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. 

CREDIT STEVEN DEPOLO/FLICKR - HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/STEVENDEPOLO/5233546650

Swiss company Nestle has been criticized for its plan to take more water out of northern Michigan. Opponents say the company wants to take too much water from the area – and an increase in pumping will degrade streams and wetlands. But the company denies the allegations.

Standing on the shores of the Great Lakes on a sunny late-summer day, it’s virtually impossible to think of those sparkling waves as a death trap.

But divers have seen what those angry lakes can do to a ship.

Becky Kagan Schott, noted underwater photographer, joined Stateside to discuss what it’s like to document these untouched wrecks.

University of Michigan

The state of Michigan will sponsor a new analysis of the risks posed by an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. 

In June, the state cancelled a contract with a firm doing a previous risk study, when it learned one of the firm’s researchers was also working on a project for Enbridge – the company that operates Line 5. 

Michigan’s energy chief says damage to the protective coating on an oil and gas pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac was worse than initially reported.

Antidepressants that people take are building up in the brains of fish like walleye, bass, and perch. Researchers studied fish from the Niagara River, which connects lakes Erie and Ontario.

ANGELICA A. MORRISON

Lake Erie is a route for huge freighters carrying cargo to cities like Cleveland and Buffalo. Now a company wants to use the lake to transport another product: electricity.

It plans to run an underwater electrical cable from Canada to the U.S. That would be the first one to cross any of the Great Lakes.

Listen to today's Environment Report.

Around the Great Lakes, millions of dollars are spent to fight invasive species like Asian carp. But when scientists find a new animal or plant in the area, it’s not always clear if it’s harmful or helpful.

Conservation Resource Alliance

The Boardman River Dam is gone. The river is flowing freely through an area that used to be a pond. It’s the second of three dams to be removed in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to return the waterway to a more natural state.

Why we could have more toxic blooms in our warming world

Aug 22, 2017

There’s a green bloom of cyanobacteria on Lake Erie again. People who run water utilities and scientists are watching the bloom because the cyanobacteria can produce toxins called microcystins that are dangerous for people and pets. It's what made Toledo’s drinking water unsafe to drink in 2014.

Chris Winslow directs Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. He says the bloom’s covering about 10% of the western basin.

Autopsy reveals more on Asian carp caught near Lake Michigan

Aug 22, 2017

Cross section of Asian carp's vertebrae Credit U.S. Geological Survey Edit | Remove

Back in June, an Asian carp was caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan. Somehow it got past electric barriers designed to keep those fish out of the Great Lakes. Now an autopsy reveals new details.

Steven Depolo/Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5233546650

Water has been a dominant topic in Michigan politics in recent years, from the Flint water crisis to the controversy over the oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

There’s another water debate going on in northern Michigan. The Swiss company Nestle wants to boost the amount of water it pumps from a well in Osceola County, south of Cadillac. The water would be bottled under the company’s brand Ice Mountain. 

Local leaders and Native American groups are fiercely opposed to the increase, and the effort has been tied up at the state and local level. 

 


Most people have heard of a bird or wildlife sanctuary, but fewer are familiar with sanctuaries for shipwrecks.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of only 14 national marine sanctuaries in the entire country operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s situated in the northwest corner of Lake Huron, just off the shores of Alpena.

An Asian carp was caught this summer in a place where it shouldn’t be – beyond an electric barrier meant to keep the species out of Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes. Now, a researcher at Southern Illinois University is trying to figure out just how it got there.

Recently, a recreational fishing boat on the St. Clair River forced two freighters into a game of chicken by refusing to move out of their path at a point on the river near the Bluewater Bridge in Port Huron.

The first freighter sounded a warning and the fishing boat didn’t move, and the freighter managed to veer out of the way. When a second freighter came along about a half-hour late, the fishing boat headed straight for it.

Michigan environmental groups are frustrated with Ontario’s support for keeping an oil-and-gas pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The province’s Ministry of Energy sent Michigan a letter earlier this week that stressed the importance of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline to Ontario.

Environmental groups say this flies in the face of their efforts to shut down the pipeline. Line 5 carries crude oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac. Activists say it’s a massive environmental risk.

The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet. But their future is uncertain.

Every year, a Native American group called the Mother Earth Water Walkers treks hundreds of miles around the Great Lakes to raise awareness of water issues in the region.

This year, the group is making its 2,000 mile trip from Duluth, Minnesota to Matane, Quebec.

Stateside producer Mercedes Mejia caught up with the group near Leamington, Ontario, and learned that the walk is more than a call to action. For many, it's a spiritual journey that connects them to each other and to other indigenous communities.

NOAA

President Trump proposed ending a popular Great Lakes restoration program earlier this year. Michigan lawmakers from both parties criticized the idea. 

Now a U.S. House committee has released a bill that would keep federal dollars flowing to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for the next budget year. 

Panel Discussion: What's Next for Line 5?

Jul 7, 2017
Enbridge Energy

Environmentalists say the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac poses a risk to the Great Lakes, and the state is looking into it. Michigan recently received a list of potential replacements for the 64-year-old pipeline.

The U.S. Coast Guard has a message for us: knock it off with the prank calls. 

The Coast Guard is seeing a big jump in phony distress calls: more than 160 made across the Great Lakes so far this year.

State gets list of Line 5 replacements

Jun 30, 2017
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDY VIDEO

The state has released a list of possible alternatives to Enbridge’s Line 5, the oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The report was written by a contractor and details some of those alternatives.

 

Line 5 is a 64-year-old pipeline that has generated a lot of controversy. The report was commissioned by the state to look at all the options for replacing it.

 

 

 

At the same time the Trump Administration is pushing to slash funding for the Great Lakes, a commercial fisherman has discovered a live Asian carp just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

Duane Chapman is a research fish biologist who leads Asian carp research for the U.S Geological Survey. He told Stateside how the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee is formulating its next steps.

This week, experts are getting together in Ann Arbor to make a warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. We have on average 106 meteotsunamis in the lakes each year.

University of Michigan study video

Enbridge Energy says pressure tests on two sections of Line 5 that runs under the Straits of Mackinac show the pipeline is well-maintained and does not pose a threat to the Great Lakes.

Enbridge says a test over the weekend of the line that runs under the west bay of the Straits of Mackinac showed no signs of leaks or breaks. Enbridge ran a successful test of the east line earlier this month.          

David Cassleman

A group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced legislation in Washington, D.C. to authorize building a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie. 

Supporters of the project say a new lock is needed as a backup for the Poe Lock. 

Green infrastructure is the focus of a conference at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week.

The people behind it say it’s time to start thinking differently about how we handle storm water throughout the Great Lakes; but make sure we do it right.

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