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New Ohio water coalition to poll public

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 A coalition of Ohio farm, industry, government and environmental groups is rolling out a poll next week to assess which water issues are most important to the public. The new group is called Healthy Water Ohio or HwO. Its mission is to improve water supply, quality and treatment. The group’s steering committee will use the poll and focus groups to plan how to resolve Ohio water problems within the next 20-30 years, said John Stark, freshwater director for The Nature Conservancy. Because the eight counties along Lake Erie generates $38 billion in tourism for Ohio each year, HwO is concerned about water shortages, said Larry Fletcher,the executive director of Lake Erie Shores & Islands, a travel agency that belongs to the coalition. Continue Reading →

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Great Lakes exports mussels, advice and reporter to Texas

A clump of invasive zebra mussels. (Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Clean, drain, dry is common advice among the Great Lakes boating community. Now it’s delivered with a southern drawl. The watercraft maintenance practice limits the spread of invasive species between lakes. And now it is used in Texas to limit the further spread of a Great Lakes menace threatening lakes in that state. Zebra mussels are again the target.  They entered the U.S. through the Great Lakes aboard freighters that inadvertently transported them from Eurasia. Continue Reading →

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Starting a Great Lakes island trek – sneak preview

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Great Lakes Echo recently interviewed Loreen Niewenhuis in the middle of her third 1,000 mile hike. She’s the author of A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk. Both chronicle her hiking adventures around the Great Lakes. This time she is hiking, biking and kayaking on islands in each of the five Great Lakes. Read about it here LINK. Her third book, tentatively titled A 1,000-mile Great Lakes Island Adventure, is scheduled to be released in June 2015. Continue Reading →

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Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash

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Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash by Great Lakes Echo

One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants. The bill permits coal ash to be used in road construction, but it may also be used in agriculture as a fertilizer supplement, causing some environmental advocates to become concerned. Current State’s Kevin Lavery speaks with Republican State Representative Wayne Schmidt, the bill’s main sponsor, who strongly states that coal ash is completely safe and does not pose any environmental threats. Continue Reading →

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Photo Friday: Tire trash

Trash along a pedestrian walkway in Bridgeport, Mich. Image: Diana Popp Rossiter

Diana Popp Rossiter took this image in early June during a walk through Lyle Park in Bridgeport Township, about six miles southeast of  Saginaw. The pedestrian trail starts at a restored historic bridge across the Cass River in downtown Bridgeport and extends through Lyle Park which runs along side the Cass River. “Running alongside the trail is a railroad track and between the tracks and trail is a low area of land,” Popp Rossiter writes. “That low area of land is filled with trash that has been dumped by polluters over the years and also trash that gets deposited there every year by the flood waters. “This trash includes seven tires that are usually sitting there with water in them serving as a mosquito breeding source.” Continue Reading →

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