Poison ivy can cause rashes and blisters and Poison Ivy Blaster the magic elixir created by Miami, Oklahoma's own usually works for me and I will go nowhere without it. But when my eyes almost swelled shut, I sought medical care this week from a little splat of exposure. The doctor asked about my airways and breathing, explaining the reaction had gone systemic which for some sensitive people can be life-threatening.
I often hear people say they are immune to poison ivy. That can change at any time, then the immunity to the allergy is lost.
I am finding out Poison ivy today isn't your mother's poison ivy. Climate change is making it more potent. Rising carbon dioxide, CO2, levels feed plants and poison ivy is effectively using it to grow bigger and produce more urushiol, the oil causing rashes. Evidence shows the urushiol gets more concentrated, in each part of the leaf, and the plants produce more leaves, stems and berries.
You surely were taught, "leaves of three let it be," to help remember what poison ivy looks like. 80% of us react to poison ivy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have figured out how much of that oil it takes and it is 50 micrograms which is less than a grain of table salt!
We are understanding Climate Change is responsible for the early snowmelts, according to the National Climate Assessment because the planet is warming. Add to that all the heavy downpours this season in the Midwest and the resulting flooding.
To take a look locally Earl Hatley, LEAD Agency's Grand Riverkeeper will be the guide on a LightHawk flight beginning with Tar Creek to document the width of the Grand Lake watershed. LightHawk, an international non-profit based in Colorado uses aircraft and volunteer pilots to "accelerate conservation success through flight." Photographer J. Pat Carter, will document where our Tar Creek width and metals have gone, and how she joins the Neosho and drops a load and proceeds on with more of them to Twin Bridges and helps the Neosho fill our lake with Kansas soils and her precious metals. We and of course the Spring River have been sending our sediment loads into the bathtub our lake is for decades. Waterkeeper Alliance made the flight arrangements for LEAD Agency's Grand Riverkeeper and Tar Creekkeeper.
The water loading can pass right through the dam, but we are filling the lake as all man-made lakes do, they fill and become more shallow, but GRDA is in the business of generating energy from the discharge of the water and in order to continue doing this, the lake has to have the power and the power comes from the height of the lake. So the Grand Lake watershed continues to grow, to be enlarged and as it does, more lands, homes and lives are affected.
We know that every Oklahoma County is under a State of Emergency and along the Arkansas River: Every large community will see major flooding within a week or less according to the National Weather Service. We are not alone with this slow motion disaster. Once the flash flooding subsides, the rest comes often slow enough to watch the worms "run for their lives."
Before my grandfather married my grandmother, he had been married to another Cherokee woman from Fort Smith and when she died, was buried there, but during a serious flood, her grave was washed away. Fort Smith is flooding this year which reminded me of the endless list of losses floods can cause.
The Illinois, the Missouri, the Arkansas and the Mississippi Rivers are all at risk of spilling over in the coming days. We are not alone, but joined in the newest worst flooding for many states since 1927. That year, the Arkansas River was 80 miles wide in Arkansas. According to Christopher Burt that flood "was the seminal event that led to the federal flood-control program and gave the Army Corps of Engineers the job of controlling the nation's rivers via the erection of dams, dikes and other measures of flood abatement."
Tulsa and Sand Springs are closely watching 70-year-old levee systems for signs of a potentially catastrophic failure and have asked whole neighborhoods to evacuate for safety. Some levees in Arkansas have failed already causing flooding. We are all watching the lake levels and the amount of water allowed to be discharged.
We know the Army Corps of Engineers very well as they GRDA, and FERC are intimately involved with Miami's future. Perhaps at times we might sometimes know them as our other "Leaves of Three."
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim