February 28, 2015
According to Native American legend, Mackinac Island was formed by a giant turtle. Storytellers long ago said that when the world was very young and all the living creatures were wandering over its surface looking for the best place to live, a large number of turtles came to the marshy southern shore of Lake Erie. Most of the turtles liked the spot so well they settled there. But the leader of the band, a huge turtle, was lured northward from Lake Erie by strange lights he had seen moving across the distant horizon. He could not persuade the other turtles to go with him so he made the journey alone.
When he reached a point of land that partly divided Lake Michigan from Lake Huron, he could go no further because the winds were cold and ice began to form around him. Finally he could go no further and an icy barrier froze him into place, a little black spot on a waste of frozen water. When the spring returned and the ice melted, the shell of the huge turtle remained fastened in place by a tall reed. As the years passed the turtle grew into an island which the Indians named Michilimackinac which means “the great turtle.” The island has always been an important place for Native Americans who told many stories about it.
Today no cars are allowed on the island. There are horse drawn taxis and lots of bicycles. .
February 21, 2015
A February day at the beach in West Michigan. Blown in by northwest winds, wave after wave smashes against ice ridges on the shore of Lake Michigan. Ice balls bounce and roll—their clattering sound mingles with the swoosh of the spray and the roar of wind and waves. Children who built sand castles on this beach in the summer now look in wonder at the fantastic shapes wind and waves have carved. It looks as though a giant ice troll had been playing there, heaping mounds of ice, gouging out ice caverns, grottos and deep crevices then smoothing off ice shelves. Perhaps another troll came along and smashed some of the ice into huge shards that clink together in the water like pieces of a broken plate glass window.
Quirks of wind, waves and the configuration of the lake bottom cause the shore ice to change from day to day and even change from minute to minute. It seems as if a sleight of hand magician were playing tricks with water, wind and ice.
One of these tricks is to strand wildlife, dogs or people on a floating cake of ice. This happens when pack ice, floating pieces of ice compacted against the solid ice ridge, is blown out in the lake again by an east wind. So be careful if you are going to the beach.
February 11, 2015
After reading Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, Norm Spring worked to ban DDT in our community. He went to the city council in Grand Haven for three years before the city decided to stop the wholesale spraying of elm trees in Central Park for the Dutch elm beetle.
With this success, people from Holland, MI came and together with professors from M.S.U. formed the Michigan Pesticides Council. Because of their efforts, Michigan banned DDT.
It took a long time for DDT to purge out of the Great Lakes system, but now we rejoice every time we see an eagle fly. This environmental success story was the inspiration for me to write The Dynamic Great Lakes. I wanted to show that people can make a difference when the environment is at stake.
February 7, 2015
The Great Lakes are a gift of Ice Age glaciers that melted leaving their freshwater thousands of years ago. Since we do not expect another Ice Age in the near future, we should take care of this tremendous freshwater gift.
If a there should be a major problem at a nuclear power plant that spewed or leaked radiation into the air, water and soil, our freshwater system would be contaminated and the radiation taken up in Great Lakes food chains. We would be at risk. There is too much at stake.
Nuclear power plants are not insured. The government would be obliged to pick up the bill for damages to property. Isn’t it about time to phase out the 37 aging nuclear power plants in the Great Lakes basin? We have been lucky so far. But as time goes on, the risk grows.
For more information, read the Dynamic Great Lakes.
January 17, 2015
January 15, 2015
Alliance for the Great Lakes • Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition • Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Natural Resources Defense Council • National Wildlife Federation • Ohio Environmental Council
Prairie Rivers Network • Save The River-Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper • Sierra Club-Illinois Chapter
New Data Show Multiple Asian Carp eDNA Hits Just Yards from Lake Michigan
(Wednesday, January 14, 2015) Chicago, IL – Asian carp continue to knock on the door of the
Great Lakes, based on eDNA sampling results released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. The sampling data, collected in October, show the presence of bighead or silver carp
DNA throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Most alarming is detection of
carp DNA very near the lock in downtown Chicago — less than one city block from Lake
In the face of this threat, last winter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Great LakesMississippi
River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) with no clear recommendation for next steps to
prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from moving between the Great Lakes
and Mississippi River. The GLMRIS report does, however, identify restoring the natural divide
between the two waterways as the one long-term solution effective in preventing the
movement of aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
The report identified 13 invasive species at significant risk of moving between the waterways.
Despite this finding, agencies and elected officials have yet to commit to this solution.
A committee of key, diverse regional stakeholders known as the “Chicago Area Waterway
System Advisory Committee” has been formed with a goal to reach consensus on a set of
recommendations to elected and appointed local, state and federal officials and the public on
short-and long-term measures to prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species from
moving between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins through the CAWS. The Advisory
Committee is working toward a deadline of Dec. 15, 2015, with interim work products as
In the shorter term, the people of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins need quick
action to reduce the risk of invasive species moving between these two great waters. While no
substitute for a permanent solution to the problem, immediate risk-reduction steps can be
• Design of a new engineered channel to be constructed in the approach to the Brandon
Road lock, a potentially effective location for reducing one-way movement of species
towards the Great Lakes;
• Evaluation, engineering, and design of control technologies to deploy in the approach
channel and the Brandon Road lock structure; and
• Research to further evaluate reconfiguring locks as a means to control aquatic invasive
species while maintaining the health of native aquatic life and habitat.
January 12, 2015
December 29, 2014
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.