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April 22nd 2014

Project in Northern Minnesota Restores Riverbanks and Decreases Erosion

The Flute Reed River after restoration. Photo courtesy of Kerrie Berg, Cook Co. Soil & Water Conservation Dist.

The Flute Reed River. Photo: Kerrie Berg, Cook Co. SWCD

A project in northern Minnesota along the Flute Reed River has installed fallen trees along the riverbank to reduce erosion, re-establish the flood plain, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. Sediment from the Flute Reed River is naturally high in phosphorus, so reducing erosion along this river will also help prevent algal blooms in Lake Superior. Read more here.

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April 21st 2014

Rule clarifying the Clean Water Act is now open for public comment

Children jump into one of the Great Lakes on a summer's day. Photo credit: Karen Bunker.

Children jump into one of the Great Lakes on a summer’s day. Protecting our waters that enjoyed historic protection under the Clean Water Act is critical to keeping our Great Lakes clean and healthy. Photo credit: Karen Bunker.

The Waters of the United States rule was published in the federal register today beginning the 90-day public comment period. The draft rule, first announced by the Obama Administration on March 25, has been issued to clarify confusion and uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of the Clean Water Act caused by Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006. You can read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the Waters of the United States rule.


Having a strong Clean Water Act with clear jurisdiction is a big priority for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. We will be submitting comments on the proposed rule and we strongly encourage others to comment on this critically important rule. You can read all about the rule at the EPA’s Waters of the United States site.

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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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  • 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.