When you visit one of the Great Lakes, whether it’s a sandy beach or a rocky coastline, it’s hard to imagine how something so big could be affected so profoundly by alien invasive species, or pollution, or climate change. This Environment Report special looks at each of these threats.
On Thursday, environmental groups and Native Americans plan to present Enbridge Energy with symbolic eviction notices. They want Enbridge to abide by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. In November 2020, Governor Whitmer revoked the easement for Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 twin pipelines through the Straits of Mackinac, and gave the company 180 days to shut down that section of the pipelines, which carry light crude oil and natural gas liquids. That
Enbridge Energy technically has one more day to shut down the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, but even the pipeline’s most vocal opponents acknowledge slim odds that the oil actually stops flowing right away.
There’s been a lot of news about the amount of plastic debris in the oceans. But plastic pollution is also affecting the Great Lakes. A study out of the Rochester Institute of Technology estimates 22 million pounds of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes from the U.S. and Canada each year.
Right now, scientists are on a ship taking samples and measurements of the Great Lakes. They’re trying to determine how the lakes will fare this year and watching for trends. One trend, the warming climate, could mean changes for the base of the food web in the lakes. But, the researchers are not yet sure what those changes might be.
As Canadian officials lobbied a Michigan Senate committee in March to keep the Line 5 pipeline open, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) grew frustrated with a conversation that, up to that point, had focused mainly on the immediate economic and safety implications of a possible shutdown.
Climate change in the Great Lakes region means more intense storms. Already some towns are finding they’re flooding where they never have before. One city in Michigan is finding the solution is nature.
Midland and other cities were hit hard by a flood caused by of a weak dam. More than 2,500 homes were damaged. There was an estimated $245 million dollars in property damage. If that flood happened a few years ago, the damage could have been worse. But, there’s been a change. One thousand acres of restored wetlands helped reduce the severity of that flood.
Intrigued by warming winters, researchers from the University of Michigan set out in 1989 to formally measure changes in the geographical distribution of plants and animals in the dense pine and hardwood forests of northern Michigan. Their laboratory, the university’s 10,000-acre Biological Station east of Petoskey, had advanced forestry and natural sciences since the field station’s founding in 1909. Few projects, though, attracted the same level of attention as the migration research.
It’s freezing outside and Larry Scheer is in neoprene chest waders kicking up sediment in Boyden Creek near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The downtown office for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians Fisheries Management Program is a simple, small two-story brick building.
The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy has been eager to show news media its new Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center in Mackinaw City. Its purpose is to try to prevent another anchor strike or other damage to Line 5, the dual pipelines carrying oil and natural gas liquids.
The flood that was caused by heavy rains and the failure of two dams near Midland caused property damage far downstream. But the long term damage might be in the contamination of wildlife.
The two dams that broke near Midland caused a massive flood that swept away bridges, roads, and damaged a lot of property. Because Midland is home to Dow’s original chemical complex, a lot of people were concerned about hazardous waste or waste in ponds at Dow.
Tom and Michelle Joliat's lovely home in Metamora, Michigan is situated high on a hill with a stunning view of the woods below. Normally, it's peaceful and idyllic here. Metamora Township is a rural area about 25 miles southeast of Flint. But in the distance, you can sometimes hear the faint drone of the U.S. EPA drilling yet another monitoring well. The wells are monitoring the movement of a plume of groundwater contaminated with 1,4 dioxane and other toxic chemicals.
Wildlife are being poisoned and much of the time people using the poisons are not even aware of the danger. One Michigan resident is on a crusade to make people understand what’s at risk when they use rat poison.
We know that burning fossil fuels releases a lot of greenhouse gases. But there are other human-caused sources that contribute to climate change. As Lester Graham with the Environment Report found, one of them is how farmers plant crops.
You can hear a flock of geese calling, but there’s not a single goose. It’s a bunch of humans, warming up for the goose call contest at the 72nd annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival held last weekend.
To help combat chronic wasting disease, Michigan is banning deer baiting and feeding across big parts of the state. It’s highly unpopular with some hunters and lawmakers. But, banning bait will only slow CWD from spreading to new areas, and more aggressive approaches that might actually stop it could be just as unpopular.
The constant barrage of news about climate change, drinking water contamination, and pollution in the Great Lakes region can feel overwhelming. If you care, it’s hard to know what to do or where to start. That's where Stateside's new series comes in. We're featuring ordinary people who identified a problem – no matter how big or small – and chose to act.
A new nonprofit is training citizen scientists to collect data on fish in the Great Lakes. They think it could be a game-changer for research in the region, and even help prevent the establishment of invasive species.
Climate change is affecting the world in a lot of ways. The planet is warming, more rain is falling. There are colder winters, and warmer summers. And all of this is having a profound effect on agriculture.