Four years ago, NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) began providing an Experimental Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecast Model to warn stakeholders of low-oxygen upwelling events that can cause water quality … Continue reading

Original Article

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

https://noaaglerl.blog/2021/09/14/from-safe-drinking-water-to-sustainable-fisheries-noaa-glerls-experimental-lake-erie-hypoxia-forecast-is-even-more-useful-than-anticipated/

Gabrielle Farina

Sensors provide a real-time glimpse at Chicago River quality

CHICAGO (AP) — Rowers, kayakers and other users of the Chicago River are getting a real-time look at one measure of water quality in the system that weaves through downtown and several neighborhoods.

Chicago nonprofit Current in 2019 installed three sensors in the river’s three main branches to continuously estimate the amount of bacteria from human and other warm-blooded animals’ waste.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/09/ap-sensors-chicago-river-quality/

The Associated Press

Great Lakes in Peril: Invasives, pollution, climate change

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/08/great-lakes-peril-invasives-pollution-climate-change/

Michigan Radio

Illinois sues owner of plant where fire prompted evacuations

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois prosecutors on Friday sued the owner of a chemical plant where a fire last month sent dark smoke and ash into the air for days and prompted evacuations, saying the company should be held accountable for air and water pollution and hazards that still exist.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-illinois-sues-owner-plant-fire-evacuations/

The Associated Press

Court: DNR can impose farm conditions, consider well impact

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin regulators can impose operating conditions on factory farms and consider high-capacity wells’ cumulative environmental impacts when deciding whether to grant permits, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decisions mark a major win for conservationists and clarify that the Department of Natural Resources has broad authority to protect Wisconsin’s waters.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/ap-dnr-farm-conditions-well-impact/

The Associated Press

Dealing with the soup of chemicals that can get into your drinking water

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/07/soup-chemicals-drinking-water/

Michigan Radio

Public Resource: Around the Great Lakes, everyday people help make science possible

Collecting data for scientific research across large geographic areas can be challenging, but researchers have found an easy solution – the public.

The Huron River watershed covers 900 square miles, and the Huron River Watershed Council has been collecting data from the watershed for years. Yet collection from such an expansive area would not have been possible without the help of an army of dedicated citizen, or community, scientists.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/great-lakes-everyday-people-science-public/

Noah Bock

Owner of closed power plant to remove toxic waste near river

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The owner of an abandoned power plant has agreed to clean up toxic waste dumped into the flood plain of the Vermilion River, boosting efforts to protest Illinois’ lone national scenic river.

Under a deal brokered by the Illinois attorney general’s office, Texas-based Vistra on Monday agreed to drain pits of water-soaked coal ash along the Middle Fork Vermilion River, about 120 miles (193.12 kilometers)south of Chicago.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-closed-power-plant-toxic-waste-illinois-river/

The Associated Press

Tests show PFAS contamination in 500 French Island wells

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — More than 500 wells on French Island have been contaminated with some level of PFAS chemicals, according to final results of state testing.

The La Crosse Tribune reported Friday that 538 wells on the island just west of La Crosse showed some level of the chemicals and 165 of them had levels above the state’s recommended 20 parts per trillion hazard standard.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-tests-pfas-contamination-500-french-island-wells/

The Associated Press

Big Convener: Watershed councils provide critical support across municipal boundaries

For Rebecca Esselman, the mission is clear even if there isn’t a big spotlight on her work.

Her goal is to protect the Huron River and its environs, a diverse 900 square miles of land that includes farmland, urban centers, suburban sprawl and intact forest. The river itself runs for 125 miles before emptying into Lake Erie.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/michigan-watershed-council-support-municipal-boundaries/

Gary Wilson

PFAS News Roundup: Companies hid dangers from FDA, professor documents stories, study shows high levels in fertilizer

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country. 

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area. 

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/pfas-news-professor-stories-study-high-levels-fertilizer/

Noah Bock

Hundreds of lakes in U.S., Europe are losing oxygen

Oxygen levels have dropped in hundreds of lakes in the United States and Europe over the last four decades, a new study found.

And the authors said declining oxygen could lead to increased fish kills, algal blooms and methane emissions.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/06/ap-hundreds-lakes-united-states-europe-losing-oxygen/

The Associated Press

A new Environmental Protection Agency mobile app will help communities track water quality at their beaches.

The post A new EPA app aims to help track water quality at beaches first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Original Article

Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes Echo

http://greatlakesecho.org/2021/05/14/a-new-epa-app-aims-to-help-track-water-quality-at-beaches/

Guest Contributor

Controversial Indiana environmental bills inch near passage

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Lawmakers approved two environmental bills Tuesday that critics say could damage the state’s ecosystems by scaling back current policy affecting water, energy and other resources.

A measure seeking to remove protections from Indiana’s already diminished wetlands would eliminate a 2003 law that requires the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to issue permits in a state-regulated wetland and end enforcement proceedings against landowners allegedly violating current law.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/04/ap-controversial-indiana-environmental-bills-near-passage/

The Associated Press

Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs state power to protect water from farm pollutants

This article, first posted here, was republished with permission from Wisconsin Watch.

By Royce Podeszwa and Jim Malewitz, Wisconsin Watch

The state Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in a case that could determine whether the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources failed to adequately protect water from manure pollution when awarding a permit to a giant dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin — or whether the agency lacks the authority to issue such restrictions.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/04/wisconsin-supreme-court-protect-water-farm-pollutants/

Wisconsin Watch

Local Governments, Organizations Ask Indiana Legislators to Consider Alternatives to Bill Repealing State Wetland Protections

By Enrique Saenz, Indiana Environmental Reporter

More than 60 organizations, including local governments, environmental and conservation groups and water management agencies, sent a letter to Indiana state legislators, asking them to consider policy changes instead of supporting a bill seeking to remove all state protections for Indiana wetlands.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/04/local-governments-environmental-organizations-indiana-legislators-state-wetland-protections/

Indiana Environmental Reporter

Salt Levels: The effects of wintertime de-icing linger in Toronto-area rivers in the summer

As spring comes to the Great Lakes region and icy roads and sidewalks become a distant memory, a new study shows the salt we apply over the winter can linger in summertime rivers at alarming levels.

The University of Toronto study measured chloride in four Greater Toronto Area rivers and found it was high enough in many locations to put at least two-thirds of aquatic life at risk during early stages of their development.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/salt-levels-wintertime-de-icing-toronto-rivers-summer/

Sharon Oosthoek

Fried, baked or mashed, we love our potatoes. What we don’t love is drinking water with lots of nitrate — a form of nitrogen that fuels a robust potato crop because it acts as a fertilizer. In the Central Sands area of the state, which is where most spuds are grown, drinking water is groundwater and groundwater can bear the brunt of unwelcome potato cultivation effects.

“When you look at impacts on the groundwater system from typical cropping systems in the Central Sands, they tend to leach nitrate,” said Kevin Masarik. “Potatoes are particularly challenging because the hill and furrow system tends to promote both (water) recharge, as well as nitrate leaching loss due to the high nitrogen demand of that particular crop.”

Although he’s not armed with regulatory suggestions — or even salt, butter and sour cream — Masarik is coming for those potatoes. The researcher from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension is armed with a one-row hand planter, and rye, millet and oat seeds. He’s got in mind science-based solutions, not potato-growing restrictions or even gastronomical intentions.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student Nick Koschak plants oat, rye and millet to build biomass in the furrows between potatoes. Photo: Kevin Masarik

With two years of funding from the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute, he’s pursuing what he termed an outside-the-box idea for assessing whether this tasty tuber can be cultivated in a way that reduces the movement of nitrite into the groundwater.

In children six months and younger, nitrate promotes the oxidation of hemoglobin to methemoglobin that limits blood’s ability to bind and transport oxygen, depriving the infant of oxygen. Nitrate has also been linked to cancer, thyroid disorders, birth defects and hypertension. Both state health and agricultural officials name nitrate as the most widespread groundwater contaminant in Wisconsin affecting both municipal and private water systems. Because groundwater also makes its way to surface waters, rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands can see higher nitrate levels with one result being increased algae growth, disrupting ecosystems.

Masarik said for the last 20 or 30 years, when the cause and extent of nitrate in groundwater has been documented, there’s been a simultaneous gap. “We’ve been good at pointing out that there’s a problem, but we haven’t been good at pointing out what the solution is.”

He continued, “In the last five years, I’ve been trying to switch the questions that I’m interested in devoting my time and attention to, investigating potential solutions that significantly improve water quality. And that’s what this project was born out of.”

“Investigating in-season cover crops for reducing nitrate loss to groundwater below potatoes” is an aptly descriptive title of what the project is doing: interseeding cover crops — the rye, millet and oats — among potato rows to see if these added plants will take up the excess nitrate and thereby improve water quality.

Critically, the project also needs to ensure that the potato harvest isn’t hindered nor yield significantly reduced by the additional vegetation between rows.

In a study plot, interseeding crops in potato cultivation rows did not interfere with harvest. Photo: Kevin Masarik

Masarik is grateful for the cooperation of Portage County farmer Justin Isherwood who in 2020 provided a test plot. “It’s (the study) giving me the book,” Isherwood said. “We know a lot of things in agriculture. There are a few things in agriculture we don’t know. Kevin is giving me those letters and the alphabet. He’s giving me the language of the landscape.”

Isherwood is game to again participate in the study this year. “It’s exciting to be a part of the science and to be involved in the discovery.”

Discoveries of last year will be applied. For example, rye is likely to be removed from the seed mix because it put early energy into root growth, resulting in slow above-ground growth. The rye was then shaded out by potato plants. Other plants, though, “Did have some success. I think it showed that the amount of biomass accumulation and the amount of nitrogen that the interplanting, or that cover crop, was able to capture is significant enough that this could be viable,” Masarik said, as enthusiasm bubbled. He said he is energized for the coming growing season. “I enjoy talking about it. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Masarik also wanted to talk about potato growers, who he termed as wanting to be proactive on the nitrate-loading challenge. “It’s all about establishing the plots and making sure that biomass we’re able to grow in that space is successful. If it’s successful, then what is the impact on the actual crop itself. If the impact isn’t too great, it might be a viable strategy. It might not be something that growers would naturally want to do. I think they are looking for solutions.”

 Kevin Masarik is a researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. Photo: UW-Stevens Point

This project is also about building blocks. To gauge the effectiveness of this approach on water quality, it builds on Masarik’s earlier refinement of methods to track groundwater quality by drawing samples from temporary wells dug with a bucket auger to sample the top of the water table. This establishes a baseline, then he returns in 12 months, repeating the process to check what effect the interseeding might have on groundwater quality. The goal is determining a statistically significant difference that he pegged at minimum of 20% of change.

A second and future building block is if this effort, which Masarik called a proof of concept, is successful it can be used with other crops to reduce nitrate leaching in those fields.

The post Experimental cultivation method could mean healthy potato yield and healthier water first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/experimental-cultivation-method-could-mean-healthy-potato-yield-and-healthier-water/

Moira Harrington

H2Ohio: Agency directors focus on wetlands, farmer subsidies, replacing lead lines

The first full-year report for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s much-publicized H2Ohio water quality initiative is out.

Introduced in 2019, the plan has already reaped benefits for Ohio residents and will continue to expand in its scope, according to officials charged with its implementation.

The report was offered in a web presentation by Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Laurie Stevenson.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/h2ohio-agency-directors-wetlands-lead-agriculture/

James Proffitt

Save Water, Save Nature:  Kids calendar art contest promotes healthy water management

Hundreds of artistic entries from 4th and 5th grade students came in for this year’s Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Kids Clean Water Calendar Contest, and Great Lakes Now Host Ward Detwiler had to decide which drawings would be printed for each month.

“Fortunately, because I’d done this last year, I knew how hard it was going to be,” Detwiler said.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/kids-calendar-art-contest-healthy-water-management/

Sandra Svoboda

In the April installment of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks,” Sarah Balgooyen will discuss “Forever Chemicals: PFAS in the Green Bay Watershed.”

The Lake Talks are informal, interactive science presentations on Great Lakes issues, especially those involving Lake Michigan. In light of the ongoing pandemic, spring 2021 Lake Talks are being offered via Zoom.

Balgooyen will speak Thursday, April 15, from 7-8 p.m. (Register now for this Zoom webinar.)

Dr. Sarah Balgooyen at work in a laboratory on the UW-Madison campus. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

PFAS are a category of chemicals frequently found in firefighting foams, Teflon and many other common products. They are a hot topic in water research because they are estimated to contaminate the drinking water of 16.5 million people in the United States alone, and much more needs to be understood about these chemicals.

One site of concern in Wisconsin is the Tyco Fire Products facility in Marinette. These concerns involve not only drinking water from private wells in the area, but also the possibility for contaminants to get into the bay of Green Bay and, ultimately, out into Lake Michigan.

Balgooyen, who completed her Ph.D. at UW-Madison in 2019, has been studying this area as the J. Philip Keillor Water Science Fellow at Wisconsin Sea Grant.

In this informal talk geared toward a general audience, Balgooyen will talk about her research process and what she’s found so far. There will also be time during the hour for audience questions. This Zoom webinar is free and open to all.

For connection information for future talks, visit the Lake Talks page of the Wisconsin Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter. You can register for Sarah Balgooyen’s talk now.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

The post Informal science talk to address PFAS in the Green Bay watershed first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/informal-science-talk-to-address-pfas-in-the-green-bay-watershed/

Jennifer Smith

Wetlands can help prevent property damage and save lives during floods

Last year when the Midland dams gave way, more than 21 billion gallons of water rushed into the Tittabawassee River. More than three and a quarter billion gallons of that ended up in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/wetlands-property-damage-save-lives-floods/

Michigan Radio

Treaty Rights Acknowledged For First Time in Oil Pipeline’s Controversial History

By Elena Bruess, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/treaty-rights-line-5-oil-pipelines-controversial-history/

Circle of Blue

HotSpots H2O: Canadian Government Misses Target to End Water Insecurity for First Nations Communities

By Elena Bruess, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/canadian-government-water-insecurity-first-nations-communities/

Circle of Blue

Too few farmers are curbing pollution in Lake Erie. Should they be forced?

As climate change complicates Lake Erie’s algae problem, scientists say farmers must do far more to reduce phosphorus runoff. But will enough farmers change their ways without a government mandate?

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/farmers-pollution-lake-erie-regulations/

Bridge Michigan

Rights vs. Regulations: When it comes to septic system codes, property rights remain a big barrier

With warming temperatures, fluctuating water levels and a series of extreme storms, Lake Superior is undergoing dramatic alterations amid climate change.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/03/michigan-regulations-septic-system-codes-property-rights/

Natasha Blakely

PFAS News Roundup: Pennsylvania water utility sues 3M, Dupont, Michigan officials waited 8 months to warn residents

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/pfas-news-pennsylvania-utillity-michigan-officials-wait/

Natasha Blakely

Big Benefits from Experimental Watersheds

By Terri Cook, Eos

This story originally appeared in Eos and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

 

During the mid-1930s, in the wake of devastating Dust Bowl–era storms, the U.S.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/big-benefits-from-experimental-watersheds/

Eos

University gives St. Marys River clean, green boost

This article was republished here with permission from Great Lakes Echo.

By Taylor Haelterman, Great Lakes Echo

High school students, community groups and Lake Superior State University will use landscaping this summer to reduce pollution flowing into the St. Marys River.

The project recently received $250,000 from the United States Forest Service as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that protects Great Lakes drinking water and habitat.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/university-st-marys-river-clean-green-boost/

Great Lakes Echo

Road Salt: Researchers look at vegetables and juices for alternatives to salt

Salt-speckled sidewalks, driveways and highways are synonymous with winter in the Great Lakes region. But while road salt is highly effective at deicing surfaces, the safety that salt provides for humans places a heavy burden on freshwater ecosystems.

“We have an unhealthy addiction to road salt,” said Claire Oswald, a hydrologist and associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/road-salt-reducing-usage-great-lakes-freshwater-ecosystem/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: Minnesota sets new PFAS blueprint, Biden EPA dumps PFAS assessment over ‘political interference’

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/pfas-minnesota-biden-epa-regulations/

Natasha Blakely

High school and community groups will help implement a $250,000 project to prevent pollution from flowing into the river from a new water research center to be built on contaminated soils at Lake Superior State University.

The post University gives St. Marys River clean, green boost first appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Original Article

Great Lakes Echo

Great Lakes Echo

http://greatlakesecho.org/2021/02/09/university-gives-st-marys-river-clean-green-boost/

Taylor Haelterman

Program to study Clinton River to improve water quality

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — The Clinton River, which runs through parts of Macomb County, is one of three southeastern Michigan rivers expected to be studied as part of an effort to improve water quality and wastewater treatment in the region.

The monitoring is part of the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Regional River Water Quality Monitoring Program, according to the Macomb County Public Works office.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/ap-program-study-clinton-river-water-quality/

The Associated Press

PFAS News Roundup: PFAS found in Indigenous household wells, Wisconsin experimental treatment fails, WDNR fish concerns

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/02/pfas-michigan-indigenous-wisconsin-fish-dnr-legislation/

Natasha Blakely

Mussel-Phosphorus Puzzle: Invasive mussels are reshaping the chemistry of the Great Lakes

Since the late 1980s, four of the five Great Lakes have played host to an increasing number of invasive mussels. First came zebra mussels, followed shortly thereafter by quagga mussels, both members of the Dreissenid family whose native range includes the waters around Ukraine.

Today, the filter-feeders comprise more than 90% of the total animal biomass of the Great Lakes (barring Lake Superior, whose depth and water chemistry make it a less suitable habitat for the two species of mussel).

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/01/invasive-mussels-phosphorus-chemistry-great-lakes/

Lorraine Boissoneault

Lack of Enforcement: Less compliance with environmental laws means more pollution in the lakes

The long-term impact of the Trump administration on the Great Lakes environment remains a big question – particularly when President Donald Trump was still rolling back environmental protections in the last few months of his term.

Over the length of his term, Trump rolled back a number of rules and regulations, and enforcement of the ones that remained dropped.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/01/lack-enforcement-compliance-environmental-laws-more-pollution/

Natasha Blakely

One-third of America’s rivers have changed color since 1984

America’s rivers are changing color — and people are behind many of the shifts, a new study said.

One-third of the tens of thousands of mile-long (two kilometer-long) river segments in the United States have noticeably shifted color in satellite images since 1984.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2021/01/ap-one-third-of-americas-rivers-have-changed-color-since-1984/

The Associated Press

“I can sum it up in one word, and that is: nightmare.” 10 years after massive oil spill in Michigan

By Rebecca Williams, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/12/10-years-after-oil-spill-kalamazoo-river-michigan/

Michigan Radio

How does a $641 million Flint water settlement get to residents? Attorneys give answers

By Amy Diaz, Flint Beat, through the Institute for Nonprofit News network

Flint, MI– Attorneys involved in the Flint Water Litigation provided an overview of the $641.25 million water settlement Nov. 23 on the City of Flint Facebook page.

This information session followed the proposal of a $20 million contribution to the settlement by the city’s insurer.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/11/641-million-flint-water-settlement-residents-attorneys/

Flint Beat

Overlooked: Small streams can have a big impact on Great Lakes water quality

Even casual observers of Great Lakes issues are aware of the problems associated with algal blooms.

Perhaps they remember the headlines from August 2014 when Toledo went without drinking water for three days due to the threat of toxic blooms contaminating the city’s water supply. Or a day their favorite beach posted “No Swimming” signs because of toxic algal bloom threats.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/11/small-streams-impact-great-lakes-water-quality/

Gary Wilson

What Has the Trump Administration Meant for Water?

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/11/trump-administration-water-policy/

Circle of Blue

Grand Rapids selected for lead pipe replacement grant

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan city has been selected to receive a $5.1 million federal water infrastructure improvement grant to help pay for lead service line replacement.

The funding also will support public engagement in Grand Rapids on the risks of lead in drinking water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/10/ap-grand-rapids-lead-pipe-replacement-grant/

The Associated Press

PFAS News Roundup: Huron River contamination levels drop, New York PFAS cleanup could be delayed

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/10/pfas-huron-river-michigan-new-york/

Natasha Blakely

Drinking Water News Roundup: Illinois COVID-19 shutoff protections, Ontario First Nation evacuation

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Illinois:

  • Illinois Activists Push for Stronger COVID-19 Utility Shut-Off Protections as Winter Nears – The Intercept

In March, the Illinois Commerce Commission announced an emergency moratorium on utility shut-offs to protect customers during the COVID-19 health crisis, but most major Illinois providers resumed service disconnections by late summer.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/10/drinking-water-illinois-covid-19-coronavirus-ontario/

Grace Dempsey

Another casualty of COVID: testing for lead poisoning in Michigan

By Robin Erb, Bridge Michigan, through the Institute for Nonprofit News network

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/10/covid-testing-lead-poisoning-michigan/

Bridge Michigan

Best Practices for Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management (IWAM): Project Archive

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

The Great Lakes Commission’s Joint Action Plan for Clean Water Infrastructure and Services in the Great Lakes Region (September 2017) profiles regional water infrastructure challenges and proposes a suite of actions to meet them. Among those challenges is a lack of adequate information about water infrastructure assets, which can hinder effective water infrastructure management and investments. Specifically, the Joint Action Plan called for the catalyzation of asset management (AM) activities among individual water utility service providers, and for service providers to consider opportunities to improve operational efficiencies by increasing coordination across traditionally-siloed sectors and regional geographies.

With funding from the Joyce Foundation, the GLC embarked on a year-long effort in 2019 to better understand the barriers, opportunities, and best practices for catalyzing Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management (IWAM) in the Great Lakes Basin. While states, provinces, and individual communities vary in their water infrastructure AM policies and practices, there are many examples of communities advancing innovative strategies. The IWAM project gathered information about these strategies and the main barriers to their wider adoption through a series of webinars and focus groups. Through these events, GLC staff engaged over 150 water infrastructure practitioners and AM professionals from across the Basin in guided discussions related to various aspects of IWAM.

The final deliverable of these efforts is the IWAM Phase I Report that summarizes information gleaned from the webinar series and focus groups regarding key barriers and recommended best practices for catalyzing IWAM and provides draft regional goals for protecting and improving the state of water infrastructure and services in the Great Lakes Basin.

IWAM Phase I Summary Report: Best Practices for Integrated Water Asset Management – January 2020
IWAM Webinar Series

This webinar series was recorded between February 28th and May 1st, 2019, and explored the best practices, opportunities, and barriers to catalyzing asset management and IWAM across the Great Lakes region. The four webinars collectively include presentations by 17 different expert panelists about diverse topics related to IWAM. Descriptions and links to recordings of each webinar are available below.

In addition, the Great Lakes Commission hosted three focus groups that brought together 30 professionals in the field of water infrastructure and asset management that took place in Mississauga Ontario (June 26, 2019), Dayton Ohio (June 22, 2019), and Erie, Pennsylvania (July 22, 2019). The ideas shared at these sessions are summarized in the IWAM Phase I Report (coming in November 2019).

Webinar 1: What is Integrated Water Asset Management?

The kick-off webinar of the IWAM series discussed the basic questions of what should be considered a water infrastructure “asset” and what it means to effectively manage them. It also explored primary drivers for asset management and desired outcomes for communities. While traditional (grey) infrastructure is often thought of as the pipes, pumps, and plants that treat and deliver water supplies, this narrow definition leaves out many essential elements of municipal systems. What about natural and engineered green infrastructure features? What about the knowledge, human capacity, and financing required to design and implement a long-term asset management plan? Why does this even matter? Download the recording of this webinar (link above) to learn more.

Webinar 1 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Tim Colling, Michigan Tech
  2. Christine Weigle, Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority
  3. Anna Wolf, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Webinar 2: Water Infrastructure Financing and IWAM

In this webinar a panel of experts shares their perspectives on current financing opportunities for asset management and discusses options for expanding financial support for IWAM. The webinar also explores how asset management can improve and support rate-setting and infrastructure financing.

Webinar 2 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Jay Kessen & Mark Hoskins, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  2. Robert Boos, Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST)
  3. Jeff Hughes, University of North Carolina Environmental Finance Center

Webinar 3: Technology and IWAM

This webinar explores how different types of software and technology can support asset management at different scales, from individual municipal supplies to regional systems, and how technology can be used to support data sharing agreements and coordinated decision-making by drinking, waste, and stormwater system managers. A panel of presenters will discuss how their organizations employ technology to conduct asset management and share ideas for systems looking to further integrate asset management into their work.

Webinar 3 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Bryon Wood & Jody Caldwell, Great Lakes Water Authority 
  2. Heather Himmelberger, Southwest Environmental Finance Center
  3. Steve Rozycki, Macomb County, MI Public Works 

Webinar 4: IWAM Policy and Program Implementation

The final webinar of the series explores how water infrastructure asset management programs are currently being designed and implemented in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. Panelists from these states and province give presentations on their asset management work and address the elements previously discussed throughout this webinar series, including (1) the scope of assets considered within their policies and programs, (2) short and long-term financing considerations, and (3) the technology they currently use or intend on using in the future.

Webinar 4 Panelist of Presenters

  1. Jessica Moy, Michigan Infrastructure Council
  2. Kelly Green, Michigan Water Asset Management Council 
  3. Kelly Karll & Ann Burns, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG)
  4. Melissa Osborne, City of Windsor & Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM) 
  5. Susan Schell, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager
Great Lakes Commission
nzacharda@glc.org

Original Article

Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Commission

https://www.glc.org/work/iwam-inprogress

Laura Andrews

REAP: Researching the Effectiveness of Agricultural Programs: Project Archive

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

Approximately $96 million was invested between FY2010-2016 in agricultural incentives and other activities intended to influence on-farm decision-making and improve water quality in four priority watersheds (Maumee, Lower Fox, Saginaw, and Genesee) through Focus Area 3 of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). While many evaluations of agricultural conservation programs focus on environmental outcomes, REAP investigated whether investments result in long-term changes in voluntary on-farm decision-making that improve water quality outcomes. REAP began with the premise that implementing conservation practices yields water quality benefits and sought to better understand if and how investments can be tailored so that the resulting environmental benefits and conservation-oriented culture at the farm-scale will persist if/when incentive programs are no longer available.

From November 2017 to January 2020, through a cooperative agreement with the US EPA and GLRI, the REAP team completed empirical analyses of primary and secondary data sources to investigate physical, social, and economic outcomes of GLRI Focus Area 3 investments. In addition, a review of GLRI-supported models and decision-support tools was carried out. Stand-alone reports were completed for each of these sub-tasks and are included as appendices D-J. Key findings from each of those sub-task reports have been synthesized in the final report to better understand obstacles and opportunities for enhanced engagement with farmers that will lead to sustainable changes in on-farm decision-making and water quality improvements.

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager
Great Lakes Commission
nzacharda@glc.org

Original Article

Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Commission

https://www.glc.org/work/reap

Laura Andrews

Michigan Clean Water Corps: Project Archive

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) is a network of volunteer water quality monitoring programs in Michigan. MiCorps was administered by the Great Lakes Commission through 2020 under the direction of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and in partnership with the Huron River Watershed Council, Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, and Michigan State University. MiCorps consists of two main programs – the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) and the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). The CLMP is the second oldest volunteer lake monitoring program in the country and has been an important component of Michigan’s inland lakes monitoring program for over 40 years.

MiCorps seeks to support and expand the number of volunteer water quality monitoring organizations statewide for the purpose of collecting, sharing, and using reliable data for surface water bodies (inland lakes and streams); educating and informing the public about water quality issues; and fostering stewardship to facilitate the preservation and protection of Michigan’s water resources. MiCorps offers training opportunities for both current and aspiring MiCorps volunteers and holds an annual conference each fall for volunteer monitoring program leaders, citizen volunteers, water resource professionals, and others interested in the health and protection of Michigan’s rivers, lakes, and streams. Programs such as MiCorps offer many benefits and also help to extend the reach of data collection around the state in a more cost-effective manner than could be accomplished through state agency staff, alone.

Learn More about the MiCorps
2019 MiCorps Fact Sheet

MiCorps was created by Michigan Executive Order to assist the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collecting and sharing water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs.

MiCorps is comprised of two core volunteer monitoring programs, the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program and the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, and provides technical assistance and other support to local units of government, nonprofit entities, and other volunteers around the state in the management of these initiatives, including:

  • Training for stream and lake monitoring;
  • Disseminating methods for accurate data collection;
  • Implementing effective quality assurance practices;
  • Facilitating data reporting and information sharing online; and
  • Providing a forum for communication and support among volunteer monitoring groups in Michigan.

Additionally, the MiCorps Data Exchange (MDE) platform (available from the program website) provides online access to volunteer monitoring data through a searchable database. This system fulfills a critical role by allowing volunteers to gather and exchange reliable and meaningful water quality data for water resources management and protection programs at the state and local level.

For More Information

www.micorps.net

Original Article

Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Commission

https://www.glc.org/work/micorps

Laura Andrews

Michigan Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup: Project Archive

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

The Michigan Volunteer River, Stream, and Creek Cleanup Grant Program (VRSCCP) provides small grants to local units of government to help implement volunteer cleanup efforts of rivers, streams, and creeks to improve the waters in Michigan. Funding for this program is provided by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) through fees collected from the sale of Michigan’s Water Quality Protection License Plates. The GLC assisted EGLE in publicizing and administering the program through 2019.

Since 2005, 205 grants totaling nearly $414,500 have been awarded to recipients around the state of Michigan under the VRSCCP. During the 2019 grant cycle, 14 cleanup projects were awarded grants totaling more than $29,000 in project funds.

Learn More about the Michigan VRSCCP

The Michigan Volunteer River, Stream, and Creek Cleanup Grant Program (VRSCCP) is a competitive grants program that provides small grants to local units of government to help implement volunteer cleanup efforts of rivers, streams, and creeks to improve the waters in Michigan. Grants typically range from $500 to $5,000, and may be used to support the cleanup and removal of human-made trash and debris from rivers and streams and along their banks. Grant funds awarded under the program can pay for such items as disposal costs, hand tools, supplies, refreshments, and other volunteer appreciation materials for volunteers. Local units of government are eligible to apply for and receive funding and may, in turn, work with nonprofit organizations and grassroots groups to conduct the actual cleanup efforts.

The VRSCCP is managed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and was administered under contract by the Great Lakes Commission (GLC). EGLE worked cooperatively with the GLC staff, providing overall direction for the program and the awarding of grant funds. Additionally, EGLE staff provides advice and assistance to volunteers on technical issues and considerations for the proposed projects.

2019 Fact Sheet
Video: River Raisin Clean-Up 2019

The City of Monroe (a 2019 VRSCCP grant recipient), with support from the City of Monroe Commission on the Environment & Water Quality, the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Great Lakes Commission, and the River Raisin Public Advisory Council, produced a video recap of their 2019 River Raisin Clean-Up. We thank them for sharing this video with us and hope that it may inspire others to take the steps to plan and host similar volunteer cleanup events in communities around our state. Video Credits: Milward J. Beaudry II, camera; Ashley Stotz, editing and graphics

Video: Friends of the Shiawassee River Cleanup Day

The Friends of the Shiawassee River, in partnership with the Shiawassee County Health Department (a 2014 VRSCCP grant recipient) and others, produced a video of their annual Shiawassee River cleanup in 2014.

For More Information

Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program grants are not currently awarded via the Great Lakes Commission. Please contact Marcy Knoll Wilmes for additional information.

Marcy Knoll Wilmes
Senior Aquatic Biologist, Michigan EGLE
517-342-4348
KnollM@michigan.gov

Original Article

Great Lakes Commission

Great Lakes Commission

https://www.glc.org/work/vrsccp

Laura Andrews

Wipes flushed in toilets cause big waste spill in Michigan small town

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) — Small town, big mess.

Baby wipes clogged the wastewater system in Beulah in northern Michigan, causing a backup of 10,000 gallons of human waste from a manhole, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The spill was on the grounds of the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/10/ap-wipes-flushed-big-waste-spill-michigan-small-town/

The Associated Press