Reflection

Reflection by Bill VanderMolen

Reflection, photo by Bill VanderMolen

Bill took this photo in the Lake Erie Metropark (aka Brownstown Park). View his photo bigger and see more in his Birds slideshow.

More about Great Egrets on Michigan in Pictures.

We have met the enemy and they are ours: The Battle of Lake Erie

Flagship Niagara

Flagship Niagara, photo by Trish P. – K1000 Gal

“We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop.”
~Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

September 10, 2013 is the Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, a critical battle that helped turn the tide of the War of 1812. The Flagship Niagara page on the Battle of Lake Erie relates:

On September 10, 1813, nine small ships – six of them, including Niagara, constructed at Erie – defeated a British squadron of six vessels in the Battle of Lake Erie. A pivotal event in the War of 1812, it led to regaining Detroit, lost at the war’s outset, and lifted the nation’s morale.

The U.S. Brig Niagara is a two-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel. In 1813, she had a crew of 155 men and boys who manned her sails, 18 carronades and two long guns. The crew was organized into two watch sections (port and starboard) for routine duties while underway. More experienced sailors were stationed aloft, while others under the direction of petty officers manned the rigging which controlled the sails from deck. In battle, men also manned the guns and carronades. Boys carried the black powder charges from the magazine to the guns. Marines and soldiers were assigned to the fighting tops on the masts where they could fire their muskets on the enemy ships. Officers directed setting sails, firing cannon, and maneuvering the brig in response to orders from the captain.

…On September 10th, 1813, the British under Commodore Robert Heriot Barclay and the Americans under Perry met in battle near Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Perry’s flagship, Lawrence, engaged the British ships Detroit and Queen Charlotte, while the Niagara, for unknown reasons, did not close the enemy.

After the Lawrence was completely disabled, with most of her crew wounded or killed, Perry transferred by boat to the undamaged Niagara, hoisted his battle flag – “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP” – sailed her into close action, broke the British battle line, and forced Barclay to surrender. In the aftermath, Commodore Perry wrote his famous report to General William Henry Harrison, “We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop.”

You can…

Trish wrote that the Flagship Niagara was in Detroit a year ago for Navy Week to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Detroit was chosen as a host city because of its direct link to the War of 1812. The city was an important military outpost in the war — but mainly for the British, who tricked the commander of Fort Detroit into surrendering the city without a shot and occupied it for more than a year. She also says to note the authentic 1812 U.S. flag!

Check her photo out bigger and see more in her Detroit slideshow.

More ships & boats on Michigan in Pictures.

Algae Blooms threaten Lake Erie

like an oil slick

like an oil slick, photo by 1ManWithACamera

I’d like to offer an apology of sorts for this photo. It goes like this: “I’m really, really sorry that I sometimes have to blog photos of the ugly things that threaten what’s beautiful in Michigan. I wish I didn’t have such a good reason to!”

Michigan has only the tiniest sliver of Lake Erie shoreline, so little that we sometimes forget that it is one of the lakes that define our Great Lakes State. Lake Erie served once at the canary in the coal mine for pollution of the Great Lakes, and it may once again be sounding a warning call. A recent front page of the New York Times featured scary news about algae blooms on Lake Erie:

For those who live and play on the shores of Lake Erie, the spring rains that will begin falling here soon are less a blessing than a portent. They could threaten the very future of the lake itself.

Lake Erie is sick. A thick and growing coat of toxic algae appears each summer, so vast that in 2011 it covered a sixth of its waters, contributing to an expanding dead zone on its bottom, reducing fish populations, fouling beaches and crippling a tourism industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue annually.

…Dead algae sink to the lake bed, where bacteria that decompose the algae consume most of the oxygen. In central Lake Erie, a dead zone now covers up to a third of the entire lake bottom in bad years.

“The fact that it’s bigger and longer in duration is a bad thing,” said Peter Richards, a senior research scientist at the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University in Ohio. “Fish that like to live in cold bottom waters have to move up in the thermocline, where it’s too warm for them. They get eaten, and that tends to decrease the growth rates of a lot of the fish.”

Read on for a whole lot more including how farming practices are intersecting with invasive zebra mussels and climate change to magnify the dangers.

Larry’s photo is from Lake Huron and shows a different kind of algal bloom. I got some similar ones on Lake Michigan, and the folks at Michigan Sea Grant have a whole album of them.

See it on black, view happier shots in his Caseville & Port Austin slideshow and see more of Larry’s work on Michigan in Pictures.

More Lake Erie on Michigan in Pictures.