First it was tiny plastic beads, but now scientist are rising concerns about fibers from clothing polluting the Great Lakes. A recent study found polyester fleece sheds thousands of fibers when it’s washed.
Scientists who have reported that the Great Lakes are awash in tiny bits of plastic are raising new alarms about a little-noticed form of the debris turning up in sampling nets: synthetic fibers from garments, cleaning cloths and other consumer products.
An organization representing U.S. cargo shippers on the Great Lakes says last year’s deep freeze cost the economy an estimated $705 million and shows the need for another heavy icebreaking vessel. The Lake Carriers’ Association said Tuesday the volume of freight that U.S.-flagged ships hauled on the lakes between Dec. 1, 2013, and May 30, 2014, was about 7 million tons lower than the same period a year earlier.
With Great Lakes levels finally back to normal after a 15-year downturn, the University of Michigan plans research to help people in the region prepare for future ups and downs. The university’s Graham Sustainability Institute announced the program this week, as federal scientists reported that Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie are well above their long-term average levels. Lake Ontario is slightly below.
Two unusually wet years have finally ended the lengthiest period on record of low Great Lakes water levels — a blessing for long-suffering cargo shippers and recreational boaters — although scientists said Tuesday it’s uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or heralds a trend.
Dave and Amy Freeman are making their way to Washington, D.C. — in a canoe. The couple is paddling 2,000 miles from Ely to the nation’s capitol. They’re on a mission to draw attention to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
It may be June, but a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden discovered some icebergs still afloat in Lake Superior near Madeline Island on Friday. DNR Marine Warden Amie Egstad spotted the floating ice – which was covered in resting seagulls – while doing a routine check of commercial nets in the largest of the Great Lakes.
An effort to prevent people from drowning due to dangerous currents along the Great Lakes will include installing kits with life-saving aids such as ring buoys and youth life jackets at 10 public beaches along Lake Michigan, officials announced Monday.
A report by the National Climate Assessment says a warming planet will worsen a series of weather trends already showing up across the Midwest. Look for more extremes: searing heat, late-spring freezes, floods and droughts across a region that includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.
Excited shipwreck hunters and scientists assembled in a Lake Michigan fishing village last June, hoping to solve a mystery dating back more than three centuries: the fate of a ship sailed by the 17th century French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, during a voyage of discovery extending from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
Vacationers might be interested in visiting one of these under-the-radar national parks to get away from the large crowds and heavy traffic in the most popular parks, like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
Members of Congress from the Great Lakes region are lobbying colleagues to continue funding a cleanup program for the inland seas.
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and some fellow Great Lakes lawmakers are asking their congressional colleagues to fund programs designed to preserve and protect the lakes. Levin is co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force.
This year’s shipping season is getting off to a slow start due to record levels of ice on the Great Lakes after an extremely cold winter. Some ice on Lake Superior is still several feet thick, and ice breakers are working to carve paths for ships. Jim Sharrow with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority says that even with the help, several fleets have delayed their first sailing until early April.
Lake Michigan’s ice cover has set a record. The federal government’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor reports that ice spread across 93.29 percent of the lake’s surface area on Saturday.