The first step in useful communication is to listen to your audience. By addressing the perceptions and needs of a community, information can really have impact. With this mission in mind, IISG Environmental Social Scientist Caitie Nigrelli and her intern Carly Norris went to the Zephyr site in Muskegon County in Michigan.
The biggest change from snow to rain would be in November, the study shows, making the massive lake effect storm near Buffalo last month less likely by 2100. That storm dumped 90 inches of snow in some areas in five days. Thirteen people died and more than 100 miles of the New York State Thruway was shut down for days.
[Michael] Notaro’s article was published in the Journal of Climate just days before the Buffalo-area storm. He is a senior scientist at the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research in Madison, Wisc.
The paradox of lake effect snow, however, is that before it begins to drop off after 2050 it might actually increase for a few decades, according to research by Notaro and Colgate University professor Adam Burnett.
“My original idea was that in the short run, as the lakes become warmer and and lake ice disappears, we would still have enough cold air around to produce lake effect snow,” said Burnett, whose 2003 study showed a rise in lake effect snow from Lake Ontario. “You could end up with some pretty serious snows like we saw in Buffalo.” Read more
***Photo A: Lake effect snow near Buffalo, NY in November. Photo by Michael Garrood.
***Photo B: From WGGB in western Massachusetts.
These are the third and fourth U.S. sites to be delisted since a 1987 cleanup agreement with Canada identified areas hit hardest by legacy pollutants like PCBs and mercury. The Oswego River in New York became the first in 2006, and Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Bay was delisted last year.
From the Detroit Free Press
The Deer Lake AOC, along the southern shore of Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula, was listed because of mercury contamination that leached into water flowing through an abandoned iron mine, as well as other pollutants. Mercury contamination in fish—and reproductive problems—also were documented in animals and birds, including bald eagles.
The remediation efforts included a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant for $8 million that helped pay for a project diverting water from Partridge Creek. It previously fed the stream flowing through old mine workings under Ishpeming, which then ran into another creek and into Deer Lake.
The White Lake AOC was on Lake Michigan in Muskegon County and had been contaminated by pollution—especially organic solvents—from tannery operations, chemical manufacturing and other sources, degrading fish and wildlife habitats.
A $2.5-million grant was used to remove contaminated sediment and restore shoreline, with more than 100,000 cubic yards being removed. Read more
More than two dozen AOCs remain throughout the Great Lakes states. But as many as 10 are targeted for completion in the next five years thanks in part to funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which will enter its second phase next year.
Two of the sites slated for delisting are the Buffalo and Grand Calumet rivers, where IISG’s Caitie McCoy has partnered with federal, state, and local groups under the Great Lakes Legacy Act to connect nearby communities with the remediation and restoration. A big part of this work has focused on integrating environmental cleanup projects into the classroom with place-based curriculum and stewardship projects.
***Deer Lake in Ishpeming. Credit: Stephanie Swart, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Earlier this week, a new environmental monitoring buoy joined a chain of similar buoys that are increasing boating and swimming safety and helping anglers target specific species of fish from Ludington, MI to Michigan City, IN.
From Michigan Live:
Deployed roughly two miles off the shores of South Haven on Wednesday, the buoy can distribute improved wind and wave observations in addition to measuring wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, water temperature and wave height among other variables.
“Given South Haven’s strong connection to Lake Michigan I am excited for the addition of this station to the regional buoy network,” South Haven Mayor Robert Burr said in a statement. “The city’s goal is to provide area boaters, swimmers, and water safety professionals with up-to-date lake conditions. Conditions on the big lake can change fast and we want everyone to be prepared when venturing out on the water.
Click on the link above to read the complete article. And visit our buoy website to learn more about how real-time data is helping weather forecasters and researchers better understand the nearshore waters of Lake Michigan.
**Photo: Boaters and swimmers enjoy the water at South Haven Beach
“The Great Lakes Coastal Trail Conference — taking place Thursday and Friday in Saugatuck, Mich. — aims to bring together supporters in the U.S. and Canada to formalize development of a roughly 11,270-kilometre route.The route would include Great Lakes shoreline and the St. Lawrence River, which connects the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.An aim is to draw tourists to the region, which includes eight U.S. states and Quebec and Ontario.It would integrate independent biking and kayaking trail developments in states such as Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.”
“The lake is one of 14 major sites in Michigan on a list of toxic hot spots in the Great Lakes region. The cleanup work is difficult and expensive, but it’s expected to improve conditions for people and wildlife throughout the region.Most of the work left at this point in the process for White Lake is paperwork. If everything goes as planned, White Lake will be taken off the toxic hot spot list in October, making it the very first in Michigan to complete the cleanup process.”
Michigan Radio’s Here and Now recently discussed the issue of Asian carp and the State of Michigan’s preparations to prevent and fight the spread of the invasive fish.
“Asian carp, an invasive and destructive fish, have spread through the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers. In total, the fish are affecting more than 20 states from Louisiana to South Dakota.
Under the right conditions, it could take as few as a dozen Asian carp to establish a population in the Great Lakes. That’s according to a report published this month by scientists in Ontario.
If they’re correct, the risk of even just a handful of Asian carp escaping into the Great Lakes could be more significant than officials had planned.
From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Lindsey Smith of Michigan Radio reports on how the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan is getting ready to face off with this invader.”
Listen to the program or read the transcript at the link above.
Phragmites Australis, also know as the Common Reed, is a wetland plant that is not native to the Great Lakes. The invasive plant grows and spreads rapidly in the wetlands around the Lakes, and as a result can crowd out native plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystems.
Researchers at Michigan Tech are working on mapping the spread of the plant, though, in an effort to better understand its spread and plan for managing and reducing it.
From Upper Peninsula’s Second Wave:
“The common reed, or phragmites australis, isn’t native to the Great Lakes, but grows quickly in our climate conditions into large, tall stands that can threaten wetlands habitat.
The plant hasn’t been studied very much, or mapped, which was the goal of the Tech scientists, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, Boston College and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, teams first mapped the U.S. coastlines of all five Great Lakes using satellites.
Then, they did field studies along the coastlines to confirm the satellite findings, and plot the locations of large stands of the reed, in a first-of-its-kind map.”
Read more about the map at the link above and in the article at Science Daily.
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