Mayfly Numbers drop in Half

burk48237

Well-known member
Messages
808
Reaction score
9
Location
Oak Park, MI
Ironically, a lot of the Old Timers on the Ausable holy Water believe that mayflies (and the fishing)are on the decline due to the Water being too clean. In the 60's and 70's when many consider the Holy Waters to have peaked, they were dumping raw effluent into the river at Grayling. I do know that the Winters of 2014-15 effected insect populations and trout populations. When it gets cold enough to get lots of anchor ice, that effects river insect life adversely.

We do have less algae and far less nutrients in the water, and while Lake Erie may be having issues with Algae Blooms, that may have more to do with farm runoff from OH than the overall health of the lakes. In terms of overall health the Great Lakes and the rivers that feed them, are certainly clearer than at any time in recent memory. Part of that is filtering of the Zebra mussels, but the overall Water quality is drastically improved from when we had clouds of Hex over the Great lakes.
 

okaloosa

Well-known member
Messages
745
Reaction score
72
Location
CO
surely all the pesticides that are sprayed on our crops as well as personal and commercial use must be a large part of this. There are lakes in Florida where all the gators are prototypical female (most males have underdeveloped sex organs) because of estrogen type chemicals in the water. Sperm counts in human males are half of what they were 40 years ago.

"An international team of scientists analyzed data from nearly 43,000 men in dozens of industrialized countries and found that sperm counts dropped by more than half over nearly four decades." NPR

Half the mayflies, lower sperm counts, alligators with micro penises.........hmmmm
 

sweetandsalt

Well-known member
Messages
11,363
Reaction score
303
Location
-
I have been experiencing aquatic insect population decline for some time now on all my regular rivers, east and west.
 

weiliwen

Well-known member
Messages
981
Reaction score
23
Location
Lincolnshire, Illinois
One day, people might start believing what Rachel Carlson wrote so many years ago. Not likely, though. We live in an oligarchy, and what serves the short-term interests of the rich will always win out. Using pesticides that are already banned in real first world countries is one example.
 

el jefe

Well-known member
Messages
2,550
Reaction score
61
Location
Albuquerque, NM
surely all the pesticides that are sprayed on our crops as well as personal and commercial use must be a large part of this. There are lakes in Florida where all the gators are prototypical female (most males have underdeveloped sex organs) because of estrogen type chemicals in the water. Sperm counts in human males are half of what they were 40 years ago.

"An international team of scientists analyzed data from nearly 43,000 men in dozens of industrialized countries and found that sperm counts dropped by more than half over nearly four decades." NPR

Half the mayflies, lower sperm counts, alligators with micro penises.........hmmmm
If I interpret that correctly, we should be doubling our extra curricular activity, to put the planet back in balance. Finally, an environmental initiative I can get behind!!

And are there really people tracking alligator penis size?
 

okaloosa

Well-known member
Messages
745
Reaction score
72
Location
CO
If I interpret that correctly, we should be doubling our extra curricular activity, to put the planet back in balance. Finally, an environmental initiative I can get behind!!

And are there really people tracking alligator penis size?
unfortunately it is because of our prolific extra curricular activities that our planet is in such a mess and getting worse (be fruitful and multiply).

and yes, the reduction in alligator penis size is a serious harbinger of things to come:

Shrinking Alligator Penises: Using Wildlife Models to Study How Chemical Contaminants May Affect Human Reproductive Systems (Guest Post) – Living Alongside Wildlife
 

el jefe

Well-known member
Messages
2,550
Reaction score
61
Location
Albuquerque, NM
unfortunately it is because of our prolific extra curricular activities that our planet is in such a mess and getting worse (be fruitful and multiply).

and yes, the reduction in alligator penis size is a serious harbinger of things to come:

Shrinking Alligator Penises: Using Wildlife Models to Study How Chemical Contaminants May Affect Human Reproductive Systems (Guest Post) – Living Alongside Wildlife
I'm one of the bad people. Three kids, and two Suburbans. And I just left a HUGE carbon footprint this weekend flying and burning a bunch of Jet A just so my kid could play hockey I'm a bad, bad man.

But, we don't have any alligators around here, so I think I'll be alright in that area.
 

trev

Well-known member
Messages
804
Reaction score
109
Location
south of Joplin
I read something years ago about all the medications that passed through sewage treatment, were added to the rivers and eventually being taken up in drinking water affecting growth rates in children and one of the most notable was hormonal imbalance. Reduced sperm counts and effeminate alligators shouldn't be a surprise.

With our monetary system dependent on ever increasing population growth, the demand for more and more corn (both for food and fuel) will keep encouraging the use of chemicals in agriculture that inevitably end up in the surface water. Possibly worse it encourages use of every possible square foot of land for crops leaving no room for erosion preventing/wildlife supporting plants.

Banning pesticides does little if the replacement pesticide requires greater quantities to achieve the same results. It can even lead to misuse of other chemicals in an effort to get similar results.
I too have wondered if "clean" water might be overrated. I believe many things have unforeseen consequences.
 

Bent Undergrowth

Well-known member
Messages
188
Reaction score
45
Location
Great Lakes
Thanks for sharing. This saddens me, but I have to say it’s encouraging that this is being reported in the media. Also, it’s great to see the interest here on this forum. I’ve been studying endocrine disruption in aquatic organisms for about a decade now, and have crossed paths with toxicologists from Lou Guillete’s alligator lab in various capacities. I, however, prefer fish models to things that want to bite and twist my limbs off (though fatheads can get quite aggressive when spawning).

If you’re looking for the cause of these water quality issues, I think I can give you some idea... the estrogenic effects in alligators (and fish) are most likely to come from concentrated agricultural practices i.e. CAFOs. Sure, there are some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products that might exhibit some estrogenic potency, but the most potent concentrations of hormones I’ve seen (and I’ve looked at a lot of water chemistry) occur in the vicinity of CAFOs where they are being excreted by dense populations of animals. But then, who doesn’t love a good steak?

The issue with aquatic invertebrates mentioned in the story is likely a different issue. They’ve alluded neonics being a possible input, which I’ll buy to a certain extent, but I’m betting the real problem is acute toxicity due to eutrophication leading to harmful algae blooms, low dissolved oxygen, etc. But hey, who doesn’t want a nice green lawn, a lake lot without weeds, and lush crops and produce?

Invasive species infiltration and warming temperatures are only going to exacerbate the effects of these stressors. One example is increased water temperature, which reduces solubility of oxygen in water and causes fish to increase opercular movement. This moves more water past the gills, and can increase chemical exposure and uptake. Increased salinity from road salt or saltwater intrusion into freshwater habitat (associated with rising sea levels) can have similar effects.

We’re all contributing to it. Do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up. Our economy is not set up in such a way to protect the fragile critters. Advocate, educate, and vote - definitely vote - whenever you have an opportunity.
 

okaloosa

Well-known member
Messages
745
Reaction score
72
Location
CO
I'm one of the bad people. Three kids, and two Suburbans. And I just left a HUGE carbon footprint this weekend flying and burning a bunch of Jet A just so my kid could play hockey I'm a bad, bad man.

But, we don't have any alligators around here, so I think I'll be alright in that area.
I am not implying it is your fault at all. no virtue signalling on my part here...we are just a very imperfect species. and, anyhow, as a retired man I need your kids to work and pay for my social security..so have a couple more and please just make sure they grow up to be hard workers ;)
 

el jefe

Well-known member
Messages
2,550
Reaction score
61
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I am not implying it is your fault at all. no virtue signalling on my part here...we are just a very imperfect species. and, anyhow, as a retired man I need your kids to work and pay for my social security..so have a couple more and please just make sure they grow up to be hard workers ;)
Oh, I know you weren't. I was just messing around. And I need my kids to support me!! :D
 

okaloosa

Well-known member
Messages
745
Reaction score
72
Location
CO
Oh, I know you weren't. I was just messing around. And I need my kids to support me!! :D
we must have the same sick sense of humor....


but I remember those days over 40 years ago working nights pumping gas station near a river. There were nights when all the pumps were covered with mayflies under the lights.
I would have to wipe away the mayflies to read the pumps....and it was the Susquehanna River where upstream small towns were still dumping untreated sewage...it was anything but pristine...
so I still think pesticides from farmlands must be a major factor...hopefully it is more of a cyclical event. time will tell.
 

strmanglr scott

Well-known member
Messages
222
Reaction score
2
Location
Michigan
People haven't been the best stewards.

Lake Huron the alewife population plunged and the MDNR kept planting salmon and steelhead as normal and almost completely decimated Huron.

The mussels are having devastating effects. I believe I heard last year, Lake Michigan is now clearer than L. Superior.

What's interesting is, the walleye fishing has literally never been better from everything I hear about Lake Erie. That's from the old timers too, who remember the good old days.

They put in several spawning grounds for sturgeon and other fish in St Clair river system and the fish took right to it.
 

FlymanSJB

Well-known member
Messages
2,948
Reaction score
139
Location
L'Étoile du Nord
Being in the upper Mississippi mayfly zone, and my unscientific observations from a lifetime in the water and woods, yes there is a noticeable decline not only in mayflies but other insects as well.

There are bright spots, northern Wisconsin had some nice hatches and my home rivers still put out a ton of good multi species mayfly hatches, is it as good as the old days? No none of it is. They used to snowplow roads from the mayfly and fish fly hatches.

A number of reasons for this of course, its never just one thing, I also notice far far less, frogs, turtles, salamanders, toads, its a part of the industrial revolution. We as a country are not going to do anything about this, so I`m going to save my breath but yes its noticeable and sad to me, others think its a big joke.
 

Scootermax

Active member
Messages
26
Reaction score
3
Location
Indiana
I think we all might be surprised if everybody made small changes at home what a big difference it will make. We have a small 14 acre place. Years ago, the kids were in 4H, we had horses,cows, hogs, sheep for their projects. What the animals didn’t keep mowed down, I mowed, bushogged, sprayed, and used a weed eater. A lot of pastures and mowed grass, and clean fence rows. It was a lot of work, but looked “nice”. Now the kids are raised, we’re retired. We let weeds grow around pond except for a few spots to fish. We built a a wetland and planted prairre grasses, wildflowers, and some native shrubs along the creek. We now only mow around the house for a small yard. Stopped spraying weed and brush killers, just have paths to drive the UTV with the grandkids to watch the butterflies. In summer, along the paths there is a loud buzz of insect activity you can hear.
I’m amazed by the amount of wildlife now. Tons of insects, frogs, turtles,snakes, bats, birds, deer, etc. Fishing in our pond is better with habitat around it, probably from insects and cover for small fish. I think we need to rethink trying to keep every outside space around our homes looking like a golf course. Just give them a little habitat, they will come.
 

weiliwen

Well-known member
Messages
981
Reaction score
23
Location
Lincolnshire, Illinois
Watch "Little Big Farm" to see what can be done in a relatively short time. My favorite documentary in the past several years. Scootermax is right.
 
Top