Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mother Nature Reclaiming Toledo Area

Last week there was a dust up over the term, Mother Nature.  A righteous christian woman wanted us to recall that it was God's world, not a mother's.  Anyway, mother nature seems to be reclaiming the swamplands in and around the city of Toledo. Angry citizens met last evening to complain to the government officials of increasing flooding of property, streets, and basements in the past few years.

It doesn't take a genius to understand the problem. First, the land around the city used to be under Lake Erie, just 11,000 years ago. The city sits on a lake bed with impervious subsoil holding the surface water on, well, the surface. The only reason the area is habitable is thanks to those hard working Irish and German immigrants who dug the ditches throughout northwest Ohio which allowed the surface water to drain back into the lake.

Native Americans avoided the area altogether, choosing to walk the beach ridges through the area, but not settling on the area. The Great Black Swamp- the bane of the pioneers- sits just south of the city. Tales of the miasmic fog, malarial mosquitoes, and knee-deep standing water kept this area of Ohio uninhabited long after other areas were settled.  And just to the west is the Oak Openings, an area of sand swells and bogs- equally delicately balanced and rather unfit for habitation.

The second reason that citizens here are seeing higher water tables is that the sewers here are about 100 years old by now. They were mostly made of bricks which are caving in throughout the entire area. It's that hidden time bomb beneath the streets. The cost of replacing the sewer system is astronomical and is therefore conveniently ignored.

Mother nature knew best as she scattered interesting and unique plants throughout the Oak Openings areas as well as the edges of the Black Swamp. Each spring as one drives through the 'farm' fields here, the standing water in the fields ought to remind us that this land is a unique and rare natural habitat that ought to be left to the whims of Mother Nature.

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