A potpourri of topics

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A potpourri of topics this week. First, if you have read or heard about the movement by New York State to change the rules about ballast water, you might be confused. When ships from overseas enter our Great Lakes, they have over the years dumped their ballast water and it often has contained organisms that have no natural predators in the Great Lakes and thus become, often, an invasive species that causes problems -- zebra mussels, and a newer one, the bloody red shrimp, as examples.

I like the idea of testing for organisms that might be too small to see with the naked eye. They might be the eggs or larva of something bigger or they might be organisms even small, could cause untold further damage to our Great Lakes.

When I was on the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Water Levels Study, we learned that over 90% of the shipping was inside the Great Lakes -- between ports in Canada, between ports in the USA and then between ports of the two countries. So, I really wonder at the number of ships that would have to follow the new regulations that NY is proposing. Remember the old saying, "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure". It's wise to check the facts and figures on both sides of the argument.

Second, have you ever visited the wetland on Richmond Drive in South Stormont? What a natural paradise, right in our own backyard. The Cornwall and Area Birding Club members as well as other birders across our area, like to visit the wetland. We have seen some very rare birds there and believe the area should be protected and promoted. The CABC wants to work with South Stormont to promote the area for ecotourism. Birders who come, must eat and sleep, if we show them lots to see.

Third: Have you ever wondered what happens in the Policy Section of every Ministry, whether provincial or federal across our nation? Have you ever wondered how many people sit in these sections making policy? Have you ever wondered how much of that policy ever actually serves us?

Recently I had the "opportunity" to think about these things. I came to the conclusion that each Ministry does not need more than 5 policy wonks plus 1 secretary to look after policy for that Ministry. I figure that more than that means they spend more time in meetings talking to each other than actually thinking up policy. I also figure they never get to the ground level to see if the policies will work and how they will affect us taxpayers.

I think the governments could save a LOT of money by cutting their policy wonks instead of the people that serve us. However, you and I both know they haven't the guts to face those at the higher levels -- much easier to cut the ones they never see. I wonder if it would help if I ask Santa for help?

Organizations: Area Birding Club

Geographic location: Great Lakes, New York State, Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Canada USA

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