Kaye LaFond

Kaye is an alumnus of Michigan Tech's environmental engineering program. She got her start making maps for the Traverse City-Based water news organization Circle of Blue, and, since then, she's been pretty devoted to science communication and data visualization.

She currently holds a half-time position at the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, where she creates infographics, blogs, and tweets. She has done freelance work for various organizations.

She lives in East Jordan, Michigan with her husband and fur children. East Jordan is in fact about 4 hours north of Ann Arbor. She does a lot of working from home and makes bi-monthly trips downstate. She enjoys living in rural northern Michigan, and spends her free time running, kayaking, drinking wine, and hanging out with her fur kids.

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

To help combat chronic wasting disease, Michigan is banning deer baiting and feeding across big parts of the state. It’s highly unpopular with some hunters and lawmakers.

But, banning bait will only slow CWD from spreading to new areas, and more aggressive approaches that might actually stop it could be just as unpopular.

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

 

Five counties — Cheboygan, Dickinson, Iron, Gogebic and Grand Traverse — have now passed nearly identical resolutions.

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.

A federal judge has ruled against the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in a lawsuit to affirm its reservation boundaries.

The tribe sued the State of Michigan in 2016, arguing that the Treaty of 1855 established a 337-square-mile reservation on lands including the cities of Petoskey, Charlevoix and Harbor Springs.

From January 2018 through May 2019, 6.7 billion gallons of diluted or partially treated sewage, called combined sewer overflows (CSOs) spilled into Michigan waters.

CSOs are the result of sewer systems that drain both stormwater runoff AND human and industrial waste. Eighty municipalities in Michigan have such systems, known as combined sewer systems.

Climate change is likely to bring more extreme rainfall and flooding to Michigan. So, flood risk in the next 100 years will probably look very different than in the last. But, much of our infrastructure, like culverts, bridges, and storm drains, is still being designed and built based on the floods of the past.


Indigenous governments and activists in the Great Lakes have been leaders in the movement to shut down the twin oil pipelines that run under the Mackinac Straits.

Now, one of the most visible people in that movement has left his tribal government job and set up his own consulting firm. One of his clients? The pipelines’ owner, Enbridge Energy.

This sudden change has upset indigenous communities in the region, and some worry it’s a “divide-and-conquer” tactic.

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.


More than four million people crossed the Straits of Mackinac last year. But they are also one of the busiest migration spots for raptors, or birds of prey, in the United States.

 


Maple sugaring season is just wrapping up in northern Michigan. This delicious tradition of boiling maple sap to make syrup is practiced in the state on many scales.

But indigenous communities in the area were tapping trees long before settlers arrived.

Bacterial canker is a devastating tree disease that affects sweet cherry orchards around the country. There is currently no good way to treat it, but some Michigan scientists are trying to harness bacteria-killing viruses to control it.

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.

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.

Updated, February 25, 2019

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has released results of a 2018 state-wide sampling of public, school and tribal water supplies for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Of 1,114 public water systems, 119 have been found to contain some level of PFAS. No tribal water supplies contained PFAS.

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