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.
Tuesday evening there was an historic vote in Congress for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The U.S. House voted to create the park’s first-ever formal wilderness plan. The bill now awaits the president’s signature.
Our conversation with Deputy Park superintendent Tom Ulrich on the long process toward the wilderness plan, and what it means for the future of Sleeping Bear. Also, Congressman Dan Benishek explains why it took years for Congress to pass a wilderness plan that had broad public support.
As our long, cold, snowy winter has dragged on, one result can be seen with stunning clarity from outer space. Satellite photos prove that the Great Lakes are nearly totally covered with ice, and we're close to setting a record for the most ice cover in 34 years.
We wondered if we might break that record, and we wondered what this will mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today (Monday) on a plan to designate 32,500 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.
The move comes after more than a decade of debate both in northern Michigan and in Washington.
Under the legislation there are specific protections for hunting and fishing. Congressman Dan Benishek says the bill also ensures natural features will be protected, along with county roads, access to the water and historic structures.
Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.
Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Today, the Midwest got a reprieve from this winter's bitter cold. But that long, deep freeze has created so much ice cover on the Great Lakes that it's near record levels. It's also really tempting for many people who want to walk out on the ice.
As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports while that may be fun, it is also dangerous.
State lawmakers say they’re concerned that more isn’t being done by federal authorities to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. Those concerns were part of a joint legislative hearing involving four separate House and Senate committees. They took issue with a recent Army Corps of Engineers study. It outlined options and costs, but made no specific recommendations. The plans could run into the billions of dollars and take 25 years to complete.
This will just have to count as one of the wonders of nature. A Michigan power plant dumps a lot of warm water into Lake Erie. The warm water attracts fish. The fish attract bald eagles. Almost 200 of them have been nesting at the DTE Energy plant. It is not so easy for people to gain access to the massive plant. So the company holds an annual lottery for bird watchers who want to see our national bird in its 21st century habitat.
The farm bill has about $57 billion for conservation.
Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes CoalitionTodd Ambs says a lot of people don't realize the farm bill is where we find the largest source of conservation money from the federal government.
"That’s because there are so many activities that happen on the land that bring us our food, that if done improperly can have a very adverse impact on the soil and also to surrounding waterways," he says.