Cold Running River

David N. Cassuto, Author
David N. Cassuto, Author University of Michigan Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-472-08238-4
Hardcover - 141 pages - 978-0-472-10474-1
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Mixing observations of people involved with the Pere Marquette river in Michigan and data collected by himself and his colleagues at Indiana University, Cassuto offers a brief but worthwhile ecological history of this river in his first book. He traces the discovery and settlement of the river, including the mixed impact of Native Americans (who used fire to clear large areas of land) on the territory, the role of rampant logging and the development of an early 20th-century resort community for blacks. He explores the use of the river for fishing, suggesting that the desires of some old-time fishermen conflict with the needs of newer river users. The prevalence of the lamprey eel led to a chemical control program beginning in 1957; Cassuto's interviewees debate the varied effects of the process. Citizens' groups more than government agencies administer the river, but he finds that management decisions depend mostly on economics rather than ecology. Observing that the Pere Marquette is facing increasing demands, Cassuto calls for better planning for use of national river resources as well as a scaled-down lifestyle that asks less of nature. (Feb.)
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