Cattails

Last week a friend of mine and I were out searching for Snowy Owls, since there were several reported sightings in the Braddock Bay area. After a couple of hours of searching, we found no owls. We walked along a boardwalk overlooking Braddock Bay where we saw all the usual cattails. It was early morning and they were backlit so we took a few shots.

Braddock Bay
Cattails at Braddock Bay

They do look nice, glistening in the morning sun. They provide protection for birds and animals; beaver and muskrats rely on them for building shelter and as a food source, respectively.

I’ve never given much thought to cattails until I heard a subsequent  report about continued funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It includes monies to remove a large part of the cattail stands along Braddock Bay.

It turns out they are an invasive species that displace many other plants vital to the eco-system. As is so often the case, we have fostered cattails with fertilizer run-off and maintaining low lake levels. The plan now is to raise the lake level 2 1/2  inches, which doesn’t sound like much, but will have a great impact on coastal residents during storm surges.

This is yet another example of how so much of our collective activity has unintended consequences.

Author: Stephen Fielding Images

I'm a retired medical sociologist from the University of Rochester. My publishing experience includes a wide variety of academic articles and a book, "The Practice of Uncertainty" (1999). The mission of my blog is to provide accounts of the natural environment, including photos, in order to raise awareness of its fragility and the impact of climate change. Climate change is the greatest challenge currently faced by humanity. I occasionally write about the impact of climate change using the principles of social scientific writing. To do this I read reputable books and articles on the topic. So when I make statements about climate change you will see a link taking you to the scientific source(s) of the information I provide. As for my independently published photobooks, each has gone through several layers of editing and peer review for both readability and accuracy. This is not to say that everything I say is accurate. Even the New York Times makes mistakes. So, if you find something that is factually incorrect, let me know. I hope you find reading my blog a positive experience. If you do, please encourage your family and friends to have a look. Best wishes, -Steve

2 thoughts on “Cattails”

  1. That’s so interesting – I had no idea that cattails are an invasive species. I thought that they were native, and were being pushed out by things like the purple loosestrife. Thanks for enlightening me!

    Like

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