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Michigan resources help deliver clean water to parched land

Surrounded as we are by the greatest freshwater system on the planet, even those occasional pesky dry spells rarely give us pause to consider how blessed we are.

Recent days have brought announcements that help me both appreciate our abundance and the growing scarcity of clean fresh water that faces much of the planet.

Ashtabula harbor is now a busy pleasure boat port, thanks to a 75-Million dollar clean of toxic river sediments. Photo: Karen Schaefer

Cleaning up a toxic river

The Ashtabula River may soon be the first Ohio river to come off Ohio’s list of Great Lakes toxic hotspots.

The cost has been astronomical, but advocates say clean up of the toxins protects Lake Erie fishing and tourism.

Tree roots are bared by erosion, just one problem green infrastructure can fix

Managing storm water

A revolution in green infrastructure – and two new funding programs – are helping urban communities in Greater Cleveland create small green space projects with a big potential impact to control storm water flooding.

Trout swim in a viewing pond at the Nevin Hatchery in Fitchburg near Madison, where some fish tested positive for cutthroat trout virus. Photo: Rory Linnane, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Virus found in Wisconsin trout

State natural resource officials are wondering how a mysterious virus found its way to Wisconsin trout and what it will mean for the health of aquatic life.

Despite the uncertainty, state authorities confirm that they released 270,000 brown trout this year from hatcheries where fish tested positive for the cutthroat trout virus. An additional 160,000 had already been released last year before officials got the test results.

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Dust-up over keeping the dust down

Commentary
By Ken Winter

Back years ago, there used to be a joke that rural dirt roads were either sprayed just before local elections to keep the electorate happy or a township or county official lived along the road. Same held true for snow plowing. The roads still get sprayed, but some people are beginning to ask with what? After the Traverse City Record-Eagle first reported on a road spraying complaint last month in Benzie County, west of near Traverse City, other county road commissioners are being asked the same question. The incident started when Bryan Black, a Benzie County farmer and former oil industry welder, first raised concerns about the liquid a truck was spraying on dirt roads around his farm north of Lake Ann to the Michigan Department of Environment Quality.

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.  

 

Hauling up the sails on the Hailie & Matthew. Photo: Karen Schaefer

Tall ships refight Battle of Lake Erie

A toxic blue-green algae bloom drifting around the Lake Erie Islands this Labor Day weekend did nothing to deter tens of thousands of visitors to Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

They were anxious to see the fleet of tall ships re-enacting the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.