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April 10th 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Dredging, Pollution Control, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes conservation news:


Ohio has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reports the Columbus Dispatch, claiming that the federal agency should be cover the cost of storing dredged sediment from the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor in containment facilities. The Corps plans to charge Ohio $1.4 million after the state objected to plans to dump the sediment into Lake Erie. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer reports on progress being made to clean Lake Erie after an unknown oily sludge drained into the lake from Cleveland last week.


Midwest Energy News reports on an agreement between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Power to cut sulfur dioxide emissions at coal-fired plant along Minnesota’s north shore. Under the agreement the utility will update its permit to comply with EPA sulfur emission regulations enacted in 2010.


A newly released report from Grand Valley State University indicates that 1 in every 5 jobs in Michigan is water related, according to WZZM-TV. The researchers believe this report demonstrates the importance of the Great Lakes to Michigan’s economy, and have proposed a “Blue Economy Council” that will be responsible for the continued growth of the “blue economy.”


Environmental groups in northeast Wisconsin have asked the U.S. EPA to investigate the impacts large dairy farms in the area are having on drinking water, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Environmentalists claim that the state DNR is failing to enforce safe manure spreading practices for dairy farms, although the DNR has denied these charges.


WXYZ Detroit reports that the Michigan DNR approved new fishing regulations this Thursday. The new regulations go into effect immediately.

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April 3rd 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Wildlife Habitat, Dredging, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes conservation news:

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding over $10 million to the Great Lakes states for wildlife habitat restoration and protection, according to Great Lakes Echo. The funds come from the federal State Wildlife Grant Program, which targets high priority areas for habitat management, research, and monitoring.


The Detroit Free Press reports that Lake Michigan’s current water levels are 14 inches higher than they were at this time last year.


The Ohio EPA will allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Cleveland harbor, but it will not allow the Corps to dump the dredged sediment into Lake Erie, reports This is due to concerns that the sediment is contaminated with PCBs, endangering Lake Erie’s fish populations.


Excessive nutrient runoff from the Fox River is expected to result in large and long-lasting dead zones in Lake Michigan’s Green Bay this summer, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble convened a “phosphorus summit” this week to analyze the issue and its potential solutions.


The Associated Press reports that Ohio governor John Kasich signed a bill this week aiming to reduce harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The bill primarily targets agricultural nutrient runoff with new rules regulating fertilizer application and storage. As the Detroit News warns, however, the impact these changes will have on algal blooms will not known for several years.

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April 3rd 2015

Longtime Sea Grant Director Jeffrey Reuter Retires

Leading Lake Erie researcher, teacher and advocate Dr. Jeffrey Reutter stepped down from his post as director of Ohio Sea Grant this week after 42 years of service. At a retirement ceremony held at the Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, a Lake Erie island campus research center for Ohio State University, Dr. Reutter was celebrated by friends, family and colleagues. “I feel like I’ve had the best job at the university for about 40 years,” said Dr. Reutter, “but this is good timing for my retirement.”

Since joining Ohio Sea Grant in 1972, Dr. Reutter has been responsible for increasing the emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in youth education, bringing the NOAA Sea Grant Program to Ohio State, and facilitating communication and partnerships between policymakers, the business community, international collaborators, and lovers of the outdoors. Dr. Reutter was driven by a desire to educate people on the importance of Lake Erie to Ohio’s economy, communities, and public health. “We have done so much to create and to enhance understanding and awareness of how important Lake Erie is within the people who are making decisions about it,” reflected Dr. Reutter at the ceremony. He will be replaced as director of Ohio Sea Grant by the current associate director, Dr. Christopher Winslow.

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April 3rd 2015

Wisconsin Congressman Ribble Hosts Panel on Algal Blooms

Representative Reid Ribble (R-Wis.)

Representative Reid Ribble (R-Wis.)

For the last two months, the Ohio Legislature has been working on bills to reduce phosphorus runoff into the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Last August, a toxic algal bloom fueled by excess phosphorus in the water surrounded the main water intake pipe for the city of Toledo, poisoning the water of 400,000 people for three days. Toxic algal blooms occur nationally, but often not on the scale achieved on the Great Lakes. Similar blooms have caused problems for communities around Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron and Green Bay in Lake Michigan. During this week’s Congressional in-district session, Representative Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) hosted a panel discussion on this problem in his district, which covers Green Bay. The event was covered in this article by the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Present for the discussion, including Rep. Ribble, were Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and members of the Green Bay Municipal Sewerage District (NEW Water Green Bay), the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. As Rep. Ribble has posted on his facebook page, if you are interested in learning more about Ribble’s effort to save the waters of Green Bay, please call his office at (920) 380-0061.

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April 1st 2015

U.S. EPA Requests Applications for Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Request for Applications soliciting applications from states, tribes, local governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and other eligible organizations for approximately $6.5 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative cooperative agreement to complete chemical analysis in support of the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program.

The Request for Applications and information about applying for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants are available at:

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  • 2015 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Looking for information about the Great Lakes Restoration Conference? You can find our most recent conference updates on our conference website. This year the conference will be in Chicago, Ill. on September 29, 30, and October 1. We hope to see you there!  

  • Check out the Latest Update from the Field

    Read our latest field update from Michigan. Ducks Unlimited shares the results of their restoration tour with Congressman Dan Benishek. Learn more.