February 28, 2015
February 27, 2015
It looks like we have a little bit of warmer weather on the way, and I hope that everyone has a great weekend!
February 26, 2015
Tahquamenon Falls State Park shares:
If you ever wanted to see the Upper Falls frozen, here is your chance! The water is flowing beneath the ice, but we have never seen the left side frozen over before. Pretty cool!
Cool indeed … downright COLD in fact!
Click to see the photo bigger and to view other photos people took recently, check out several more shots of the falls as they’ve frozen on the Tahquamenon Falls State Park Facebook, and visit the Park’s page at Michigan.gov.
Lots more about the Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures!
February 25, 2015
The Great Lakes Echo reports that although a study has found that invasive round goby are “one of the most successful aquatic invaders” ever in the Great Lakes, smallmouth bass appear to be feasting on gobies:
25 years after their discovery in the Great Lakes, “we’re not documenting specific harms from gobies,” Popoff said, referring to feared environmental, economic and human health concerns.
In fact, there are indications of possible benefits from their presence, he said. For example, “we are seeing amazing smallmouth bass,” as well as some “amazing walleye,” while lake trout have modified their diets from sculpin to round gobies.
One possible exception, according to Popoff, is a decline in sculpin population as documented in Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay because they compete with round gobies for space and food. However, scientists haven’t determined whether the lake’s overall sculpin population is down or whether they’ve merely moved to deeper areas with fewer round gobies.
…However, the study found the round goby is now a widely available food source for many native fish because of its “extreme abundance, tolerance to a variety of habitat conditions and relatively small size.”
In lakes Erie and Ontario, round gobies accounted for 75 percent of the smallmouth bass diet, Crane said. If all other species have maintained stable populations, that means the bass are putting less pressure on other food sources.
Nice to see the Great Lakes winning a battle – read on for lots more.
February 24, 2015
In Great Lakes Total Ice Cover Nears 85% NOAA reports:
The NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is showing total ice cover of 84.4% as of February 22, 2015, well above the long term average and closing in on last year’s mark of 92.5% coverage on March 6, 2014. In this image, Lake Erie is a vast white plain, joining Lake Huron and Lake Superior with coverages above 90% and only small areas of open water. This image was taken by the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument around 1803Z on February 23, 2015.
Click through to see it big as the Great Lakes and see more photos of the Great Lakes from high above if you click the “Great Lakes” keyword.
February 23, 2015
February 21, 2015
I need to provide a retraction of sorts for this post. While Enbridge Line 5 could carry the same corrosive tar sands of Keystone XL, it’s not a part of the XL network. It still most certainly could all the terrible impacts and remains a really bad idea. More about Line 5 right here.
Broken Supports on the Straits Pipeline, photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation video
Here’s what we’re talking about when we talk about piping crude oil sludge under the Straits of Mackinac.
It’s absolutely unfathomable to me how a politician could ever use “jobs” and “Keystone XL” in the same sentence except to say “Keystone XL could cost us tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Great Lakes if anything goes wrong.”
Eco Watch writes (in part):
This past July, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) conducted a diving expedition to obtain footage of aging oil pipelines strung across one of the most sensitive locations in the Great Lakes, and possibly the world: the Straits of Mackinac. Footage of these pipelines has never been released to the public until now.
The Straits of Mackinac pipelines, owned by Enbridge Energy, are 60-years-old and considered one of the greatest threats to the Great Lakes because of their age, location and the hazardous products they transport—including tar sands derived oil.
Click above to read more and watch the video or click here to watch it on YouTube. The dive footage starts at about 3 minutes, and at about 4 minutes in you can see drop camera footage from 200′ deep that shows unsupported pipeline hanging over the lake bed.
I know that some folks get upset when I wander into “politics” but I don’t even think this falls under politics. This falls under “companies using lobbying money & influence to do things that are really dangerous without proper safety controls.” You can clearly see from the video that this pipeline is an outdated and unsafe piece of junk, and the Great Lakes don’t belong to any company. In my opinion (which may be different from yours) it is incumbent on our elected officials to safeguard the Great Lakes for the economic benefit and enjoyment of us ALL.
PS: If the name Enbridge Energy sounds familiar, they’re the company that brought Michigan the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010.
PPS: (edit) The Jobs, Economy and the Great Lakes report by Michigan Sea Grant found that in 2009, more than 1.5 million Great Lakes-related jobs generated $62 billion in wages for the Great Lakes region. (report is linked at the right)