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.

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Great Lakes
10:25 am
Sat July 26, 2014

State Orders Enbridge To Fix Pipeline Through Mackinac Straits

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the state Department of Environmental Quality have officially told Enbridge Energy the company has to do a better job of securing an oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

The pipeline is part of a 1,900-mile network that runs from North Dakota to Sarnia, Ontario.

DEQ Director Dan Wyant says a state inquiry found the 61-year-old Enbridge pipeline that runs through the Mackinac Straits has fewer supports anchoring it than what’s called for in its lease with the state.

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Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Grab your surf board and hit...Lake Michigan?

Surfing on Lake Michigan

Surfing in Michigan?

It turns out good surfing is not found just on the North Shore of O’ahu or along the California cost. Try freshwater -- Lake Michigan.

Ella Skrocki is a surf instructor at Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak.

“Compared to the ocean, it’s not as consistent, but here on the lakes we get a really, really wonderful swell, through the fall is even greater than right now,” Skrocki said.

Skrocki said the inconsistency is actually what makes it special, because on the rare days when the waves start coming in everyone gets excited.

“We have a teeny, tiny community here and everyone gets to connect with each other,” she said.

Skrocki said the best days for a swell is actually when beach goers are in their homes.

“You get these giant storms that bring in on and off shore winds and that creates the waves," she said.

It’s best to wear a wetsuit when surfing on the lakes to protect from the cold water. The surfing season is mainly in the fall, late September through late November.

Skrocki said her best spot to surf really depends on the wind direction, but she prefers Frankfurt, Leland, and Marquette.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

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Michigan Environment
2:09 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Oil Spill At Straits Would Affect 'Immense' Area -- According To New Study

Credit David J. Schwab of the University of Michigan Water Center

An oil spill at the Straits of Mackinac could affect an 'immense' area of the upper Great Lakes – according to a new study. A University of Michigan researcher has simulated how oil would spread if a major spill happened there. Enbridge runs a pipeline under the Straits, which has drawn criticism from people concerned with the 60-year old pipe's safety.

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Great Lakes
10:51 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Coastal Revolution In Lake Michigan?

Credit Michigan Sea Grant

Lake Michigan was recently recognized as one of the best places in America to fish for bass. The booming fishery is one sign of what might be a major shift of the lake’s food web. One biologist recently referred to the change as a "revolution."

Even though there are winners, like people fishing for bass, the change is being driven by an invasive species. And it could mean trouble for the most popular sport fish in Lake Michigan.

Chris Noffsinger has an unusual specialty as a fishing guide. He shows you where to catch bass.

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Water Quality
12:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Kids Creek Is Still Polluted -- But Improving

Credit David Cassleman

Local groups have spent more than a decade trying to clean up Kids Creek in Traverse City. Although the stream looks clean, scientists say it’s still polluted. Runoff from storms is polluting the stream as it winds north along US-31, eventually flowing into the Boardman River.

Dozens of other rivers and lakes in northern Michigan have similar problems. And people are finding it difficult to restore damaged waterways to acceptable standards.

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