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Lake Michigan
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Instances of drowning in Lake Michigan are up this summer.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project tracks how many people drown in the Great Lakes. The nonprofit says incidences of drowning in Lake Michigan are over 60% higher when compared to last year.

Dave Benjamin is the group's co-founder.

"Contributing factors: we're having some great weekend weather. What we know is if it's warm, windy, waves on a weekend, the four W's, then we have a high number of people going to the beaches," Benjamin says.

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.

Man with beard
Courtesy Old Dog Whisker Club

 

Today on Stateside, we talk with vaccine-hesitant parents as measles cases spread. Plus, learn how your old photos can help researchers track changes to Lake Michigan's dunes.

a computer that says foxconn
Christopher Bulle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan-based water law non-profit “For Love of Water,” or "FLOW," filed an amicus brief this week in support of a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

Last April, the WDNR approved the City of Racine's request to withdraw an annual average of 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water per day and send it to their customers in another community, Mount Pleasant.

ASIAN CARP REGIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE

Michigan’s outgoing governor is trying to convince his counterpart in Illinois to support a project aimed at keeping asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

Asian carp are seen as a threat to the Great Lakes fishing industry. The invasive fish has moved up from the Deep South along the Mississippi River basin, reaching a point several miles from Lake Michigan.

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

When Peter Annin, director of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, was completing research for an updated version of his book The Great Lakes Water Wars, he discovered a detail about Great Lakes water diversions that had gone unnoticed for 8 years.

According to his findings, the state of Wisconsin never announced that in 2010, it approved the village of Pleasant Prairie's request to extract seven million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, the largest water diversion in the state.

Waves on Lake Michigan.
user ellenm1 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


It has been a dangerous month on Lake Michigan.

While there has been a below average number of drownings in the lake overall this year, there was a significant spike in deaths during August. 

Ten swimmers have already drowned. One is still missing.

Lake Michigan just south of Racine County
GSA.GOV

 

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan will be in Wisconsin this Thursday for the groundbreaking of the $10 billion Foxconn plant.

The Taiwanese electronics company has promised thousands of jobs in Racine County and in return has been offered $4.5 billion in tax incentives. 

The plant will also require 5.8 million gallons of water a day diverted from Lake Michigan for operations. 

Flower Creek Dunes Addition Complete
LAND CONSERVANCY OF WEST MICHIGAN

Visitors to a public nature preserve in western Michigan will be able to enjoy an additional 17 acres (7 hectares) of Lake Michigan sand dunes as the result of a $1.95 million project. The Land Conservancy of West Michigan has announced the added 1,000 feet (305 meters) of Lake Michigan frontage and 1,200 feet along the Big Flower Creek to the Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve near Montague. 

Lake Huron
Perry Quan / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Rising water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are keeping shoreline stabilization, dock and hoist companies in Michigan busy.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Army Corps of Engineers says water levels for the two lakes averaged 580 feet in December, nearly two feet higher than the long-term average.

Officials predict water levels will have an overall increase of 4 to 6 inches this year.

Saugatuck Dunes
Norm Hoekstra / Creative Commons

Some Michigan residents are saying no to a potential development along the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public meeting last night to hear from residents about a proposed development project along dunes on Lake Michigan.

Pete Markham / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lake Superior is cold, deep and clear. But it’s no longer the clearest of the Great Lakes.

Lakes Michigan and Huron have gotten clearer, bumping Lake Superior to number three.

Scientists have been able to figure how much clearer by using satellite imagery.

Part of a polished Petoskey stone.
Michelle Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Most Michiganders have spent hours walking up and down shorelines, hoping to spot a Petoskey stone or two for their collection.

Hunting for Petoskey stones can be tough - they're often small, hidden among thousands of other little rocks and their distinctive pattern is only visible when wet.

Asian carp
USGS

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.

Lake Michigan
User airbutchie / flickr.com

Communities along the shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Michigan have been recording unusually high levels of ozone for years. On some days, these levels even put them in violation of federal air quality standards.

The source of the pollution is presumed to be upwind urban centers, primarily Chicago, but little is known about how the ozone is transported to shoreline areas. 

Screencap from Google Maps / Google

A group representing mayors and cities in the Great Lakes region has dropped its fight against letting Waukesha, Wisconsin, draw water from Lake Michigan.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative says it has reached a settlement with a council representing the region's eight states. The council last year granted Waukesha permission to tap the lake, which ordinarily would be prohibited because the city is outside the watershed boundary.

Waukesha needs a new water source because its groundwater is contaminated with radium.

Jamie walking along beach
Courtesy of James Racklyeft

The pleasures of summertime on the Great Lakes carry a risk: drowning.

The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium has been tracking drownings in the Great Lakes since 2010. They're up to nearly 590 deaths.

Most of those could have been prevented. The group's mission is to try and do just that. 

bbodjack / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It’s a classic Hollywood plotline: A powerful corporation wants to develop a large tract of pristine land. Local citizens band together, persuade politicians, raise money, and save the land. Everyone goes home from the theater with a smile on their face.

Except, in the case of the Arcadia Dunes, Hollywood had nothing to do with it. The story is real, and it happened here in Michigan.

Courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources

A live Asian carp was found about nine miles from Lake Michigan, according to state and federal officials.

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced that the silver carp was captured Thursday morning by a commercial fisherman.

The 28-inch, nine-pound fish was found in a Chicago waterway, beyond the electric barrier 37 miles southwest of the city that is meant to keep the invasive species from the Great Lakes.

Sterns Park beach
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Congrats are in order for the city of Ludington.

The city broke a mark set by the Guinness World Records for the most people simultaneously making sand angels at a beach.

Lake Michigan has a way of conjuring up days gone by

May 10, 2017
Tamar Charney / NPR One

Lake Michigan is a giant time capsule. It swallows stuff up and spits it back out somewhere down the line, both in time and place.

All sorts of things get pushed up on the beach by waves in summer and by the freezing and thawing of ice in the winter. When the snow melts in spring, there aren’t that many people combing through the odds and ends in search of lost treasure or even just cleaning up the trash. That means it's easier to see how Lake Michigan is its own special sort of time capsule coughing up treasures up and down the shore.

Vintage postcard "Greetings from Grand Haven, Michigan."
Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers collection / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year a lot of people start thinking about summer vacations. If you’re like many Michiganders, when you’re planning a week or two off, you might find a cottage or a beach house to rent online. Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway are a few of the most popular short-term rental websites.

Waves on Lake Michigan.
user ellenm1 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Extremely high winds will cause massive waves on Lake Michigan tonight.

The National Weather Service has issued a gale warning that predicts wind gusts with speeds up to 52 miles per hour, which could create up to 20-foot-tall waves.

The gale warning is in effect until Tuesday morning, and includes all of Lake Michigan 5 miles off shore and beyond.

The largest waves are expected overnight, and will range from seven to 20 feet. The best views of the waves will likely be in Ludington and Muskegon - as long as you are a safe distance from the shore.

David Lobbig / Courtesy of Jenny Chipault

In the last few weeks, roughly 600 birds have died along the shore of Lake Michigan. They washed up on the beaches within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with more dead birds reported on beaches in the Upper Peninsula.

A Lake Michigan lighthouse is being auctioned

Aug 9, 2016
KudzuVine / wikimedia commons

If you've ever dreamed of owning a lighthouse, now's your chance.

The North Manitou Shoal Light has a view of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou islands. 

According to the Grand Rapids Press, the U.S. General Services Administration organized a visit to the lighthouse for registered bidders who've placed a $10,000 deposit. 

Cat Langel with the G.S.A. says properties like these hold great community significance.

C. Patrick Labadie Collection

 

As the country fell into the Great Depression, the SS Senator sunk to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Late last year, researchers used a remote-controlled submersible to confirm what had been identified as the SS Senator, which rests 15 miles off the Wisconsin shore. The ship sank in 1929 just a few days after the stock market collapse. Its cargo of 268 Nash automobiles from 1929 and 1930 is the largest known collection of its kind in the world.

A photocopy of a photo of Line 5 being installed in 1953.
State of Michigan

The state of Michigan, environmental groups, and reporters like myself have been asking Enbridge for more specific information about the condition of the pipelines for more than two years now.

The company has released limited information in the past, but stopped short of releasing detailed reports that show the condition of the pipelines. When it comes to this kind of information, the company holds all the cards. 

Somewhere beneath the waves of Lake Michigan lies the wreck of the 'Andaste'
Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Anyone with even passing knowledge of the Great Lakes knows that there are secrets beneath those waves: ships that have foundered.

Many have been found, and their locations are well known, but there are still mysteries to be unlocked.

One of the biggest dates back to a night in September 1929. The ship Andaste was headed from Grand Haven to Chicago when it vanished in a sudden storm on Lake Michigan.

Only 17 miles from Lake Michigan's shore, Waukesha, Wis. wants to replace its contaminated drinking water with water from the lake.
flickr user Rachel Kramer / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

More than 40 conservation groups across the Great Lakes are urging the region's eight governors to veto a proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan.

Waukesha, Wisconsin wants to build a pipeline to the Great Lakes, because its groundwater supply is contaminated with radium.

The federal government has ordered the city to find a new source of drinking water by 2018.

Waves in Lake Michigan
screen grab from YouTube video

Lake Michigan may have waves measuring up to 25 feet tall today and tonight due to the winter storm that’s currently hitting the state.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service for Lake Michigan issued a marine storm warning, which warns of winds of 48 to 53 knots. The service has also issued storm warnings across the state, cautioning difficulties with traveling, potential power outages, and potential school or event closures spanning from Wednesday to Thursday.

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