Maps show spread of aquatic invasive species over time

The Nature Conservancy has animated how six invasive species have spread across the Great Lakes over time. The group has created six maps that show population increase and spread since the appearance of each species in the Great Lakes basin and beyond. Sea lamprey, the first of the six invasive species to appear in the area, initially showed up in Lake Erie in 1921. The map shows the population of the fish expanding into the rest of the Great Lakes up until present day. Also included in the maps are Asian carp, zebra and quagga mussels, round goby, Eurasian Ruffe and black carp.

Photo Friday: Cold produces sundog above Lake Superior

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo This image taken over Lake Superior’s southern shore shows a reflection of light known as a “sundog” on the outer edges of a halo surrounding the sun. Fog is created when cold air moves over water that is much warmer. Because of the cold, this fog often contains tiny ice crystals. The crystals can act as prisms, creating a 22-degree circle of light around the sun known as a “22-degree halo,” according to Earth Science Picture of the Day, which published this image. The picture was taken by Shawn Malone on Jan.

Perfect conditions produce “snow rollers” in Ohio, New York

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo Everyone has seen images of tumbleweed blowing in the wind. This image shows what it looks like when the wind rolls its own snowballs. These snowballs were created by the wind in a field in Ohio, according to Earth Science Picture of the Day, a service provided by NASA’s Earth Science Division that documents naturally occurring phenomenon that highlight the different processes of the world. If the wind blows strong enough, and snow has just the right packing consistency, then the wind can blow snowballs like these ones, known as “snow rollers.” If the wind changes path, so can the snowballs, leaving tracks in the snow behind. This phenomenon is not unique to Newcomerstown, Ohio, where this photo was taken in late January by Bill Schultz.

Invasive Species: Asian Carp

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes EchoAsian carp may be one of the better known of the many aquatic invasive species attempting to make their way into the Great Lakes basin. They are one of the five “usual suspects” recognized by The Nature Conservancy in a public awareness campaign. Big head and silver are the most common types of carp, having been spotted in 18 different states, according to The Nature Conservancy. Big head carp can grow up to 60 inches and weigh over 100 pounds. Silver carp are a bit smaller, with a length of about 40 inches and a weight of 60 pounds.

Photo Friday: Ice forms Lake Michigan stringers


By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo Ice stringers, the lines of ice that can be seen traveling out across these Lake Michigan waters, are formed when strong winds blow ice off a point of land and into a long, connected string. This photograph produced by astronauts on the International Space Station shows Washington Island off the point of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula and two smaller adjacent islands. They are joined by ice. When this photo was taken on Feb. 22, strong southwesterly winds blew against their ice-covered shores, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Landscope: Increasing presence of well pads in Michigan

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo 

Take a look at this map. Cover the title, key and footer. It looks as if someone had a blank map of Michigan and began splattering paint across it. It’s like a work of art. But when the title of the map is revealed, it becomes obvious that all those pretty colors are actually different types of wells strewn across Michigan’s mitten.

Invasive Species: Round Goby

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo

The Nature Conservancy has named the round goby one of the five “usual suspects” invading the Great Lakes basin. Round gobies are native to the Black and Caspian seas, but have found their way into the Mississippi River as well as Lake Michigan. These fish have a heightened ability to sense water movement, allowing them to feed in the dark. Round gobies feed on native fish and their eggs, and have a “blood vendetta” against zebra mussels, according The Nature Conservancy. These gobies can grow up to 10 inches in length and somewhat resemble an overgrown tadpole with black, gray or brown skin.

Invasive Species: Eurasian Ruffe

By Evan KreagerGreat Lakes Echo

The Nature Conservancy has named Eurasian Ruffe, a fish native to northern Europe and Asia, as one of the five “usual suspects” in the Great Lakes basin. This fish has invaded northern Lake Michigan and feeds on native fish eggs. It has sharp spines on its fins making it difficult for predators to catch and eat, giving it the nickname, “Dagger Fin.”

Eurasian Ruffe are generally just under a half a foot in length and have an olive or golden-brown color.

Experts warn against osprey nest removal

As osprey populations continue to increase, so do the issues that they face in a changing environment.

Experts are spreading the word that extreme caution needs to be taken concerning the birds’ nests on cell phone and powerline towers.

Invasive Species: Zebra Mussels


Zebra mussels are one of five aquatic invasive species that The Nature Conservancy has deemed “‘the usual suspects’ doing the most damage in the Great Lakes basin and beyond.”

Originally from Eastern Europe and western Russia, zebra mussels are the only freshwater mussels that can attach directly to other objects. They most likely have come over attached to the bottoms of ships. Once here, the mussels grow in population rapidly. Zebra mussels can produce 100,000 to 500,000 eggs per year, according to The Nature Conservancy. Nicknamed “the Silent Strangler,” these pests smother native freshwater mussels and kill plankton that some fish need to survive.