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Great Lakes

map of Line 5
Enbridge Energy

A tribe in Northern Wisconsin still wants Line 5 off their land, despite a $24 million offer from Enbridge.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sued Enbridge Energy earlier this year, asking them to immediately shut down the portion of the Line 5 oil pipeline that runs through their reservation.

Lake Huron waves crashing
n_his_image / Adobe Stock

Rising water levels in the Great Lakes are bringing pieces of shipwrecks ashore along Michigan's Lake Huron shoreline.

Two sheets of paper, one with a meeting agenda, one with a resolution in support of Enbridge's Line 5 tunnel.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Cheboygan County passed a resolution to support Enbridge’s construction of a tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac at their board meeting Tuesday morning. 

 

Eight counties — Cheboygan, Delta, Dickinson, Houghton, Iron, Gogebic, Grand Traverse and Ontonagon — have now passed nearly identical resolutions.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are pushing an expansion of a program designed to protect the Great Lakes.

The current Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is set to expire in 2021.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

At least eight counties have passed resolutions supporting Enbridge Energy’s proposed tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel through bedrock would replace the Line 5 twin oil pipelines that currently sit on the lakebed.

People stand in the water, holding both ends of a large net.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

A new nonprofit is training citizen scientists to collect data on fish in the Great Lakes. They think it could be a game-changer for research in the region, and even help prevent the establishment of invasive species.

Traverse City pier looks to attract cruise ships

Aug 16, 2019
Discovery Center Pier
Discovery Center Great Lakes

The Discovery Pier in Traverse City is hoping to attract cruise ships around the Great Lakes. The United States Coast Guard certified the pier as a cruise port back in December, and the newly formed Traverse City Cruise Consortium is hoping to capitalize on the trend of smaller cruise ships in the Great Lakes.

Malak Silmi / Michigan Radio

At times, the threat of climate change can feel overwhelming. Up to one million species are on track to become extinct in the near future, water levels are rising at a rapid pace, and parts of northern Michigan are warming at a faster pace than other parts of the state and the country. 

Looking underneath a bridge at sunrise, a group of boats in the water surround several swimmers attached to orange buoys.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

More than 300 people braved the Straits of Mackinac Sunday for the 13th annual Mighty Mac Swim.

Michigan Radio’s Kaye LaFond rode along on a security boat and got a first-hand look at what goes into herding swimmers across four miles of the straits.


Grass carp
USGS

Michigan and Ohio crews are on the lookout this summer for invasive grass carp.

The grass carp survey is being done by the Michigan Department of Natural Resource's Grass Carp Response Team.

Great Lakes groups endorse Invasive Mussel Collaborative

Jul 23, 2019
Zebra mussels on a beach in Michigan
Michgian Sea Grant / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Three binational Great Lakes coalitions announced their endorsement of the Invasive Mussel Collaborative as the “go-to forum” on developing solutions to the problems caused by invasive mussels in the Great Lakes. The three organizations are the Great Lakes Commission, International Joint Commission, and Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are calling on presidential candidates to commit to doing more to protect the Great Lakes. 

The "Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition" has a 5-point action plan they’d like to see candidates adopt. 

Poe Reef lighthouse in the middle of a body of water
GSA Auctions / realestatesales.gov

The federal government is auctioning off three historic Great Lakes lighthouses. The lighthouses are Poe Reef on Lake Huron, Ontonagon Breakwater on the channel between the Ontonagon River and Lake Superior, and Superior Entry between Superior, WI, and Duluth, MN.

Asian carp jumping out of water
michiganoutofdoors.com

A bipartisan delegation of Michigan lawmakers from Congress are in Chicago today at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The delegation is there to see the facility and discuss possible solutions to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Brandon Road Lock and Dam is considered by many to be the last line of defense from preventing carp from entering the Great Lakes. The Army Corps of Engineers released a plan in May that proposed a number of deterrents to meet the carp as they swim through the waterway, including noisemakers, electric currents, and an air bubble curtain. Huge populations of Asian carp, particularly bighead and silver carp, are reported to be only four miles from the dam.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Water levels in the Great Lakes have been rising, and that means shrinking shorelines.

Drew Gronewald is a hydrologist with the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. He says Lake Ontario broke an all-time high water level record in June, and all of the lakes broke records in May. He says Michiganders should take appropriate safety precautions in response to changes in water level and near-shore water circulation.

A flooded beach near Lake Michigan.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

The last major outbreak of avian botulism on Lake Michigan was in 2016, when hundreds of dead birds washed up on shore. The bacterial disease has affected waterfowl like loons and mergansers in the Great Lakes for decades. But high water levels on the lakes are good news for the birds, at least temporarily.

dog inspecting old balloon laying on a beach
COURTESY OF LARA O'BRIEN

Balloons are a part of many American traditions: birthdays, graduations, retirements, weddings. It’s easy to forget these balloons once they float away, but what goes up, must come down. And pieces of balloon waste are coming down all around the Great Lakes.

Piping plovers.
Roger Eriksson

Piping plovers are an endangered species of bird that builds its nests on Great Lakes beaches. Its main habitat is the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

But some of the birds' nests are being washed away by high water levels.

Vincent Cavalieri, piping plover coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says the birds could be especially at risk this year. He says although the recorded number of bird pairs has increased since last year, the rising water is likely to cause problems during this year’s nesting season.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The U.S. and Canada are working to restore populations of a prehistoric fish in the Great Lakes that was nearly wiped out. We went out with a crew of researchers to see what they’re doing to bring the sturgeon back.

An autonomous vessel on water.
Guy Meadows

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the future of self-driving cars. But what about autonomous ships?

When the Great Lakes governors and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec begin their 2019 summit on Friday, one of the events on the schedule will be a demonstration of “smart ship” technology.

soldier holding GI Joe the pigeon
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

 

Today on Stateside, we talk about rethinking how we measure whether a school is succeeding or failing. Plus, a conversation with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein about how people with disabilities bring unique, important perspectives to the workplace.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Rising Great Lakes water levels are causing damage to some structures on Michigan shorelines. The Holland Sentinel reports a section of seawall at Kollen Park in Holland sustained damage during a storm.

Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, said lake levels are expected to topple record highs this summer.

“For the month of May, a new record high for the month was set and additional record highs for the months of June, July, August and September are expected,” he said.

Asian carp
USGS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has saigned off on a $778 million plan intended to keep Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

The money would be used to upgrade a lock and dam in Illinois. But the proposal still needs Congressional approval.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Federal agencies are asking for the public’s input on a new action plan for the Great Lakes.

The third phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan sets new five year priorities and goals starting in 2020.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Plans for an enhanced barrier to try to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes might have just taken a crucial step forward.

The plan would fortify the existing Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill. to attempt to block carp from getting to Lake Michigan.

The project just got a signoff from the Illinois governor to go into a pre-construction and design phase.

Molly Flanagan is with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. She says it’s a big project, but it’s an essential one to keep invasive Asian carp out of the lakes.

The untold history of Yemeni sailors on the Great Lakes

Apr 29, 2019
Group of Yemeni sailors interviewed during Howell's class
Razi Jafri / Michigan Radio

Our state is home to the nation's largest population of Yemeni Americans. But what attracted Yemeni immigrants to Michigan in the first place?

For many, the driver was economic opportunity, particularly the kind that could be found while sailing the Great Lakes.

Wind turbine
Tim Wang / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lake Erie could become home to an offshore wind farm in the next few years.

The proposed Icebreaker Wind project is a six-turbine wind farm that could be built off the coast of Cleveland.

Dave Karpinski is with the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation.

“For the Cleveland area, it's a chance to be a leader in this new emerging industry in the US,” he said.

Karpinski says the wind farm would create clean energy and jobs with little impact to residents and the environment.

Picture of Lake Superior
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

A new report commissioned by the Environmental Law and Policy Center urges Great Lakes states to mitigate and prepare for the "profound" effects of climate change.

The report, authored by more than a dozen Midwest and Canadian researchers, says Great Lakes states will see more very hot days, increases in heavy rainfall and flooding, declines in crop yields, and threats to drinking water.  

American Sign Language for A - S - L
U.S. Air Force Photo Illustration/Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer announced a plan earlier this week to introduce a 45 cent gas tax by October 2020. Are there enough road workers to put all that funding to use? Plus, Ingham County is building a public defender office from the ground up. We talk about the challenges of developing a brand new governmental department. 

A man in coveralls bends over a hole in ice and pulls out a net.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

A decline in lake whitefish is pushing some tribal commercial fishermen out of Lakes Michigan and Huron. They’re spending more time in Lake Superior, the only place they say they can still make a living. This has fishermen and scientists worried about whether whitefish populations there can withstand the extra pressure.

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