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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Feather in our cap: Decades of cleanup work to change toxic hot spot listings

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M1123SEDIMENT2.JPGTwice in the last few weeks Muskegon County residents have learned that massive cleanups on Muskegon Lake and White Lake, fueled by state and federal funds, may lead to those lakes being removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes toxic hot spots list over the next five years.

It is a tribute to the hard work of citizen organizations such as the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership and the White Lake Public Advisory Council and the many members who wrote letters, attended meetings, lobbied their lawmakers, answered surveys and provided funds to keep the effort moving forward.   more...



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The Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition

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The Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition is a group representing small harbors from around the Great Lakes where dredging and harbor maintenance issues are of particular concern. Boat groundings, life endangerment, damage to local economies, a massive backlog of projects, and dramatic deterioration of our navigation infrastructure have all resulted from the lack of sufficient funds to support harbor dredging and maintenance.

The coalition will work with federal and Great Lakes entities to effect the changes needed to address the long-term viability and safety of our harbors.  more...



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Nuclear waste dump idea sparks unease in Ontario

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TORONTO — A community on the shores of Lake Huron has cracked open the door to southern Ontario's becoming the permanent storage site for Canada's spent, but still dangerously radioactive, nuclear fuel.

Until now, only nine communities in remote areas of northern Saskatchewan and northern Ontario were in the running to host the $24-billion project for a mammoth underground facility.

Now, to the consternation of some, one of southern Ontario's premier tourist destinations is on the radar, although how it got there is already the subject of dispute.   more...



Environment  Other  

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Efforts to bolster lake herring populations in Lake Huron may be stunted by deadly disease

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Algae blooms, overfishing and invasive species depleted once thriving schools of Great Lakes herring.

Now Michigan officials want to bring them back in Lake Huron. But there’s a new concern – lake herring are highly susceptibility to an emerging fatal fish disease.

Researchers found that lake herring are prime targets for Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. It causes organs, skin and muscles to hemorrhage. The eyes of the sick fish bulge, they are covered by open sores and they eventually die.  more...



Environment  Fishing  Other  

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S.S. Badger seeks more time to replace boilers

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The owners of the S.S. Badger have asked regulators for more time to replace the coal-fired boilers that propel the ferry across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich.

Lake Michigan Carry Ferry Inc. has asked the Environmental Protection Agency for an individual water discharge permit - rather than a general vessel permit - that the company says would give it an additional five years to retrofit the ship.

"We need more time," said Lynda Matson, vice president of customer service and marketing for the ferry.

But the Badger's competitor, Milwaukee-based Lake Express, said the move is nothing more than a delay tactic by the company to use old technology to keep operating with a lower overhead than Lake Express, which uses diesel fuel and complies with all environmental laws.  more...



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Lake Ontario no longer a dumping ground for sewage as of next week

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Boaters soon will be prohibited from dumping their sewage into Lake Ontario.

New York state officials petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to include Lake Ontario in the no discharge zone for sewage, said John Martin, spokesman for the federal EPA. The EPA announced Thursday it had approved the no discharge request.

There already are other no discharge areas in the state, including Oneida, Onondaga and Cross Lakes in Central New York and the entire length of the Erie Canal.

Beginning next week, any boaters seen dumping sewage in the lake will be charged with a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and could be fined, Martin said.   more...



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GVSU professor to explore tourism and offshore wind farms with Netherlands officials

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HOLLAND — A Grand Valley State University researcher will explore the topic of offshore wind developments and their effects on tourism with interested parties in West Michigan and The Netherlands.

Assistant Professor Erik Nordman, the principal investigator for the university's West Michigan Wind Assessment, will link a West Michigan group at the GVSU Meijer Campus in Holland to tourism and sustainability officials in a Dutch coastal community.  more...


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Submerged oil cleanup finished in Kalamazoo River for the year

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MARSHALL — Crews have completed work extracting submerged oil from the bottom of the Kalamazoo River for the year.

Jason Manshum, spokesman for Enbridge Energy Partners, said the majority of submerged oil has been collected and crews are shifting to start winter cleanup.

"However, there are still some remnants of submerged oil in the Kalamazoo River," Manshum said. "The exact quantity is difficult to measure, but we are currently trying to calculate the remaining amount based on core samples from the river bottom. These core samples have been collected and are now being tested analytically to better understand the remnant amounts."  more...


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The mystery of the Elk Lake lake trout

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It was the biggest lake trout the Michigan Department of Natural Resources team had netted yet out of Elk Lake.

More than 34 inches long, the lake trout looked like a battleship: tattered fins, a scarred body -- an old fish, said Patrick O'Neill, fisheries technician with the DNR.

The DNR team was netting in Elk Lake near Elk Rapids, at the behest of Jory Jonas, a research biologist with the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station.

"Five years ago, we were doing a large lake survey on this system, and we pulled in some lake trout," said Jonas. "They just looked different, like something special."  more...



Environment  Fishing  

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Great Lakes Invasion - Quagga Mussels Wreak Havoc on Ecosystem

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Algae blooming in Lake Erie. Image credit: NOAA/USGSOn Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation backed by the shipping industry that prevents states from establishing their own tougher regulation of ballast water. Scientists say it is that ballast water from ocean freighters that imports dangerous, invasive species into U.S. waters.

While the battle between the shipping industry and environmentalists rages on Capitol Hill, a tiny invader is already living in the Great Lakes and is wrecking the food chain and the commercial fishing industry.

It’s just after dawn in Northern Wisconsin. Commercial Fisherman Dennis Hickey is getting ready to take his fishing boat out on Lake Michigan.  more...



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Submerged oil cleanup finished in Kalamazoo River for the year

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Kalamazoo River / Morrow Lake oil spill cleanupMARSHALL — Crews have completed work extracting submerged oil from the bottom of the Kalamazoo River for the year.

Jason Manshum, spokesman for Enbridge Energy Partners, said the majority of submerged oil has been collected and crews are shifting to start winter cleanup.

"However, there are still some remnants of submerged oil in the Kalamazoo River," Manshum said. "The exact quantity is difficult to measure, but we are currently trying to calculate the remaining amount based on core samples from the river bottom.  more...


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Lake Erie's algae outbreak taking a toll on fish

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PORT CLINTON -- As toxic blue-green algae blooms continue on Lake Erie, prized sport fish such as walleye and perch likely will decline, and less desirable invasive species such as the white perch will continue to grow in population.

"We're already seeing white perch starting to take off," Roger Knight said Tuesday at the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association Health of Lake Erie Conference at the Moose Lodge.

Other fish that do well in warmer water, such as the freshwater drum and white bass, also will rise in population, said Knight, administrator of the Lake Erie Fisheries Program for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.  more...



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Government gets failing grade on safe drinking water

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water tap

The federal government is dragging its heels over the creation of a national safe drinking water strategy, leaving communities at risk for contaminated tap water, a new report says.

Waterproof 3, a drinking water report card issued by environmental group Ecojustice, warns that more than a decade after E. coli-contaminated water killed seven people and sickened 2,500 others in Walkerton, Ont., not nearly enough is being done to prevent a similar tragedy.

The report gives the federal government an F "for lagging in almost every aspect of water protection for which it's responsible," according to a news release that accompanied the report's release Tuesday.  more...



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State Leaders Discuss Lake St. Clair Muck

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Representatives from the state told an audience Monday at the St. Clair Shores Public Library the muck building up along the Lake St. Clair shoreline is caused by algae and is being found throughout the Great Lakes region.

The findings were issued in a report by the Department of Environmental Quality, which studied the buildup after residents north of Veterans Memorial Beach contacted city officials and State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, about the growth of the organic matter from their seawalls.  more...



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Lake depends on innovation

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Thank goodness for skepticism. It keeps society from running over cliffs.
So, I’m thrilled that York Region is giving the environmentally concerned citizens of Georgina the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed York Region Sewage Solution and its impact on Lake Simcoe. The meeting is Nov. 16 at Stephen Leacock Theatre from 7 to 9 p.m.   
People are very interested and I am sure they will thoughtfully consider this proposal in the context of all the things we need to do to reduce the phosphorus that’s harming our lake.       more...


Environment  

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