Day 16 – North Tonawanda to Derby

ACOE working on a project involving sturgeon spawning grounds. (Funded by GLRI) btw, they are wearing 7mm dive suits....
ACOE working on a project involving sturgeon spawning grounds. (Funded by GLRI) btw, they are wearing 7mm dive suits….

Yesterday I paddled through my last lock, which is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. One of them helped me fish out a couple of plastic bottles from the lock, and we had a little discussion about CSO’s ( combined storm outfalls) that are all over the place up there. Yuck. Glad there hasn’t been a lotta rain on this trip! Last thing I’d like to pick up is an infection from the water.

The last lock is the one on the Niagara River, below Tonawanda, where I passed Bruce and Sue and their friend who are sailing their new Beneteau sailboat back to Milwaukee.  They were waiting to have their mast put up so they could get sailing. We’d exchanged numbers in case one if us needs the other out there on the water. Yesterday was so calm and flat that even if they had gotten it up, I don’t think they’d be going anywhere very fast.

Lake Erie is my first “inland ocean” to cross on this journey. After a fun ride going up in the lock which I shared with a sailboat and a tour boat of noisy kids stoked about the end of school, I met up with Paul, an active member of Buffalo Riverkeeper. He pointed out the long filamentous algae we could see growing from the bottom if the lake that will overtake the little cove we paddled into if it’s not harvested.

Paul was guiding me to where Nate Drag, of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, organized an “invasives eradication and reclamation” planting session. He and his merry crew of volunteers have been doing a lot of this and it is really improving the diversity and subsequent health of that amazing little ecosystem there between Buffalo and the River. I saw my first ever Oriole’s nests!

So last night Lindsy and I slept in our tents for the first time this trip. She got the one from my anonymous donor who researched which tent got the most bang for it’s buck in Backpacker Magazine. Consequently, Lindsy had no condensation in her tent while my sleeping bag is drying because clearly condensation is an issue in the REI econo tent Carl picked up.  At least my sleeping bag is waterproof!

Today’s paddle might get shortened to just 25 miles due to storms. We’ll see, I’d love to do the 38 in front of me but… SSW winds that could always switch and t-storms would not be fun on this inland ocean!

Here are a couple links that provide a little background on the water issues confronting our nation-


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