High water forcing some closures

Buoyant Joy by Mark Smith

Buoyant Joy by Mark Smith

mLive’s Emily Bingham reports that historically high water levels are closing campsites, harbor slips at popular state parks across Michigan:

During a summer recreation season already hampered by pandemic-related delays and restrictions, many of Michigan’s state parks are now wrestling with another force of nature: historically high water along the Great Lakes.

From the east side to the west side and up north, the record-setting water levels are reshaping shorelines, eroding beaches, submerging docks and piers, and rendering roads and trails inaccessible. The unprecedented situation has manifested in high water-related closures statewide at harbors, parks and boating access sites managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

…A number of boating access sites and fishing piers across the state are temporarily closed on account of high water as well; a full list of closures and updates is available at Michigan.gov/DNRclosures.

Leland’s popular Fishtown is one place with critically high water levels. You can see Mark’s photo of the Joybigger on his Facebook & for sure follow him on Flickr @downstreamer!

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The other side of O Kun de Kun Falls

O-Kun-de-Kun Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

O-Kun-de-Kun Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

GoWaterfalling is simply the best website for Upper Peninsula waterfalls. In addition to detailed directions, they share that O Kun de Kun Falls:

…is one of the largest of the waterfalls in Ontanagon county. It is not as large as Bond Falls or Agate Falls, but it is just as scenic and far wilder. It is a mile plus hike to O Kun de Kun Falls and there are no fences or signs. The waterfall is also unusual in that it is an actual plunge falls. Only a handful of the many waterfalls around Lake Superior are plunge falls. You can go behind the falls if you want, but you need to be careful and sure footed.

…The width of the falls varies wildly depending on water levels. The Baltimore River can get pretty thin in summer months.

The waterfall is named after an Ojibway chief.

John took this from behind the falls last week and notes that the Baltimore River is a warm, slow moving river. Click to view it on Facebook and definitely follow him on Facebook & Instagram and order prints & more at michigannutphotography.com!

See many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

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Dam Shame: Michigan’s aging dams put thousands at risk

Rusty Dam and Spillway on the Huron River by Ann

Rusty Dam and Spillway on the Huron River by Ann

The New York Times notes that although no one died in last week’s flooding of Midland due to dam failures, thousands were evacuated, homes and businesses were inundated, and floodwaters spilled into a chemical plant and Superfund site. They continue that little has been done to address the looming national hazard of aging dams like those that failed in Michigan.

In November 2019, The Associated Press reported that 19 dams in Michigan, including the first of the dams to breach, were in unsatisfactory condition and presented high hazards, meaning their failure can cause loss of life. The events of last week should not have come as a surprise, and it is only a matter of time before a catastrophic dam collapse will occur somewhere in the United States. The combination of aging and poorly maintained dams and extreme, climate-caused flooding presents potentially deadly risks for people downstream.

…In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said experts characterized the flooding that led to the recent dam failures as a 500-year event — something that would have a one in 500 chance of occurring in any given year. If we consider dams in the eight-state Great Lakes region older than 60 years (most have a design life of 50 years) that are in counties with a population larger than 500,000, 317 dams are classified as having a high potential for hazard in a failure. The chances of one or more of these dams experiencing a 500- or 1,000-year flooding event in a year would be 47 percent and 27 percent — which strikes us as pretty high.

The Great Lakes region exhibits approximately 10-year cycles of rainfall and is currently near record high levels. Extreme rainfalls are happening much more frequently in the region than in the past 100 years. What is being done to prepare for potential flooding and dam failures?

The state and the federal government have multiple offices that assess dam safety. What we lack is an overall strategy to fix the problem and the requisite financial resources. Rehabilitating dams with high hazard potential will cost an estimated $3 billion for federal impoundments and another $19 billion for nonfederal ones — a cost that vastly exceeds current spending.

We need a real plan and real money, and we need them soon.

Read on for more in the NYT & head over to Bridge Magazine for an in-depth exploration of the 2020 Midland flooding.

Ann took this back in 2011. View more in her Flickr.

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Eagle River, Keweenaw County

Eagle River-Keweenaw County by Kirt E. Carter

Eagle River-Keweenaw County by Kirt E. Carter

Kirt took this photo of the Eagle River with an ONDU 6×9 Pinhole with Ilford Pan F developed in Rodinal 1:50. You can see lots more through his Flickr & check out kirtecarterfineartphotography.com for other photos along with his writings about how he shoots these stunning pics & a link to his book on Northwest UP rivers!!

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Lights in the Darkness

Detroit lit up in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders, service workers

Detroit lit up in red white and blue by kare hav

Here’s an absolutely stunning photo from yesterday that’s the latest cover for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page. It shows the city of Detroit from across the Detroit River as it lights up the night in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders & service workers.

They definitely need all our support. The Detroit Metro Times reports that the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting Detroit harder than New York City:

In just the past three days, Detroit’s death toll nearly doubled, reaching 221 on Tuesday. During that period, the city averaged more than 3o deaths a day. And public health officials warn that the worst is yet to come.

Detroit has a rate of 32.9 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people in New York City. More than 5,500 Detroit residents have tested positive for COVID-19 — a nearly five-fold increase since March 27. With a severe shortage of testing kits, public health officials believe far many more Detroiters have been infected.

Mayor Mike Duggan has made it a priority to increase the city’s testing capacity. Frustrated by the slow pace of testing, Duggan led the creation of a regional site at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile and Woodward, where he expects at least 14,000 people will be tested for COVID-19 over the next six weeks. During the first two days, 43% of the people who were tested were positive for the coronavirus. The city is also working with doctors who are willing to see patients who don’t have insurance.

“We’re going to make testing available to every single person in this city who needs [it],” Duggan said Thursday. “It is critical that every single Detroiter have access to this.”

Duggan said the city is now testing 800 people a day.

More than 150 Detroit Police Department employees, including Chief James Craig, have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 524 officers and police civilians were under quarantine, as of last week. At least 43 firefighters and medics also have confirmed infections, and more than 75 have been under quarantine.

Read the rest at the Metro Times & see more of Michigan’s largest city in Kare’s Detroit photo album.

Please feel welcome to share photos or info about ways your community is coming together to support medical & essential people in this dark time & please stay safe!!

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The River Grand

The River Grand, photo by John Rothwell

Wikipedia’s entry on the Grand River says in part:

The Grand River is the longest river in the U.S. state of Michigan. It runs 252 miles (406 km) through the cities of Jackson, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Grand Ledge, Portland, Ionia, Lowell, Grand Rapids, and Grand Haven. Native Americans who lived along the river before the arrival of the French and British called the river O-wash-ta-nong, meaning Far-away-water, because of its length.

As the glacial ice receded from what is the central Lower Peninsula of Michigan around 11,000 years ago, the Maple River and lower Grand River served as a drainage channel for the meltwater. The channel ran east to west, emptying into proglacial Lake Chicago, the ancestor of Lake Michigan. Today the Grand River rises in Somerset Township in Hillsdale County and Liberty Township in Jackson County, and flows through Jackson, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia, Kent, and Ottawa counties before emptying into Lake Michigan. Its watershed drains an area of 5,572 square miles (14,430 km2), including 18 counties and 158 townships. Tributaries of the river include (beginning near river source and travelling downstream): Portage River, Red Cedar River, Looking Glass River, Maple River, Bellamy Creek, Flat River, Thornapple River, Rogue River, Coldbrook Creek, Plaster Creek, Bass River, and Crockery Creek.

…Grand Rapids was built on the site of a mile long rapids on the Grand River, although these have disappeared after the installation of a run-of-river dam in 1866 and five low-rise dams during a river beautification project in 1927.

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in John’s slideshow.

More Michigan rivers on Michigan in Pictures.

MirrorD

2file112, photo by ansonredford

This stunning photo of the Detroit skyline was taken back in February and is the latest cover on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook.

View it bigger and see more in Donald’s Detroit slideshow.

Tons more Detroit photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Waterfall Wednesday: Paul’s Falls on the Sante River

Sante River, April 2017-19, photo by Invinci_bull

Paul’s Falls on the Sante River at Waterfalls of the Keweenaw begins:

Finding a sizeable river that flows east from Toivola/Twin Lakes is tough – finding a waterfall along one is even harder. Paul’s Falls on Sante River fulfills both of those criteria with an impressive drop down into a sandstone bowl. While much of the river is a meandering flow along a gentle rocky bed, here the water plunges over a lip of sandstone and pours down onto a steep slope of mossy rock. The river banks steepen to dangerous levels below the falls and create a descent cave on the north side.

Read on for directions, map, and more!

Nathan took this photo in April and writes “I decided to check out the remote and topographically intriguing Sante River gorge, deep in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula. I wasn’t expecting to find Paul’s Falls at the end of it!”

View it bigger and see more inNathan’s Sante River Exploration – April 2017 slideshow.

More Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Ecorse, Little Venice of the West End

Morning, Ecorse, MI, March, 2017, photo by Norm Powell

It’s always cool to discover new websites about Michigan, and my search for more on the history of Ecorse led me to Mr. Cosbey’s History of Ecorse at the website Along the Detroit River. It was written by  Ecorse High School history teacher John Howard Cosbey and is very comprehensive – here’s a slice:

The River Aux Ecorces appears in history as early as 1763 as the retreat of Pontiac and allied chiefs in the famous plot to rid the mid-west of the encroaching white settlers. It was known also as a favorite burying ground of the Indian tribes in the locality.

It appears, however, on the evidence of birth records and of the statements of sworn witnesses in court that the first white settlements at the River Aux Ecorces were made during the period between 1784 and 1797, probably about 1785.

…The Detroit Free Press for July 2, 1905, tells of the “Little Venice of the West End”:

“All along the river shores from Fort Wayne to the Village of Ecorse, some hardier folks of Detroit who like to keep cool cheaply have boat houses in which they live during the summer. “The Little Venice of the West End,” they call it, and it is truly a colony of resorters distinct in itself.

“The rich may go to Grosse Point, to the mountains or to the sea shore, those of limited means, such as skilled mechanics, clerks, and other small salaried men with families may easily afford to rent a cottage built out upon the piers of Ecorse’s “Little Venice.” There they may have the air and the cool of the river, in fact, all of the real luxuries of a more exclusive colony, and at much less cost.

“Every day the resorters of Ecorse, who have business in the city, travel back and forth on the trolley. And every evening fish, boat and bathe with the women and children before the very doors of their summer homes.”

View Norm’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Wyandotte Waterfront Nuclear Sunrise

wyandotte-waterfront-nuclear-sunrise

Wyandotte Waterfront Nuclear Sunrise, photo by 1adamtwelve

“….when the sun comes up, I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began. It’s so beautiful.”
-Forrest Gump

Adam shares that this photo was captured at sunrise along Wyandotte’s waterfront while he was flirting with Mother Nature, something I think we could probably all use more of.

You can view this bigger and see more in Adam’s slideshow. One note – there are  few tasteful boudoir shots in there, so if that’s something you’d rather not see, don’t click the link!