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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Expert, Coast Guard urge caution after trees, other debris spotted near Lake Michigan

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boat-grand-haven-file.JPGWe're back with Vol. 2, Ep. 2 of our weekly summer Boat Talk column, and this week, we beg our lake-faring readers to be on the lookout for potentially hull-piercing debris reportedly showing up in West Michigan waterways.

Historic flooding in April led to troublesome buildup in the Holland and Grand Haven channels that feed Lake Michigan, with picnic tables, Dumpsters and even whole trees floating through like it was nobody's business.  more...



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Quick fixes not answer to lake level

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As lake levels go down, the pressure on government to “do something” goes up.

That’s a predictable response, and it’s also a bit frightening. “First, do no harm” may be a guiding principle in emergency medicine, but it has yet to catch on with the political class.

At the moment, the favored option of the “do-something” crowd is a proposal to spend more than $200 million to install inflatable weirs and sluice gates on the St. Clair River. If these were to work as intended, they would gradually raise the Huron-Michigan pool by five to 10 inches.  more...


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Coast Guard warns of flood-related debris in Michigan

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Boaters should be on the lookout for large trees, logs and other debris let loose into Michigan waterways in part by spring flooding, the U.S. Coast Guard has warned.

Debris is of concern in the Grand River, which empties into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven, as well as other waterways, MLive.com reported. Boaters in the Grand Haven and Holland areas are among those being urged to use caution.  more...



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Emergency dredging helps

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Emergency dredging projects should salvage the boating season for many of Michigan's public harbors, but this summer could still prove frustrating for those who use and operate certain marinas.

Record-low lake levels have plagued harbors throughout the Great Lakes as well as inland waterways, prompting state lawmakers to approve about $21 million for emergency dredging projects at 58 public harbors and marinas this year.  more...



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Mr. Great Lakes: Surveying fish, picking beach litter and mapping Phragmites with satellites

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This week Kart discusses fish research on Lake Huron, cleaning up beaches and using satellite data to map phragmites.  more...


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Warming Lake Superior already affecting fish

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Warm water might already be changing the makeup and distribution of fish in Lake Superior, a new study suggests.

Increasing water temperatures over the last three decades have made conditions more favorable for chinook salmon, walleye and lean lake trout but less favorable for cold water-loving siscowet lake trout.

The research was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant and led by Tim Cline, now at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington.  more...



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Non-native species invade Lake Erie

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An Asian carp was pulled from the Scajaquada Creek where it flows into the Black Rock Channel. Now, take a moment and catch your breath. This occurred May 17, 2007.

It appears to be the only documented Asian carp plucked from Buffalo Niagara’s waterways.

And it’s likely that the fish had been previously sterilized by man and dropped into the waters to help control underwater plant growth, according to a SUNY Buffalo State scientist whose late colleague snagged the fish.  more...



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Canadian firm's nuclear waste plan near Lake Huron stirs Michigan fears

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A Canadian company's plan to store nuclear waste near Lake Huron is alarming environmental groups and some Michigan lawmakers, who fear the project could eventually harm the Great Lakes.

For years, Ontario Power Generation has pushed to construct a deep geologic repository — a massive underground storage facility to handle low- to intermediate-level nuclear wastes — on the grounds of its Bruce nuclear facility near Kincardine, Ont. The company wants to locate its storage facility 2,230 feet below the ground and three-quarters of a mile from the Lake Huron shore.  more...



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Restoring an ancient Great Lakes fish

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Sturgeon have lived in the Great Lakes longer than humans have walked the earth. But the ancient fish now need our help to stay here. A joint project by the federal and state officials with a Native American tribe is trying to do that by rebuilding habitat for lake sturgeon in the Kalamazoo River. WMUK’s Brian Petersen went along to find out how it’s done.  more...


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Lake levels won’t fix themselves

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An international group recently looked at the issue of low water levels and what could be done to try and amend the situation.

The Joint International Commission called for a study to explore the impact of placing inflatable gates or other devices in the St. Clair River at the southern end of Lake Huron as a way to stop outflow from the lake.

Officials say dredging, mining and other human activities eroded the river bottom in the last century, accelerating the outflow from Lake Huron toward Lake Erie. Lake Michigan is also drained via its connection to the other Great Lakes.  more...



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Climb a Michigan dune and see it all

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When you dig your hands and feet into the sand of one of Michigan’s towering dunes, you’re participating in thousands of years of history.These enormous sand formations along the state’s Lake Michigan coast were formed, like the Great Lakes themselves, by glaciers dominating the land of 16,000 years ago. When those glaciers retreated and melted, they left behind the rocks and clay that eventually, through erosion, became the dunes.  more...


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Heavy rains carry more phosphorous into Lake Erie

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Another one of those uh-oh moments related to Lake Erie, its fish and its fishermen was reported in The Dispatch last week.

Heavy rains this spring have washed an estimated 210 tons of phosphorous from farm fields inside the Maumee River watershed, Jeffrey Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant Program, told an Ohio Senate Finance Subcommittee last week. Depending on future rainstorms, even more phosphorous could be heading toward Lake Erie.  more...



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Federal Legislation Would Help With Great Lakes Dredging

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 A $200 million backlog in Great Lakes harbor and channel dredging would end with a bill that just passed the U.S. Senate.

There is a lot at stake economically when ships have to load light: carry less cargo, or risk running aground in the Great Lakes. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc) says this bill will allow the Great Lakes to catch up on digging projects over the next six to seven years, putting the Great Lakes in better position to compete with the ocean ports. more...



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Rising Lake Superior temperatures affecting fish species

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A new study shows that climate change could mean better conditions for some Lake Superior fish species, but worse for others.

Surface water temperatures on Lake Superior increased by about 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1979 and 2006. That's one of the fastest rates of any lake on earth. The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin shows that warming has created more suitable habitat in the lake for some fish, like Chinook salmon, walleye, and lean lake trout, but less favorable conditions for siscowet lake trout, a fatty fish that thrives in cold water. more...



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Work done at ex-brownfield site on Detroit River

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Major environmental restoration work has been completed on a former industrial site along the Detroit River, officials announced Saturday.

Wayne County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others have been working for nearly a decade on the restoration of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Gateway in Trenton.  more...



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