Clear Lake Biology and Ecology
- Myths and Music for Clear Lake: The Biology and Ecology of a Phenomenal
A hop and a jump from Ukiah resides long-suffering and much maligned
Clear Lake, one of the most interesting bodies of water in North
America, perhaps in the world. Just the fact that Clear Lake has rested
in the ample lap of what we now call Lake County for at least a million
years is astonishing. Most lakes would have long since succumbed to
silt and become a wetlands or a meadow. Add the fact that Clear Lake is
the largest natural lake in California, throw in the astonishing
quantity of life that it supports, and you have the subject of a
fascinating lecture. Such a lecture, "Myths and Music for Clear Lake,"
will be delivered by the entertaining and animated Dr. Harry Lyons on
Thursday, March 15, at the Ukiah Civic Center, 7 p.m. Dr. Lyons is a
professor of biology at Yuba College's Clear Lake campus, where he is
the senior faculty member and teaches biology, ecology, microbiology,
physiology, and statistics. His lecture will be illustrated on screen
by overhead projector. This program, which is brought to you by
Peregrine Audubon Society, is free to the public, though donations will
be warmly accepted.
The myths addressed by Dr. Lyons have nothing to do with the large
population of native Americans � possibly the largest in North America
� that once inhabited the shores of the lake and paddled its waters.
Nor does it have anything to do with Creation or Big Foot. No, this
myth originated with the white settlers � residents, developers, and
tourism promoters � who have always carried an image of a different
lake than the one they've got. These wishful thinkers hope to make
Clear Lake over in Lake Tahoe's image, with crystalline waters and
sandy beaches. The fact is, Clear Lake is not now, never has been, and
never will be, clear. Dr. Lyons will tell us why, starting with the
ancient cyanobacteria that occupy the bottom of Clear Lake's food chain
and make the lake green. We will learn why "green is good" for the
enormous population of insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals,
birds, and (historically) humans of Clear Lake.
Mercury, on the other hand, is not good � in the food chain at least.
All lakes in California have a mercury problem, but Clear Lake has a
major single-point pollution source, the Sulfur Banks Mine, an EPA
Superfund site. Dr. Lyons will explain why it is fine to drink the
water but dangerous to eat the fish. He will also discuss the measures
that are and should be taken to restore Clear Lake to its natural
condition, and will touch on the geology of the region.
And music? Well, Dr. Lyons, who is also an accomplished jazz musician,
has written a song about the biology of Clear Lake which he will sing
to his own guitar accompaniment. This presentation about our biological
powerhouse to the east will be fun and fascinating, and shouldn't be
missed. Mark your calendars! To reach Ukiah Civic Center, take Perkins
St. west to North State Street. Turn left, and then right on Seminary
Avenue. Proceed to the Civic Center parking lot.
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