Muskegon Lake in the wake of a shoreline restoration project. According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the lake should be delisted as an Area of Concern within 4 to 5 years. Photo by Kathy Evans.

Muskegon and White lakes reach cleanup milestones

Cleanup efforts at two Michigan Areas of Concern, Muskegon Lake and White Lake, have reached important milestones, according to the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. The Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 26 lifted Beneficial Use Impairments on both lakes pertaining to fish consumption, allowing local residents and anglers to fish these lakes with fewer restrictions. Recent studies by Grand Valley State University on the lakes revealed that fish there did not possess higher concentrations of PCBs or mercury than fish in lakes that were not listed as Areas of Concern. Both lakes remain subject to the same fish consumption advisories as the other lakes in the area.

Swimmers at 
Chicago's Calumet Park near where the Grand Calument River enters Lake Michigan. Image: Lloyd DeGrane

The Grand Calumet’s road to recovery

Great Lakes Echo looked at the toxic brew that Indiana’s Grand Calumet River carries to Lake Michigan yesterday.

Today: A look at the multi-million dollar investment in its recovery.

It’s an investment not only in the river but in the near shore ecosystem of Lake Michigan.

The Grand Calumet River. Image: Lloyd DeGrane

Grand Calumet River delivers toxic load to Lake Michigan

Here’s a look at the toxic brew Indiana’s Grand Calumet River carries to Lake Michigan. Municipal and industrial effluent make up 90 percent of the river’s flow. But there’s hope for what is one of the nation’s most polluted rivers.


Canada leads U.S., 3-1, on Great Lakes pollution hot spot cleanups

The rise of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the U.S. has begged the question: what is Canada doing to restore its 2,904 miles (4,797 counting islands) of Great Lakes shoreline? The Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest newspaper, asked that of its own government in a February editorial responding to the states’ $2.2 billion Great Lakes plan:

“So, where is Canada’s plan?” they ask. “Troublingly, it seems our federal government is not nearly as concerned about the health of the lakes.” But, sweeping strategic plans aside, Canada actually leads the U.S. on Great Lakes restoration in at least one measure.

Great Lakes toxic hot spots could get restoration boost from GLRI

Editors note: Congress is considering a $475 million appropriation for Great Lakes cleanup. This story is part of an occasional look at proposals for spending it. Weigh in on this and other ideas on Echo’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative forum. Other stories. By Andrew McGlashen
Great Lakes Echo
July 31, 2009
A plan to spend $147 million to restore Great Lakes toxic hotspots is inspiring cautious optimism among those involved in a long and often frustrating cleanup process.

St. Lawrence River PCBs linked to low testosterone in Mohawk men

By Andrew McGlashen
Environmental Health News

Straddling the brawny sweep of the St. Lawrence River, where New York, Quebec and Ontario meet, the territory called Akwesasne has long provided fish that feed the 12,000 members of the Mohawk Nation there. But the junction of their ancestral legacy with their region’s industrial legacy has exposed the Mohawk to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Now research suggests that the human health risk and gender-bending potential of these widespread and long-lasting pollutants are greater than previously recognized, and the Mohawk aren’t the only ones who should worry. Mounting evidence has shown that PCBs mimic estrogen, a female sex hormone, and can cause male bodies to develop feminine characteristics.

EPA dioxin push could be a boon to Great Lakes cleanup

By Jeff Gillies,
Great Lakes Echo
May 28, 2008

Great Lakes advocates hope that this week’s push by the federal government to clean up of one of the nation’s worst sites of dioxin contamination is a sign that the new administration will make good on its promise to jump start restoration of the region. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson on Tuesday pledged a strong agency presence in the effort to clean up the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw Bay watershed in Michigan’s Thumb area. A century of chemical production at Dow Chemical Co. in Midland left sediment in the river system contaminated with dioxin, a likely carcinogen that has been linked to liver damage. Plans for cleaning the area have sparked longtime controversy involving state, local and federal agencies, environmental groups and area residents.