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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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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Stateside
4:54 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

The creatures you're most likely to encounter in the Great Lakes

Ever wonder what you can find below the surface of our Great Lakes? David Jude tells us on today's Stateside.

Jude is a research scientist emeritus at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.

Jude says the most fish-populated lake is Lake Erie. It’s shallow, has very diverse habitat, and as a result, has high species diversity. The least-populated lake is Lake Superior because of its cold temperatures and depth.

In his experience, Jude says the species you are most likely to see in each of the lakes are:

  • Lake Erie – round goby, yellow perch, gizzard shad, brook silverside, largemouth and smallmouth bass;
  • Lake Huron – spottail shiner, quagga and zebra mussels, emerald shiner, walleye, and lake herring;
  • Lake Ontario – Atlantic salmon, round goby, gizzard shad, spottail shiner, yellow perch, and white perch;
  • Lake Michigan – spottail shiner, round goby, and yellow perch;
  • Lake Superior – lake herring, emerald shiner, and longnose dace.

*Listen to the full interview with David Jude above.

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The Salt
5:36 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Lake Erie's Toxic Bloom Has Ohio Farmers On The Defensive

Paul Herringshaw says farmers like him have been taking steps to reduce crop runoff for years.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 7:15 pm

A giant algae bloom is still making the waters in the western part of Lake Erie look like a thick, green pea soup. Toxins in that muck seeped into the water supply of Toledo, Ohio, last weekend, forcing officials to ban nearly half a million people from using tap water. A big cause of the algae proliferation isn't a mystery — it's crop runoff. And local farmers are on the defensive.

Six miles from Lake Erie is Ron Schimming's 400-acre soybean and corn farm.

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Stateside
12:26 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

The North Channel: The Great Lakes' best kept secret

The Benjamin Islands in the North Channel are a favorite spot to anchor for a night.
Emily Fox

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:15 pm

  You don’t hear much about Lake Huron. It’s home to what is known as the North Channel. It's filled with hundreds of islands. It's like the Caribbean, but instead of sand and palm trees, you have rock and pine trees. So why does Lake Huron often get ignored when we talk about the Great Lakes the surround our state?

Roy Eaton joined us on Stateside to answer that very question. He's the weatherman and newscaster for the North Channel. His broadcast, Cruisers’ Net, airs every morning at 9 in the summer on VHF radio.

The North Channel is located at the northern side of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world.

Eaton has sailed all the Great Lakes, Bermuda, Antigua, the Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys.  Yet he says Lake Huron’s North Channel is his favorite. The geography is what draws the eye and what lands the North Channel the top ratings of best places to boat in international boating magazines like Cruising World and Sailing.

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The Environment Report
9:07 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Making the Great Lakes safer for swimming, fishing and drinking the water

Apostle Island National Park on Lake Superior. The International Joint Commission's Health Professionals Advisory Board wants to examine contaminants at beaches among other indicators of the overall health of the Great Lakes.
User: carol mitchell Flickr

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:22 pm

The Environment Report for July 31, 2014

Just in case the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement isn’t on your summer reading list, here’s the gist of it:

It’s an agreement between the U.S. and Canada. One of the goals of that agreement is to make the Great Lakes more swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization. It gives advice to the U.S. and Canada on meeting those goals, among other things. The IJC has a Health Professionals Advisory Board, and the board’s come out with a report proposing five ways to measure risks to our health from contaminants and other hazards in the Great Lakes.

The advisory board is proposing these indicators:

  • The chemical integrity of source water
  • Biological hazards of source water
  • Illness risk at Great Lakes beaches
  • Identified risks at Great Lakes beaches
  • Contaminant levels in fish

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