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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