Michigan environment roundup: Lake sturgeon on the rebound

Environment reads

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries assistant Jason Pauken, left, and DNR research technician Brad Utrup release a sturgeon. (Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources.)

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.

Sturgeon, America’s forgotten dinosaurs, slowly coming back
Associated Press

“Sturgeon were America’s vanishing dinosaurs, armor-plated beasts that crowded the nation’s rivers until mankind’s craving for caviar pushed them to the edge of extinction. More than a century later, some populations of the massive bottom feeding fish are showing signs of recovery in the dark corners of U.S. waterways,” Ben Finley, Patrick Whittle and John Flesher report. “Increased numbers are appearing in the cold streams of Maine, the lakes of Michigan and Wisconsin and the coffee-colored waters of Florida’s Suwannee River…Lake sturgeon are waging a slow but steady comeback. The largest group is in the river corridor linking Lakes Huron and Erie.”

Indigenous leader of Line 5 opposition is now consulting for Enbridge
Michigan Radio 

“Indigenous governments and activists in the Great Lakes have been leaders in the movement to shut down the twin oil pipelines that run under the Mackinac Straits. Now, one of the most visible people in that movement has left his tribal government job and set up his own consulting firm,” Kaye LaFond reports. “One of his clients? The pipelines’ owner, Enbridge Energy. This sudden change has upset indigenous communities in the region, and some worry it’s a ‘divide-and-conquer’ tactic.”

Plastics pollution? Course urged golfers to hit balls into Lake Michigan
Detroit Free Press

“‘Go ahead and do it, everyone does,’ the prestigious Arcadia Bluffs golf course urged on its website as recently as last Tuesday, in its description of the 12th hole on its Bluffs Course, on a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. ‘Once you’ve launched a ball into Lake Michigan, on purpose, turn your attention to the native bunker on the right side of the fairway as it is your aiming point on the tee shot.’ Golfers have heeded that urging, in unknown numbers, round by round, every day of golf season, since Arcadia Bluffs opened in Manistee County 20 years ago,” Keith Matheny reports. “The result: untold thousands of golf balls into Lake Michigan — a ‘shocking,’ ‘frivolous’ and ‘ridiculous’ contribution to the rising plastics pollution problem in the Great Lakes and worldwide waterways, environmental advocates said.”

High levels push canal water into homes near Detroit River
Associated Press

“Michelle Davis pulls on knee-high rubber wading boots each time she leaves and returns to her flooded home on Detroit’s east side, the result of an overflowing canal that abuts several homes and feeds into the swollen Detroit River nearby,” Corey Williams reports. “Despite the sun-splashed and rainless day, one thing was clear Tuesday as Davis slowly made her way through the flooded street in front of her home: Water was winning. For weeks, it’s gushed over and through cracks and gaps in canal seawalls, poured through backyards, and spilled down driveways into streets now overtaken with water….This not the Heartland, where dealing with spring flooding and its aftermath, is common. This is Detroit, where by summer local children are more accustomed to playing on dry street pavement, rather than wading through water that stands ankle-to knee-deep.”

If you’re seeing more Great Lakes sea gulls, here’s why
Lansing State Journal

“Ring-billed gulls, a bird so abundant they are sometimes considered a threat to human health, once were nearly decimated from the Great Lakes region. In the late 1800s, they were easy targets, prized for their crisp white feathers that could easily be dyed for use in women’s fashion. Their eggs were nutritious and palatable, a stand-in for chicken eggs before poultry farmers established markets throughout the region,” Carol Thompson reports…”As chicken eggs replaced gull eggs and feathers fell out of fashion, ring-billed gulls rebounded...They found easy pickings in invasive Great Lakes fish like alewives and started eating insects turned over by farmers' plows as people spread through the region.”

Tiny bug lives only in Michigan: Why you shouldn’t kill it
Detroit Free Press

“As endangered species go, it's not the most glamorous: a brownish, ladybug-sized water beetle with lines of black dots along its back. But the endangered Hungerford's crawling water beetle is unique in the very, very specific areas it calls home. Like many of us, it loves being Up North,” Keith Matheny reports. “Hanging on the edge of extinction, the beetles' ability to survive helps scientists understand the health of Up North streams, including for some more-beloved species that use them, such as trout. Scientists want to teach people how to identify when they are potentially harming Hungerford's habitat, so steps can be taken to protect them.”

A crack in the Great Lakes Compact? Approved water diversion prompts pushback
Environmental Health News 

“The Great Lakes hold quadrillions of gallons of water. Is allowing one more company to take water from them such a big deal? Yes, say groups worried about the slippery slope of Great Lakes' diversions,” Andrew Blok reports. “A controversial plan to divert 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan to the proposed site of a factory in Wisconsin, run by Foxconn, an international manufacturer of electronics, was upheld by an administrative law judge earlier last month. That hasn't ended opposition to the plan by environmental groups or settled worries that this decision is the first crack in the Great Lakes Compact, a regional agreement to keep 21 percent of the world's surface freshwater where it is now: within the Great Lakes basin.” 

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Comments

Alex Sagady
Wed, 07/24/2019 - 4:52pm

Filed yesterday in the AG case to shut down Line 5:

"STIPULATION AND ORDER EXTENDING TIME FOR DEFS TO RESPOND TO COMPLAINT AND TO SET BRIEFING SCHEDULE AND PAGE LIMITS FOR INITIAL CROSS MOTION FOR SUMM DISP "