Great Lakes Echo

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Photo Friday: Educational cruise

Students at the Leelenau School enjoy a chilly spring day aboard an Inland Seas Education Center vessel.

The Leelanau School – an experiential boarding high school for kids with learning differences in Glen Arbor, Mich. – braved the spring chill on a field trip with the Inland Seas Education Center. Inland Seas is a Suttons Bay, Mich.,  non-profit organization that helps people of all ages experience the science and spirit of the Great Lakes through hands-on learning aboard a traditionally rigged tall ship schooner.  Image: Inland Seas Education Center. Have a photo to submit for our Photo Friday series? Send it to us on Facebook or Twitter, or in an email to Continue Reading →

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Former Great Lakes official appointed to EPA advisory board

G. Tracy Mehan

The former director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes has been appointed to a board that advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency how to lower the cost of environmental protection. G. Tracy Mehan, now a principal with the Cadmus Group Inc., was recently appointed to EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board. The panel also provides EPA with advice on increasing investments in environmental and public health protection. Mehan was director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes from 1993 to 2001. As EPA’s assistant administrator for water from 2001 to 2003, he directed programs that administered the Safe Drinking water Act and Clean Water Act. Continue Reading →

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Kittens, Great Lakes ice and paying for journalism

Upending the Basin static

The local historical society recently hosted a panel discussion of the history of the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal. That’s my local newspaper and I was particularly interested in the event as I had once worked there as an editor. What really caught my interest in a video of the discussion was a longtime State Journal staffer’s explanation of the publication’s increasing use of metrics to measure how news is consumed. She described how a video screen in the newsroom reports and ranks in real time the top 10 stories that people are reading online. Every week reporters get a report of how many people read their stories each day. Continue Reading →

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Flash Point: Laura Miller shoots Maumee River ice


We asked Great Lakes photographers to send us some of their favorite or toughest Great Lakes shots. Photographer and artist Laura Miller sent us these photos. Late January 2014 has been particularly difficult along the Maumee River in Ohio because of the amount of snow and rain we received with near-record precipitation.  These photos of an ice jam reflect the challenge of the river environment with the next challenge being flooding in the spring. Although this part of the river had an ice jam, farther upstream the water was flowing freely as the ice had been swept away.  The Maumee River is the largest Great Lakes watershed and feeds into Lake Erie.  There is a wonderful park system that follows the river providing abundant opportunities to enjoy the river.  Getting to the river isn’t the easiest during the winter months. The most difficult aspect of this photo adventure was knowing where the river bank ended and the river began.  You can’t help but respect the power and beauty of the ice when you’re actually on the banks of the river.   As you get closer to the water’s edge, you can easily go through the ice not knowing there is water flowing underneath. Continue Reading →

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Photo Friday: Whiting Event


This photo was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite from the International Space Station. It highlights a late-summer “whiting event” visible across Lake Ontario. Whiting events are caused by changes in the water’s temperature,  which leads to increased photosynthesis by phytoplankton and other microscopic marine life. That photosynthesis reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the water, which changes the water’s acidity. Change in acidity and temperature then allows fine particles of calcium carbonate to form in the water column, and it’s these particles that cause the characteristic lightening, or “whiting,” of the water’s color. Continue Reading →

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Photo Friday: The edge of space

Michigan State University Media Sandbox Instructor Troy Hale, with the help of his students, launched a weather balloon containing five HD cameras and a GPS unit into “space” this summer. The balloon launch recorded video at approximately 100,000 ft., or the “edge of space.” It was the second launch. An earlier attempt ended in Lake Erie and the equipment could not be recovered.  Hale said he is planning more experiments, including a launch from Spartan stadium.  

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Thursday: Great Lakes Week 2013



Detroit Public TV will live broadcast the Great Lakes Week summit in Milwaukee, Wisc., September 9-12, 2013. During Great Lakes Week there will be a series of conferences to discuss Great Lakes issues, hosted by the International Joint Commission, the EPA, the U.S. Areas of Concern Program, the Great Lakes Commission, The Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition (representing 120 organizations) and Environment Canada, as well as the Council of Great Lakes Industries, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and the newly organized Council of the Great Lakes Region. Issues discussed include how to spend federal money for the lakes, invasive species, climate change, algae blooms and which cities should be allowed to tap into Great Lakes water. Tune in on Echo Monday – Thursday for new broadcasts. Continue Reading →

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