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Great Lakes

Pete Markham / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lake Superior is cold, deep and clear. But it’s no longer the clearest of the Great Lakes.

Lakes Michigan and Huron have gotten clearer, bumping Lake Superior to number three.

Scientists have been able to figure how much clearer by using satellite imagery.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Rhonda Noren / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

An Upper Peninsula nonprofit group has received a federal grant for a "green infrastructure" project intended to protect Lake Superior waters near Marquette.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the $288,500 grant to the Superior Watershed Partnership.

The project will relocate an open-channel drain in Marquette that discharges storm water across a public beach and into the lake. The drain's outfall will be moved to an adjacent wetland.

The Calumet
shipwrecklog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Coast Guard says a Great Lakes freighter has run aground in the St. Mary's River, which runs between the U.S. and Canada along Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula.

The Coast Guard says the 629-foot (192-meter) U.S. vessel named Calumet left a steel facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and was heading to its next port when it ran aground late Wednesday near Sugar Island. No injuries were reported.

Jamie walking along beach
Courtesy of James Racklyeft

The pleasures of summertime on the Great Lakes carry a risk: drowning.

The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium has been tracking drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010. They're up to nearly 590 deaths.

Most of those could have been prevented. The group's mission is to try and do just that. 

asian carp on bucket
COURTESY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will release a previously delayed report on measures that could be taken at an Illinois waterway chokepoint to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The corps says the report involving the Brandon Road Lock and Dam will be made public Aug. 7. Project manager Andrew Leichty says it will evaluate "structural and non-structural options and technologies."

Josephine Mandamin(center) with fellow water walkers near Harrow, Ontario.
Courtesy of For the Earth and Water

The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet. But their future is uncertain.

Every year, a Native American group called the Mother Earth Water Walkers treks hundreds of miles around the Great Lakes to raise awareness of water issues in the region.

This year, the group is making its 2,000 mile trip from Duluth, Minnesota to Matane, Quebec.

Stateside producer Mercedes Mejia caught up with the group near Leamington, Ontario, and learned that the walk is more than a call to action. For many, it's a spiritual journey that connects them to each other and to other indigenous communities.

A freshwater jellyfish. This species is clear and smaller than a penny.
Wikipedia Commons

A recent Facebook post has gone viral in the Great Lakes region. A few weeks ago, an Ontario woman posted a video and photo of a small, umbrella-shaped sea creature she says she caught in Lake Erie — a freshwater jellyfish. The video has been viewed more than a million times.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress is taking a step toward fully restoring funding for a program to clean up pollution in the Great Lakes region.

Federal agencies use Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) resources to target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. 

A picture of two kayaks, one red, one green, on a trail in the woods
@USCGGreatLakes / Twitter

The U.S. Coast Guard has a message for us: knock it off with the prank calls. 

The Coast Guard is seeing a big jump in phony distress calls: more than 160 made across the Great Lakes so far this year.

Coast Guard boat in Lake Erie
US Coast Guard / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

U.S. Coast Guard stations that watch over the Great Lakes say they're seeing a huge jump in fake distress calls.

The Coast Guard says more than 160 hoax calls have been made across the Great Lakes so far this year.

That's nearly triple the number they had at this time last year.

Capt. Joseph McGilley of the Coast Guard's Cleveland-based Great Lakes unit says hoax calls put boaters at risk because they can divert search and rescue responders during real emergencies.

asian carp on bucket
COURTESY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

At the same time the Trump Administration is pushing to slash funding for the Great Lakes, a commercial fisherman has discovered a live Asian carp just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

Duane Chapman is a research fish biologist who leads Asian carp research for the U.S Geological Survey. He told Stateside how the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee is formulating its next steps.

Courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources

A live Asian carp was found about nine miles from Lake Michigan, according to state and federal officials.

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced that the silver carp was captured Thursday morning by a commercial fisherman.

The 28-inch, nine-pound fish was found in a Chicago waterway, beyond the electric barrier 37 miles southwest of the city that is meant to keep the invasive species from the Great Lakes.

Lake Superior
Helena Jacoba / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you’re in the U.P. this summer, you can give back to Lake Superior.

There’s a new project called the Lake Superior Volunteer Corps.

Emily Goodman is with the Superior Watershed Partnership. She says they’re looking for volunteers every Friday this summer to help with restoration work along the lakeshore.

“For example, at Pictured Rocks, tourism has nearly tripled in the last couple years. With this increased nature tourism comes more litter, more erosion, sensitive dunes and vegetation are trampled,” she says.

Courtesy of NOAA

This week, experts are getting together in Ann Arbor to make a warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. We have on average 106 meteotsunamis in the lakes each year.

aerial photo of the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Environmentalists and their allies in Congress are stepping up their efforts to fight proposed cuts to federal Great Lakes funding and the EPA budget.

President Trump proposed deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, as well as effectively eliminating federal money for Great Lakes restoration projects.  The Trump budget would shift the financial burden of maintaining the Great Lakes onto the eight states in the region.     

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new study that identifies what parts of the Great Lakes might be most at environmental risk if there’s an oil spill.

Oil is transported through the Great Lakes region by pipeline, train and ship.  

Jerome Marty is the president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.  The society studies inland waterways.     

Steve Carmody / MICHIGAN RADIO

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

Ryan Hallock / Creative Commons

Lake Erie's water levels have risen to a near record high, causing flood concern. Some residents with lakefront properties say they've lost patios and staircases due to the rising water.

Jennifer Caddick is a spokesperson for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. She says the rising levels are part of a natural cycle.

"Water levels vary from month to month, and also over decades, and so we go through periods of high water levels and low water levels," Caddick said. "That's just a natural part of the Great Lakes cycle."

Beach flags
Michael Dawes / Flickr

June marks the beginning of beach season in the Great Lakes – but it also means more people are at risk of drowning.

So the city of Holland is trying something new to teach people about dangerous conditions.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports that 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, the most since 2012. Currents caused by wind or structures like piers can make swimming in the lakes dangerous.

Rep. Upton says Trump’s budget plan is bad for Michigan

May 24, 2017
The Trump Administration's budget would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Lawmakers across the United States, both Republicans and Democrats, have been reacting to President Trump’s White House budget proposal released Tuesday.

Among the many cuts, the budget excludes funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and cuts research funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion. Former president, Barack Obama signed a bipartisan bill that allowed for the funding.

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / Creative Commons

Sea lampreys have devastated Michigan waters for decades. But now, scientists hope that sterilizing some males will help control the population.

Marc Gaden is with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

"The goal is to overwhelm the lampreys, to have the sterilized males out-compete the fertile males, and reduce spawning in that system to the bare minimum," Gaden said.

According to scientists, the invasive species has the ability to wipe out native life.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Creative Commons

A new federal bill up for a vote in Congress Thursday could hurt efforts to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species.

An amendment to a Coast Guard bill would loosen regulations against ballast water discharges by cargo ships. Experts say this is one way that invasive species enter new environments.

Marc Smith is Regional Conservation Director for the National Wildlife Federation. He says the harm from invasive species is well known.

A photo of a beach
mike_miley / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The U.S. Geological Survey reports since the turn of the last century, water levels of Lake Michigan have increased in a series of even higher peaks. One was in 1964. An expensive house in St. Joseph was taken by the lake.

There was damage up and down Michigan’s coast. Another high lake water moment spanned from 1985 to 1987, and again there was a lot of damage to homes, beachfront property and industry.

A fight is brewing over Great Lakes fish

May 4, 2017
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

The rules for commercial fishing in Michigan are being rewritten in Lansing. The law is old and needs to be updated. There are only 21 non-tribal businesses licensed by the state to catch fish for market. Tribes fish under their own rules.

Vintage postcard "Greetings from Grand Haven, Michigan."
Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers collection / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year a lot of people start thinking about summer vacations. If you’re like many Michiganders, when you’re planning a week or two off, you might find a cottage or a beach house to rent online. Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway are a few of the most popular short-term rental websites.

Sunrise over trees and water
mikebabcock / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


The Great Lakes Economic Forum is being held this week in Detroit and Windsor. This is the third forum held by the Council of the Great Lakes Region, which includes business, government, and labor union organizations.

Mark Fisher, CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, joined Stateside to discuss the importance of cross-border trade and the economic impact of the Great Lakes. 

Lake Michigan
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Representatives from the eight Great Lakes states have reaffirmed approval of Waukesha, Wisconsin's request to switch its own contaminated water supply to Lake Michigan.

The 2008 Great Lakes Compact allows such a diversion if a city is at least partly within the watershed of one of the lakes. 

Last summer, Great Lakes governors voted unanimously to allow Waukesha to draw Lake Michigan water, but the decision was appealed by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

The Trump Administration has proposed massive cuts to Great Lakes restoration projects in its 2018 fiscal year budget plan, and Congress should say no.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget shifts spending from domestic areas to security areas. One of the programs that would be cut under the proposal is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

That money has been used to do the following: clean up polluted areas called Great Lakes Areas of Concern, prevent and control invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful blooms of algae (which led to Toledo's water system shut down), and restore habitat to protect native species.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget was leaked last week. It looked like money to protect the Great Lakes would be cut by 97%. That leaked document was wrong.

Trump’s budget proposal completely eliminated funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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