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community weblog - [ Environment ]

GOVERNOR CALLS FOR UNIFORM WATER STANDARDS

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Some Great Lakes governors have agreed they should adopt a consistent set of rules for determining whether their water is clean and safe.

Seven years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called on Great Lakes states to develop uniform standards for monitoring water quality. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says it's time to end the patchwork of water protection policies among the states that surround the lakes.

"Every state has different standards with respect to the water quality. For example, there may be eight different advisories in respect to fish consumption in all of the different eight states."    more...

EPA map of State and Tribal Fish Advisory Programs

The Michigan Governor's website



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We're wild for the wet word on the Great Lakes

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The news for the Great Lakes is all wet.

We couldn't have asked for anything more.

A cold and snowy winter, and above-average rainfall in March, have combined to give Lake Huron 7 more inches of water than this time last year.

It's just a half a foot, but it reverses six years of falling Great Lakes levels.

Drought, hot summers and warm winters conspired to cause the decline in lake levels to near-record lows.

But the rise in rain and snow - and especially a nice, big cap of ice this winter that prevented evaporation - have left much more water in the lakes.   more...

 



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City says it will take better care of riverbank

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Mayor Daley vowed Thursday to speed the rebirth of the Chicago River -- the city's "second waterfront" -- with a "comprehensive agenda" that improves both water quality and the neglected riverbank.

Zoning the river for commercial, industrial and recreational use and regulating a riverbank vital to preserving the habitat are just some of the changes expected to be included in the new river agenda.

The city's plan coincides with a study by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that could produce more rigorous standards for sewage pumped into canals and channels.    more...

 



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Celebrate Earth Day

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The Clinton River Watershed Council will kick off a campaign called "Our Water. Our Future. Ours to Protect," on Saturday to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day.

The campaign is a seven-county effort led by SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) to improve water quality in southeast Michigan.

The campaign will focus on "Seven Simple Steps to Clean Water."

The seven simple steps are:

  • Keep pollution out of storm drains.

  • Fertilize caringly and sparingly.

  • Carefully store and dispose of household cleaners, chemicals and oil.

  • Clean up after your pet.

  • Practice good car care.

  • Choose earth-friendly landscaping.

  • Save water.

    Jessica Pitelka Opfer, Executive Director of the Clinton River Watershed Council said the campaign will allow people to do their part to protect water quality.
    more...



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    Au Sable trout will find cleaner water in Grayling

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    GRAYLING -- The Au Sable River sparkles in the spring sunshine, its clear, smooth-flowing waters carrying food and oxygen to brown, brook and rainbow trout.

    A quick eruption of water marks the spot where a trout has risen for a black stone fly, one of the numerous insects that hatch and lay eggs of the next generation.

    This spring ritual will bring tens of thousands of anglers to northern Michigan streams for Saturday's opening of the inland trout season.

    A group of anglers and civic leaders hopes that when those fishermen arrive next spring, the water will carry far less of something else -- contaminants that pour into the river through a storm drain system.    more...

     



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    $1 MILLLON ROTARY GRANT WILL PROMOTE GREAT LAKES STEWARDSHIP

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                TRAVERSE CITY, MI (For Immediate Release) ­ Great Lakes
    freshwater and its growing prominence as a worldwide issue were recognized
    February 17 with a $1 million grant awarded to Northwestern Michigan
    College's Great Lakes Campus Redevelopment and Water Studies Institute
    programs.

                The grant was made by Rotary Charities of Traverse City and the
    two community Rotary Clubs. It was announced at the Tuesday noon club's
    weekly meeting by current president Paul LaPorte.  It represents, said
    LaPorte, a Centennial Community Project of Rotary Charities and the two
    clubs, in observance of Rotary International¹s 100th anniversary.

                Water was a natural theme for our Centennial Project since
    we¹re surrounded by it, explained the president.  And forming an alliance
    with NMC and its Great Lakes Water Institute (WSI) to promote and enhance
    the stewardship of the lakes seems like the right thing to do.

                Over its 25-year history, Rotary Charities has awarded millions
    of dollars to scores of regional environmental and conservancy groups.  This
    gift, said LaPorte, is a natural extension of that impactful grant history,
    in addition to an opportunity to mark the international service¹s club's
    100th birthday.

                The grant will assist the institute to:

    ·     Seek additional seed funding for significant water research;

    ·     Create new water student internships;

    ·     Develop new partnership programs to help achieve regional water
    management goals;

    ·     Introduce new water education programs at the college;

    ·     And establish a long-term funding vehicle to ensure the sustainability
    of the Great Lakes Water Institute.

    At the meeting to accept the award was NMC President Tim Nelson

    along with water institute and college officials.  He acknowledged
    Rotarians¹ generosity, noting that the WSI was created last year because NMC
    recognized the immense significance of water resources to the region's
    quality of life, economy and the world. WSI is located in NMC¹s new Great
    Lakes Campus with access to labs, research facilities, classrooms and West
    Grand Traverse Bay.  Its missions involve three components:  curriculum,
    collaboration and convening, said Nelson.

                Although all the missions are important, Nelson pointed out, he
    envisions the convening component as perhaps the most critical. Our goal is
    to make the WSI the worldwide center for freshwater studies.
                Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in a taped phone message
    played at Tuesday's meeting, lauded Rotarians for their generosity and
    giving history in the region, and NMC officials for their foresight.  The
    world is the beneficiary, remarked the governor.  Thank you for helping
    Michigan lead the way.

    Dee Lawton Smith
    Lawton Gallagher Group
    125 East Front Street, Suite 201
    Traverse City, MI 49684
    (231) 883-3388



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    Earth Day holds a special significance for Michigan

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    Here in the heart of the Great Lakes, it's always appropriate to put the Earth Day focus on water. As global warming scenarios increasingly emphasize the fragility of the world's water supplies, it feels particularly important today to renew the responsibility entrusted to all of us here.

    Not every climate change scenario is equally dire, of course, but scientific assessments of current water supplies aren't reassuring, either. Aquifers in some parts of this continent and the world may not sustain their residents through a Dust Bowl-type drought, let alone into a continuously warmer future. In several mountainous regions of the world where cities depend on glacial melt for their drinking water, ice is melting so fast that scientists foresee the glaciers disappearing altogether.    more...

     



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    Visclosky seeks $5M for lakeshore group

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    In an effort to open public land along Lake Michigan to more people, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., requested nearly $5 million for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when he testified Wednesday before the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

    "Every day, water and access to water becomes more valuable, so this is the time to act," Visclosky said.

    Park officials agreed.   more...


     



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    GLERL's 30th Anniversary Open House Celebration!

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    Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)

    Sunday, April 25, 2004

    1:00 – 5:00 PM

    Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
    2205 Commonwealth Blvd
    Ann Arbor, MI
    (Parking in GLERL’s lot:
    directions to GLERL)

    Please join us for an Open House event with briefings and exhibits highlighting GLERL’s research activities including:

    • A timeline outlining key accomplishments and events over GLERL’s 30-year history
    • Fisheries Research
    • Climate Change and Watershed Models
    • Contaminants
    • Invasive Species
    • Great Lakes Observing Systems
    • Physical Oceanography
    • CoastWatch Satellite Imagery
    • Lake Physics

    Also, in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service, we will provide space at the event for a temporary postal substation where visitors can purchase postal stamps and have postage cancelled with a pictorial cancellation, designed in celebration of GLERL’s 30th Anniversary. This is a real opportunity to obtain a unique philatelic souvenir!

    Hope to see you on Sunday!   more...

     



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    Boaters suffer low-water headaches

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    (04/21/04)-- Residents along three mid-Michigan lakes are upset about the level of the water-or lack of it. Authorities recently opened a dam and may have let out too much water. 

    There are three lakes in southern Genesee County whose levels controlled by a dam in Linden. They are Ponemah, Squaw and Tupper.

    People who use the lakes say the water levels are too low and need to be raised.   more...

     



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    Drilling fees could help save lakes

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    Billions of dollars from offshore drilling fees should be spent on ocean research and protection, including the waters of the "fourth seacoast,'' the Great Lakes, a new report says.

    "Major changes are urgently needed,'' says a preliminary report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, billed as the government's first comprehensive look at ocean policies in 35 years.

    Threatened by pollution, overfishing, soil erosion and shoreline development, ''our oceans and coasts are in trouble,'' said retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Watkins, who chaired the commission.   more...

     



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    Earth Day: 300 conservationists ready

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    On the eve of the 34th Earth Day, Rochester-area conservationists last night used an environmental forum to highlight local issues, including wetlands preservation, light-rail transit and sprawl.

    Add to that water quality, organic farming, hiking trails, energy conservation, recycling and neighborhood notification before using lawn pesticides, “something we’re just not going to give up on,” said Frank Regan of Rochester.   more...

     



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    Phosphorus fertilizer ban might cover state

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    Restrictions on the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer, in place only in the Twin Cities, would expand statewide under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

    The proposal passed the full House on Monday and is expected to pass the Senate in coming days.

    It would prohibit most Minnesota homeowners from spreading fertilizer containing phosphorus, which is blamed for over-fertilizing lakes and streams.

    Phosphorus contributes to algae growth, which can drastically alter a waterway's ecosystem. Experts say one pound of phosphorus can produce 300 to 700 pounds of algae.   more...

     



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    Funding targets lake cleanup

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    The province has earmarked $13 million for environmental projects to clean up Lake Ontario, government sources told Osprey News Network.

    Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky and Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay are scheduled to make the announcement today at a news conference in Toronto.

    “The Great Lakes serve as a valued natural resource and must not be taken for granted,” Dombrowsky says in a press release.   more...


     



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    Carved by glaciers

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    Mike Latus stood on the Lake Michigan shoreline and talked about glaciers

    "This whole lakeshore is basically the result of glaciers," said Latus, who will run the Outdoor Explorer Program at Warren Dunes State Park this summer,

    Back some 12,000 years or more, the park near Sawyer and the rest of the area were covered by glaciers thousands of feet thick.

    In this part of the world, areas that haven't been rearranged and changed by man generally bear some imprint of the glaciers.

    They created the Great Lakes, giving us the beautiful shorelines that attract both local residents and tourists.   more...

     



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