Great Lakes

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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.

 

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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.  

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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
flickr/kate.gardiner

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.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes levels probably will remain below average for the next six months but won't set records unless the weather is unusually dry.

Current State #57 | April 2, 2013

Apr 2, 2013

Today on Current State: policy operative Richard McClellan; the Great Lakes Energy-Water Nexus; and Michigan's steps toward autism benefits. 

Water-energy nexus in the Great Lakes Basin

Apr 2, 2013
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The dependent relationship between energy and water is important, but in a water-rich state like Michigan, it’s easy to overlook. Skip Pruss discusses the water-energy nexus  and its potential impact on the future of the Great Lakes. Pruss is a Principal at 5 Lakes Energy and former Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Current State #52 | March 26, 2013

Mar 26, 2013

Today on Current State: Curtis Hertel on plans to run for Senate; former congressman advocates for mental health; Lansing City Council president's response to budget proposal; and measuring water quality over the years in the Great Lakes.

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It’s been 100 years since the International Joint Commission conducted a Great Lakes-wide bacteriological study.  Scientists are now looking to recreate the 1913 research; the 100 years study will assess how water quality in the Basin has changed over time.

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