Great Lakes

Great Lakes Month in Review: Asian carp and petcoke

Nov 26, 2013
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We check in monthly with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we’re focusing on petcoke piles and Asian carp.

The sinking of the SS Carl D. Bradley claimed the lives of 33 crewmembers on Lake Michigan. The Bradley wreck doesn’t get talked about as much as the Edmund Fitzgerald does, but it is a story worth remembering.

Michigan economic developers eye ‘Blue Economy’

Nov 5, 2013
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A new report commissioned by the governor’s office focuses on accelerating Michigan’s water based or ‘Blue economy.’ The paper’s author, John Austin, is the Director of the Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas Foundation. Austin says that  a “Blue Economy” is similar to a “Green Economy”.

Water security relies on adapting to climate change

Oct 1, 2013
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According to a new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,  40 percent of the world’s population will live under severe water stress by 2050.


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This week we start our segment Great Lakes Month in Review. We'll take time each month to recap environmental news from around the Great Lakes Basin with Chicago-based commentator and journalist Gary Wilson.

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Organizations from across the Great Lakes region are converging in Milwaukee for Great Lakes Week. Great Lakes journalist and commentator Gary Wilson is at this year’s conference. Wilson says two of the major issues are low lake levels and water divergence.


For the United States, the War of 1812 took a turn for the better on this date 200 years ago. American naval forces defeated the British in The Battle of Lake Erie. The victory secured the lake and ensured that Michigan and Ohio would remain the sovereign territory of the U.S.A.

Current State’s Scott Pohl talked with MSU historian Roger Rosentreter about the Battle of Lake Erie.

Great Lakes
Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Texans and Oklahomans don’t just clash over football. They also have a long history of battling over water, with the most recent conflict playing out in the Supreme Court. Justices recently ruled that  the Tarrant  Regional Water District, located in North Texas, cannot divert water from Oklahoma river basins.  


No sooner had conferees wrapped up last week’s Mackinac Policy Conference than another gathering formed. For the first time in six years, the Council of Great Lakes Governors met to discuss the economy and the environment.

Prioritizing issues in the Great Lakes region

May 28, 2013
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This weekend Gov. Snyder will welcome Governors from across the Great Lakes region to the 2013 leadership summit on Mackinac Island. Great Lakes journalist and commentator Gary Wilson previews the summit and reflects on the Great Lakes Advisory Board's meeting in Chicago.

Wilson is the former co-editor of the Great Lakes Town Hall. He’s a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and currently writes for Great Lakes Echo.

The Great Lakes formed thousands of years ago  when a glacier moved across the region and melted. The film "Project:Ice" depicts the important role ice continues to play in the Great Lakes Basin. 

Bill Kleinert, the documentary’s executive producer and director, discusses the importance of ice to the Great Lakes region. 

High bacteria levels plague Great Lakes beaches

May 7, 2013

According to a 2012 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, bacterial levels of Great Lakes’ beaches exceeded public health standards more than beaches in any other region. Contaminated water can cause illness and force beaches to close. Joan Rose is the Nowlin Endowed Chair of Water Research. She discusses beach health and water systems. She spoke with Current State host Mark Bashore.

Asian Carp

A new study released in April finds Asian carp may in fact be reaching the Great Lakes.  The Asian carp is an invasive species with an appetite large enough to potentially decimate the food chain ecosystem of the Great Lakes.  There have been many efforts to contain the spread of the fish in the Chicago Area Waterway System to connects to Lake Michigan.  The study now raises new questions about the effectiveness of that system.

Current State #72 | April 23, 2013

Apr 24, 2013

Today on Current State: Councilwoman Jessica Yorko on city budget; the drawbacks of dredging; dispute over Ingham county recordkeeping; and Angela Wittrock with Lansing business news.

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This year record low water levels have spurred the Michigan government to spend over $20 million on dredging. Many hope dredging will enable recreational and commercial boating to continue, preventing revenue loss.