The next area of my work is what got me started on this whole crusade. The disappearance of Strawberry Island. It was from my concern over my childhood playground that I did the research and careful field observation that led to the overall theory. The proverbial pulling at the thread. The question I asked was, “How could an Island that has been here for thousands of years suddenly start shrinking?” I knew about the mining operations. They had long since stopped. What was taking the rest away? I could see it getting smaller every year. I could see on my boats electronics the feed bar leading up to it shrinking and the contour of the bottom changing.
Well, I have been an avid trout fisherman for decades. Stream fishing is my forte. For years I’ve seen little islands in fast moving waters that would defy logic on being there. Only when I witness an actual ice flow that nearly swept me away, did I see what kept it there year after year. It was located in a pressure relief area where ice would surround and push up its sloping banks to form a pile either completely covering the island or at least surround it covering a substantial portion. I could see the ice was loaded with gravel. On following trips I could see where the ice had melted and dropped its load of solids. A view of the bottom showed a fresh start to the streams season. It was clean of the previous years residue. The ice flow coming down the little creeks, bigger creeks, streams and rivers all behaved the same way. True scale independence. The Niagara river was just a bigger example! This was my answer. The only change made to this system, in this time frame and on an order of magnitude sufficient to have an effect, was the use of an ice boom. Stopping the annual ice flow was the biggest and only thing that is capable of all this damage(change). As you read this, Strawberry Island is down to 3 acres. Grass Island has nearly disappeared. What is more alarming still is that Grand Island itself is washing away at an alarming rate. See Attached Photos. The protective outer ring of gravel and sand (the beach or surf zone) is missing in most areas. The top soil itself is at the waters edge. The alluvial clay is exposed. This is the equivalent of a gaping wound. Top soil continuously erodes into the moving waters. It is like blood flowing. This is not the natural order of things. The waters edge has moved so far in land that trees 50 to 100 years old are falling in. Their root system being washed bare and undermined. Trees such as these cannot germinate and grow submerged. They were originally well back from the waters edge. Now they are in the water. Part of the problem in this eco-disaster is that it happens too slowly for people to notice or pay attention. It’s not like a tsunami, forest fire, avalanche or mudslide. It is happening though. In geological terms, 50 years is a blink. In biological terms however, it is plenty of time to do irreparable harm. Shoreline replenishment goes hand in hand with my next area of concern.