Sediment and nutrients are picked up by stormwater and washed into Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Sedimentation inundates aquatic wildlife habitats and reduces the ecosystem’s productivity by blocking out sunlight, while excessive nutrient levels promote bacterial growth and can result in harmful algal blooms that close beaches and threaten drinking water. Thanks to a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is taking steps to reduce the harmful impacts of stormwater runoff and its associated erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loading. Read more here.
Frog-bit is an invasive aquatic plant that forms thick, dense mats that can quickly crowd out native plants and degrade fish and wildlife habitat. Fish and waterfowl can also become trapped within the frog-bit mats, as can any boats trying to traverse the afflicted waterways. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan Department of Natural Resources have partnered to remove frog-bit from the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary to stop the spread of its colonies and raise public awareness over this issue. Volunteers were trained to recognize and effectively remove frog-bit. Teams of volunteers were then sent out in kayaks to hand-pull all the frog-bit they could find. Read more here.
The Calumet Conservation Corps is a small group of people committed to removing invasive species in parks around Chicago. These ecosystems provide habitat for native wildlife and filter water on its way to Lake Michigan. The Conservation Corps also provides training and outdoor experience for area youth, who might not otherwise have this. Read more here>
A diverse group of native ecosystems around the Chicago area help protect water quality in Lake Michigan and provide habitat for native wildlife. Yet many of these ecosystems are being threatened by invasive species that choke out native plants. Local organizations, with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, have come together to remove invasive species from 4,500 acres north of Chicago. Read more here>
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.