October 24, 2014


White mist rises from the harbor—
farther upstream it slides
all around the reeds
around the islands.
The river sings today
as it runs through our town
on its way to the sweetwater seas
on its way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence
on its way to the wild dark Atlantic.

From the bridge I can see
October’s first frost dissipate
in Sunday morning sun light.

Prickly seed pods of moon flowers burst
upon sandy loam.
Cloudy milt and coral eggs
cling to stream bed stones.

Glory surrounds us like water—
we sense it and see it.
We feel its hot and cold
its colors its sounds
as the river sings its songs of salmon
as it runs to the sea and rises sunward.
With locators sure as salmon
we will return.

              –Barbara Spring

                                           The Wilderness Within


What one Illinois plant is doing about the Asian Carp invasion may surprise you

The state is getting more help from the private sector in battling the still out-of-control invasion of Asian carp in Illinois waterways. As WGN’s Nancy Loo reports in tonight’s Cover Story, a new plant near St. Louis aims to get rid of the fish faster, and is churning out products people want.
Work starts early at the American Heartland Fish Plant in Grafton; a rural town north of St. Louis on the Mississippi River. This innovative business opened just a few months ago, and is already processing about 60-thousand pounds of Asian carp every day. Gray Magee is the Chief Executive Officer. “We take the whole fish in, we don’t care what size, we do the whole fish. And we put it into a freezer if we need to. Otherwise, we take it right into our machine. We run it through a conveyor system into a pre-breaker. A pre-breaker breaks it up into smaller sizes then goes through a grinder which grinds it into what appears to be a wet hamburger meal type of thing.” This patented rendering process then dehydrates that pulverized fish. And the oil is pressed out from the byproduct. In just 12 minutes, the end result is a high quality fish oil, and a protein rich fish meal that Magee says is a perfect additive for animal feed. This protein will run from 62-67% and that’s much higher than soy meal or corn meal or any other meal.”

Magee believes non-human consumption is the easier and faster way to get rid of Asian carp. But, to the North in Thomson, Illinois, Schafer Fisheries remains focused on products for people, marketing items like ground carp and carp hot dogs. Many consumers in China and other world markets are enjoying Schafer’s exports. But, frozen fish is not as desirable to Asians. And, high shipping costs cut into profits. Mike Schafer is the President of Schafer Fisheries “We tried to get this fish placed on a Title 3 food source for humanitarian food aid programs worldwide. There’s a lot of ways we can utilize this fish, create a lot of jobs in this country, and help control a species that is going rampant right now.” The state still hopes more Americans can be lured into eating Asian carp. Kevin Irons, who heads the Asian carp program for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says with well over a billion infesting Illinois waterways, there’s certainly plenty to go around. “Really, it’s a multiple strategy of making meal and oil. But, also the value of human food and good and delicious human food with these other uses.”

Irons was part of an Illinois scientific team that recently traveled to China. He believes they will be great partners in helping us solve our Asian carp problems. And, so many Chinese are adopting Western ways that the frozen fish problem is not insurmountable. “I’m not saying that market will never happen. I’m just saying it’s gonna be slow,” says Grafton plant President Gray McGee. Back at American Heartland, there is steady demand for their fish meal and fish oil. The plant relies on local fishermen who are paid about 12-cents a pound for their catches. Magee says the plant could easily handle much more. “Millions and millions of pounds. Our pro forma is based on about 16-million pounds a year. But that’s on one shift. If we doubled that shift, we’d probably get up to about 26-million pounds.” The state admits total eradication may be impossible. “We’ve got to get rid of these fish right now. And this seems to be the largest, most economical, and quickest way to get rid of that Asian carp and invasive Asian carp species.” In Grafton, Illinois, Nancy Loo, WGN News.

American Heartland hopes to open other plants in the Midwest to help other states also fighting the Asian carp problem. If you’d like more information or would like to share this story, got to WGNTV.com.

Producer Pam Grimes and Photojournalists Nelson Howard and Steve Scheuer contributed to this report.

Praise for The Dynamic Great Lakes


 In her cautionary book, environmental activist and professor Spring enthusiastically explores the Great Lakes, and clearly explains why they should be protected. —Book Sense Nov 22 2003


This is intriguing stuff for adults, but the straightforward presentation also lends itself to use in schools. —Peter Wild U.S. Water News


 Every library should have this book. —Stan Lievense, retired fish biologist MDNR


Worth reading if for no other reason than that the writing is masterfully done…reminded me a little of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. —Jonathon David Masters,


This is an impressive little book. Not quite 110 pages long, it’s a read of about an hour or so. The author has, however, managed to jam it full of facts and information about the Great Lakes. The author also sprinkles a strong environmental ethic throughout the book coupled with the belief that the democratic process can make a difference. —Bob Gross, The Oakland Press


 Spring’s handy 108-page primer about the Great Lakes provides the curious with a solid overview of the lakes including their history, physical characteristics, denizens and the threats facing them, particularly from invasive species and pollution. —Dave LeMieux, The Muskegon Chronicle

Available in paperback and Amazon’s Kindle reader.  Also available at Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.



The Youngstown, N.Y., dump now being considered for expansion has been taking in toxic and radioactive waste since 2001.


NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE–Remember the Love Canal ? Just up the road from that notorious toxic neighbourhood in New York state, there’s a new plan to dump more poisonous waste, including radioactive material, right near Lake Ontario and on an earthquake fault line.

New York state officials are now considering whether to permit a company called Chemical Waste Management Inc. to expand its landfill in Youngstown, N.Y., perilously close to the Canadian border — and our shared water.

Do we ever learn? The site is less than five kilometres from the Niagara River, already filled with so many chemicals that it’s listed as an official area of concern by theInternational Joint Commission that oversees shared Canada-U.S. waters.

Even more concerning for Canadians is that at least once a year, under U.S. permit, the existing New York-side landfill is allowed to dilute the cancer-linked PCBs and other materials it collects and discharge its nasty water into the Niagara River.

We ought to know better

On both sides of the border all of us ought to know better by now.

This landfill expansion scheme is unfolding nearly two generations after environmentalists took to the street, in Canada and around the world, chanting: “Dilution is not the solution to pollution.” They were right then and it’s still true.

We can’t just make toxic waste go away, no matter how much we wish we could. The nearby Love Canal neighbourhood, which was evacuated and bulldozed due to pollution, led to the creation of the U.S. Superfund program , designed to contain and clean up America’s worst toxic waste sites.

There was a Superfund cleanup at the Love Canal. But late in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took steps to delist the site from the program, saying the work is done.

Perhaps, but as environmentalists say, everything ends up somewhere — interestingly, the Youngstown dump now being considered for expansion has been taking in toxic and radioactive waste since 2001, when the Love Canal cleanup was in full swing.

Clyde Burmaster, vice chair of the Niagara County legislature on the U.S. side, says that as alarming as this new plan is to his constituents, it should be equally frightening to Canadians, including people in the Greater Toronto Area.

“There is a mega-threat to both the U.S. and Canada,” he says.

“We feel there is strong evidence the landfill materials (at the site where expansion is proposed) are leaking out beneath ground and beneath the depth that the on-site soil is monitored, and heading directly into the Niagara River.”

Why aren’t Canadians doing more to stop this plan? The biggest reason is that so far, only a few Canadians seem to know about it.

Gary Burroughs, Niagara’s regional chair (on the Ontario side), says he found out about the scheme only recently, when Burmaster contacted him. He attended a public meeting on the U.S. side on July 16.

“I’ve been trying to raise attention about it since then,” he says.

Why hasn’t this drawn government attention?

You would think that a problem on the order of toxic and radioactive waste threatening Lake Ontario would draw the attention of the provincial and federal governments, but apparently it hasn’t. It’s possible that no one on the U.S. side has told the Ontario Environment Ministry anything officially, as this may not be required under law.

As for Ottawa, as many Canadians know, the federal government treats environmental protection as an enemy — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cut environmental programs, muzzled scientists and ordered tax audits of environmental groups. It’s hard to determine what the feds would do or even if they would care.

At the same time, Canada’s environmentalists don’t seem to know about this problem either. A spokesperson for the David Suzuki Foundation, asked about the plan for more toxic waste at the edge of the Great Lakes, expressed shock and surprise.

To make matters worse, Burmaster says that the Chemical Waste Management site is on an earthquake fault line: “Should a quake happen and open the landfill . . . in just one hour those carcinogens and radioactive particles would become airborne and could be carried 60 miles (100 kilometres) away.”

Not to make this too scary, but as he says, that’s “all the way to the Toronto area.”


David Israelson is a Toronto writer and consultant.

2 kite boards

September 4th, 2014 at 9:28 pm by under Bill’s Blog, Weather

Seiche Petoskey 9 4 14 Petoskey City Marina and upnorthlve   A rare seiche occurred on Lake Michigan this morning.  The strong, thunderstorm induced S-SW wind blew surface water toward the Michigan side of the lake, causing the water level to rise.  The picture shows a significant rise in the water level of Lake Michigan at the Petoskey Marina, where the water rose over the docks!   At the same time the water level fell in Wisconsin.  As the winds die down the water sloshes back toward Wisconsin and can rise and fall several times before leveling off.  There were a number of fatalities in Chicago due to a seiche in 1954.   Seven people lost their lives in a seiche here in SW Michigan on July 4, 2003.   Strong low pressure centers can create a “standing seiche”.  

There was also a seiche on Lake Superior on the same date.


In my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, seiches on the Great Lakes are explained.  The Dynamic Great Lakes shows interesting facts about the Great Lakes system, their fishes, invasive species, and encourages people to seek solutions to their problems.

arch rockIMG_1519

Mackinac Island really is shaped like a great turtle.  I experienced its contours as I rode up and down many hills on my bike. 

But sometimes you just have to walk. After looking through Arch Rock from the top, the way down is on a new stairway through the woods.  People from all over the world visit this beautiful island.  It has a rich history as the Indians used this place as a trading post and then later it was the site of the War of 1812 between the English and Americans 200 years ago.

  click the link:Mackinac Island Butterfly House

There’s lots to see and do on Mackinac Island.  Bikes to get around or horses or horse drawn wagons are the way to go since cars are not allowed.


Oil Spill Threatens Great Lakes  Click on the link for information about an aging oil pipline that is a threat to the freshwater Great Lakes.



July 12, 2014

Originally posted on The Dynamic Great Lakes Blog:

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes:
Plutonium, the most toxic substance known, is a by-product of
nuclear power plants. It is extremely hazardous because of its high
radioactivity: for half of its quantity to decay, it takes 24,360 years.
Our aging Nuclear Power Plants on the Great Lakes presently have
nowhere to store plutonium except on their property.
On the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant property on the shore of
Lake Michigan near South Haven, eight 100 ton casks stand on a
concrete slab only 150 feet from the waters of Lake Michigan.
The 16½ foot high casks are eleven feet in diameter and weigh
100 tons. They consist of a steel basket encased in 29 inches of
concrete and stand on a concrete slab. Palisades may eventually have
25 casks. Plutonium is so toxic that it could mean an end to life as
we know…

View original 77 more words


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