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Great Lakes biologists to fire underwater cannon to combat goby

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Scientists will fire an underwater cannon in parts of Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay this summer, hoping to scatter the nuisance fish that eat native trout and herring eggs.

If it works, the cannon also could be used here.

The target fish -- the round goby -- has upended the food web in Lake Erie.

"It has changed the ecology in fundamental ways," said Jim Grazio, a Great Lakes biologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The goby is a small, bottom-dwelling fish native to Eurasia. It was discovered in the St. Clair River in 1990 and quickly spread across the Great Lakes. It is now the most common fish in Lake Michigan.

Gobies feast on the eggs left by herring, whitefish and trout. "They rush in and just wipe out the nest," Grazio said.  more...




Buoy that could determine viability of offshore wind farm to head back out to Lake Michigan

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Wednesday state regulators and researchers will head about 35 miles west of Muskegon, near the Michigan-Wisconsin border in Lake Michigan. There they’ll survey the bottom of Lake Michigan to make sure there are no historic artifacts in the way when a floating research platform drops anchor there (likely) later this week.

Arn Boezaart heads the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. Last year the center operated the buoy only 4 miles offshore. This year it’ll collect first of its kind data that’ll likely determine whether an offshore wind farm is viable in the middle of Lake Michigan. more...



Environment  Wind  

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More algae, more problems

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The mild winter could mean a spring and summer where algae blooms are a bigger problem than usual in Lake Ontario and other local waterways.

Last week, Color Brighton Green held a presentation on local water quality issues. Charles Knauf, the department's chief water quality analyst, told the crowd that algae tends to be worse in years when there are no big winter storms to disrupt algae growth.

"I got called out on two algae blooms already, and it's not even April," he said. Both involved inland water bodies.  more...



Environment  

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Badger car ferry gets grant to explore fuel conversion

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LUDINGTON, Mich. — The Wisconsin State Energy Office has awarded a Lake Michigan Carferry a $75,000 grant to begin the engineering work for converting the S.S. Badger car ferry from using coal as its fuel source to liquefied natural gas.

The Badger previously was selected to serve as the model vessel in a Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute federally funded study of the potential use of liquefied natural gas by Great Lakes vessels.  more...



Other  

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First for Equation at BVI Spring Regatta

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Sadly, the crusty Caribbean salt’s washed off, the sunburn’s beginning to peel, and the rum’s done for sailors who raced this year’s BVI Spring Regatta held off Nanny Cay last week. More than 100+ boats competed in the 41st edition of the regatta, with as many new faces as repeat players, including Bill Alcott from Michigan who celebrated his 15th event - this year on his newest boat Equation, the TP65 formerly known as Rosebud.

Equation took first place in Class 1, a particularly sweet prize, as it’s been a while since the racing beauty’s enjoyed the taste of success. The boat was designed by Bruce Farr and built in 2007 at Westerly Marine, Santa Ana, Calif. Originally owned by Roger Sturgeon, she won the 2007 Sydney Hobart among other international prestigious races. She dismasted in heavy weather during the Middle Sea Race off Malta in October 2009, and shortly thereafter was purchased by Australian Ray Roberts in early 2010.  more...


Sailing  

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Lake Erie: can toxic algae blooms be limited?

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PORT CLINTON -- Toxic blue-green algae was so thick in some spots last year that Jerry Abele's boat slowed down at times when he was crossing Lake Erie.

Anglers had trouble catching fish through the masses of algae, said Abele, who owns Head Hunter Charters in Danbury Township. 2011 was the worst year on record for the toxic algae, and blooms stretched into the Central Basin, farther than ever found before.

Phosphorus running into the lake's tributaries is the culprit, and scientists have identified agriculture as the main source. Other sources include combined sewer overflows of untreated sewage dumping into the lake and its tributaries during big storms.  more...



Environment  

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Muskegon area, West Michigan have big stake in move to streamline offshore wind power regulations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The process of putting offshore wind turbines in Lake Michigan, a concept the produced a passionate debate in West Michigan a few years ago, may be getting streamlined in regard to government regulations.

A Memorandum of Understanding, announced Friday, is designed to speed the review of proposed offshore wind projects on the Great Lakes by enhancing collaboration between federal and state regulatory agencies. The document was signed by the Obama administration and Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.  more...



Wind  

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Freshwater Delights

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http://www.sailingmagazine.net/images/LakeM1_0412.jpgSaltwater sailors discover great sailing, friendly folks and oh-so-wonderful fresh water on a northern Lake Michigan cruise

Why would sailors who live near the ocean leave to cruise the Great Lakes?  My wife Marianne and I live in Rhode Island, the Ocean State. Without even trying, we have full access to beaches, coves, harbors, bays, inlets, clam shacks and anything else salty. If I’m not on the water on a Wednesday night, I can watch beer can racing from our bedroom window. Rhode Island license plates have little anchors on them in case anyone forgets they live in a place where the ocean is the centerpiece. So what did we do? We went to freshwater Lake Michigan, far from any salty ocean shore, to cruise Grand Traverse Bay and beyond.  more...


Sailing  

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Great Lakes Offshore Wind Farms Agreement Reached Between 5 States And Federal Government

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The Obama administration and five states have reached an agreement to speed up approval of offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes, which have been delayed by cost concerns and public opposition.

Under the deal, which administration officials disclosed to The Associated Press ahead of an announcement scheduled for Friday, state and federal agencies will craft a blueprint for speeding regulatory review of proposed wind farms without sacrificing environmental and safety standards. The Great Lakes have no offshore wind turbines, although a Cleveland partnership announced plans last year for a demonstration project that would place five to seven turbines in Lake Erie about 7 miles north of the city, generating 20-30 megawatts of electricity.  more...



Wind  

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Stop trying to control Great Lakes levels, panel says

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Dams and gates near the International Bridge control water flows from Lake Superior through the St. Marys River toward Lake Huron. Trying to control water levels would be expensive and damage the environment, a study said.A

U.S.-Canadian advisory panel ended a five-year study Wednesday with a recommendation against large-scale engineering projects to prevent swings in Great Lakes water levels, saying people across the region should adapt to nature's ups and downs.

The $14.6-million investigation concluded that trying to control levels by placing more structures at choke points such as the St. Clair River at the south end of Lake Huron would be too expensive and damage the environment.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Scientists play down price tag on invasive species in Great Lakes

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A new U.S. report says foreign species carried into the Great Lakes by ships are causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to the ecosystem.

However, Canadian experts are questioning the figures, saying you cannot easily put a price on damages caused by invasive species. While they say the problem is real, the lakes are in no danger of dying anytime soon.

The report states that an average of $138 million in annual damages are made to the Great Lakes from ship-borne invaders, but that the figure could reach more than $800 million a year. These foreign species are said to originate from the ballast of ships — water that is taken aboard vessels to stabilize the load. more...



Environment  Other  

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A salmon balancing act for Lake Michigan fishery managers

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The people who manage salmon in Lake Michigan will have to decide soon how many fish to put into the lake.  The salmon fishery is a manmade industry in the Great Lakes.  It’s produced by planting millions and millions of fish in the lakes.  But keeping the salmon population in balance with the food supply is a challenge these days.  And some scientists are raising new questions about the salmon’s demise in Lake Huron and whether that can be stopped in Lake Michigan.  

Salmon were brought in from the Pacific Ocean.  more...



Fishing  

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Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac prepares for il Mostro's arrival

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Chicago Yacht Club announces that it has received a request for invitation from the famous Volvo Ocean 70 Puma Ocean Racing boat il Mostro (Italian for ‘the monster’).

The 70-foot Goetz Custom Boats Volvo 70 was recently purchased by Chicago Yacht Club member Peter Thornton with the specific goal of bringing honors for the famous Royono Trophy back to Chicago Yacht Club.

The Royono trophy is awarded for the first monohull to cross the finish line. Mr. Thornton will retain the signature name for the boat ‘il Mostro’ and will berth her in a location yet to be determined in Chicago’s harbor system.

'I purchased the boat with the goal of sharing the race with my family and friends with whom I race with,' said Thornton.


Sailing  

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With gobies on the menu, snake species rebounds

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Masters student Jenny Smith holds a male gobie at the University of Windsor Biology Building on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The university is conducting research into scent male gobies use to attract females. The researchers are hoping to recreate the scent allowing them to trap the females.

Gobies, a despised invasive fish, are helping the endangered Lake Erie water snake make a comeback - by being dinner.

"I think it's kind of ironic," Ronald Brooks, of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, said Wednesday.

"Invasive species are considered to be a major threat to native species diversity but in this case it worked the opposite way."

Last year the snake, which is found only on a bunch of Lake Erie islands, including Pelee Island, and in Ohio, was removed from the U.S. endangered species list. It had been listed as threatened.

In Canada, COSEWIC reviews the status of species every 10 years and the last look at the endangered snake was in 2006.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Great Lakes shipping season begins in earnest with Soo Locks opening ahead of schedule

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The downbound Mesabi Miner, a 1,004-foot freighter loaded with 57,152 tons of coal, was the first ship through the Soo Locks in 2012, which opened for the season at noon today ahead of normal schedule.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the locks on Saturday 12 hours earlier than originally planned, marking the beginning of the Great Lakes shipping season. Shipping officials are projecting an increase in cargo shipments in 2012.  more...



Other  

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