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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Tribe opposing mine has its own water quality problems

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The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has been a sharp critic of the potential threat of pollution from a proposed iron ore mine, but the tribe is also grappling with environmental problems of its own.

Federal records show numerous violations of water quality standards at the tribe's wastewater treatment system serving residents of Odanah in Ashland County.

The violations include excessive levels of E. coli and phosphorus, as well as periods when the tribe failed to report data at all.  more...



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Getting techy: Satellite temperature readings can help Great Lakes anglers

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Want to make the most of your fishing day out on the Great Lakes? The Great Lakes Coastwatch is helping you do that.

The Great Lakes Coastwatch site provides surface water temperature charts based on readings taken by satellite several times a day.

Daniel O'Keefe, district extension Sea Grant educator with Michigan State University Extension, explains that two buoys in Grand Traverse Bay and Little Traverse Bay have "thermister strings," which means take temperatures at different depths in the lake.

"From a fisherman's perspective, you're basically looking for, during the summer, colder water. In the spring, you're looking for warmer water," said O'Keefe.  more...


Environment  Fishing  

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Thunder Bay Coast Guard radio station's closure raises concerns

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A federal plan to close Thunder Bay's Coast Guard radio station and monitor Lake Superior waters out of Sarnia is raising concerns among mariners and volunteer rescuers.

The Thunder Bay Coast Guard marine communications and traffic centre, which keeps a listening watch over the Canadian waters of Lake Superior, is one of 10 centres across the country slated to be closed in what Fisheries and Oceans Canada says is a move to adopt new technology. The cuts will reduce the number of stations nationwide from 22 down to 12 and the union representing radio operators in Thunder Bay says staffing is not expected to increase in Sarnia to handle the extra load.  more...



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Reports of dead whitefish in Lake Simcoe prompt investigation

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World-class facilities help buoy Georgina’s reputation as an ice fishing capital, but reports of dead fish in the lake are floating to the surface this week, as well.

The Natural Resources Ministry is aware of the situation but, at this point, has not confirmed reports of dead whitefish in Lake Simcoe.

“We have heard the reports from anglers calling in, as well as from the message boards,” said a ministry spokesperson.  more...



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Forecast calls for drought to persist in much of U.S.

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The nation's worst drought in decades is expected to persist and likely intensify across much of the drought-stricken parts of the Plains, Southwest and Rockies over the next several months, federal scientists announced Thursday.

The storm that dumped snow and rain across portions of the central United States this week will help, but much more would be needed to break the drought, said meteorologist David Miskus of the Climate Prediction Center.  more...



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Asian carp DNA in Chicago canals may not stem from live fish, study says

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Researchers have released preliminary results of a study showing that the Asian carp DNA routinely detected in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal could be getting into the waterway by means other than live fish.

Other potential pathways for the genetic material to make its way into waters above an electric fish barrier on the canal, about 35 miles downstream from Lake Michigan, include fish-eating birds, contaminated fishing gear, boat hulls, dead fish carried past the barrier on barges and flecks of DNA washed into the canal via storm sewers carrying fish waste.  more...



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Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail: Feds' $100,000 Grant Will Extend Michigan Lakeshore By 5 Miles

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On the shores of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is already heralded as America's most beautiful scenic overlook.

A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will help extend that beauty.

Departing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail will be extended by five miles, connecting the town of Glen Arbor north to the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Perch gone wild: Can drugs prompt a Great Lakes feeding frenzy?

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Could mood-altering drugs force Great Lakes fish into a feeding frenzy?

A new study from Sweden’s Umeå University finds that fish eat faster and become bolder when exposed to a common anti-anxiety drug. That poses serious questions for the Great Lakes, where the presence of pharmaceuticals has been documented.  more...


Environment  Other  

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Dredges planned due to low Lake Michigan

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Record low levels on Lake Michigan have left waterfront communities in the region and throughout the Great Lakes scrambling to save their summer boating seasons.

In New Buffalo, for example, an emergency dredge on a roughly 1,000-foot stretch of the Galien River is planned in the spring from the Whittaker Street bridge to the city's public boat launch.

Bob Stratton, owner of Service 1 Marine near New Buffalo, said the water is shallow enough to cause concern whether or not large boats will get into their slips without running aground.  more...


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Mitchell’s Bay channel dredged

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There might be a slight glimmer of hope for pleasure boaters on Lake St. Clair, which is near its all-time low.

The water level of Lake St. Clair is forecast to increase three inches over the next month.

The latest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report also states Lake Erie will rise two inches while Lake Ontario will rise an additional inch.

However, Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 18, 20 and 18 inches, respectively, lower than their levels a year ago.

The water level of Lake Superior is two inches higher than one year ago while Lakes Michigan and Huron are 13 inches lower.  more...



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Community eyes alternative dredging means

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Last week’s news that the Saugatuck-Douglas harbor was not among 49 named by the State Waterways Commission to split $21 million in grants for emergency dredging went over here like the silt that flow in from upstream yearly.

The state funds were designated for harbors of refuge and recreational harbors that offer municipal marinas or state facilities, Michigan Department of Natural Resources programs and grants unit manager Bill Boik told The Commercial Record Feb. 10. Kalamazoo Lake marinas are all private.  more...


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Great Lakes shipping industry sees increased cargo levels

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A view of some tugboats assisting a 579-foot McKee Sons freighter stuck in the Trenton Channel next to Grosse Ile.As industrial operations across the country spring back to life after the recession, the Great Lakes shipping industry has seen an uptick in cargo levels.

At the same time, there are several factors that could threaten the rebound, including problems with low lake levels and dredging of waterways.

U.S.-flag ships working on the Great Lakes carried 89.5 million tons of materials last year, and while that's down 14 percent from 2007, in 2011 it was down 4.6 percent.  more...



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Lake Ontario still wide open and warmer than average

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Lake Ontario Satellite Image.png
As long as the Great Lakes are open (relatively free of ice), then they can produce snow. And not only are the Great Lakes largely free of ice right now, (Satellite image above is from February 10, 2013.) but for the winter so far, they have been generally running above average in temperature.  more...


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Cruise ship visit to Saugatuck in jeopardy due to low water levels

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The second season of a cruise ship’s visit to Saugatuck could be in jeopardy because of low water levels.

The Yorktown is scheduled to visit the city seven times this year.

“I do not believe that there is enough water depth in our federally authorized channel for the ship to enter our port especially where our channel enters Lake Michigan,” Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau, wrote in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Marsh restoration brings long-missing birds, plants home again

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The restoration of a southeast Michigan marsh has already returned rare plants and birds to a Lake St. Clair park.

On tap: Yet more work to divert stormwater and reduce beach closings at the Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Among the birds returning after a nearly decade-long hiatus is the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus). A dark, duck-like bird with a flamboyant splash of red on its beak, the moorhen is threatened in Michigan.  more...



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