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June 26th 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Lake Trout, the Great Lakes Compact, and More

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

The Great Falls Tribune reports on efforts by biologists to save struggling lake trout populations in the Great Lakes. The trout are native to the Great Lakes, but researchers are working with scientists from Yellowstone National Park, where lake trout are invasive, to learn more about the fish species.


Heavy rains in the past few days could increase the threat of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, reports the Sandusky Register. As rainwater runs off into the lake it can carry phosphorus, a key nutrient in the development of toxic blooms.


Environmental groups are criticizing the U.S. and Canadian governments over delays in protecting the Great Lakes from toxins, according to Vice News. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement the two nations were supposed to develop a list of chemicals to be regulated, but so far have not added any chemicals to this list.


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the City of Waukesha has received preliminary approval by Wisconsin’s DNR to utilize Lake Michigan for drinking water. The DNR will make a final determination in December, after which the controversial measure will require unanimous approval from the other seven Great Lake states.

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June 19th 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Phosphorus, Invasives, and More

In case you missed the past week in Great Lakes conservation news…


The Detroit Free Press reports on an agreement between Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario phosphorus levels in the western Lake Erie Basin. The agreement calls for a 40% reduction in phosphorus levels by 2025. Excessive levels of phosphorus can fuel the large harmful algal blooms seen in Lake Erie the past few summers, including the bloom that contaminated Toledo’s water supplies last summer. Scientists are applauding this agreement as an important step. Yet according to the Columbus Dispatch, many scientists remain concerned that the planned rate of reduction may be too slow.


Michigan’s two U.S. senators, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Gary Peters, are stepping up their efforts to ensure the health of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s waters, reports the Petoskey News. The lawmakers are particularly focused on the threat posed by invasive Asian carp and the potential for an oil spill should the decades-old underwater pipeline in the Mackinac Staits were to rupture.


The Canadian government has released new regulations to strengthen the prevention of aquatic invasive species in Canadian waters, reports Benzinga. The regulations aim at preventing invasive introductions and improving the rapid response procedures if invasives are detected.


The Green Bay Press Gazette reports on efforts by scientists to keep invasive sea lampreys out of the Fox River. A lamprey introduction in the river could be disastrous for Lake Winnebago’s fisheries.

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June 15th 2015

Strong Support for Clean Water Rule Seen Around the Great Lakes

At the end of May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited rule restoring protections under the Clean Water Act. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition strongly supports this rule. As we take one step forward working to restore the Great Lakes, we can’t afford to take two steps backwards by allowing or ignoring pollution. Recent opinion pieces around the Great Lakes have been underscoring why the clean water protection rule deserves our strong support, why it is needed, and why the Great Lakes need it too.


Ohio: The Akron-Beacon Journal Protect Streams, Protect the Great Lakes


Ohio: The Plain Dealer Don’t Muddy Clean Water Rule: Editorial


Ohio: The Toledo Blade Toward Cleaner Water: The federal Clean Water Act needs to apply to streams and wetlands, as well as lakes and rivers


Wisconsin: The Capital Times Push Hard to Keep Clean Water Rule


Minnesota: Rochester Post-Bulletin Our View: Water Quality Doesn’t Improve with Hyperbole

Prior to the rule’s release, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune weighed in Don’t Let Special Interests Dilute Federal ‘Clean Water Rule.’

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June 9th 2015

U.S. EPA Announces Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Grants

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced more than $1.8 million in Shoreline Cities grant awards for cities around the Great Lakes basin. The Shoreline Cities grant program is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and provides funding for green infrastructure projects like rain gardens, permeable pavement, and rooftop gardens.

Read the press release put out by the EPA for Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan here, for Wisconsin here, and for Ohio here.

Summaries of the projects awarded grants are below, provided by the EPA:

More >

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June 5th 2015

Weekly News Roundup: Algal Blooms, Climate Change, and More

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


Four Lake Erie beaches in Michigan’s Monroe County were issued public health advisories this week, according to MLive. Testing at these four beaches indicated unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria in the water. The beaches will be tested again, with results expected by June 10.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a reduction in Lake Erie algal blooms this summer compared to the past several years, reports the Plain Dealer. The expected reduction is being credited to a relatively dry spring in addition to improved agricultural practices in the wake of last summer’s toxic algal bloom that contaminated Toledo’s drinking water.


onEarth has a story this week on the devastating impact of invasive mussel species in the Great Lakes, including zebra mussels and quagga mussels. The invasive bivalves can significantly alter the food chain and promote the growth of harmful algal blooms by selectively consuming harmless algal competitors. The story examines some of the challenges and proposed solutions for controlling these invasive populations.


Five Asian carp were caught in the St. Croix River near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border in the last week, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The fish were caught seven miles further upstream than they’d previously been detected, indicating the growing threat of these destructive invasives reaching the Great Lakes watershed.


The Detroit Free Press reports on a $3.65 million federal grant awarded to the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments program. The grant will support efforts over the next five years to study how the Great Lakes will be impacted by climate change, and how local communities can respond to these changes.


A European wind energy company is currently developing technology that could significantly reduce the cost of offshore wind turbines, according to the Plain Dealer. This has attracted the attention of LEEDCo, a U.S. company investigating the potential for offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes.


Great Lakes Echo reports that the International Joint Commission is requesting public comments on its most recent progress report for the Air Quality Agreement, which sets reduced emission targets for the two nations. Comments are due by July 31.

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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.