enjoyed this once beautiful Cass River.  Either they are totally clueless or they just don't care what is happening here.  They are making no attempt to fix this mess or even clean the garbage up out of the parks and river, well unless you want to count them burning the trash in Davis Park as an attempt to clean it up.

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