Look at recent developments and the future becomes clear
Having been afforded the opportunity to make a difference relative to water management, (after all, I have my own research laboratory in Fish Fry Lake) recent developments are exciting. Here’s what I’m talking about:
One river, the Susquehanna, provides 40% of the nutrients that are impairing Chesapeake Bay. As the river comes out of New York state and moves through urban centers like Harrisburg and ultimately, Baltimore, industry and agriculture have had their way with it. The water is both impaired and dangerous. According to NOAA, 52% of Americans live within coastal counties. Take Alaska out of the equation and the relative coastal human concentrations become even more apparent.
Agriculture's contribution to nutrient impairment of water is somewhere between 80 to 85%. Farmers, mostly white, have been sold a bill of goods. Most believe that synthetic fertilizer is fundamental to their livelihood. The chemical giants have sold them on this “impaired” wisdom. So, rivers like the Susquehanna, continue to send their “load” down watershed.
Catch a four-pound Smallmouth Bass from an eddy of the river downstream from Harrisburg and check it out for deformities. Is it safe to eat?
With the ongoing transition from obtuse and flat-out harmful environmental stewardship associated with Donald Trump, FII has quantified some of the impact of eutrophic, nutrient enriched agricultural water relative to greenhouse gas emissions. In a nutshell, by teaming with BioHaven’s nutrient reduction capacity, the Floating Photovoltaic (FPV) game can see bigger wins with carbon credit reduction revenue. By transitioning nutrient rich water, already at pandemic levels in the developed world (in particular here in the U.S.) FPV launches will qualify for carbon credit revenue.
There are other “applications” for BioHaven’s tried and true capabilities. These include key habitat expansion for critical biota, like pollinators and the growth of native sport fish. Safeguards the world's natural capital, and promises biodiversity! But FPV has not, to this point, been a water quality pitch.
Our company has thousands of island launches under its belt, compared to just hundreds by the entire FPV industry. FII is the American embodiment of constructed wetland, but much more resilient, more versatile, and has a minimal footprint, particularly in the form of real estate, required to pull off a BioHaven water quality solution.
Natural Midge and Mosquito Management
Beyond simple regenerative farming, stewardship is fundamental. It must include water. When it doesn’t, nature steps in and provides niche biota that fill every biotic opportunity with some form of life.
The same parallel in the Midwest averages four times this number. So, the water is managed tightly for production, but then it can quickly become a liability. If it sits around in puddles for more than five days, it and the associated nutrients, the orthophosphate and nitrogen associated with it, cycles into mosquitoes and midges. Think West Nile and Blue Tongue disease.
Mother Nature's prototypes
Human-scale thinking relative to durability and resilience does not necessarily track with environmental reality. The most invariably resilient lifeforms are some of Mother Nature's many prototypes.
Humans and our science are caught up in intellectual inertia. Here’s a quick, but fundamental example: Today many wetland experts are operating within a belief system that is focused on a mistake. They believe that nature’s food web is initiated by plant life, specifically, by phytoplankton. In fact, in freshwater, this presumption is almost always wrong.
My company has spent the better part of a million dollars experimenting with magic pills. These take several forms in connection with water. But they are truly just experiments. They aren’t magic at all. They are like shooting at clay pigeons… in the dark.
There is a real, and simple, explanation for this. It explains why results are never exactly replicable in natural systems. Put very plainly, there are too many variables in natural systems. From our human perspective this is a problem. From nature’s perspective, this is biocomplexity. It’s a wonder!
How many species of microbes are present in a waterway? More than you could count in an hour. In fact, more than you could count in a day. The biocomplexity of waterways is vast. When a salesman represents that their “magic pill” will accomplish your goal, know that the goal may indeed be accomplished, but that the accurate explanation for the “fix” is probably quite different than the salesperson's explanation.
Nature is wonderful, and nature does not abide with the human vision of a “fix”. You don’t just add your magic elixir to a waterway, and say “Abracadabra”, and collect your fee, and walk away. Not from nature.
Nature does not abide with human comfort goals. Nature doesn’t really care about humans. It just is.
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