Monday, March 20, 2017

Here Goes Nothin' -- Journal Entry #1

Happy first day of Spring! For over two years now, I've been encouraged to share what I'll readily admit are sporadic contributions to a journal that I've been attempting to keep. With best intentions, my goal has been to create a running commentary on a project that is very near and dear -- namely, the restoration and preservation of more than 500 acres of coastal marsh on the Western Basin of Lake Erie (about halfway between my home near Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio).

This project is "near and dear" for several reasons, not the least of which being that -- with a local bank's steadfast support and financial backing -- I own this unbelievably unique natural resource. I use the term "own" loosely, however. To my wife (Jenny) and me, we are merely stewards who are fortunate enough to be positioned to help shape the future of this incredible expanse of land and water. Our formal ownership of all or portions of the property may be temporary (measured in months, years, or if we are lucky, maybe generations), but it's our hope and intent that the conservation of this highly threatened habitat will be permanent.

I also see this project as truly special because, as the entries that follow will hopefully demonstrate, it has proven to be an amazing culmination of my passions, my education, my hobbies, my professional pursuits, and my relationships. It has brought so many of the most important aspects of my life together already. I know that while I've already learned and experienced a lot (now 25-30 months in, depending on when you start the clock), I still have so much to give and to gain from this effort.

DISCLAIMER: As mentioned above, to date, my attempts to keep a daily journal have been inconsistent, at best. My goal in initiating this blog is to gradually fill in the blanks from the day I learned of this opportunity (August 2014) and then share the experience as often as is feasible. 

I envision posting on topics related to wetland biology (including the tremendous diversity of plants and wildlife that rely on wetland habitats), restoration ecology, water quality, and natural history. I'll get into waterfowl (ducks, geese, etc.) because duck hunting is a huge reason that the marsh still exists (more on that later). I also hope to spend significant time on fisheries-related topics, as fish and fishing are the first love that pulled me permanently into the water. I may even wade into topics like governmental and private funding -- and by association, politics . . . even though I stand firm that conservation and core issues like clean water should not be politicized (they are a matter of quality of life), the environment has most certainly become a politically charged issue. 

But I also hope to post simple snapshots of some of the amazing things I get to see literally every time I step into this place. I can truly say, "it's like another world," but until you see it for yourself, it can be hard to comprehend.

Thanks for the interest. I hope that I can stay disciplined and share with regularity. But more importantly, I hope that what I do share helps cultivate a broader passion and enthusiasm for the protection of these (and all) unique natural places.

All the best in the outdoors,

Eric Kraus
Founder & President
Standing Rush, LLC

First foray into the West Marsh by punt boat, April 2015.