Ecology: Alewife Explosion

From the Chicago waterfront to the Mackinaw Bridge, the shores of Lake Michigan were taken over last month by dead alewives. The fish,*members of the herring family, washed ashore on every incoming wave, piling up on the beaches faster than bulldozers and tractors could clear them away. They filled the air with the odor of decay and drew swarms of mosquitoes and flies.

Chicago's municipal water-supply inlets and those of industries that draw water directly from the lake became clogged time and again with the little (two-to-seven-inch) alewives. Off Benton Harbor, Mich., an...

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