"Why you little good for nothin' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Now where the hell can I pull over?"
Sunday, February 12, 2017: A bit ugly out there today … spittin’ and blowin’. Good day to shape plugs or decoys; maybe tie a few on … flies that is.
The winds will do a compass spin around, going from NW to NE to E to SE to SW to W before turning NW and absolutely honking. As noted yesterday, there could be some bay emptying blowout tides like never before.
How can I say “like never before” with historic certainty? Simple. The bay has never been so shallow, never contained so little water. In huge part it’s due to mankind.
Background: Bay fill-ins on the lee side of barrier islands is a well-known geological phenomenon, as barrier islands migrate west, all natural like. The sedge islands out there in Barnegat Bay were once part of a series of way-back barrier islands where LBI now lies. Core samples fully prove that out.
But what we’re seeing now is a whole other manmade bay animal. We have bulkheaded LBI to where it can’t go west, young man. It is buttressed in place on the west side.
But then why is the bay filling in, lacking barrier island?
First and foremost, nature demands it fill in. It’s a natural process related to eutrophication. What’s more, there is still some oceanside sediment leaking into the system. But far more significantly, the bay is now getting a helping fill-in hand from what must be consider a highly unnatural source: us.
Yes, I’m droning on about the inadvertent entry of human-based organic pollutants. To fill its fill-in demands, the bay gladly accepts algae-encouraging nutrients, likes those arriving from immense amounts of yard/garden fertilizer, arriving via run-off. Even highway-related petroleum byproducts, organic in nature, foster intense algae growth when draining into the bay.
As of now, algae and related phytoplankton has become the great bay filler. While it has long been a prime contributor to the bay bottom detritus layer, when present in unpreceded amounts, it can shallow the bay by inches … per year!
But isn’t that what the bay is supposed to do? If only it was that simple.
Back in the natural days, a bay would be filled in as material moved west, becoming more like marshlands. The difference eons ago was a new barrier island would replace the moved-west island. The new barrier island would form a fresh new bay, just to its west, based on a rich water exchange/flow from its young and vibrant inlets. What we have now is a shallowing bay, lacking what might be called a new-bay reinforcement. If the word “static” jumps to mind, it should. Barnegat Bay is, indeed, becoming static. The ideal condition for future algae blooms
Again, we’ve never seen this man-manipulated bay situation before. It is purely guesswork as to what a bay, deprived of a revivification process, might do next. Most likely: It’ll become eutrophic, filling in from the middle, outward. The bay zone furthermost from the inlets, i.e. Manahawkin Bay, twixt Ship Bottom and the mainland, will suffer severe shallowing first. Bayback areas will also fill in.
All this could soon go from problematic – already channels are filling in far too rapidly to keep dredged – to highly problematic, as mainland bayside communities lose channel access to the bay.
While it surely helps to fight the good fight against algae-fostering pollutants, keeping the bay up and running is going to take some drudgery … likely in the form of dredgery.
The top time to see this shallowing will be during winter blowout tides, coming our way this week.
More liberal rules might come to US striped bass fishery
Courtesy photoFishing regulators are considering easing rules for catching striped bass, also known as a striper.
Interstate fishing managers are considering liberalizing rules for commercial and recreational fishing of striped bass along the East Coast.
The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says the possibility of new rules arises from concerns raised over economic hardships in the fishery in the Chesapeake Bay.
The commission says rules enacted in 2015 required reductions in catch of striped bass. But an updated assessment of the stock last year showed that striped bass aren’t being overfished.
A draft of new rules is expected in May.
The striped bass has been fished commercially from Maine to North Carolina over the past 15 years. Fishermen have caught more than 5 million pounds of the fish every year since 1997.
It’s is the official state fish of Maryland, South Carolina and Rhode Island.