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Geography in the News: The Great Lakes’ Mounting Problems

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM The Great Lakes’ Mounting Problems Recent news about an algae bloom on Lake Erie leading to Toledo, Ohio’s municipal water plants closing is just one of the many problems affecting the Great Lakes. Toledo’s 400,000 people were forced to purchase bottled water for two…

Frigid Forecast for Water Temperatures on Great Lakes This Summer

Of all the images of ice last winter, one of my favorites was a friend’s photo of crumpled sheets of blue ice on the west side of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. With her smartphone, Denise McDonough snapped a photo that looked like it was taken by a polar explorer, not by one of…

Ice Cover Affects Lake Levels in Surprising Ways

The announcement last week that $300 million was included in the 2014 federal spending bill for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was followed this week with more good news about water levels. The recent Arctic blast that gripped much of the nation will likely contribute to a healthy rise in Great Lakes water levels in 2014,…

PROJECT: ICE Documentary Portrays Changing Climate on the Great Lakes

As the polar vortex descended on Washington, D.C. on Monday night, my husband and I joined Water Currents editor Brian Clark Howard for a private screening of PROJECT: ICE, a fascinating new documentary about the Great Lakes. What was conceived as a documentary about ferries and shipping on the Great Lakes became something else. During filming,…

Botulism Bacteria Blamed for Deaths of Waterbirds on Lake Ontario

Last year, I wrote about finding the carcasses of dead loons and cormorants on the shores of a Northern Lake Michigan beach. Now officials in New York are reporting similar waterbird deaths from Type E botulism on Lake Ontario. Sadly, finding type E botulism in waterbirds is becoming an “annual event in one or more…

Geography in the News: Asian Carp

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Invasive Asian Carp An aggressive invasive species—the Asian carp—is threatening the Great Lakes. Able to consume one-third of its body weight in a day, the carp can grow up to five feet (152 cm) long. It also reproduces very quickly. Its presence may spell…

Asian Carp Reproducing Naturally in Great Lakes Tributary

Scientists have confirmed for the first time that a species of the dreaded Asian carp has reproduced naturally in a Great Lakes tributary. While not the variety of Asian carp experts fear will do the most harm in the Great Lakes region, the results have important implications for those concerned about the spread of this…

The Mystery of the Migrating Fishes: Swimming the Gauntlet to Green Bay

  Dr. Solomon David, Postdoctoral Research Associate Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation & Research, Shedd Aquarium Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison The ice and snow of early spring in northern Wisconsin had come and gone. Also departing with the frigid weather were the adult northern pike our team had been tracking as the fish…

Why Do Blood-Sucking Fish Find Bile Sexy?

Move over, Chanel No. 5: Scientists have discovered why the scent of bile is irresistible to female sea lampreys.

Where Did the Water Go? Busting 5 Myths About Water Levels on the Great Lakes

Much-needed rain in the Great Lakes basin helped water levels recover somewhat this summer. Higher than average precipitation throughout most of the region in July left Lakes Erie and Ontario with above average water levels for this time of year, according to the most recent monthly water level report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

The Mystery of the Migrating Fishes: Northern Adventures in the Great Lakes

Dr. Solomon David, Postdoctoral Research Associate Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation & Research, Shedd Aquarium Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison I had received word from colleagues that northern pike (Esox lucius), an apex predator in freshwaters throughout the northern hemisphere, had begun migrating inland from Lake Michigan, and I had come to track…

New Concerns About Plastic Pollution in Great Lakes ‘Garbage Patch’

Until recently, my concept of a ‘garbage patch’ was of an area of ocean with large pieces of floating debris, the kind of stray fishing gear and trash from ships and shorelines that collect where currents form eddies far from view of most people. Having seen my share of sea trash in 20,000+ miles of…

Low Lake Levels: Don’t Fight Nature, Plan for It

The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s available surface freshwater–enough to cover the continental United States with 10 feet of water if you turned them upside down. In many places along the lakes, you can stand on one side without seeing the shoreline on the other because they are so huge. It’s difficult…

The Mystery of the Migrating Fishes: Investigating Clues for Great Lakes Conservation Efforts

The Great Lakes are the largest supply of freshwater in the world, and more than 36 million people depend on them for drinking water. As a result, monitoring and maintaining the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem is an urgent priority. Of the diverse organisms inhabiting freshwater systems, fishes are familiar to scientists and laypeople…

New Great Lakes Map Highlights Environmental Threats and Opportunities

A new environmental threat map of the Great Lakes serves as a powerful visualization tool for those interested in the challenges facing lake restoration efforts. The map brings to mind the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But the colorful image is worth even more than that – the red, orange, and blue…