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April 18th 2014

Weekly News Roundup: White Nose, Microbeads, Pipelines, and More

Hey everyone. In case you missed it, here are some of the stories from the past week in Great Lakes conservation.

WGN TV reports efforts by the Illinois legislature to ban microbeads from commercial products. Microbeads, tiny grains of plastic commonly found in household products such as shampoos and facial cleansers, can accumulate toxins and be ingested by fish. The beads are too small to be filtered out of the water by treatment plants, and they have been linked with Great Lakes pollution.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press describes the confrontation over the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline in northern Minnesota. Honor the Earth, an environmental justice group that aims to protect indigenous interests, opposes the current proposed route for the pipeline, which goes through Minnesota’s environmentally sensitive lake country and could financially impact local Native American tribes.

A recent study has linked the deaths of Great Lakes trout eating alewife with a thiamine deficiency, according to the Detroit News. The alewife, an invasive fish species in the Great Lakes, produces an enzyme that destroys thiamine. Thiamine deficiencies can alter the immune systems of fish, and trout consuming often die shortly afterwards.

Great Lakes Echo reports that bats with white-nose fungus have been found in Michigan. This disease spreads quickly, and can kill up to 90% of the bats in an area. This is the first time the fungus has been found in Michigan bat colonies.

The Columbus Dispatch describes legislative efforts in Ohio to develop a certification program for farmers applying commercial fertilizers to their lands. Fertilizer runoff promotes the growth of algal blooms that are harmful to people, their pets, and wildlife. The proposed bill would require farmers who fertilize 50 acres or more to attend certification courses that teach management practices to reduce runoff.

A shortage of whitefish may interfere with Passover celebrations, according to the Daily Herald. Whitefish, a staple of Passover meals, is in short supply after the cold winter’s icy conditions kept fishermen off the water.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio EPA has ruled that sediment dredged up from the Cleveland Harbor and the Cuyahoga River cannot be dumped into Lake Erie. Officials are worried that the sediment is contaminated with PCBs, a carcinogen that can accumulate in fish such as walleye and perch.

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April 16th 2014

WANTED: Awesome Presentations, Field Trips for Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference

The clock is ticking to be a part of the 10th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., Sept. 9-11. If you want to lead a dynamic, engaging and fun field trip or presentation, it’s time to dust off the keyboard and submit your application. Act fast!

The deadline is this Friday, April 18.

Send applications or questions to Celia Haven at

Read the RFP and download the application here.

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April 11th 2014

Weekly News Roundup: Wolves, Farm Bill, and More

Hey everyone. In case you missed it, here are some of the stories from the past week in Great Lakes conservation.


The Mining Journal reports that park officials on Isle Royale are considering potential strategies for managing the island’s wolf population, which has shrunk to nine. Officials have ruled out bringing in new wolves to increase the population’s low genetic diversity.


The recent Farm Bill passed by Congress is a victory for conservationists, according to the Tri-Valley Dispatch. While the new bill has decreased funding for conservation programs, it also incentives farmers to use best practices and protect wetlands.


An editorial in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel supports the state DNR’s decision to alter its management strategy of the invasive ash borer. The new strategy shifts the focus from eradicating the beetle to controlling its populations.


Residents of the islands in Lake Erie have been reconnected with the mainland now that ferries are able to operate in the lake again, reports the Toledo Blade. The ferry season opened unusually late this spring after the winter brought some of the heaviest ice in years. Essential supplies on the islands, such as fuel, had started to run low.


IdeaStream reports that the nonprofit organization LEEDco is making their final pitch to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for a proposed wind on Lake Erie. The Energy Department is looking to develop an offshore wind farming industry in the U.S., and LEEDco is competing with five other companies for the funds. The proposed farm would be seven miles from Cleveland’s coast.

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April 10th 2014

Coalition to Testify at House Hearing on Great Lakes Efforts

Chad Lord, Policy Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. Photo credit: HOW Coalition.

Chad Lord, Policy Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. Photo credit: HOW Coalition.

Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition Policy Director Chad Lord will be testifying today before a U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding environmental programs. Lord will discuss federal efforts to restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The hearing starts at 9 AM Eastern at Rayburn B-308. Lord will be speaking on a panel at 10:50 AM.

The GLRI is delivering results,” Lord wrote in his prepared testimony. “But more work remains. Cutting restoration funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”

Read the Coalition’s prepared testimony here.

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing comes days after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representative sent letters to appropriations committee leaders, urging them to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to $300 million. President Obama, in his budget released in early March, recommended cutting the program to $275 million, down from $300 million. Read the letters here. More >

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April 9th 2014

Coalition co-chair wins recognition as a Michigan Green Leader

Andy Buchsbaum speaking at the 2014 Great Lakes Days in Washington D.C.

Andy Buchsbaum speaking at the 2014 Great Lakes Days in Washington D.C.

On Sunday, the Detroit Free Press announced their list of Michigan Green Leaders for 2014. One of the winners in this year’s individual category is Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation, cofounder and co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. The HOW Coalition was founded by the National Parks Conservation Association and the NWF in 2005. Buchsbaum received the award because he

“helped secure more than $1.6 billion over four years in federal funding to [improve] the environmental health of the Great Lakes and nearby bodies of water.”
–Detroit Free Press

The $1.6 billion referenced in the article is funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program advocated for by the HOW Coalition.

More >

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  • Coalition Supports Efforts to Boost Great Lakes Funding

    The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is supporting efforts by U.S. House and Senate leaders to restore Great Lakes funding, following the release of President Obama's budget, which recommended cuts to core Great Lakes programs. Learn more.

  • Check out our Success Stories Map

    Learn how Great Lakes restoration projects are producing results across the region. Check out our success stories map, with new stories added every week. Learn more.