PSA: Mercury – It’s in the fish

Mercury has found its way not only into our households, but also into our aquatic environment, according to this public service announcement from the Michigan Department of Community Health. “A person’s susceptibility to being harmed by the mercury in fish depends on their age, current health status, genetics, and chemical exposure history,” said Christina Bush, a health department toxicologist. “Given this complex set of factors, it is not known how much mercury it would take to harm any given individual. MDCH issues Fish Consumption Guidelines to help people choose fish that are low in mercury and safer for consumption by everyone, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children.” The state hosts a website where these guidelines are available.

Michigan videographer tackles snow melt

The Midland-based producer of the Climate Denial Crock of the Week is involved in examining the link between North American wildfires and Greenland’s increasing snow melt. It is among the first scientific research projects looking to crowdfunding.

Historic St. Lawrence River lighthouse up for sale

Ever dream of owning a National Landmark?  For $539,900, that dream could become a reality. One of the oldest lighthouses on the St. Lawrence River is up for sale, according to the Watertown Daily Times. Crossover Island rests in the St.

Photo Friday: Flooding in Michigan

The heavy flooding that struck Michigan this month is evident in these photos from NASA’s Earth Observatory. The photos, taken from NASA’s Terra satellite, show the Saginaw River on the east side of the state and the Grand River as it flows west from the center of the state toward Lake Michigan on April 5 and April 21. A comparison of the photos shows a much-widened Grand River and major flooding conditions on the Saginaw River near the city of Saginaw, according to the NASA report. The National Weather Service continues to place Saginaw under a flood warning, stating that the river is not expected to fall below flood levels until May 1. The photos combine infrared and visual light imagery to increase the contrast between the water and land, highlighting the expansion of the rivers, according to NASA.

Photo Friday: Re-reversing the Chicago River

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(Photos by Lloyd DeGrane, Alliance for the Great Lakes)

The course of the Chicago River, reversed over a century ago by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the flow of waste water into Lake Michigan, was re-reversed April 18 to alleviate flooding in the city in the wake of serious storm conditions, according to an Associated Press report. These photos show dark stormwater and untreated waste water flowing into the lighter waters of Lake Michigan, according to the Chicagoist, a popular news blog for the Chicago area. Echo has previously reported on the increasing frequency of urban flooding problems in Chicago and the Midwest.

Photo Friday: The Great Lakes from orbit

The Great Lakes appear through the clouds in this photo taken from the International Space Station by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He posted it recently on his Twitter account  as part of a social media campaign to promote his team’s mission. Hadfield is the commander of Expedition 35, marking the first time a Canadian astronaut has been in command of the station, according to the Canadian Space Agency.

North Manitou and South Manitou islands get trail map treatment

The National Park Service and have produced new trail maps of a pair of Lake Michigan islands near Traverse City, Mich. North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island, part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, have been added to’s Classic Trails of Michigan map series. Each map illustrates trail grades, primitive roads, maintained trails and unmarked modern and historic pathways. They also mark historic sites, ruins, natural features, elevation changes and hiking amenities found throughout the islands. Each map costs $4.95, and are available at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor Centers,, the Manitou Island Transit ferry company and outdoor shops throughout the state.

Photo Friday: Thawing ice on Lake Michigan

In this photograph from NASA’s Earth Science Photo of the Day, a January thaw caused this ice shelf on the Lake Michigan shoreline to collapse near Winnetka, Ill., according to photographer Neil Libby. As successive winter storms buffet the coast with strong winds and large waves, icy slush builds up on the newly-formed shore ice, creating ice shelves. The ice shelf pictured here stood 8 feet above the water.

Great Lakes region has some of best small towns

Three Great Lakes locales are listed by Business Insider as among the 10 best small towns in America. Traverse City, Mich., Door County, Wis. and Galena, Ill. are among those recognized March 31 for unique atmospheres, charming shops and restaurants and scenic beauty. “In a time when “authentic” is a travel buzzword, these hamlets are attracting visitors with an often unexpected–and surprisingly sophisticated–array of independent and locally-minded cultural, outdoor, and culinary offerings,” reports Business Insider, a business and technology news website.

Youth symposium highlights Great Lakes stewardship, research

For four days in May, the Lake Superior Youth Symposium will bring students, teachers and scientists together to promote better stewardship of the Great Lakes. The symposium starts May 16 in Houghton, Mich. at Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center. The goal of the symposium, now in its 10th year, is to work with middle and high school students and their teachers to improve their understanding of environmental science and encourage the conservation of the Great Lakes. Attendees participate in hands-on workshops, challenge courses and art and music programs that highlight careers aimed at protecting the Great Lakes.