Dying bogs, beds signs of holocaust

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: After Malcolm Pitre gave his talk about the October 2014 anoxic events on the Montrose River and offered photographic and depleted oxygen levels as proof, a woman in the audience commented that cranberry bogs and clam beds are in decline or have disappeared in West Prince.

A river watershed is a water drainage system and consists of surface streams and subsurface streams. The water table aquifer forms the subsurface stream, an underground river, which flows slowly downhill, driven by gravity. Some of the underground river surfaces as springs and bubbling springs, as well as a diffuse discharge through the river, estuary, and sand sediments in which the clams live. The temperature of the underground water is about 8 degrees Celsius and this cools the clams in the summer and warms the clams in the winter. Additional to climate regulation, the underground water carries trace nutrients to the clams and clam metabolic waste products out of the clam bed.

The above-ground river and the underground river share two properties: (1) they both flow downhill towards the ocean under the force of gravity and (2) they both have bottoms.

 The bottom of the underground river is exfiltration of waters upward from the confined aquifer which lies below the water table aquifer. When wells are drilled into the confined aquifer its pressure is decreased and at higher elevations exfiltration becomes infiltration; effectively the bottom of the underground river is removed, hence the water in the underground river no longer flows laterally downhill but has a downward component into the confined aquifer, hence the diffuse discharge upwards through the clam bed is reduced, hence the clam bed will be warmer in the summer and colder in the winter; unintended consequences of drilling into confined aquifers with consequences to all aquatic life in the clam bed.

How is that an aquifer, estuaries, cranberry bogs and clam beds, perfected by 300 million years of evolution, have come to such an unsustainable state in such a short time? I see before me nothing less than an environmental holocaust.

Tony Lloyd,

Mount Stewart

Geographic location: Montrose River, West Prince, Mount Stewart

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