Great Lakes | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Great Lakes

Mark Edlund / St. Croix Watershed Research Station, Science Museum of MN

Right now, scientists are on a ship taking samples and measurements of the Great Lakes. They’re trying to determine how the lakes will fare this year and watching for trends.

One trend, the warming climate, could mean changes for the base of the food web in the lakes. But, the researchers are not yet sure what those changes might be.

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a small number of fully vaccinated people are still getting sick. That’s not necessarily cause for alarm. Plus, a conversation with poet Thomas Lynch about his new collection of poems and navigating the grief of his daughter’s death. And a citizen science project helps make data about Michigan’s lakes and aquatic wildlife more accessible.

Is the Line 5 tunnel a bridge to Michigan's energy future or a bad deal?

Apr 1, 2021
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

As Canadian officials lobbied a Michigan Senate committee in March to keep the Line 5 pipeline open, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) grew frustrated with a conversation that, up to that point, had focused mainly on the immediate economic and safety implications of a possible shutdown.

a table set up with people around it at the Ford Field vaccination site in Detroit
Vince Duffy / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, mass vaccination sites are opening in Michigan’s largest cities as the state races against another spike in COVID-19 cases. Also, we check in with two public health officials about the challenges of reaching herd immunity. Plus, the history of sea shanties sung by Black sailors on the Great Lakes.

In flooded Michigan neighborhoods, who should pay for sea walls?

Mar 30, 2021
Kelly House / Bridge Michigan

The floodwaters have receded from Jefferson Chalmers for now, but evidence of the neighborhood’s recent crisis is hard to miss:

Dried algae on the sidewalks. Appliances bolted to basement walls to keep them dry. Water lines on the sides of buildings. And massive orange “tiger dams” snaking through backyards, waiting for the water to rise again.

The neighborhood — a labyrinth of canals leading to the Detroit River on the city’s far east side — is often called Detroit’s version of Venice. But for the past two summers, as Great Lakes water levels reached record highs, it has looked more like a floodplain.

Tim Folkert / Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Today, on Stateside, we talk to an epidemiologist from the University of Michigan about what worries her about the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers. Plus, we hear from Jordan Hamilton—a Kalamazoo-based cellist—about live performance and making music during a year of pandemic.

Public Domain

Fisheries biologist David Jude has been studying a small prey fish called the deepwater sculpin for decades. And for years, there's been one question he couldn't stop thinking about. 

“I’ve always had this passion about trying to figure out where deepwater sculpin spawn because no one has ever documented it,” Jude said. 

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, nearly four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state of Michigan. A pharmacist discusses how pharmacies can help get vaccines into communities. Also, a look at the history of something we’re all familiar with — mask fatigue. Plus, a deep dive on an elusive Great Lakes denizen: the deepwater sculpin.

The University of Michigan football stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, two-thirds of Washtenaw County's COVID-19 cases are affiliated with the University of Michigan. A campus health official discusses efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Also, a look at Michigan’s possible future as a haven for those escaping the worst effects of climate change.

Invasive mussels now control key Great Lakes nutrients, threatening fish

Feb 16, 2021

The stunning beauty of Lake Michigan’s crystal clear water draws comparisons to the French Riviera. 

But to Dustin Van Orman, it’s a hideous sight.

Van Orman, whose family owns Mackinaw City’s Big Stone Bay Fishery, knows that the clearer the water gets, the scarcer whitefish and chubs become. 

Water could make Michigan a climate refuge. Are we prepared?

Feb 16, 2021
© J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue

Intrigued by warming winters, researchers from the University of Michigan set out in 1989 to formally measure changes in the geographical distribution of plants and animals in the dense pine and hardwood forests of northern Michigan. 

Their laboratory, the university’s 10,000-acre Biological Station east of Petoskey, had advanced forestry and natural sciences since the field station’s founding in 1909. Few projects, though, attracted the same level of attention as the migration research. 

charles mcgee
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a Michigan state representative discusses easing the tragedy of Yemen’s civil war. Then, playwright and screenwriter Dominique Morisseau talks about deepening her connection with Detroit Public Theatre during a pandemic. And, safety tips on the Great Lakes. Just because ice is forming doesn’t mean it’s safe to walk on.

Linda Stephan


picture of an old ship
Public Domain


ice cover on the great lakes january 21 2021
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Great Lakes have been slow to freeze this year, compared to years past. Currently, around 2.4% of the Great Lakes are covered by ice, concentrated in the Green Bay region off Lake Michigan and Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron. That's lower than 11% cover at this time last year.

Jia Wang is an ice climatologist for NOAA. He says it's been a warm winter in the Great Lakes region.

"[Ice cover] is very very low, unusually low this year, compared to other years and compared to the average. This year, air temperatures are so warm. Air temperature has a negative correlation with ice cover. Of course, if it's warmer, there's less ice cover," he says.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump has signed legislation to update maps of environmentally sensitive areas of the Great Lakes.

The legislation prioritizes and updates federal maps used to respond to emergencies and protect habitats, species and structures along the Great Lakes that are most likely to be impacted by a potential oil spill or other major disaster.

The last time some of these maps were updated was back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Keith Ladzinski / National Geographic

The cover story in this month’s issue of National Geographic takes a deep dive into the many major threats to the health of the Great Lakes. In the magazine you’ll find dramatic photos of massive algal blooms and surging floodwaters, as well as up-close portraits of invasive species that are disrupting the local ecosystems.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Attorney General Dana Nessel joins us to talk about the recent threats made against a number of elected officials—including herself. Plus, a conversation with a University of Michigan senior who has received a Rhodes Scholarship. And, we'll talk to two journalists from National Geographic who have captured the damage and delight of Michigan’s Great Lakes.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

If they choose to do so, the governors of the Great Lakes have less than three weeks to object to an Environmental Protection Agency proposal.

That proposal would exempt cargo ships that only travel in the Great Lakes from having to treat ballast water to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. For years, the Great Lakes shippers say they were not responsible for invasive species; it was the ocean-going cargo ships that were the problem.

DUSTIN DWYER / MICHIGAN RADIO

Applications for shoreline protection permits tripled this year compared to last, according to Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

The department granted 2,284 permits in the year ending September 30, compared to 730 permits the previous year. Most of those permits went to residential property owners wanting to protect their homes from rising water levels.

Often those permits allow the construction of rock walls as a barricade against encroaching waves.

Common tern holding a fish
Phylis Cooper / USFWS

Research shows chemicals banned years and even decades ago are showing up in some Great Lakes shorebirds. Scientists found P-C-Bs used as a coolant in electrical transformers, fire retardants called P-B-D-Es and derivatives of the insecticide D-D-T in terns. The pollutants were at levels high enough to potentially harm the health of the birds. 

JEFFREY PAUL

Storm chasers and meteorologists observed a record number of waterspouts over the Great Lakes this month, according to the Toronto-based International Centre for Waterspout Research. 

The group confirmed 240 of the spectacular weather events over the Great Lakes between September 28 and October 4. 

 

A waterspout can form on a cloudy day, when cold air passes over warmer waters. The resulting vortex sucks down condensation from the cloud cover, creating a phenomenon that looks like a tornado.

 

International Joint Commission

Another of Michigan’s Areas of Concern has been cleaned up and taken off the list. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the governments of Canada and the U.S. identified 43 pollution hot spots around the Great Lakes and identified them as Areas of Concern.

The Lower Menominee River at the Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula border was one of them. It has now been removed from the Areas of Concern list.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, President Donald Trump placed a phone call to the Big Ten commissioner to discuss what might expedite the start of the season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A Sports Illustrated writer weighs in on the politicization of sports in 2020. Also, how U.S. presidents’ historical treatment of Black Americans informs the present moment. Plus, the thawing of the Great Lakes, as seen through the lens of a National Geographic photojournalist.

a large expanse of lake surrounded by trees at dusk with a purple blue sky
Amy Sacka

In the latest edition of National Geographic, you'll find a big spread dedicated to exploring how ice coverage has dramatically decreased on the Great Lakes over the past 40 years. The photos you'll see, of not-so-solid lakes, and people navigating warmer Michigan winters, were taken by Detroit photojournalist Amy Sacka.

a USPS mail truck
washjeff.edu

Today on Stateside, U.S. Senator Gary Peters joins us to talk about his plans to investigate delivery delays in the United States Postal Service. Also, a check in with a University of Michigan researcher on the impact of the pandemic on Michigan's many homeless students.

a photo of "Beach Finds II" which is a light blue box filled with vials laid out in front
Courtesy of Geo Rutherford

Today on Stateside, we'll talk about the biggest races and issues on the August 4 primary ballot. Plus, a conversation with the Michigan Teacher of the Year about the return to school and what it means for his students to have a transgender adult to look up to in their lives.

KATE GARDINER / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1RFRZRK

A new study by University of Michigan researchers finds climate change may help Asian carp overcome another invasive species to gain a foothold in the Great Lakes.

The study looks at how three factors (climate change, nutrient management, and invasive mussels) have affected Lake Michigan's vulnerability to bighead and silver carp.  

Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, how one Detroit emergency room physician is searching for answers and solutions to handling the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, what would it mean to safely reopen the state.

Pages