Jul 24, 2014

The Fish Kill Coverup

The fish kill last week at the Hatchery has now developed into a full blown coverup, with blame being assigned to the rain runoff from the medical office park, across from Lehigh Valley Hospital. The director of the Fish and Boat Commission says that all dams should be removed, of course his agency signed off when the Wildlands Conservancy demolished the Trout Nursery Dam, which was the real cause of the fish kill. Pennsylvania has removed more dams than any other state.  Justin Simmon's office says that they would pass along the deleted paragraph
Reggie Rickard an Allentown resident who has been volunteering at the hatchery for 45 years said the fish kill is probably the worst in the hatchery's recent history. Initially, he estimated as many as 2,000 may have been killed, but the final tally was about 1,400.
Fish have been lost in other heavy rains storms, but Rickard said this was a major fish kill. He and other volunteers who joined city workers in collecting and counting the corpses Tuesday believe the death rate may have been exacerbated by recent upstream dam removals on small streams.
from last week's Morning Call fish kill story, but as a state office, they cannot take a position on the issue.  That's news to me, that a State Representative cannot take a position on an issue, which might involve a poor decision or coverup by a state agency. I suppose that's the sort of diplomacy necessary for a young man to make a career out of Harrisburg. Although I'm also running to be a State Representative, I'm not interested in learning such a skill; I'd rather tell it like it is, think independently.

photo:April Bartholomew/The Morning Call/July15,2014

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Simmons the State Rep for the Fish Hatchery? I thought his district no longer included Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

@2:28, complicated question and answer: the new 131st will not include the hatchery, but the new map and representation doesn't go into effect until next year. more to the point, i was asked to supply his office with the deleted paragraph, although their intention was to merely pass it along to the fish and boat commission, to pacify a constituents inquiry.

Dreaming of Justice said...

Something smells fishy and it's not the poor lifeless fish, either. It stinks that when there's money involved, ANYthing is up for grabs around here, it seems. Daylight is the best disinfectant for rotten decisions. Way to go, Mike!

Anonymous said...

To the point of the first comment, maybe it would help to also contact whoever the new Representative is for the Fish Hatchery. They might put more effort into it.

Too bad fish can't vote.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:24, with the new districting map the hatchery will be in the new 22nd district. the election will be this coming november; peter schweyer(D) vs. Steven Ramos(R). Schweyer, as a city council member, signed off on the dams being removed, i wouldn't see him taking on the wildlands or fish and boat. i believe Ramos would take a position.

monkey momma said...

After the Morning Call made this edit, I realized that I can no longer trust anything I read in that publication. It's a total and complete loss of credibility to me.

michael molovinsky said...

@momma@9:35, it's my understanding that they justified the deletion by saying any cause is just speculation. another reporter told me that they would like an expert opinion. i believe that the men who worked at the hatchery for years, especially one for 45 years, are "experts".

Anonymous said...

A statement should have been included to inform readers that the article was changed or that a line needed more evidence to support it but to just delete it, as if it was never written forces many readers to have to capture the page whenever there is something of importance, in case MCall.com later decides to simply delete it.

-Steven Ramos

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Fish Hatchery, the dams, and our parks: what keeps getting missed, which Michael has tried pointing out over the years of advocacy for the parks, is that they are here for people to enjoy. The fish hatchery is here to replenish our stocks for people to be able to fish. The parks and rivers are here for people to enjoy, whether picnicking, fishing, or tubing down the rivers, as we did when we were children. The hedges, the dam removals, and the placement of leftover boulders by the piers are making that enjoyment more difficult and cut off the people from enjoying our parks and all of their features. Overgrown hedges and brush should be cleared, and the stone works need to be dug out and mortared, so that people can enjoy the views, the fields, and the rivers again.

-Steven Ramos

Bill said...

I completely agree with Steven Ramos's 3:05 comment, and I think the parks are losing irreplaceable features that make them special.

Also - the paper regularly prints various perspectives all the time, why is there a higher standard for this issue? I am for a moratorium on all further damn removals and I think the riparian buffers - while they have some value have been over done, cut some of this back so we can enjoy the creek.

michael molovinsky said...

bill@4:34, i also question the rationale for the deletion. i can tell you that allentown city council, pawlowski, along with the fish and boat commission, signed off giving the wildlands permission. were the editors contacted and asked to remove that quote?

S_Alderfer said...

Volunteering at the fish hatchery for 45 years does not make someone qualified to to make hydrological assessments. If that volunteer's day job was as a hydrologist, it would be a relevant quote. But speaking as someone with both a journalism degree and a geological sciences degree, it seems that the Morning Call's decision to not print a volunteer's speculation was good journalism. And I'd also have to say that your decision, Mike, to propagate that very speculation is not good journalism. I will be very interested to hear what the Fish & Boat Commission's hydrology experts have to say about whether a dam removal was responsible for the flash flooding at the hatchery.

michael molovinsky said...

scott@6:08, i see that you're joining the cover-up. as you know, the removed dam was right before the raceway entrance, which leads to the hatchery. the rain, although heavy that evening, was not that unusual; the fish kill however was a record. the only variable different than ever before was the removed trout nursery dam. the Fish and Boat are rubber stamps, just like the DEP. the raceway will now have to be filled in, to prevent this fish kill from reoccurring every heavy rain. i don't expect the hydrologists to own up to their mistake.
p.s. i'll take the opinion of 45 years any day of the week.

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i just went back to your blog and re-read your piece where you accuse me of making false accusations against the wildlands' scour study for the robin hood dam. as we now know, they, nor the state, did any studies, although they told city council that they had. that's the reason they piled the broken dam rubble around the bridge piers, to protect themselves, if the changed velocity did create scour. if they placed the rubble around the bridge piers for a dam that was downstream from the bridge, image how much rubble they would have to place around the wehr covered bridge piers, which are downstream from wehr dam.

michael molovinsky said...

scott, it's interesting that your comment of 6:08 uses the exact wording used to justify changing the reporter's story. the original version was clear that the dam removal factor was the opinion of several workers, and the word maywas also employed. i believe that the editor was contacted in between the story originally appearing on mcall, and when it was printed later that night. i was also contacted by several people that evening who saw the paragraph about the dam. why didn't the editor simply add the word speculated, rather than delete the paragraph? you seem to have knowledge that the Fish and Boat is now writing a report. Do you know who called the editor that evening?

monkey momma said...

I would think that volunteering for 45 years makes someone an excellent source of information about the fish and what killed them. To discount that level of experience, out of hand, is ridiculous.

Luckily, this blog cares more about the truth than good "journalism."

Anonymous said...

Don't Worry, the mayor will spend $500k on a power point presentation for all of the stupid people to understand

Dreaming of Justice said...

Nice puff piece in the Morning Knowit-all today..little softball lobbed questions..all about their little Mickey Mouse grant.

Got to keep the admins paid somehow-between dam demolitions, right?

Anonymous said...

Federal, State, Local matters little, follow the money. This is just a clear example of self sustaining, money wasting Bureaucracy at it's worse. Mike I'm with you the nerve of some hack reporter, and some self sustaining hydrologist over 45 years of experience, and observation is just plain old fashion hogwash.

Ted Yost