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As Great Lakes plummet, towns try to save harbors

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For more than a century, easy access to Lake Michigan has made Onekama a popular place for summer visitors and a refuge for boaters fleeing dangerous storms. Now the community itself needs a rescue, from slumping lake levels that threaten its precious link to open water.

The Great Lakes, the world's biggest freshwater system, are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures, a trend that accelerated with this year's almost snowless winter and scorching summer. Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages. The decline is causing heavy economic losses, with cargo freighters forced to lighten their loads, marinas too shallow for pleasure boats and weeds sprouting on exposed bottomlands, chasing away swimmers and sunbathers.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Dogs may threaten beach health, water supply

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Environmentalists and public health experts want that new puppy to come with a lifetime supply of plastic bags, preferably biodegradable

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), the 78 million dogs in the United States create 10 million tons of feces annually, polluting waterways and posing a threat to public health.

Michigan has 3,288 miles of coast line, the second only to Alaska’s, and all those beaches are irresistible to dog owners.

“Pets can contribute fecal pollution to our waterways. This is mostly in the spring to fall when we are out enjoying the water with our pets,” said Joan Rose, the co-director of the Center for Water Sciences of Michigan State University.  more...



Environment  

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Great Lakes Filled With Plastic Bits

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plasticThe Great Lakes are swimming with tiny specks of floating plastic, posing threats to both wildlife and human health.

Adding to years of research that have already documented gyres of plastic pieces swirling in the oceans, the new study is the first to officially add the world's largest freshwater ecosystem to the list of natural places affected by plastic pollution.

As scientists continue to investigate how much plastic is out there, where it's coming from and how it's moving between lakes and from lakes to sea, the findings may eventually offer strategies for mitigating the problem. more...



Environment  

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Environmental scientist uses art to communicate Great Lakes issues

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A University of Michigan ecosystem scientist uses art to communicate environmental issues to the wider public.

Sara Adlerstein González, 60, studies aquatic ecology at the university’s School of Natural Resources. She is displaying some of her work at an art show called Water Blues through the end of December.

The show has a double meaning, according to Adlerstein. The shades of blue utilized in the art represent the beauty of the Great Lakes but also the love, melancholy and sadness of blues music and environmental degradation.

It is free and available for public viewing at the “Art and Environment Gallery” of the Dana Building in Ann Arbor, Mich.  more...



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Round goby, an invasive fish, appears to be making way up Rouge River in southeast Michigan

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PHOTO: Inland Seas Education Association reported the first finding of a Round Goby fish in the Grand Traverse Bay Tuesday, June 22, 2004.  The Round Goby originates in the Caspian Sea and is thought to have hitch hick in the bilge of a ship into the Great Lakes. The fish was first reported in the Great Lakes in 1990 when one was found in the St. Claire River. The round goby appears to be making its way up the Rouge River in southeast Michigan, raising concerns among those working to improve the health of the waterway. A team on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 found more than a dozen of the greedy predators while sampling sections of the Lower Rouge River in Inkster, said Sally Petrella of the nonprofit group Friends of the Rouge.  (AP Photo/Traverse City Record-Eagle, Douglas Tesner)An invasive fish called the round goby appears to be making its way up the Rouge River in southeast Michigan, raising concerns among those working to improve the health of the waterway.

A team on Friday found more than a dozen of the greedy predators while sampling sections of the Lower Rouge River in Inkster, said Sally Petrella of the nonprofit group Friends of the Rouge.  more...



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Officials ponder harbor project

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The St. Clair City Council will consider during its regular meeting today an $11,000 project for the city’s boat harbor.

Dan Lockwood, a member of the St. Clair Boat Harbor Commission, said the $11,000 plan would include purchasing three personal watercraft docks, floating docks to expand the canoe and kayak launch area, and racks for canoes and kayaks.

Lockwood said the harbor, at 902 S. Second St., was rebuilt in 2008. But it isn’t generating enough money to make its annual bond payment.  more...


Environment  Other  

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Cleveland's West Side marinas continue cleanup efforts from damage caused by Sandy

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Superstorm Sandy leaves local boats bruised and batteredDozens of boat owners could find themselves stranded ashore next summer after their vessels were sunk or extensively damaged by the wind and waves of superstorm Sandy.

Most of the damage appears confined to marinas west of the Cuyahoga River. Hardest hit were Edgewater Marina on Cleveland's near West Side and nearby Whiskey Island Marina, which both provide direct access to Lake Erie. They were battered by waves that reached 20 feet or more, driven by gusts of more than 60 mph. more...



Environment  Sailing  

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Lake levels: can anything be done?

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The Army Corps of Engineers blames Mother Nature for the near record setting low levels of the Great Lakes.

They do not recommend any manmade solutions.

The Corps updated the news media around the Great Lakes by teleconference last Wednesday afternoon. Officials from the Corps' Detroit office answered questions about the low lake levels, particularly for "Lake Michigan-Huron." The Corps considers them one lake because of the connection at the Straits of Mackinaw. They discussed causes, as well the impact of low water.  more...



Environment  

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  • If the Corps would admit their mistake by dredging the river between Lake St Cla...more
    - [Viking45]

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NY releases bloater fish in Lake Ontario

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 New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is partnering with federal and Canadian agencies to restore the "bloater" fish to Lake Ontario.
 
Juvenile bloaters raised in a hatchery were released offshore of Oswego on Thursday, bringing the fish to the lake for the first time in 30 years. Biologists say re-establishing the species will add stability to the lake's ecosystem and sport fisheries.  more...


Environment  

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Lake Erie’s guardians

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Disputes are brew­ing over Ohio’s new per­mit sys­tem to gov­ern wa­ter with­draw­als from Lake Erie un­der the Great Lakes re­gional com­pact.

A new ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee will de­fine “ad­verse im­pact” to Lake Erie and its trib­u­tar­ies. State law­mak­ers will make nom­i­na­tions to the panel to the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Ohio DNR Dep­uty Direc­tor Karl Geb­hardt said his de­part­ment ex­pects con­tro­versy over the ap­point­ments, as it at­tempts to bal­ance en­vi­ron­men­tal needs against the de­mands of man­u­fac­tur­ers, agri­bus­i­ness, and other ma­jor in­dus­tries.  more...



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Planners to work on vision for Lake Michigan trail

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Government planners from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin are among those meeting next week to work on plans for a proposed 1,640-mile trail network around Lake Michigan.

MLive.com reports  the biking, hiking and kayaking route in the four states along the shoreline of Lake Michigan is the topic of the Nov. 8-9 Lake Michigan Trail Conference at Saugatuck Center for the Arts in southwestern Michigan. More than 150 people, including planners, are expected to attend.  more...



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Winds from Sandy make for good Chicago surfing

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Hundreds of miles from its turbulent center, superstorm Sandy's outer bands were violent enough to rip up near-record high waves Tuesday on Lake Michigan, sending a community of avid surfers in Chicago into the cold, churning waters despite warnings from city officials.

Wave heights out in the middle of the lake reached 20 feet, short of the 23-foot record set last year by a strong storm pushing down from Canada. The difference this time is the winds are from the edges of what had been a tropical storm, one vast enough to reach hundreds of miles inland.  more...



Other  Watersports  

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Great Lakes Shipwrecks exhibit at Public Museum tells stories of 13 ships

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MM&N1i.jpg“The ship is making water fast,” the note began. “We have turned around and are headed for Milwaukee.”

The 1929 handwritten note, found locked away in a message box amid the wreckage of the SS Milwaukee, is just one of the artifacts on display at “Great Lakes Shipwrecks, Storms and Stories,” a new exhibit opening at Grand Rapids Public Museum on Saturday, Nov. 10. more...


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Waterbird die-off hits Lake Michigan

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In a dramatic scene along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Schoolcraft County, researchers have recently discovered the carcasses of nearly 700 dead waterbirds, thought to be the victims of Type-E botulism.

Similar large Lake Michigan bird die-offs were recorded in the Upper Peninsula in October 2007 and downstate near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 2006.  more...



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Cooperation helping to keep water monitoring system operating

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A real-time water monitoring system in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers may not shut down at the end of the year after all, thanks to the efforts of a regional group, local officials and water plant operators, including those in Detroit, who have spent at least half a year working to find ways to keep it running.
 
And it's likely not to cost customers extra, officials said.  more...


Environment  

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