To the Bellams!
Image Jennifer R. Pournelle, August, 2013. Racing toward a coring point near "the place of pebbles," Basra, Iraq. What appears at first glance an idyllic scene, is in fact an aquatic graveyard. In 120-degree heat, the water temperature is well over 90 degrees F; dissolved oxygen levels are zero. The distant cloud of terns, startled skyward by our boats, is feasting on the resulting 2 kilometer-long fish kill. Ragged clumps of reeds clings to a bit of dredging upcast; all beyond is now desert. The canal, filled with backed-up irrigation return water, is toxic to humans and livestock - buffalo bones litter the landscape beyond. So, to the bellams! Here's where our water sampling bagan - and thanks to Jody Pritt, will continue as we work to rework these raw conditions into healthy marsh.