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Michigan mussels disappear within a child’s lifetime

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An entire group of native organisms is dying off in the lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes region, and  children are noticing.

They are native freshwater mussels, those interesting and long-lived “clams” that lie partly buried in the water bottom.

“It’s kind of sad. They’re part of the lake, part of my life,” said 15-year old Tabitha Sutterfield of Dansville, Mich. As a little girl, she spent many an hour on family vacations following the mussels’ meandering trails through the sand in Houghton Lake, Michigan’s largest inland lake, and then scooping up the native mussels.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Cold weather means start of Coast Guard icebreaking

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Operation Coal Shovel, as the Coast Guard calls its ice-clearing operations in the southern lakes, didn't take place last winter because it was so mild, Coast Guard officials said. The project is carried out in southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
 
No icebreaking operations have been carried out in Lake Erie yet because there hasn't been enough ice, said Levi Read, public affairs specialist with the Ninth Coast Guard District office in Cleveland.
 
"Most of the ice is up north," he said.
 
Last year's decision not to carry out Operation Coal Shovel was unusual, and a testament to how mild the winter was, Read said.  more...


Environment  Other  

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Bass tournament could generate millions in tourism revenue

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The committee organizing events around the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament expects the event this year could have an economic impact on the St. Lawrence River Valley of $1.5 million to $2 million.
 
“This tournament could be the greatest tourism-generating event our area has ever seen,” said event coordinator Deanna Shampine. “It has the potential to draw thousands of tourists to St. Lawrence County.”
 
The Bassmaster Elite Series gathers the world’s 100 best professional anglers to compete in eight tournaments in different locales throughout the year. The Bassmaster Elite Series St. Lawrence River Showdown will be Aug. 8 to 11.  more...


Environment  Fishing  

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Steady as She Goes

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Inland Seas education programs continue year-round
 
NORTHERN MICHIGAN – With a new year beginning, students, families and others can reap knowledge of the Great Lakes without leaving shore.
 
How?
 
Visit the Inland Seas Education Association Center in downtown Suttons Bay.  more...


Other  

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Great Lakes Shipyards Look to Busy Season

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The various projects scheduled for the next few months will require investments that range from $500,000 to almost $3 million per vessel.
 
Two vessels have already undergone their scheduled maintenance, but once the locks at Sault St. Marie, Michigan close on January 15 the winter work program will begin in earnest. A number of vessels will have steel renewed in their hulls and cargo holds and several will undergo their out-of-water survey this coming winter.   more...


Environment  Other  

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We must safeguard our state's beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes

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In the waning days of the 112th Congress, the Senate approved a bill I’ve been fighting to pass that protects more than 35,000 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
 
The House of Representatives failed to take up the bill, but Senate passage makes me optimistic we can push this important legislation across the finish line in the incoming Congress.
 
Senate passage was the result of years of effort by concerned citizens and community groups, local officials, the business community and the National Park Service. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and I introduced the bill in the past two Congresses to establish a wilderness area that better protects precious natural habitat while improving access to areas with recreation opportunities or historic resources.  more...


Environment  

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Environmental group says Jacque 'misinterpreted' Shirley Wind study

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An environmental group that studied noise produced by wind turbines dismissed a state representative’s claim that “dangerous levels” of low-frequency noise were found at Shirley Wind Farm, and said he “misinterpreted” the study’s findings.
 
Clean Wisconsin, the group that conducted the study and advocates for clean energy, said Rep. Andre Jacque’s statement, which called for the Public Service Commission to suspend permitting for wind projects, was premature.   more...


Wind  

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Lake Erie’s hatch numbers below average in 2012

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Lake Erie is a big, wet place. By surface area, it is the 11th largest lake on the planet, stretching some 241 miles by 57 miles.
 
With an average depth of around 60 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet, Erie is a puddle by Great Lakes standards, but it still contains 116 cubic miles of water. That’s not a phrase we throw around too often — “cubic miles of water.”
 
In that often murky world under the surface of Lake Erie is a lot of fish. Conducting a census of those residents is a fundamentally difficult task, flush with challenges.
 
“Counting fish is just like counting trees — except that they are invisible and keep moving,” John Sheperd of the University of South Hampton in the United Kingdom once said.  more ...


Environment  

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VanTol Insurance Group Acquires Certain Assets from Brown & Brown of Detroit, Inc.

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Mount Clemens, Mich. — VanTol Insurance Group, LC, a newly formed independent insurance agency owned by Christopher P. VanTol, has acquired certain marine division client accounts from Brown & Brown of Detroit, Inc.

VanTol Insurance Group’s passion for insuring Great Lakes boaters will continue to thrive in Mount Clemens under VanTol who is joined by senior underwriter Vickie Schmidt. Together they bring a combined 44 years of experience in the personal and marine insurance business. more

Sailing  

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Down But Not Out

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image-larks light air
Whether from a traumatic injury or general wear and tear, chances are that something is eventually going to lay low even the healthiest athletes. Knowing when to take a break and recover is just as important as hitting the gym, and dealing with your injuries instead of ignoring them will help reduce the time it takes to get you back in the game. Especially in the off-season, you should be checking in with your body and making sure that it’s at 100 percent.
 
Even college-aged sailors know the aches and pains that come along with physical activity: sore backs from hiking and irritated knees from crouching in light air, to name just two. Aside from strains accumulated while actually sailing are those from day-to-day life, whether it be from cardio, lifting, or getting a little too rowdy with your friends. There are a few important steps to take to prevent avoidable injuries, and some strategies for coping with them after the fact in order to get back on the water, or to the gym, faster.  more...


Sailing  

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State's lakeshore communities struggle to cope with low water levels

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With Lake Michigan water at the lowest levels since the 1960s, Milwaukee Yacht Club members can find it difficult to get to their boats.

As Lake Michigan plunges toward uncharted low water levels, Wisconsin's lakeshore communities - from Milwaukee to the tip of the Door Peninsula - are scrambling to cope.
 
At the Milwaukee Yacht Club, a dredging crane scooped up tons of sediment in the days before Christmas just so boats could be removed from the harbor before winter set in.
 
At Milwaukee's South Shore Yacht Club, the docks are now closer to catwalks, towering seven feet out of the water.
 
On Washington Island in far northern Door County, crews are scrambling from dawn until dusk to clear a path to an auxiliary dock so an ice-breaking ferry can keep hauling trucks loaded with critical materials like fuel to the island of about 700 permanent residents separated from the mainland by the historically treacherous waters of Death's Door.  more...


Environment  

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Proposed project could improve Lake Michigan shoreline

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Kenosha County could be part of state plans to improve the Lake Michigan shoreline for kayakers, canoeists and other water users.
 
The Lake Michigan Water Trail project includes hopes of adding camping grounds, bathroom facilities and places to launch water vessels along the shoreline, including on land in Kenosha and/or Pleasant Prairie.
 
Other improvements might include signs and maps so visitors know what amenities are available where.
 
Improvements will help draw tourism, said Jeff Prey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources park system senior planner.
 
“Getting more people to the lake is an important activity for the state,” he said.  more...


Environment  Watersports  

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Mercury – It’s in the fish

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Mercury has found its way not only into our households, but also into our aquatic environment, according to this public service announcement from the Michigan Department of Community Health.
“A person’s susceptibility to being harmed by the mercury in fish depends on their age, current health status, genetics, and chemical exposure history,” said Christina Bush, a health department toxicologist. “Given this complex set of factors, it is not known how much mercury it would take to harm any given individual.  more...


Environment  

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MSU lifts fishing ban for portion of Red Cedar

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Coho and Chinook salmon run up the Red Cedar River in the fall, steelhead in the spring. The portion of the river that meanders through Michigan State University’s campus supports healthy numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills and sunfish and walleye.
 
But, for decades, the riverbanks on campus have been closed to anglers. They are now open, at least in part.
 
The change, approved by the university’s Board of Trustees last week, came after a push by conservation groups and by Tim Nichols, a member of the state’s Natural Resources Commission, who approached Trustee Dianne Byrum over the summer.  more...


Environment  

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Huge Asian carp from Humboldt Park Lagoon take up residence at the Shedd Aquarium

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Three Asian carp caught in the Humboldt Park Lagoon have joined the display of invasive species at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
 
The carp are huge, old and beady-eyed to boot. So how did they show up in an enclosed lagoon in the middle of Chicago?
 
“Nobody can say for sure,” said John Rogner of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Fishermen and boats could have accidentally brought carp into the lagoon by introducing even small amounts of organic matter from another waterway.  more ...


Environment  

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