Michigan environment roundup: Asian carp move closer to the Great Lakes

Asian carp were likened to a “never-ending oil spill” in a 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Bridge Magazine is committed to sharing the best environmental journalism in and around Michigan, an effort called #EnviroReads.

In Bridge’s Michigan Environment Watch, we share a roundup of recent stories on the Great Lakes or other issues. If you see a story we should include next time, use the hashtag #EnviroReads on Twitter or email Environmental Reporter Jim Malewitz at jmalewitz@bridgemi.com.

Researchers say sewage data holds clues to Flint water crisis

Flint Journal

“Researchers from Virginia Tech university say they’ve found the first direct evidence that corrosive water caused elevated blood lead levels in Flint children,” Ron Fonger reports. “A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Water Research relied on years of data from routine measurements of metals in Flint’s sewage sludge, showing a connection between rising levels of lead in city waste, blood lead levels in children and use of the Flint River as a water source.”

Michigan 'beyond 11th hour' as Asian carp move closer to Great Lakes

Crain’s Detroit Business

“Ecologists, biologists, anglers and politicians all agree that Asian carp are a problem. A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office called aquatic-invasive species like Asian carp a ‘never-ending oil spill.’ Officials have in recent years closed the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in Minnesota between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watershed, constructed the Eagle Marsh berm in Indiana that closed a connection point between the Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie, and the Wabash River,” Dustin Walsh reports. “Yet the Mississippi River's largest entry point to the Great Lakes — the Chicago Area Waterways System, which connects to Lake Michigan — remains its most vulnerable.” [Bonus coverage from the Associated Press: Army Corps approves $778M plan to block Asian carp advance]

Coal ash contamination common across the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Echo

“Sometimes pollution is dramatic, like aerial footage of a 2011 coal ash pond collapse that sent toxic contents onto the beach and into Lake Michigan in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee,” Andrew Blok reports. “Sometimes pollution is hidden, like the toxic cancer-causing, brain-damaging chemicals like arsenic and lithium at elevated levels in groundwater beneath coal plants throughout the country, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project. That’s a worry because groundwater is the source of much of the nation’s drinking water.”

Hundreds of millions of birds die in collisions with building windows each year in the US

Michigan Radio

“Each year hundreds of millions of birds die in the U.S. after colliding with windows. Skyscrapers are not the chief cause, but mostly mid-rise buildings,” Lester Graham reports.

Researchers seek PFAS solutions as they try to break down the 'forever chemical'

Detroit Free Press

“It's a daunting task: How to break down ‘the forever chemical?’ But scientists across the country are researching, with urgency, ways to bust apart or capture per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, or PFAS,” Keith Matheny reports. “State officials suspect the potentially harmful compound could be contaminating more than 11,000 sites in Michigan, and hundreds more across the country.”

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Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:34am

Where's Nessel??? If she's SOOOO concerned about the Great Lakes shouldn't she be suing the parties in charge of these man made access points giving these invasive carp entry into our lakes??? Whitmer?, FLOW? , National Wildlife Fed? Tribes? Any one? ... Crickets crickets crickets.

John Chastain
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:16pm

Matt, if your point is that Democrats are failing at this just as bad as republicans l won’t disagree. The problem of invasive’s in the Great Lakes in a decades long problem and both party’s have played a role in perpetuating it. Try talking about closing the St Lawrence and the lakes to international shipping and watch the politicians and special interests come out of the woodwork. It’s the same with the Chicago canal and other Great Lakes Mississippi River connections. But don’t criticize the tribes or environmental organizations, like fishing interests we’ve been complaining and organizing for years. There’s just to much money against real solutions to these problems. And when it comes to money no political party is pure.

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 1:53pm

No John when Obama laid this off on the Army Corp of Engineers (the height of deceit, since he is the Commander and Chief) and that there was no blow back from the Enviros, that told the tale. Sorry I expect nothing from Trump but at least he doesn't claim the Enviro mantle. The point is the Dems claim this as their issue but really don't do anything unless it's sticking the Petrol or other industries, beyond that nothing.

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 5:25pm

Really? Republicans have been in charge in Michigan with the exception of the periodic Governor that I am shocked you stopped to finger pointing! Are you kidding?

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 1:31pm

The image heading this article is of a common carp, not of an Asian carp (bighead or silver). The frequency with which the two are mistaken for one another is a big problem. Common carp have been in the great lakes for years, and haven't exactly destroyed the place. In fact the provide a fishery that people travel a long way to partake in.

Jim Malewitz
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:31pm

Thanks for the comment and apologies for the error. We've fixed it.