Good Reads

A Lakeside CompanionLakeside Companion book

Ted J. Rulseh, University of Wisconsin Press; (September 11, 2018)

Rather than a typical book wherein you read the chapters sequentially, this struck me more like your favorite outdoor savvy aunt’s answers to a series of lake related questions. The first, third, and final chapters (The Basics, Frozen, and Caring, respectively) are quite readable and I learned a great deal from them. For instance, he explained why some lakes can recover from insults faster than other due to, amongst other things, the retention time. That is how long it takes from when water enters a lake to when it exits; Lake Superior is 191 years while Lake Erie is only 2.6, with Lake Michigan in the middle at 99 years. So Erie could be expected to “flush” out pollution faster, assuming the source is stopped. The other chapters cover the plants, bugs, fish, and other creatures making up a lake’s ecosystem. They are filled with interesting facts, e.g., a pound of phosphorus (as in lawn fertilizer) can feed up to 500 pounds of algae and “minnow” refers to a rather large number of different fish ranging from shiners to carp. Anyway, I would recommend this book  especially to any norther lake riparian owner, but also to anyone who sees lakes asmore than a giant bathtub.

Recommended by RLIA Board Member Mike Nesemann →



The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

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Dan Egan (2017), Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

From the book cover:
The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s supply of surface fresh water…. They are under threat as never before…. (this) readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes…

I highly recommend this scientifically sound, thoroughly researched book whose narrative captures the magnitude of the damage done by poorly conceived and administered conservation regulations. The Clean Water Act of 1973 appeared to rescue the Great Lakes from point source pollution, but other sources including agricultural runoff and uncontrolled ship-born invasive species have persisted and seriously threaten the Great Lakes. Should be required reading for all of us who are interested in having safe, clean water and enjoying beautiful lakes, streams and rivers today and tomorrow.”

Recommended by RLIA Board Member John Crump.

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Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture

by Gabe Brown (2018)

From the book cover:
Brown has become the voice and face of regenerative agriculture around the globe, inspiring a movement that is reshaping the future of agriculture and the way farmers, consumers, and policy makers think about sustainability.

Gabe Brown is a North Dakotan who began farming conventionally in the 1980’s with his parents-in-law.  Like their neighbors, they utilized frequent tilling and heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides. In 1991 he and his wife purchased the farm when her parents retired and they began to gradually transform their farming practices. Over a period of decades, they developed sustainable practices including cover crops and a wide diversity of plants and animals to rebuild the soil and maximize water infiltration. The efficient water infiltration minimized flooding, drought conditions and runoff.  By using natural methods to enrich the soil and control pests the farm has become consistently profitable and safe for the environment.  He also describes 8 farms scattered around the country in a wide range of climates and soil types that have successfully embraced regenerative agriculture methods.  This is a “how to” book that is engaging and inspirational for farmers and non-farmers alike.”

Recommended by RLIA Board Member John Crump →