Michigan environment roundup: Expect severe algae blooms on Lake Erie

Satellite image of Lake Erie

Satellite image of Lake Erie on Sept. 23, 2017. (Photo courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

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 environmental 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.

Wet spring likely to fuel severe Lake Erie harmful algae bloom


“A sizable harmful algae bloom is expected on Lake Erie this summer despite an overall reduction in fertilizer use at northwest Ohio farms due to an unreasonably wet spring, Garret Ellison reports. “Researchers predicted the annual green scum on Lake Erie will reach a 7.5 on a one through 10 severity scale during a formal briefing for legislators and officials on Thursday, July 11.” 

18,000 pieces of balloon waste were found in Great Lakes: Why it's a danger

Detroit Free Press

“Pregnancies. Births. Birthdays. Graduations. Anniversaries. Promotions. Retirements. Even deaths. Chances are high you'll see balloons at any or all of these occasions,” Keith Matheny reports. “Balloons are frequently used to decorate, celebrate or commemorate almost every major life event. But there's a growing awareness that balloons released to the sky come down to Earth, somewhere, as litter, 100% of the time. And that litter, in addition to polluting the environment, can be deadly to animals that eat the balloons or get tangled in them.”

Minuscule microbes wield enormous power over the Great Lakes. But many species remain a mystery.

Chicago Tribune

“Despite their minuscule size, microorganisms — including, bacteria, viruses and algae — are among the most prolific environmental regulators on the planet. These tiny, single-celled species wield the ability to alter the Earth’s climate, spread human disease, regulate the metabolism of animals and some serve as the building block of the aquatic food chain,” Tony Briscoe reports. “In the Great Lakes — which provide drinking water for 48 million people and support a $7 billion recreational fishery — researchers know next to nothing about some of the most abundant microbes. As Great Lakes climate trends make harmful algae blooms more likely and raise questions about how other microorganisms may behave, this research has taken on a sense of urgency.”

When congressional redistricting meets rising waters

E&E News

“The longest-serving woman in U.S. House history is worried that climate change could help Republicans take a bite out of her northeast Ohio district. Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a 19-term incumbent who has used her seniority on the House Appropriations Committee to steer money to the Great Lakes, believes rising water levels on Lake Erie could bisect her shoreline district, physically severing the western third of her constituency,” Daniel Cusick reports. “She may be right.”

Mystery shrouds Great Lakes anchor strikes amid Line 5 worries

The Detroit News

“Shipping industry experts were taken aback following a federal report describing last year's anchor strike on the controversial Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A 12,000-pound anchor accidentally dropped into the Straits, sliced five cables, dinged the dual oil pipeline and lost its flukes and crown, and wasn't discovered until the tug and barge to which it belonged neared Indiana Harbor. At the other end of Lake Michigan. Two days later,” Beth LeBlanc reports. “A report issued a year prior to the April 2018 incident cited anchor strikes as the biggest risk to Line 5 pipeline, but records of such strikes in the area are hard to find...That's not to say anchor strikes don't happen — in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.”

Q&A: Michigan lawmaker envisions state as an electric vehicle leader

Midwest Energy News

“Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow encounters ‘misadventures’ in electric vehicle charging on a near-weekly basis. McMorrow, a first-term lawmaker who represents metro Detroit, purchased a Chevrolet Bolt last January but regularly finds herself in a bind when needing a charge,” Andy Balaskovitz reports. “This unreliable infrastructure is helping drive McMorrow’s latest efforts in the Legislature to promote and incentivize electric vehicle charging stations.”

Boarders paddle across Lake Erie to support research below it

Great Lakes Echo

“This isn’t your typical trip to the lake. A group of Michigan men are planning to cross Lake Erie on stand-up paddleboards to raise money for Great Lakes research. The 80-mile, 24-hour, nonstop, sleepless trip should begin in the morning hours of Tuesday, weather permitting,” Andrew Blok reports. “The group, Stand Up for Great Lakes, hopes to raise awareness of Great Lakes issues and $10,000 via donations on their website to support students at the Cooperative Institute of Great Lakes Research at the University of Michigan.”

Grayling homeowners cope with water contamination

Traverse City Record Eagle 

“Deep within the northwoods is a small town known for its crystal clear waters and its namesake military base. Grayling is home to Camp Grayling, the primary training facility for the Michigan National Guard and the largest U.S. National Guard training installation nationwide. Generations of troops have trained there and civilian and military employees based their lives in the community. Camp Grayling pumped an estimated $25.9 million into the economy last year through payroll,” Sheri McWhirter reports “...But that’s not all from the camp that has found its way into the community: A toxic plume of PFAS chemicals currently seeps through the area’s groundwater and into local surface waters, the result of decades of using and training with firefighting foam that contains the noxious materials.”

Our community is a fishing community’: Michigan tribe seeks to set its own water standards

Great Lakes Echo

“The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, on the shores of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, is petitioning the federal government to hand over control of setting water quality standards,” Andrew Blok reports. “It would make them the first tribe in Michigan to receive that right and join 60 tribes in the United States already granted that ability. Many tribes argue that an increased role in setting water regulation allows them to tailor the standards to protect plants and wildlife important to them.”

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Patty H
Sun, 07/21/2019 - 4:43pm

Prayers up! May Spirit bring the highest good for all helping to heal and sustain Mother Earth.