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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Water's journey from Lake Michigan to tap

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As much of the nation, and the world, deals with water shortages, the metropolitan region has no such issues thanks to our proximity to Lake Michigan, but that could all change as the population continues to climb. more...


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Wild Atlantic salmon found in Salmon River for first time in more than a century

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Scientists recently discovered wild young Atlantic salmon in New York's Salmon River, a tributary to Lake Ontario. This is the first time in more than a century that salmon produced naturally in the wild have been found in what was once New York's premier salmon stream.  more...

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Don't let the goose poop fool you: Toronto's beaches are squeaky clean

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Sun bathers relax on the beach on the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto.Goose poop may spot the sand like squishy land mines, fuzzy algae may wave their tentacles ominously along the shoreline, but don't let the ick-factor fool you: By at least one set of international standards, Toronto's beaches are clean. more...

Environment  Nav and Harbors  

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Action urged on Lake Huron's loss of water

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Environmental groups are ratcheting up the pressure on the International Joint Commission to do something about Lake Huron water being lost through the St. Clair River.

The 20th century closed with three decades of Great Lakes water levels being above their historical average, a sign of health to many who live near the lakes or play on them. But the new century has brought the opposite. Up until 18 months ago, levels had dropped in most of the Lakes.  more...



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Carpe diem for carp?

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Participants in the Redneck Carp Tournament in Bath, Ill., attempt to catch silver Asian carp. The notorious, high-flying fish have inhabited Illinois waters for years and are on the verge of occupying the Great Lakes.   (ERIC SHARP/Detroit Free Press)The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers probably has done more environmental damage to this country than any other single entity, with the exception of farming.

Its dams, canals and other projects have destroyed wetlands, wiped out fish-spawning areas, flooded valleys, caused serious erosion problems and imported more exotic animals than anyone since Noah.

I've spent half my working life in Florida and half in Michigan. Based on the ecological debacles I've seen the corps create in both states, it's clear that its modus operandi is spend money now, worry about potential long-term problems later.  more...



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Upper Great Lakes water levels inch higher

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The water levels of Lakes Superior and St. Clair crept upward by 1-2 inches over the past month, and Lakes Michigan and Huron held steady, according to a report issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Meanwhile, the levels of Lakes Erie and Ontario dropped by 2 inches between July 14 and Aug. 14, the report said.  more...



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Film takes look at water control

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 TRAVERSE CITY -- A documentary about the worldwide water crisis will debut in northern Michigan Monday, 7 p.m., at the State Theatre.

"Blue Gold: World Water Wars" looks at citizen efforts around the world, including in Michigan, to stop the privatization or control of water by large international companies.  more...



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Black River fish kill claims thousands

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Thousands of fish were killed in a 12-mile section of the Black River, the result of an apparent manure spill, officials said Wednesday.

"We think it is probably a total wipeout of the population ... ," said Gary Towns, supervisor of the Lake Erie Management Unit for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division.

The affected area of the river is in St. Clair and Sanilac counties, from about 3 miles south of Croswell to the center of the Port Huron State Game Area.  more...



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More dredging set for Saginaw River and Bay, along with expansion of Channel Island

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More dredging is coming to the Saginaw River and Bay, and with it, more concerns about the environmental impact of the work.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts to continue clearing the navigational channel in the Upper Saginaw River, from Bay City south to Saginaw, and the Saginaw Bay channel, at the river mouth.   more...



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Get to the bottom of toxic groundwater in Michigan

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When your own well water turns on you, it might seem like a scene from a horror movie. But numerous Michigan families are living that script since it's become clear that wastewater from food processing plants can set off a chain reaction that ultimately contaminates groundwater.  more...



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More E. coli in sand than water

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On average, beach sand contains levels of E. coli 10 to 100 times
higher than beach water, according to researchers.

If you've just built a sand castle on the beach, you might want to rinse your hands before you scarf down that hot dog.

A new study published this week suggests beach sand contains far more E. coli and parasites than beach water does, and could cause gastrointestinal illness.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey conducted experiments with sand collected from a beach on the shore of Lake Michigan near Chicago and found that just a few grains of sand on your fingertips could lead to cases of illness, such as diarrhea.  more...



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Carp detected near barrier

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Asian carp are on the move north and are likely within about 10 miles of an electric barrier designed to keep the giant filter feeders from invading the Great Lakes.

A new type of DNA testing indicated last week that silver carp had cleared one of the last physical obstacles standing between the fish and Lake Michigan, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

For several years, the northern migration of the silver carp, which can grow to 50 pounds, had stalled in a pool just above the Dresden Island Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River southwest of Joliet, Ill. - about 20 miles downstream from the barrier.  more...



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DNR seeks Great Lakes funding

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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will seek millions of dollars next month in the first installment of federal funding to restore the Great Lakes. Todd Ambs, director of the DNR's division of water, said his agency will team up with other agencies, environmental groups and the private sector to get funding for cleanup projects.  more...

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Chemical levels down but still high

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Slowly but surely things are getting better on Georgian Bay, but they are far from perfect says a report from an evironmental watchdog group.

Fish in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay contain fewer chemical contaminants than they did four years ago, according to a new report.

But overall levels of chemicals in Great Lakes fish are still alarmingly high, says Environmental Defence, an advocacy group for health and the environment.   more...



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Number of barrels dumped into Lake Superior may be half of what was expected

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Recovery of Department of Defense barrels dumped into Lake Superior half a century ago will begin next summer. Mike Simonson reports from Red Cliff.

But in a report released this weekend, the number of barrels dumped may be half of what has been previously thought. more...



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