Restoration & Destruction - we're seeing it simultaneously in CAFO country here, Lake Erie watersheds. Lake Erie is in crisis with algal toxins and toxic scum, and funding is pouring in for farmers to stop phosphorus pollution by controlling runoff from fields.
MONEY: There's money (tax-payer dollars) for re-vegetating stream buffers, planting grassy waterways, planting green cover crops. But money is also waiting for farmers in every additional acre of field they can clear and plant - most often to corn, for silage-feed for cows as CAFOs expand, and of course for ethanol.
Drain Commissions, too, dredge and scrape and clear "drains," which are the rivers and streams in our area, all flowing to Lake Erie.
Below are just a few photos of the destruction we've seen for several years. It is ongoing, the last photo taken this week, August 2015.
First - 2 photos, from Fall 2014, are of the South Branch of the River Raisin (also designated Townsend County Drain), east of Hudson along M-34. The destruction is a combination of landowner and Lenawee County Drain Commission work, removing all mature trees and vegetation from one side of the river. In scraping the river banks, dirt was pushed to the water's edge, and into the water. All trees were burned. After repeated complaints to the Drain Commission and DEQ, some seed mats were placed on the slopes of the bank. This field is now, Summer 2015, planted in corn.
Photo below is from early June, 2015, showing a tributary of the South Branch of the River Raisin on Morey Hwy south of Clayton, with all buffers scraped and cleared, trees along the field edge burning in the distance. Many mature trees along the far edge of the field were removed and burned. The field is now planted in corn.
The photo below from August 2014 shows mature tree removal and burning at a field edge on Posey Lake Hwy near M-34.