skip to Main Content

Climate Change, Man, and Wisconsin Fish

Our scientific communities of the world are constantly predicting the changes global warming will be having on our natural resources. Today’s news brought a message that there will be fish kills, mainly in Southern Wisconsin, due to the warming of surface waters within a decade or so. We hurry to make these future predictions, yet the ability of our aquatic systems to resist these future catastrophes has been hampered by man’s past direct accumulated actions on them.

Silt washed from the erosive upland agriculture development and from drained wetlands, have been deposited on the beds of our streams and lakes, making a darker sediment that absorbs more heat. The rapid flow from floods as a result of man’s similar actions above has also altered the hydrology of the streams, making them wider and slower, thus adding more sun exposure to the bottom dark areas, and heating the water.

Water runoff containing suspended silt, now is staying suspended longer as natural pool/riffle ratio that formally had the ability to settle the silt has been altered. This suspended silt, carried by more frequent and increased duration events like flooding, predicted as part of climate change effects, can also absorb more heat, therefore warming the water and directly effecting fish that must pump these waters through their gills to obtain oxygen to live.

The effects in our own atmosphere have parallel effects. Heating up the biosphere and increased carbon dioxide means less oxygen in the air. Oxygen is essential to all surface breathing animals, including night reverse transpiration for the plant kingdom. Exposed dark soils of agriculture absorb more heat, and monoculture crops in the upper Midwest have been proven to alter our climate. Why can man not face the world situation he has created and admit he is wrong in what industrialization has created and move towards a truly sustainable future? Greed is only a trait of mankind, but clean air is a necessity for all living things.

Clyde Ferndock July 17, 2019

Back To Top