STEWART AVENUE—In a landmark moment for environmental lobbyists, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officially moved to protect the invariably flooded Beta Phi Tau house basement as a critical wetland habitat.
“It was almost like a dream come true when our surveyors stumbled across this swamp, nearly untouched despite its close proximity to human habitation,” said Associate Director Connor Walsh ‘92, stepping into a wetsuit and brandishing a test tube for specimen collection. “The biodiversity of the Beta Phi Tau Mucklands is hardly matched anywhere north of the Amazon Basin—its species richness is on par with such famed sites as the Everglades and the New York City Subway system. We’ve already discovered several previously unidentified species of bacteria and protists, truly an unprecedented find anywhere in North America in the 21st century.”
Ecologists noted that the marsh was extraordinary in its size and permanence, allowing far more biota to flourish relative to smaller and more ephemeral fens, such as those located on the first floor bathroom of the Sigma Upsilon Gamma fraternity. Judging by the growth rate of herbaceous plants, Walsh estimated that the bog must have persisted since at least the early 1960s. Despite its long history, the biome evaded the watchful eye of researchers until resident Kevin Astair ‘21 reported “some water on the floor” on Saint Patrick’s Day of 2019.
“Oh yeah, I remember that—I was fuckin’ loaded and went down there to take a piss when I realized I was standing in a goddamned lake,” Astair recounted at the press release. “I was pretty sure I hadn’t pissed that much, so I called the other brothers down to have a look. None of us had any idea there was a whole thing down there, but it did help to explain all the croaking and shit at night.”
At press time, controversy began brewing over land access after visiting researchers were barred from entering the quagmire unless they could prove they knew three brothers.