Great Lakes

Tyler Lake/WTIU

The country’s newest national park isn’t like many of the others — it’s surrounded by some of the largest industrial companies in the U.S. While Indiana Dunes’ new designation has drawn national attention, so have recent industrial spills in nearby Lake Michigan waterways.

But will the park’s designation pressure industrial companies to clean up their act? 

Tyler Lake/WTIU

Two environmental groups say they’ll sue northwest Indiana steel company ArcelorMittal if the government doesn’t make it pay for environmental violations. 

In August, the company’s Burns Harbor facility discharged excess cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet River, killing about 3,000 fish and forcing beaches to close temporarily.

Courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism

UPDATE: At the state agriculture and natural resources committee meeting, legislators recommended that the state find the money for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study into solutions to Lake Michigan beach erosion. There’s no telling whether the governor and the state budget committee will act upon that recommendation. 

Municipalities, parks officials, tourism experts, and environmentalists are asking the state for money to help prevent erosion along some Lake Michigan beaches. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

While state and federal agencies are trying to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, there’s evidence that one type is already reproducing in Lake Erie. If they become established, there’s concern that the invasive fish could spread to other lakes — including Lake Michigan.

Because they eat several types of aquatic plants, grass carp are sometimes used to get rid of vegetation in man-made ponds, like on golf courses. But that ferocious appetite can be deadly in natural lakes and rivers that rely on those plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency is offering $14 million to fund projects that help reduce harmful runoff into Great Lakes waterways through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That includes green infrastructure, farmer-led outreach and education, manure management on farms, and a market-based approach called “water quality trading.” 

DETROIT (AP) — It's certainly more chills than thrills in the Great Lakes as the summer season unofficially kicks off with the Memorial Day weekend.

National Weather Service officials say water temperatures this week range from the 30s in Lake Superior to the 50s in southern Lake Michigan, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.

Weather service meteorologist Ernie Ostuno says readings are a little colder than normal for this time of year. He says people who attempt a fully immersive swim in the lakes right now could be in for a cold shock.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — High water in the Great Lakes may spell trouble for the piping plover, an endangered bird that builds its nests on shorelines.

Water levels have surged in recent years as the lakes bounced back from record-setting lows. Vincent Cavalieri of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that means narrower beaches and less room for the plover.

The most recent count last year turned up 67 breeding pairs of the sand-colored birds. That's an improvement from the low point of 12 pairs in 1990 but a slight drop from 76 pairs two years ago.

Tetra Tech, U.S. Geological Survey, July 17, 2017

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The governor of Illinois is authorizing steps toward the installation of technologies in a Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he's willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois.

The location is considered a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake.

Michigan.gov

There is a new state department in charge of environmental protection in Michigan starting Monday. That’s under an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.  

Liesl Clark is the director of the new department. She says the state still has to deal with the Flint water crisis, and PFAS contamination of drinking water.

               

Michigan Governor Open To Allowing Great Lakes Oil Tunnel

Apr 17, 2019

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she's open to allowing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet, despite ordering state officials not to act on a tunnel plan developed by her predecessor.

Judge Orders Closer Look At Great Lakes Oil Spill Plans

Apr 1, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a government agency to take a closer look at pipeline company Enbridge's plans for dealing with a potential oil spill in the waterway connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration previously approved the Canadian company's spill response plans for areas traversed by Line 5, which carries oil from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A portion runs along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Michigan officials halting work toward a Great Lakes oil pipeline tunnel :

8:15 p.m. (Thursday)

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge says it's "surprised and disappointed" by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's finding that a law authorizing construction of an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan is unconstitutional.

If climate policies don’t change, the Great Lakes will be a much less hospitable place for people and aquatic life. That’s one of the takeaways from a new report by more than a dozen universities in the Midwest and Canada. Activists hope the report will spur local lawmakers to act.

Report: Great Lakes Warming Faster Than Rest Of U.S.

Mar 21, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather such as heat waves and drought.

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

 
   

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