Great Lakes


Opinion | Cleanup of Great Lakes pollution hot spots is good for economy

September 6, 2019 | John Hartig

Cleaning up the mess we’ve made of our waterways isn’t just the right thing to do; it helps revitalize communities.

Algae is again fouling Lake Erie. Thanks a lot, Ohio.

September 6, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

As water quality fears rise, many Michigan farmers are doing their part to stem the flow of algae-producing nutrients, widespread measures that Ohio can only dream of.

Audit: Michigan Office of the Great Lakes didn't keep track of money

August 30, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

The government agency is supposed to restore wetlands, but hasn’t updated action plans for years and failed to keep tabs on grants, an audit finds.

Rising waters of Lake Michigan assault Grand Traverse coast. In photos.

August 28, 2019 | John L. Russell

Vanishing beaches. Swamped piers. Snapped concrete. Near-record high waters battered the scenic peninsula from Traverse City to Leland.

Battle looms over laws to slow spread of invasive species in Great Lakes

August 26, 2019 | Jim Malewitz, Sarah Whites-Koditschek

Ballast water regulations have limited the introduction of new species in the Great Lakes, but new research shows they may be spread by domestic freighters. The shipping industry claims new rules would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

All eyes on Grand Traverse Bay as deadline looms for tribal fishing decree

August 22, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

A consent decree that carves out fishing rights in the Great Lakes for five Michigan tribes is set to expire next August and negotiations have yet to start with the state. The outcome could shape fisheries for decades.

Study: Asian carp could thrive in Lake Michigan, despite earlier doubts

August 12, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

 A new University of Michigan study found that voracious bighead carp could survive in wider areas of Lake Michigan than previously thought. The findings loudened calls for Congress to approve a $778 million barrier to prevent the invasive fish from jeopardizing the Great Lakes’ $7 billion commercial fishery. 

Before debates, Gretchen Whitmer urges Democrats to protect Great Lakes

July 29, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

Joining fellow Democratic governors in Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Michigan’s governor urges presidential hopefuls to protect the Great Lakes by backing proposals that would improve water quality and thwart invasive species. 

Commercial fishing is sinking fast in Michigan. Time for more regulations?

June 24, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

Sportfishing is booming in Michigan, while fewer than two dozen commercial businesses tie their livelihoods to the Great Lakes. The industry has a rich heritage, but some say it’s time to ‘pull the plug on the horse and carriage industry.’

Invasive mussels challenge commercial whitefish fishing in the Great Lakes

June 24, 2019 | Kurt Williams

The spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels in the Great Lakes has wreaked havoc on Great Lakes food chains.  They may be behind a startling decline in whitefish, the most valuable stock for fishermen.

Surging Great Lakes threaten Michigan’s beloved Fishtown

June 11, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

Heavy rains are taking a toll on the collection of fishing shanties in the Leelanau Peninsula, eroding some buildings and flooding others. That’s accelerating a fundraising effort to preserve the buildings.

Opinion | Climate change drives shifts between high, low Great Lakes water levels

June 5, 2019 | Drew Gronewold, Richard B. Rood

Great Lakes are in ‘uncharted territory,’ as climate change prompts sudden lurches in water levels, two University of Michigan professors write.

Surging Great Lakes water levels shrink beaches, flood docks in Michigan

June 5, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

A few years after record lows, Lakes Erie, St. Clair and Superior broke records for average water heights in May

Michigan environment roundup: Great Lakes water levels could break records

May 20, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

The latest can’t-miss journalism about Michigan’s natural resources.

Here's how your ideas could help save Lake Superior's Buffalo Reef

February 20, 2019 | Jim Malewitz

Michigan officials are mulling how to thwart millions of tons of mining waste threatening to smother Buffalo Reef, a vital spawning ground for lake trout and whitefish. Here’s your chance to offer feedback. 

Michigan, Great Lakes at risk for oil spills beyond Line 5, report says

December 11, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

As Michigan lawmakers race to create a deal to protect Line 5, a new report flags 15 areas across the Great Lakes where habitats are vulnerable to oil spills.

Great Lakes drownings peaked in 2018. And the year’s not over.

November 2, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

A safety advocacy group has tracked 728 Great Lakes drownings since 2010, including 105 in the first 10 months of 2018.

A slow-moving ‘disaster’ is threatening Lake Superior and way of life

September 18, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

The Buffalo Reef in the Keweenaw Peninsula teems with lake trout and whitefish. But a mountain of waste from a closed mine is slowly seeping into the water, prompting a desperate search for a solution.

Lake Erie’s algae bloom is growing again after paralyzing Toledo water system

August 22, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Fueled by farm runoff, harmful algal blooms continue to grow in Western Lake Erie, and climate change may make them even more intense. An expert explains the problem and how it could be addressed.

How Michiganders made Grand Traverse Bay beaches cleaner

July 24, 2018 | Jim Malewitz

Beach closures are a big deal near Traverse City, which thrives on tourism. So a nonprofit made it its mission to reduce them