Lake Michigan

Now is the time to watch out for deer ticks

May 19, 2015
Scott Bauer

The month of May is the height of tick season in northern Michigan. Ticks are especially common along the coastal areas of Lake Michigan.

Phillip Huber has been a forest biologist for the Huron-Manistee National Forest for more than 30 years. He says ticks only started appearing in the area about 10 years ago.

“They’re becoming more common, particularly in the really grassy areas," says Huber. "I think that’s where people need to watch out for them, in grassy fields, road sides … that sort of thing.”

The water is exceptionally clear in Lake Michigan right now, and a Coast Guard helicopter crew used a recent routine patrol to capture striking images of some of the area's many notable sunken ships. Some of them date from the 1800s.

Photos from the flight out of the Coast Guard's Traverse City, Mich., air station show a variety of ships resting on the lake bottom, including the James McBride, a 121-foot brig that sank in 1857.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The water in Lakes Michigan and Huron has risen above its historic average. That ends an unusually long period of low water in the two lakes that began in the late 1990s.

Drew Gronewald is a scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. He says historically the lakes would rise and fall over periods of five years or less.

But around 1997, the lakes dropped a few feet and didn't recover. Gronewald says that trend will come to an end this month.

Michigan Sea Grant

Lake Michigan was recently recognized as one of the best places in America to fish for bass. The booming fishery is one sign of what might be a major shift of the lake’s food web. One biologist recently referred to the change as a "revolution."

Even though there are winners, like people fishing for bass, the change is being driven by an invasive species. And it could mean trouble for the most popular sport fish in Lake Michigan.

Chris Noffsinger has an unusual specialty as a fishing guide. He shows you where to catch bass.

An oil spill from a BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., this week has raised new worries about the stepped-up processing of Canadian tar sands – and threats to Lake Michigan.

Considering that seven million people in Chicagoland depend on Lake Michigan for drinking water, even a little spill might be cause for concern.

Exactly what was spilled? How far did it spread? And has BP contained the leak?

We're joined now by Michael Hawthorne, a reporter with The Chicago Tribune.

Listen to the full interview above.

NOAA

[CLARIFICATION: Mark Gill told IPR Grand Traverse Bay was iced over on Wednesday morning. Open water may be seen on the bay since as ice cover on the lake rises and falls, sometimes dramatically.]

Grand Traverse Bay is now mostly frozen along with almost half of Lake Michigan. Mark Gill at the U.S. Coast Guard says ice reaches from Traverse City to the Straits of Mackinac.

National Weather Service

Ice on northern Lake Michigan is starting to cut off lake effect snow in the region.

The lake is entirely frozen over, north of Beaver Island. That means winds coming out of the northwest will not pick up moisture from the lake and drop it as snow on places like Petoskey and Gaylord.

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.

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

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.

Michigan Officials Compliment Underwater Explorers

Apr 5, 2013

Steve Libert has been in court with the State of Michigan pretty steadily since the Engler administration. The disputes involved shipwrecks and who has the right to claim them on the bottom of Lake Michigan and the most recent litgation was closed last year. That’s why he was excited to be recognized by Governor Snyder in a signed tribute to his group, Great Lakes Exploration. All the lawmakers from Northern Michigan signed it too.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are at their lowest level in decades. And there is growing pressure to raise the water level with some kind of structure in the St. Clair River. The international commission that manages the Great Lakes is expected to respond to that pressure in February. A report submitted to the commission discourages the idea. This week on Points North we’ll hear about the debate over fixing the water level on Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Great Lakes Drownings Top 100 in 2012

Jan 7, 2013

More than 100 people drown in the Great Lakes last year and half of them were in Lake Michigan. That’s according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

Spokesman Dave Benjamin says one explanation for so many deaths in Lake Michigan is the lake is so long, 320 miles. Most of the wind comes out of the north or the south.

Search For The Wreck Of The Griffon Resumes

Oct 8, 2012

The search for the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes resumed this month. The team that says it might have found the wreck, Great Lakes Exploration, is moving ahead after closing a legal dispute with the State of Michigan. They're trying to prove that what they've found in northern Lake Michigan could be a French ship that disappeared in 1679. And they're near the end of what they can do without digging into the bottom of the lake.

Lifetime search

New research this fall will try to find a better way to predict dangerous currents in the Great Lakes. The number of deaths attributed to rip currents has been rising each of the last few summers.

Using Doppler
The experiment will see if Doppler radar can predict rip currents. That’s the same technology that can look at how the air moves inside fast developing storms.

Shipwreck Lawsuit Closed

Jul 20, 2012

A legal battle over what might be the most historic shipwreck in the Great Lakes is over, for now. That means further exploration of a site in Lake Michigan could pick up again.

About a decade ago, a shipwreck hunter working out of the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula found what he says might be the Griffin. The ship owned by French explorer Robert de La Salle disappeared in 1679, but a legal battle involving the State of Michigan and the French government ensued that has slowed attempts to identify whatever he found. 

State fishery biologists have to answer a critical question about Lake Michigan this year. How many salmon can it support? Everyone involved in the salmon fishery is worried about its future and now some sport fishing groups say drastic action might be required. They want the state to stop putting more fish into the lake.

Underwater researchers say there's enough evidence to warrant taking samples from what may be the historic Great Lakes ship, the Griffon. The French owned vessel is thought to have sunk in northern Lake Michigan in September of 1679. The ship was part of explorer Rene de La Salle's effort to link trade from the Great Lakes to settlements on the Mississippi River.

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