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. 

Holland To Phase Out Coal

Dec 19, 2013

The city of Holland will phase out the burning of coal to generate electricity. Holland reached a settlement with the Sierra Club to stop burning coal in one of three units at its city-owned power plant in 2016. The other two units will be off coal in ten years.

The Sierra Club claims the DeYoung plant is pumping out air pollutants at 3.5 times the limit set by the EPA to protect public health.

Sierra Club had challenged coal burning permits issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to Holland and to Wolverine Power Cooperative based in Cadillac.

Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)

Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

freestockphotos.biz

Electric customers in northern Michigan will not be paying for a new coal fired power plant.

Wolverine Power Cooperative announced Tuesday that it will not build its Clean Energy Venture near Rogers City. The Cadillac-based utility supplier put an estimated $20 million dollars into developing plans for the plant over the last seven years.

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Plastic junk in our oceans has concerned scientists for decades. Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on new research that minute plastic beads, the kind used in cosmetics and toothpastes, are ending up in the Great Lakes.

  Michigan’s two U.S. Senators are raising a series of questions about the safety of an oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin are asking for a response from the federal agency that oversees pipeline safety.

Earlier this year Enbridge Energy increased the flow in line 5 by 50,000 barrels a day. That also meant increased pressure in the 60 year old line.

The senators point out that a spill in the waters of the Straits would have devastating effects on the Great lakes and on the region’s economy.

The human remains of 126 Native Americans are going home this week.

Over the course of the week, representatives of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe are retrieving the remains and associated funerary objects from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and a Mount Pleasant State Police Post.

Shannon Martin is a member of the delegation and director of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. 

It's been a mystery that has haunted Lake Huron since the Civil War: What happened to the Keystone State?

The wooden steamer set out from Detroit, bound for Milwaukee, around November 9th, 1861.

She never made it — and no one knew the Keystone State had run into trouble until wreckage washed up on the shore near Lexington.

But thanks to David Trotter, the Keystone State has been found — in nearly 175 feet of water.

Listen to the full interview above. 

150-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered In Lake Huron

Dec 9, 2013
Undersea Research Associates

A shipwreck explorer from Southeast Michigan announced today his crew has discovered a 150-year-old shipwreck in Lake Huron.

In November 1861 the Keystone State would normally have been headed back to its home port in Buffalo. But David Trotter of Undersea Research Associates says, for some reason the steamer turned and headed for Milwaukee in a rush. It left Detroit without lifeboats during a stormy month.

EPA.gov

Researchers have found evidence of a small invasive fish in southern Lake Michigan for the first time. It could be an early warning that the species may be spreading and could migrate into the Mississippi River system.

The Eurasian ruffe entered the northern Great Lakes 25 years ago in the ballast water of a ship in Duluth harbor.

Lake Superior is warming up.

Scientists say the largest of the Great Lakes is heating up faster than any other lake on Earth.

What's behind the warming? And could this be good news for those who enjoy Great Lakes fishing?

Tim Cline is a PhD student at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. He has studied the effect of temperature on fish in Lake Superior, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A fish that was nearly wiped out of the Great Lakes is on its way to a full recovery now in Lake Huron. Lake trout are suddenly doing what biologists have been trying to get them to do for more than 40 years: make babies. The change might mean a more stable and resilient ecosystem in the future.

Jim Johnson didn't think he'd see the day when lake trout recovered in Lake Huron. Johnson runs Michigan’s Fisheries Research Station in Alpena. He’s been working on the lake for 25 years and for most of that time it looked hopeless.

NOAA

100 years ago this week, the deadliest storm ever hit the Great Lakes. What’s known as the White Hurricane delivered a one-two punch of blizzard conditions and 90 mile an hour winds.

In its wake, it left more than 250 mariners dead and a dozen ships driven to the bottom.

It’s nearly a lost episode in Great Lakes lore except to those in the maritime trades. But meteorologist Jim Keysor with the National Weather Service in Gaylord thinks it’s important to remember.

Toxic Algae Pushes North As Corn Belt Expands

Oct 7, 2013

For years Lake Erie has been the poster child in the Great Lakes for the problem of toxic algae. More recently, though, the problem has been showing up around Lake Michigan. Figuring out the causes of the algal blooms can be tough since watersheds are complex systems but some environmentalists are pointing the finger at corn. It’s a valuable cash crop today and could be a growing part of the farm landscape in the Great Lakes in the years ahead.

CAT Scan On Possible Shipwreck Artifact Inconclusive

Aug 30, 2013

Results of an unusual CAT scan performed at the hospital in Gaylord last weekend are inconclusive. A wooden beam recovered from Lake Michigan was tested at Otsego Memorial Hospital. The goal was to find out if it could be old enough to be from the Griffin, a ship that went missing while sailing the Great Lakes in 1679. 

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

Dead Fish Good Sign For Anglers, Not Swimmers

Jul 17, 2013

Just in time for peak travel season dead fish have been washing ashore on parts of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Kevin Skerl, the chief of natural resources at the lakeshore, says it’s not a big concern.

“This is something that happens every year. It’s just a question of if the conditions are such that the dead fish are showing up on beaches where people are,” says Skerl

Oil Pipeline Spurs Rally At Straits

Jul 12, 2013

Environmental groups want an oil pipeline company to replace a sixty-year-old line that runs under the Straits of Mackinaw. They’re holding a rally at the Straits this Sunday.

Beth Wallace with the National Wildlife Federation says there have been leaks in other sections of line 5, not in the part that runs under the Straits.

“You know this pipeline is not spill proof. And an expansion of a sixty year old pipeline that runs through some of the most sensitive areas in the world is not the direction that we should be going,” Wallace says. 

Divers Dig To Bedrock: The Griffin Not Found

Jun 21, 2013
David Ruck

The State of Michigan archaeologist says there does not appear to be a vessel buried where underwater explorers had hoped to uncover a 17th century shipwreck this week in northern Lake Michigan.

Explorers have been looking for the wreck of the Griffin off the coast of the Upper Peninsula’s Garden Peninsula.

State Archaeologist Dean Anderson says two things originally drew explorers to the site: acoustical surveys of what appeared to be a ship buried in mud, and a beam of wood sticking up into the water.

There have been some hiccups for underwater explorers and archaeologists this week in northern Lake Michigan hoping to identify the 17th Century ship of the famous French Explorer Robert de La Salle. But there’s good reason for optimism that his schooner, The Griffin, has been found buried in the mud in about 50 feet of water off the coast of the U.P.’s Garden Peninsula.

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

As summer water temperatures warm-up, more people are enticed into playing in the big waves. And warnings about dangerous currents are being posted at more beaches.

The number of people who have drowned in the Great Lakes or been rescued has gone up in each of the last three years. And researchers are testing ways to better forecast dangerous nearshore currents.

Nearly Drowned

UPDATED 6/4/2013 with corrected length of legal dispute.

The State of Michigan has issued a permit for a major archeological dig in Lake Michigan. It could uncover the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Underwater explorers have been given the go-ahead to dig up bottomlands off the coast of the Garden Peninsula near Green Bay. They’re in search of the French fur trading ship Le Griffon, which went down in 1679.

Recently we reported how native fish are doing really well in one of the Great Lakes. The fish involved are not exactly well known species. But there is one that’s a household name in lakeshore communities and its success is sparking some scientific debate.

A fish with a cult following
Food and travel writers who visit The Cove seldom forget to mention the Chubby Mary. It’s a Bloody Mary with smoked chub in it. Mario Batali even put a photo of the cocktail on Bon Appetit’s website along with his endorsement.

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