ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan is planning a wide-ranging study of how people in the Great Lakes region can adapt to changing water levels.
Don Scavia of the university's Graham Sustainability Institute announced the study Thursday in Ann Arbor at the conclusion of a seminar on the topic for scientists, policymakers and advocates.
It will be modeled after a broad analysis that university experts conducted last year on the natural gas extraction process known as "fracking."
Great Lakes levels fluctuate with the seasons and over longer periods. They've risen substantially in the past year after a sustained low period, but it's uncertain how long the comeback will continue.
Scavia says that shoreline property owners, communities and businesses need to accept that lake levels will not remain stable and make necessary adjustments.
TRAVERSE CITY – A group of U.S. senators wants the federal government to move faster on preventing Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through waterways in the Chicago area.
Eleven senators from states in the region sent a letter Tuesday to the assistant secretary of the Army, whose office oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. The letter asks a series of questions about when the Corps might begin tasks such as adding barriers at the southernmost lock in the Chicago Area Waterway System.
It also asks what authorization the Corps needs from Congress to move more quickly toward short- and long-term solutions.
The Corps issued a report in January with options for blocking the invasive carp's path to Lake Michigan, but says Congress and regional stakeholders must choose the final plan.
Todd Ambs is the campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. He says if the cuts go through, you'd see projects slow down.
“Whether it’s a contaminated cleanup project that’s underway but not completed, or a habitat restoration effort or dealing with the problems of keeping aquatic invasive species out of the Great Lakes.”
"Flint Mayor Dayne Walling is calling for a $70 million "war on blight" to help tear down nearly 6,000 buildings in the financially troubled city. Walling made the declaration Monday in his State of the City speech," the Associated Press reports.
Great Lakes 90% covered with ice
All of the Great Lakes combined have 90% ice cover. According to the Detroit Free Press, "that's the most ice cover in 34 years."
Lawmakers want to ban term "retard" from state law
"Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms 'mental retardation' and 'mentally retarded' from state law. Bipartisan bills would strike references to outdated language such as 'retarded' from various statutes and instead use terms such as 'developmentally disabled' or 'intellectually disabled'," the Associated Press reports.
Massive blooms of cyanbacteria (sometimes referred to as blue-green algae) and dead zones in Lake Erie: These used to be major environmental problems around the most urbanized Great Lake back in the '60s and '70s, but they are problems once again.
Now, an international agency that keeps an eye on the health of the Great Lakes is calling for more action.
The International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian agency, wants sharp cutbacks on phosphorus runoff getting into Lake Erie.
Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.
Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.
You can listen to today's Environment Report above.
The farm bill has about $57 billion for conservation.
Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition Todd Ambs says a lot of people don't realize the farm bill is where we find the largest source of conservation money from the federal government.
"That’s because there are so many activities that happen on the land that bring us our food, that if done improperly can have a very adverse impact on the soil and also to surrounding waterways," he says.
An inland lake north of Muskegon is expected to reach a major milestone this year. Officials anticipate White Lake will be removed from a list of the most-polluted places surrounding the Great Lakes this year.
About a hundred people showed up at a public hearing Tuesday night in Ann Arbor to discuss ways to keep Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes.
One by one, people took to the microphone to tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the only way to stop the Asian carp is to close the man-made waterways connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin.
Asian carp have devastated native fish populations in parts of the Mississippi River basin since first being introduced in the southern United States. Some species of Asian carp were brought in to help keep retention ponds clean in aquaculture and wastewater treatment facilities.
SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) Ships using Lake Superior are having a tough time due to the worst build up of ice in decades.
Wisconsin Public Radio News reports the National Weather Service started tracking freeze-ups in 1978, and says this is the second-fastest and thickest ice-up in 35 years. Coast Guard Soo Vessel Traffic Director Mark Gill says this is the worst since 1989.
Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)
Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers plans to make Lake Erie the focus of discussions next year.
State Sens. Randy Gardner, a Bowling Green Republican, and Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from Hubbard, say the Lake Erie Caucus will meet in January to address state and federal policies related to the body of water.
The group will look at ways to preserve the environmental health of the lake and to work on related economic growth and tourism issues.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Food supplies for fish and other organisms are declining in some areas of the Great Lakes, particularly Lakes Huron and Michigan, according to a newly released scientific report.
Organizers are still raising money for what's expected to be an almost $13 million project and they're in the process of putting the final touches on all the exhibits at the museum.
Once the The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio opens you'll be able to learn about how booze was transported across the waterways from Canada into the United States during Prohibition. Along with lots of other cool things about the Great Lakes.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A government report says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should do more to make sure a Great Lakes cleanup program is meeting its goals.
Congress has spent about $1.3 billion on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the past four years. It has funded 1,700 grants for on-the-ground projects and scientific research. It focuses on persistent environmental threats such as invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat, toxic pollution and runaway algae growth.
He also spoke about how, unlike the other four Great Lakes, Lake Erie is surrounded by agriculture and a more urbanized landscape.
You can listen to him speak about his "50 and 2 Rule" here:
Lake Erie has seen a resurgence in blooms of cyanobacteria (sometimes referred to as blue-green algae) over the last ten years. It was once a big problem in the 60s and 70s, and it has returned as a problem again.