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Newsletter - Thursday 8/9/2012

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Rocks' images tell a thousand stories

A small corner of Ontario's sprawling Lake Superior Provincial Park, Agawa Rock is a stunning link with the past and the region's native peoples.

Here, at the end of a 400-meter trail that tests legs and lungs, balance and bravery, images painted in red ochre on rock convey the power of the lake, the bravery of its Ojibwe (Chippewa or Anishinaabeg) people, their respect for things spiritual.

A sturgeon; a warrior-crewed canoe; the mythical, horned, lynx-like creature Misshepezhieu; perhaps clan symbols such as turtles, fish, bears and more: The visitor is left to fill in the details of what are almost certainly stories of identity, exploration, warfare and spirit intercession.

One can imagine First Nations (Native American) supplicants leaving gifts of tobacco, food and other items for the lake spirits called manitous.  more...



Urgent Help Needed for Upcoming Historic Swim

Next week Sara and Jeff Tow are departing on the swim of their lifetime: Crossing Lake Michigan at its midpoint. Straight across, this is a 50 mile ultra-marathon. With current wind and the ever-changing, unpredictable weather on the lake, the likelihood is they’ll swim between 55 and 60 miles between Two Rivers, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. Only one person on earth has completed a mid-lake crossing, he is now their coach. Their goal is to become the first married couple, and only the second and third persons ever, to complete a mid-lake swim across Lake Michigan. Sara would be the first U.S. female to cross the Lake, ever. As a married couple, they’d be the first anywhere to make a crossing together. In fact, the first married couple to complete an ultra-marathon swim together anywhere in the world. Sara anf Jeff are making this attempt to bring awareness to the struggles of postpartum depression.
 
As of yesterday morning, their guide boats and captains have had to withdraw from the adventure for personal reasons. This means they now have NO escort boats to help them get across the lake. They are in desperate need of at least one boat, 35+ feet or longer (sail or power) to guide them across the lake or the swim will be canceled. If you are or know of a boat owner or Captain in West Michigan or East Wisconsin who would like to be a part of this historic journey, please contact them as soon as possible as their leave date for Wisconsin is still August 12th!
 
For more information about the swim, visit http://throughtheblue.org, https://www.facebook.com/#!/throughtheblue or contact Jeff and Sara directly: teamtow@throughtheblue.org or call 616-951-4882.



Documents tell of wind farm plan's demise

ALBANY — When the New York Power Authority deflated plans last fall for the Great Lakes' first offshore wind farm, it justified pulling the plug by highballing the price tag.

But confidential NYPA documents obtained by the Times Union reveal that figure — $100 million annually for 20 years — to be double what the authority privately expected it would cost.

But if it wasn't about the money, why did the project, initially touted as a pioneering bid to harvest steady lake winds for electrical power, get shut down?  more...



Yellow perch fishery needs a lift

A full moon climbed into a darkening summer sky east of Milwaukee.

A light breeze offered relief from the heat and propelled dozens of sailboats across the watery horizon.

Just below the shoreline bluff, several hundred people gathered on blankets and folding chairs for an open-air concert.

The early August evening was right out of a Chamber of Commerce catalog. Almost.

The piers and other shoreline fishing spots were nearly vacant.

Areas that once held shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of anglers had just a straggle of pedestrians and joggers.  more...



Dropping lake levels around Michigan leave many feeling low

Carim Calkins, 47, talks about the low water level on Middle Straits Lake in back of his West Bloomfield Township home. The lake level is so low, he bent the prop on his boat's motor on the lakebed. The low levels also have caused the lake's vegetation to explode, costing property owners, who had to pay to get it cut twice.The water level on Middle Straits Lake has been low before, but Carim Calkins doesn't remember it being so low this early in the year.

The water is so low, "I bent my prop," said Calkins, who lives on the West Bloomfield Township lake and owns a 22-foot deck boat. "As the water continues to drop, it's hard to get the boat out of the lift, and it's hard to get the boat out into the lake without hitting bottom."

In a state that claims 11,000 inland lakes, low lake levels are a source of concern for many.

Calkins, 47, and lakefront residents across much of Michigan are dealing with the fallout from factors such as a low snowpack last winter and hot, dry weather this summer that have led to drought-like conditions.  more...



Robot divers to report on Lake Superior's depths

DULUTH, Minn. — With its frigid, often ice-choked water and legendary storms, Lake Superior can be a dangerous place for scientists to conduct research.

"In Lake Superior, the season where it's nice to go out there is relatively short," University of Minnesota Duluth physics professor Jay Austin said. But he said "there's science year round out there."

Aiming to tap the wealth of information deep inside Lake Superior, Austin and other researchers are preparing to send two mechanical divers in the big, cold lake for a long time. They plan to test one of the divers Wednesday.  more...



DEC adopts new freshwater fishing regulations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted some new freshwater fishing regulations, the DEC announced this week.

The slight changes to the current regulations will take effect starting Oct. 1, and will be in place through 2014.
 
“New York provides some of the best fishing in the nation and, periodically, DEC modifies existing freshwater sportfishing regulations to enhance fishing opportunities for anglers throughout New York,” said Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathy Moser. “Input received from anglers and other stakeholders during the public comment period earlier this year resulted in some suggestions becoming incorporated in the final changes announced today.”  more...





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