(Originally Posted April 1st, 2013 )
K. Ermit, Staff Writer
Today the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced full details of their upcoming campaign to eradicate the South American Paril Lofos, an invasive frog that has the recently begun to devastate the ecosystems of the Eastern United States. The plan involves chemicals, hunting and most controversial of all, entirely draining and refilling Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka Lakes beginning July 4th 2013.
The plan to drain the lakes comes after in-depth studies from the world’s leading marine biologists and herpatologists have all come to the same conclusion – that without immediate action the Paril Lofos could wipe out 80% of the freshwater fish and marine mammals in the Eastern U.S. within 6 months. And with fish populations decimated, ecosystems will quickly change, resulting in lakes and rivers becoming clogged with weeds and algae – decimating both commerce and tourism.
A Dangerous Pest
Native to a single high-altitude lake in Bolivia, the Paril Lofos was first discovered in Cayuga Lake in September of 2012, but has recently been spotted in Seneca and Keuka Lakes. Known by Bolivians as “El Apetito de Muerte” (Appetite of Death) the Paril Lofos is an aggressive frog that reproduces every 3 days and can eat 37 times its weight in fish and small mammals per day.
Jorge Costanza, Senior Marine Biologist for New York State suspects the animals originally arrived after a pregnant female hitched a ride “in a shipment of Bolivian marching powder to some rich Cornell kid from Greenwich”. He expresses regret about the entire situation, but one piece in particular bothers him “What is most unfortunate about the entire situation is that these frogs are by nature docile – but when they are fed after midnight they grow teeth and become aggressive. They have lived thousands of years in Bolivia without trouble, but they come to Ithaca and these damn hippies decided it just wasn’t fair to not let them eat after midnight, so a few tofu sandwiches later and here we are today. It really is too bad.“
Cayuga Lake the First to be Drained
Cayuga will be the first lake to be drained, and with over 4 trillion gallons of water the project will take several days. The 3 part drainage plan was devised jointly by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Trumansburg High School Science Club. It includes:
1) Redirection of Cayuga waters to Lake Ontario via the Seneca-Cayuga and Erie Canals,
2) Pumping of water from Ithaca into a fleet of 3200 solar powered tanker trucks to be shipped to Mexico where it will be bottled and sold under the brand name “Agua Fina”
3) A mandatory 72-hour “Open Faucet / Frequent Flush (O.F.F.F.)“period for residents and business owners in the Cayuga Lake Watershed. This O.F.F.F. period requires all faucets to remain open 24x7 and all toilets to be flushed at least 6 times per hour. Flush rates will be monitored by regional F.R.O.G.’s (Flush Rate Observation Groups) who will be appointed directly by Governor Cuomo.
As the water drains from the lake, the majority of fish and wildlife will progress through the canal at the north end of the lake and eventually into a large holding pen set up in Lake Ontario. The Paril Lofos however will remain be buried 2 inches in the mud, waiting to emerge at the first full moon of July. State officials had originally planned to cover the lakebed with an organic chemical treatment, but when protests from environmental groups grew too great they shifted their plans and will now install loudspeakers and politely ask all frogs to emerge and to turn themselves in to D.E.C. officials.
NASCAR Takes Interest / Refilling the Lake
Tourism officials plan to make lemons out of lemonade with the situation – and on Sunday July 7th NASCAR will hold the Cayuga 500, a 6 lap, 500 mile race around the dried Cayuga lakebed. Officials are offering free admission to the race to any attendees who bring at least 32 ounces of water to help refill the lake.
Refilling the lake will officially begin after the NASCAR race, and area residents with garden hoses are being encouraged to point them toward the lake with water on full power. The resident who hoses the most water into the lake will be given the "Cayuga Hoser" award, and will receive an expense paid trip to the Canadian Province of their choice. Officials are optimistic the lake will be refilled by Memorial Day 2017.
The draining schedule for Keuka and Seneca Lakes is expected to be released shortly, right after Governor Cuomo makes his decision on fracking.
FingerLakes.com is following this story closely and will post updates as they occur.
Originally posted: April 1st, 2013 - (April Fools!)