Fire Water!

Have you noticed that ALL the ponds on the Island are slowly being infiltrated by swamp willows and Phragmities?(sp). Over the past 35 years, since I got out of the Navy and returned too the Island, and traveled ALL the roads every day in the pursuit of making a living, I have watched as virtually every single pond has lost a lot of their open water! Just take a ride around the Island and you'll see what I mean.

SO what you may ask. And my answer is, as we have only a limited amount of fire hydrants, and they are all located in the downtown area, what are the people in the outlying places going to use for a firefighting supply when their house catches on fire? That 5000gal tank truck is going to run out pretty fast in a fast burning house. And how far will he have to go to find a pond that can be accessed by the truck to get a refill? Almost all of them are surrounded by a ring of bushes, poison ivy, briar's, and vines, that make it virtually impossible to get to, especially with a fire truck!

The ever-so-vigilant, and in their own minds, knowledgeable biologists, sitting behind their desks in Providence, have MANDATED that there must be a minimum 50 foot buffer around each and every pond on the Island. Why? Why to contain all that runoff from rain running downhill and into the pond carrying all that dastardly dirt and deiterus (sp) and contaminating the water! Jeez, all the time I lived here as a kid and for the past two or three hundred years before that when all the land was cleared and farmed right down to the waters edge, there was no contamination of the water! Oh yeah, I forgot, there were not so many people putting artificial fertilizer on their fields and lawns. Duh--- Just how many are doing that right now at a level that would contaminate a pond I wonder?

Rob Lewis and myself used to have a wonderful little pond that abutted both our properties, and was home to all sorts of wild life. There used to be two different kinds of frogs in it as well as turtles, musk rats, ducks, small fish, and innumerable birds around it. In the 70's we saw what was happening to it and made application to the infamous DEM to clear out all the swamp willows that were overtaking it and driving it into oblivion. Well those people in their infinite wisdom denied the application because they said we would be "hindering" the natural transformation of the area from free running stream and pond, to an open and viable grassland environment! Well it has been well and truly "hindered" as of now. It is nothing more than a sluggish pitiful stream of water, running through an impenetrable forest of phragmities, swamp willows and briar's that is home to nothing more than millions of mosquito's with no natural predators to restrict their "unhindered" growth! This, the treatment of a man who was more concerned with the environment, and who has done more to preserve it, than three quarters of those folks just protecting their unneeded jobs.

So where does this leave us? I think that it is time for the Town Council and the Fire Department to get together and demand that these bureaucrats step out of the way and let us open up access to these ponds and keep them clear of the invasive growth that is slowly killing all of them and depriving the Island home owners of a ready supply of fire fighting water! Just look around you and try and determine just where the BIFD would lay their hoses in order to fight a fire in your home! Good luck to most of you the way it stands now! So if you are a home owner and you are in a place that needs a pond opened up, or cleaned out, write a letter to the TC demanding that they do something to give a modicum of protection to YOUR two or three million dollar home!!TIFN


Imminent loss of marker

If you go down the neck past the Beachead Rest. on the right you will come across a stone marker that refers to old BI history. Well I just happened to notice today that there is a pretty good sized washout hole passing directly under the middle of the marker base! If someone doesn't get it taken care of fairly soon, after a few more good rain storms, it will probably crack in half and dump the stone down on the rock pile in front of it! Guess I'll call the Town Hall and see if anyone gives a damn

Also, have you noticed the proliferation of access points to the beach this year? Seems like people just climbed over the dunes where ever they damned well pleased with NO REGARD as to the damage they were doing to our last bastion from the sea. Right past the monument referred too above, is a nice big one! It will most likely get washed out right back to the edge of the road during the next good Northeaster we get! It beats the hell out of me why the town cannot designate a FEW places for access and then make it stick!! They do this in almost every other beach community I have looked at. Are we so afraid of hurting a day-trippers feelings that we can't assess a fine for non-compliance of the rules! And the people who buy and own houses here are not much better! You'd think that as they profess that this is the place they would most like to be because of it's natural beauty etc.,they would be more conscious of what they are helping to contribute too! LOSS OF THE FREAKING DUNES!! Then comes the water. We may soon have two Block Islands if we subscribe to Oracle ALgore's discription of the immenient demise of us all due to drowning!

I would think that the TC could spend a few bucks for some well placed and excecuted signage that would lay out the access routes to the beach, and the penalties imposed for willful disregard of the same! In the places where you have to pass thru the dunes, those roll-up wooden slats held together with rope would go far toward keeping the people ON the path to righteousness! And they could be taken up in the winter if need be. I guess TIFN!