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Enbridge to Increase Oil Flow through Straits of Mackinaw

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The same company responsible for the worst inland oil spill ever wants to increase the amount of oil going through its pipeline under the Straits of Mackinaw.
 
Enbridge Energy says it has increased safety inspections since the disaster at the Kalamazoo River a couple of years ago. And the company says the pipeline that runs underwater west of the Mackinaw Bridge is perfectly safe.
 
But a Great Lakes environmental group isn’t convinced and is trying to stop the plan.  more...


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Lake Express ferry owner criticizes Walker for backing SS Badger permit

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In a pointed letter to Gov. Scott Walker, the owner of Milwaukee's Lake Express ferry says the governor is wrong to ask the federal Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily extend a permit that allows the ferry SS Badger to continue to dump coal ash into Lake Michigan.
 
Sheldon B. Lubar, and his son, David, are the founders and owners of the Lake Express ferry, which operates between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich. The Badger, owned by Lake Michigan Carferry, operates between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. The Badger is the last coal-fired steamship on the Great Lakes.  more...


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Boating in a winter wonderland

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A beautiful view of the River CamI have lived afloat on my narrowboat Lucky Duck for over four years now. My home is only 48ft long and 7ft wide,  but I adore life on the river and I'd like to share a bit of it here.

I get a lot of questions from curious passers by when I am outside working on the boat on my Midsummer Common mooring. For my first post, I thought I'd answer one of the most common questions that we boaters get asked: "Does it get cold in winter?" 

The short answer is that no, it doesn't get cold, in fact it is pretty toasty warm if you get it right! The long answer is that in order to keep warm, we use similar systems to those found in houses. Many of us have central heating, but instead of using a boiler which runs on mains gas like most houses, boaters use little cast iron stoves.  more...



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Storing a boat for the winter? Get the scoop on E-10 gas

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Almost a full tank or nearly empty tank? That is the big question that boaters are now posed with in the midst of preparing their boats for the long winter hibernation. The concern is ethanol - an octane enhancing gasoline additive that has some unfortunate, harmful side effects on marine engines.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some tips learned from fuel industry insiders on how to store a boat with E-10 gasoline (containing 10% ethanol) over the winter.  more...


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Repairs Needed at Great Lakes Harbors & Piers

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There's no question that the Great Lakes are one of this region's biggest draws.

But, there are concerns that the "pier quality" is no longer up to par.

The issue is that the area right along the shoreline needs to be dredged and it's needed the work for decades.

Many harbor users are also complaining of the fact that some harbors are not being properly maintained. Vince Pierleoni is a charter boat operator and fisher. He's been on the job for 28 years and says the water levels are the lowest he's seen.   more...



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Shipping Brings Billions to The Northland

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The Twin Ports are among more than 100 commercial ports in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway system, but the local economic benefits of the ports have never been studied with the help of both the U.S. And Canada, until now.

The first bi-national survey to show the economic impact of shipping on the Great Lakes Seaway was presented to day to the Rotary Club of Duluth. It shows that the shipping industry supports over 11,500 jobs in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, (SLSDC) is a government agency that helps keep cargo ships running smoothly in the seaway and helped produce the study.  more...



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Boats running aground as lake levels head lower

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For many Michigan boat owners, these are the waning days of the best season of the year. The chill has set in and days of warm weekends on the water are pretty much over.

Typically, the last rite of the season is pulling the boats from the water and getting them into storage. But 2012 has not been like most years.

After a 12-month stretch of less-than-normal rain and snow, the bodies of Lake St. Clair and each of the Great Lakes are roughly a foot or more below their historic averages for this time of year with forecasts of record lows in the coming months. The levels have been down throughout the spring and summer and now, the lakes are beginning to see their seasonal decline — effectively making a bad situation worse.  more...



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Classic wooden canoe enthusiasts gather at river’s edge on the AuSable

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Antique_Canoes_1_009.JPGIt was a quintessential fall day: cool and sunny with color in the trees, bold splashes of yellow and orange lining the banks of the AuSable River. What made it all the more colorful was company I was keeping and the canoes they paddled, each made of wood and rich in history.

Floating close by was Dave McDaniel in his early 1950s Peterborough canoe, its varnished wood ribs finished bright.

McDaniel, a rugged looking man, paddled solo sporting a broad-brimmed hat. He appeared relaxed as he negotiated the river’s obstacles.  more...



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33 stranded on ferry in Lake Erie

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Thirty-three people will spend Thursday night on a ferry that has run aground near Kingsville, Ont., southeast of Windsor.

The Jiimaan, which services Pelee Island in Lake Erie, got hung up on a sandbar 60 metres (200 feet) off shore at 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

The ship is carrying 18 passengers, 15 crew members and two transport trucks hauling grain.

Low water levels are to blame for the incident, according to Susan Schrempf, president and CEO of the Owen Sound Transportation Company, which operates the ferry. She said days of high winds have moved sand into the channel and lowered the water levels.  more...



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12th Annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference

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The 2012 Great Lakes Beach Association conference will take place October 16-18, 2012, at the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Online registration for the GLBA Conference is now closed. Onsite registration will be available starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Please select from the links at right to find out more about the conference. We look forward to seeing you this fall on Mackinac Island!  more...


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Detroiters strongly back Belle Isle lease

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More than 66 percent of Detroit residents favor a deal by Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to turn Belle Isle into a state park, according to a Detroit News poll.

Despite heated criticism of the proposal at City Council meetings, nearly 51 percent of 800 Detroiters polled said they strongly approve of a deal to lease the island to the state, with the city retaining ownership. Another 15.5 percent said they somewhat approved the deal. more...



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Drought may shorten Great Lakes fall tourism

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A drought-shortened color season may blunt the impact of  Great Lakes fall tourism.

Stress induced by the dry summer may have leaves starting to fall a week or so earlier than normal, said Bert Cregg, a professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Forestry.

“I would say this past week and the weekend coming up are going to be the peak [in color],” he said referring to Michigan.

The truncated season has some tourism officials concerned.  more...



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Some see dollar signs in invasive fish

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 In 1673, French explorer Père Marquette traveled down the Illinois River. In his journal, he wrote of encounters with "monstrous fish" so large they nearly overturned his canoe. In all likelihood the fish Marquette was talking about were channel catfish, but nearly 340 years later another monster now harasses boaters on the Illinois -– the Asian Carp.
 
"Oh everybody hates ‘em, except for people that shoot ‘em and stuff like that. I hate ‘em when I’m trying to tube with my kids, but then when we’re trying to shoot ‘em I like them. So it’s a love-hate thing," said Josh Havens, a fisherman.  more...


Environment  Fishing  Other  

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No surprises in most recent sea lamprey study

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A surveying crew checking into sea lamprey populations in a few Presque Isle County streams found no surprises in a recent survey, and efforts to keep the parasite from breeding in the upper reaches of one river continue to show positive results.
 
Aaron Jubar, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish biologist, said surveys conducted between Sept. 11-20 in Northeast Michigan showed populations of sea lamprey larvae to be mostly under control.
 
"We did not find anything that would need a treatment sooner than what we might be expecting," he said.  more...


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Coast Guard asks boaters for navigation buoy advice

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In a few months the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock will head out to Lake Huron and the St. Clair River to pick up buoys for the winter, and replace them with navigational markers that can endure the ice and harsh conditions.
 
Before then, officials want to know what mariners think of the navigation tools.
 
The Coast Guard is conducting a study of the St. Clair River, the first one done since 2007, to determine if the navigational aids strung along the river are placed most effectively. more...


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