Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth's surface, home to a fragile fishery, and delicate shoreline beaches and dunes. They are also central to northern Michigan tourism, economies and our way of life. 

Today in 1958, the Carl D. Bradley sank

Nov 18, 2015

Thirty-three men lost their lives when the freighter Carl D. Bradley broke in two during a terrible storm on Lake Michigan.

Elizabeth Kowalski's brother, Bernard Schefke, died that day.   

"A girlfriend called me on the phone and told me that one of our boats had gone down,” she recalls. “She had a husband who sailed, too.  And she said, ‘don't worry, it's not our boat, it's the Bradley.’ And I said, ‘Oh my God, my brother's on that boat!’”

Only two men survived the storm.  Out of the 33 who perished, 26 were from the small town of Rogers City.

Illustrated for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in 1860

On the 40th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, we got to thinking about how much the media has covered this particular event. With 8,000 known wrecks on the Great Lakes alone, why would this wreck be so popular? And why does it seem like our collective knowledge of maritime history starts and ends with the Edmund Fitzgerald? 

The best explanation seems to be Gordon Lightfoot and his chart-topping song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” 


A scientific panel weighs in on fish farming

Nov 3, 2015

A report on fish farming in the Great Lakes suggests Michigan should move carefully if it allows the industry to start up.

State officials asked a panel of scientists to study the issue. There have been two proposals from companies that want to start raising rainbow trout in net pens in the Great Lakes.

Canadians raise millions of trout in Lake Huron every year and some people want Michigan to do the same.

The Coast Guard is investigating a leak from a 78-year-old tank barge in western Lake Erie that's believed to be the Argo.

It sank in a storm in 1937.

Researchers are finding flame retardants and stain repellent chemicals in herring gull eggs in the Great Lakes region.

These chemicals are used in a lot of consumer products, but they can last a long time in the environment and some of them can build up in the food web.