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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Subdivision told it's unlikely to get water from lake

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A standing-room-only crowd that packed the Wauconda Township offices Monday learned it is unlikely that a subdivision would get Lake Michigan water to solve problems with contaminated well water, a process that would take years and cost millions of dollars.

But residents of Hillcrest also were told that within 90 days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects to have a plan detailing how they could be hooked up to village well water.   more...

 



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New rules to protect Ontario's water

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Toronto — The Ontario government has imposed tough new rules on those who take water from the ground and is taking stronger measures to protect watershed-based sources, Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky announced Tuesday.   more...

 



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Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

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Northern Michigan contains some of the most important, diverse, and pristine water resources on earth. The Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands provide homes for a plentiful array of wildlife. These waters are a way of life and a cherished vacation destination. The vastness, clarity, and ageless beauty of these waters have the power to lull us into a false sense of security. These waters seem beyond the reach of time, and out of harm's way. Their inherent fragility is often forgotten.    more...

 



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Dredgings dump opponents are down to picking at details

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The latest chapter in the quarter-century quest to build a dump for Saginaw River dredging spoils has a familiar ring to it.

It's the sound of people opposed to a dump trying to chip away at the project.

The search to find a site for muck dredged from the river appears to be over.

Saginaw County intends to buy 600 acres straddling Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships on the Bay-Saginaw county line.

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Hungry salmon downsizing as food disappears

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Lake Michigan salmon are shrinking and the phenomenon may be linked to zebra mussels.

Call it the Caspian Sea diet.

Imported to the Great Lakes from Eastern Europe's Caspian Sea in the ballast water of freighters, zebra mussels have spent the past two decades wreaking havoc on tiny creatures at the base of the lakes' food chain. The results of those changes are now becoming evident in Lake Michigan alewife and chinook salmon, which are smaller and weigh less than in the past.

The alewife population in Lake Huron has crashed and is dropping like a rock in Lake Michigan, scientists say. That's bad news for salmon, which feast almost exclusively on alewives.   more...

 



Environment  Fishing  

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On Strawberry Creek, salmon get help making small fry

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Sturgeon Bay - This is Mother Nature on life support.

Thousands of Lake Michigan chinook salmon return to their artificial spawning grounds each fall at the headwaters of Strawberry Creek, a tiny stream that trickles into the lake near the city of Sturgeon Bay.

Their arrival marks both the end and beginning of a life cycle spun by human hands.

Here, the writhing fish, some weighing more than 20 pounds, are trapped in a concrete pool, scooped up by crane, anesthetized and clubbed unconscious.

Females are poked with a needle and pumped full of air until their eggs squirt out. Males are squeezed for their sperm.  more...

 

 

 



Environment  Fishing  

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Coaster brookie initiative explained

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MARQUETTE - The current status of Lake Superior coaster brook trout is one of concern, and the time frame for re-establishing the fish in the area is long-term.

Rehabilitation efforts and the history of Lake Superior coasters were discussed Thursday at a presentation by representatives from the Lake Superior Coaster Brook Trout Initiative at Northern Michigan University.

The initiative is comprised of members from federal, state and local agencies, universities, tribal governments and non-profit organizations working toward rehabilitation of the trout through research, management, advocacy and advisory efforts.

Four representatives - Ron Kinnunen from Michigan Sea Grant, Casey Huckins from Michigan Tech University, Ed Baker from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Jill Leonard from NMU - spoke during the two-hour-plus presentation, which was attended by about 40 people.   more...

 



Environment  Other  

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Stormwater runoff raises new development questions

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Stormwater that runs into municipal sewers could become the key for some Northwest Indiana communities to unlock Great Lakes water in a new water management plan under debate.

Where to flush stormwater already was a hot topic in environmental and utility circles, because contaminants in it can severely pollute ground and surface water supplies.

Now, stormwater control may become a critical question for building and development planners along the divide that splits the region into two watershed basins.   more...


 



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Pines residents fight for safe water

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THE PINES | The water looked like iced tea and smelled like rotten eggs.

In a scene fit for a movie, Gordon Tharp invited four environmental bureaucrats and an industry executive to drink tap water from the well on his property that they said was not contaminated. When they declined, Tharp's trap was sprung.

"I don't understand why my water isn't good enough for you, but it's good enough for me," he said.

Tucked into the shadow of the Dunes National Lakeshore, this town of about 800 in northeast Porter County has become a nationwide symbol of how power plant waste can contaminate drinking water. Some local residents have unwillingly become experts in the complex scientific world of water quality and government regulations in the four years since they discovered high levels of toxic metals in many wells.   more...


 



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Program aims to halt release of exotic fish

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Imagine the Great Lakes being overtaken by an exotic meat-eating fish that can emerge from water and slither across land for up to three days at a time - with the largest species even capable of attacking humans.

Sound like some Grade B horror flick?

It's not. Snakeheads, which rival Asian carp as a potential Great Lakes menace, were found in Lake Michigan near Chicago in October. Asian carp, on the other hand, are in the Mississippi River, with a temporary electrical barrier in place to keep them out of the Great Lakes. The Army Corps of Engineers recently got funding from Congress to construct a permanent, more-fortified barrier.   more...

 



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The Great Divide: Battle line drawn in water wars

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INDIANAPOLIS | There is a line, an invisible divider, that cuts through the heart of the Calumet region.

On one side sits the area's greatest natural asset, which provides almost unlimited access to about 90 percent of the country's fresh surface water supply.

On the other side, in some spots in view of Lake Michigan, are those who can't touch the region's "blue gold."

As with the Greek mythic figure Tantalus, the water may always be out of reach for some.

In an increasingly thirsty world, the line can mean more than just clean, cheap public drinking water. It can determine economic development and sprawl, as the region's population shifts year by year to the wrong side of the great divide.
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Appeals court upholds water flow plan for Crystal River

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LELAND, Mich. (AP) -- The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld an order requiring a complex system to balance the flow of water from Glen Lake into the Crystal River.

The decision is a victory for the Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed Riparians. The group of Crystal River property owners contended that the water level on Glen Lake had been maintained by a dam at the Crystal River without consideration for the river's environmental and recreational health.   more...

 



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Ontario gets tough with river polluters

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 For some time, the Blue Water Area waited to see the Ontario government take tougher action to address St. Clair River chemical spills. Now, this community appears to have gotten just that.

Royal Polymers Ltd., one of the manufacturers of Sarnia's Chemical Valley, has been charged with violating several environmental laws in its August 2003 chemical discharge into the St. Clair River. The Ontario Ministry of Environment said the company faces two counts each of violating the provincial Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resource Act. A conviction could cost Royal Polymers more than $12 million Canadian in fines.    more...

 



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Solutions will need to wait for another report

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Patience. That's the only counsel available as yet another gaggle of Great Lakes representatives works on a plan for bringing Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario back to their maximum potential. Results are at best a year away.

Last week saw governors, mayors, tribal leaders and other constituents of the lakes gather in Chicago to meet with folks from the 10 cabinet-level agencies charged with streamlining regional action. The next step is preparing a report, divvied up among eight strategy teams, with a final version due in a year. Only then does the real question get answered: Will Congress and President George W. Bush actually fund a major program?    more...

 



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State approves $3.9 million for Ottawa County to purchase land for park

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SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP -- Spring Lake Township conservationists and county parks officials hit the jackpot Wednesday when a state board awarded a $3.9 million grant to purchase 500 acres of a wooded dune area adjacent to P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board also gave $3.6 million for the purchase of 161 acres in Saugatuck and earmarked similar sums in 2005 and 2006 for the project, for a total of $10.8 million.

Local officials said it was a good sign when the board did not ask them any questions about the Spring Lake Township proposal prior to voting on funding.   more...

 



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