Since 1998, I have looked at a beautiful stock pond along the West Cut of Baird Hill, on Interstate 20, near Baird, Texas, as I have driven to work in Abilene from Mingus, Texas.
The pond has deteriorated in health. It was a pond that had rushes of cattails, deep-green sturdy stalks, three to four feet high, lining the pond all the way around except for a few places where cattle could water or a tree had fallen. Ducks would fly in at the first cold snap in October and not leave until February or March.
The pond is set among hills on three sides, a spring-fed creek empties into the pond. The interstate highway at the West Cut blockades the downstream portion of the pond, creating a kind of highway dam.
Last year and the year before, power poles with transmission lines as big as your arm were erected above the pond and on the hills to the north of the interstate in order to carry electricity from wind farms on the north and east side of Abilene.
When the transmission lines were nearly constructed, all the the green rushes along the pond died.
The pond lost water and is down about a foot or two. At first, I speculated that the reeds had died as the result of some natural cycle, but that was not correct. The rushes died because of contaminants from the transmission line construction, road construction for the power lines, the wind farm construction, or a combination of all three factors. I did not take a water sample. Not my land. But, the owner of the ranch was just as surprised as I was about the change in the pond. The reeds have not reproduced.
So, we have more electricity that is suppose to be clean. It is. But, in the method of setting up clean energy, nature is destroyed. The pond is dying.
I will continue to observe the pond and will take photographs from the highway. Hopefully, nature will resurge again along the banks of the pond. And, I wonder if the ducks will stay long? Will they even stop?
July 25, 2010, update: The pond has remained unchanged. The color of the water has deepened to a blue-green and is not brown or brackish any longer. The reeds still have not replenished. I will attempt to take some photographs from the interstate for the record. To connect the transmission line construction and the death of the pond is correlative. I may be completely wrong in my hypothesis about cause and effect. More proof is needed.