Lake Huron

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - For the second consecutive winter, bitter weather threatens to turn the surface of the Great Lakes into a vast frozen plain.

The federal Great Lakes research laboratory in Ann Arbor reports Friday that nearly 81 percent of the five lakes' surface area is ice-covered. On Thursday, the ice cover exceeded 85 percent.

  The lab's George Leshkevich says the small drop-off probably happened because winds broke apart some ice, creating open spots.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's emergency manager says he will not approve a return to Detroit's water system, even though the city's switch to using water from the Flint River has been rife with problems.

Flint ditched its water contract with Detroit, and began using water from the Flint River instead this spring.  Complaints surfaced early on about the water's taste. 

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The Great Lakes go up and down. It's just a fact of life. 

Water levels in Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron continue to be above their monthly averages for the first time in 16 years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Carl Levin has introduced a resolution urging the Obama administration to oppose a Canadian proposal to bury radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.

A federal panel in Canada is taking testimony on the plan to store low- and intermediate-level waste from nuclear power plants in rock chambers more than 2,000 feet below the earth's surface.

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Canadian officials will open a public hearing Tuesday looking at plans for a nuclear waste storage facility very close to Lake Huron.  

Ontario Power Generation wants to build the facility in Kincardine, Ontario, less than a mile from the lakeshore. The plan concerns environmentalists, who fear the underground facility could contaminate Lake Huron.

One Michigan congressman plans to introduce a resolution this week opposing the current site chosen for the facility.

Utility officials insist their plans to build a massive underground storage facility are safe. The facility would descend nearly 700 meters below the surface and eventually store 200,000 cubic meters of low and intermediate nuclear waste from Canadian nuclear stations.

“The geology, the geosphere, the repository design, the depth will protect the environment,” insists Neal Kelly, a spokesman for Ontario Power Generation.

He says 70% of the waste to be stored in the facility would only be low-level nuclear contamination. 

This week’s public hearing will focus on technical issues tied to the planned facility.     

It will be many years before the utility can build the billion dollar nuclear waste storage facility, even if Canadian regulators grant the utility a license to build it. 

The Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel will hold its hearing on Tuesday in Kincardine.

You can find more about the hearing by following this link from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

A watery window to Michigan’s past is expanding.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is expanding from its present 448 square miles of Lake Huron to 4,300 square miles.

Jeff Gray is the sanctuary superintendent. He says the expanded sanctuary will protect hundreds of shipwrecks, many dating back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Each one of these wrecks is a tragic tale of how it ended up on the bottom. But each one of those wrecks played its part in building the country,” says Gray.  

Emily Fox

  You don’t hear much about Lake Huron. It’s home to what is known as the North Channel. It's filled with hundreds of islands. It's like the Caribbean, but instead of sand and palm trees, you have rock and pine trees. So why does Lake Huron often get ignored when we talk about the Great Lakes the surround our state?

Roy Eaton joined us on Stateside to answer that very question. He's the weatherman and newscaster for the North Channel. His broadcast, Cruisers’ Net, airs every morning at 9 in the summer on VHF radio.

The North Channel is located at the northern side of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world.

Eaton has sailed all the Great Lakes, Bermuda, Antigua, the Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys.  Yet he says Lake Huron’s North Channel is his favorite. The geography is what draws the eye and what lands the North Channel the top ratings of best places to boat in international boating magazines like Cruising World and Sailing.

user Brucegirl / wikimedia commons

Some state legislators want the International Joint Commission to become involved in a nuclear waste storage dispute.

A Canadian energy company plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility about a mile from Lake Huron – across from Michigan's thumb area.

Sen.Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, says he hopes Michigan will set an example that other Great Lakes states will follow.

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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.

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A fish that was almost wiped out in the Great Lakes is making a comeback in Lake Huron.

Lake trout are suddenly doing what biologists have been trying to get them to do for more than 40 years: They’re making babies.

Lake trout used to be a mainstay of Great Lakes commercial fishing in the first half of the twentieth century. The Lakes would produce 15 million pounds of the fish every year.

Then the sea lamprey came in and sucked the life out of the lake trout populations.

If there's one song that captures the feel of Motown, Detroit, and America in the 1960s, it's Martha Reeves singing "Dancing in the Streets." On today's show we talked about the historical importance of this Motown classic.

And, we explored the concept behind community cafes, how they work and where you can find one near you.

Also, Ontario Power Generation is proposing to build a nuclear waste dump site on the shore of Lake Huron. How will this affect the drinking water?

First on the show, this promises to be an important week for the State Senate. This could be the week the Senate decides whether or not to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults in Michigan.

You may recall, the Senate broke off for its summer break in June without taking a vote on Medicaid, something that so incensed Governor Snyder that he came home early from a trade trip to Israel in order to publicly scold the Senate.

So, two months later, it appears a vote is at hand.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Derek A Young / Flickr

A proposal by a Canadian power company to store nuclear waste at a site within a mile of Lake Huron is setting off alarm bells on this side of the border.

Ontario Power Generation is drawing up plans to store low-to-medium level nuclear waste at an underground repository it wants to build in Ontario near the town of Kincardine. That is on the shore of Lake Huron and critics, including some state lawmakers, worry that storing nuclear waste so close to the lake could threaten the drinking water for 40 million people.

Detroit News reporter Jim Lynch has been following the story and he joined us today from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above.

daBinsi / Flickr

Local environmental activists are concerned over a proposal that would create a nuclear waste dump less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron. Community members met at a town hall meeting this week at Wayne State University to discuss the proposal.

DETROIT (AP) - Objections to a proposal to build a nuclear waste storage site near Lake Huron's Ontario shoreline are the subject of a town hall meeting Monday evening in Detroit.

The Detroit News says the meeting is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. at Wayne State University's Keith Center Lecture Hall.

The meeting's organizers include Democratic state Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood of Taylor. He sponsored a resolution that the Michigan Senate passed in May questioning the proposal.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A quarter billion dollar water pipeline project broke ground today near the Lake Huron shoreline.

The source of the water was on the minds of the people at the groundbreaking, including Pastor Floyd Fuller who gave the invocation.

““Drink from your own cistern.   Running water from your own well,” Fuller said, quoting from the Book of Proverbs. 

The well in this case is not a well but a lake.  Lake Huron to be specific. 

The curious history of a tasty little Great Lakes fish

May 28, 2013
Photo courtesy of The Cove. Used with permission.

Not too long ago, we reported that native fish are doing really well in Lake Huron.

The fish involved are not exactly well known species. But there is one that’s a household name in lakeshore communities. Its success is sparking some scientific debate.

A fish cocktail

The owners of The Cove in Leland have a problem. Food and travel writers who pass through seldom forget to mention the Chubby Mary®.  It’s a Bloody Mary with a smoked chub in it.

Mario Batali even put a photo of the cocktail on Bon Appetit’s website along with his endorsement.

The problem is there aren’t many chubs for sale these days because they are really hard to find in the Great Lakes.

NASA

The International Joint Commission (IJC) recommends that the U.S. and Canadian governments investigate the option of placing man-made structures in the St. Clair River to raise water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The IJC is a binational organization that develops recommendations and resolves disputes over waters between the U.S. and Canada.

More from Jon Flesher of the Associated Press:

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Update 5:26 p.m.

Flint needed the state's permission to join the water pipeline project because the city is run by an emergency manager. Supporters say the new pipeline will save Flint money.

Bill Johnson, spokesman for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, said the state previously told Detroit water officials they would have more time to reach a new agreement with Flint. He says the Detroit water system stands to lose big if Flint starts getting its water from Lake Huron.

"Detroit will lose 6 to 7 percent of its total revenue base, amounting to something like $22 million. That cost would have to be absorbed by the remaining 3 million Detroit Water and Sewerage Department customers."

Detroit has until Monday afternoon to make one final offer to the city of Flint to keep its water business. Flint’s emergency manager has said he wants to see Detroit’s offer.

12:39 p.m.

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan has approved Flint's plans to get its water by participating in a pipeline project that would tap Lake Huron.

The Flint Journal reports the approval is subject to review of a final offer from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department by Monday. State Treasurer Andy Dillon told Flint's state-appointed emergency manager Ed Kurtz of the decision.

Under the proposal, Flint would get 16 million gallons of water per day from Lake Huron, pipe it to Flint for treatment and then sell it to city customers. Another 2 million gallons per day would come from the Flint River and would be treated in Flint.

The Karegnondi Water Authority project could serve Flint and Lapeer as well as residents elsewhere in Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac counties.

A surprising comeback for Lake Huron's native fish

Apr 11, 2013
Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant

For years now, we’ve heard bad news about the Great Lakes. Most of it has to do with invasive species getting into the lakes and wrecking the food web.

One writer called it a slow-moving underwater wildfire.

So it might surprise you to hear that native fish are doing very well in one of the lakes. The changes are so dramatic scientists are a bit puzzled and can’t explain what’s happening.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Governor Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit EM accused of unpaid taxes

"Governor Rick Snyder is standing by his pick for Detroit’s emergency manager - despite some criticism over unpaid taxes. The Detroit News reported over the weekend that Kevyn Orr had two tax liens against his Maryland home. Orr says he has since paid the taxes," Jake Neher reports.

Flint postpones decision to get water from Lake Huron

"The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to pipe water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. Council members are concerned the city will end up paying too much.   There is also concern that whatever decision they make could be overruled by Flint’s emergency financial manager," Steve Carmody reports.

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