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Season 1, Episode 5 · 4 years ago

Episode 105 - No Muskrat Love, Part 2


This is under the low bridge and unconventional history of the Erie Canal. In honor the two hundredth anniversary of its construction, the history department at the University of Rochester presents six environmental stories and you're listening to here. You are, oh bridge, everybody down. I'm Henry Shark, I'm Kyle Chris, tell him, and I'm a Kail overall, and you're listening to part four. No, Muskrat love, chaos, pandemonium, panic fills the air, water rushes through the streets of fairport. A section of the mighty barge canal is given way, and the culprit is none other than a brewing Muskrat. You're seriously telling me that these tiny balls of fur caused that much damage? Well, yeah, there's an article about it in the fairport heraldryl from one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven, written about a hundred years after the collapse. So what exactly happened? Well, cording the newspaper, the town of airport... New York experienced the unexpected wrath of a Muskrat and full just from everything in small town seems peaceful and calm, Muskrat for a deep into the Bank of the barge canal, collapsing a five hundred ten foot section of the Erie Canal. But how do you know that this is actually caused by a Muskrat? Could have been a different animal, like a beaver. Well, a beaver likely could have caused the same damage. I think we can be pretty sure this was a Muskrat. Quoting the fur trade of America, in considering the furbearing world, it is impossible to group the animal life according to the classifications of Zoology. Muskrat fur, their quickest identifier, doesn't have a similar texture or color to beaver fur. As I brought up before, the American fur trade may not have been in its prime, but it still had a strong foothold by the time of the canal collapse. We can be pretty sure that most people in the northeastern United States could identify a Muskrat as a Muskrat. But what exactly happened? Well, the water poured out of the canal...

...after the collaps rushed out of the canals concrete border and poured over everything in its path, from bridges to farmland, humpeding community into a brief stape shock and I'm guessing the water level of the canal naturally dropped after this. Oh yeah, the strong washout dropped the water level of the canal from the PITTSFORD locks all the way to the masodon mocks, ravaging boats on a canal from miles obviously flooding causes damage, but once that water is out of the canal there shouldn't be a problem, right, wouldn't it be easy to start fixing the canal with all the water driven out? Actually, the also last thing you want to do when you have a Muskrat problem is changed to the water levels of the area that they're inhabiting. Why is that? You see, the fluctioning water levels can flood a muskrats den and then they will react by borrowing farther into the bank or by digging a new, Higher Dun Chamber that is closer to the ground surface. So, all in all, those mitigation efforts likely made things worse, kind of like what happened in the case of the house fire. Those muskrats sure are resilient bunch. If a muscrat decides... build a Dun Chamber that is closer to the surface, the bank can be weakened even worse. Livestock and other large animals can pierce into the bank. If the bank is weakened, erosion is likely to take place, and when erosion becomes a problem, you wish you could have just had the muskrats with this. The canal locks may have seriously not only hurt the community's infrastructure, but it's agriculture as well. So the damage clearly didn't end with the initial flooding. But WHO's really at fault here, Michaela? Can we really put all the blame on nature? Well, no, the store here isn't one of nature's brutality. Humanaga drive for industrialization was the real actor. The designers of the canal didn't seem to put much consideration into the effects of the the canal would have on nature, because their ultimate goal was focused on exploiting nature, not helping it. That makes sense. The contractors building the canal wouldn't necessarily have had a strong relationship with the local landscape. Their focus was...

...on building the canal. The muskrats probably weren't even on the radar. So in a way, muskrats reveal how narrow the environmental outlook was at the time. MUSKRATS also redefined the connection between humanity and nature. Does the environment shape our action, or do we shape its action? In the same way that we shape the muskrats behavior, they shape ours. In this way, humanity and nature are deeply connected. All this over muskrats. Huh? Yeah, muskrats. This episode was made possible by the generous support of several departments at the University of Rochester. The here you are team would like the thing. Melissa meat and the Department of rare books and special collections, their tinker in the digital scholarship lab, Stephen Restner at the Department of Audio Music Engineering and, last but not least, the Department of history. Bridge.

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