Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are together the largest freshwater system on 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. Here you'll find stories and sounds of the Great Lakes.


8:41 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Taking aim at the fish-eating sea lamprey

Sea lamprey

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:42 am

Beginning on Sept. 9, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will start to apply lamprey-killing pesticides into the Muskegon River.

The sea lamprey is a blood-sucking eel-like invasive species living in the Great Lakes. The fish is native to the north Atlantic ocean and got into the Great Lakes around 1920. The numbers proliferated since then.

Michael Twohey is a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He says that the lamprey is devastating to the native fish population.

“They are very efficient fish-eating machines. Each one consumes about 40 pounds of lake trout in its lifetime," says Twohey.

That's why the sea lamprey killing is planned for the Muskegon River system, using a chemical called TFM. Twohey says it's remarkably benign to most other creatures. The chemical will kill the sea lamprey larvae and largely leave everything else intact.

"We just can't have a sustainable fishery without sea lamprey control programs," says Twohey.

*Listen to the interview with Michael Twohey above. 

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Great Lakes
5:35 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Could Great Lakes Fisheries Be Revived Through Fish Farms?

Opponents of Michigan fish farms say there is no room for them in the lakes because of sport fishing and other recreational activities.

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 7:20 pm

Even though Michigan is surrounded by more than 20 percent of the world's freshwater, fish farming is largely unheard of there.

But this summer, the aquaculture industry took a step forward. And that has touched off a debate over the appropriateness of fish farming on the Great Lakes.

There's only one company now in Michigan that raises fish for restaurants and grocery stores in large volumes. It's a family business, run by Dan Vogler, on a few acres near Harrietta, Mich., population 143.

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Great Lakes Economy
1:24 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Great Lakes shipping picks up after slow start

Credit Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

Great Lakes shipping has rebounded this summer after a sluggish start to the season.

Icy waters slowed shipping in the spring – but total cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway are now up 3 percent compared to last year, according to Betty Sutton. She is the Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

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The Environment Report
11:27 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Sturgeon release party planned for Kalamazoo River

This Saturday, September 6, about 35 juvenile sturgeon will be released into the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond.
Photo courtesy of USFS, Rob Elliott

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 11:43 am

This Saturday, 35 baby sturgeon will be released into the Kalamazoo River at a sturgeon release party. It’ll be in New Richmond and it’s open to the public.

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Extreme Sports
6:23 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Traverse City paddleboarders hope to cross Lake Michigan

Credit Stand Up for Great Lakes

  Five friends from Traverse City are looking to cross Lake Michigan later this month on stand-up paddleboards. (You might have heard this called SUP. It looks something like a surfboard, but riders face forward and they use a paddle to ply through the water).

Andrew Pritchard says the team is looking forward to a serious challenge.

“You’re using almost every muscle in your body,” he says. “So it’s going to be very physically strenuous and I’m sure by the end of it it’s going to have taken a toll on our bodies and probably our minds a little bit.”

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