Lake Erie water snake slithers off the endangered species list

A nonpoisonous Lake Erie water snake is no longer listed as a federally endangered species. The snake’s numbers plunged as more people settled Lake Erie’s western islands, according to the Toledo Blade. Populations rebounded after federal and state agencies protected inland and shoreline hibernation and breeding grounds. Earning federal protection in 1999, the water snake is the 23rd species to be delisted, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

VIDEO: How Many Sport Fish Can Lake Michigan Support?

Who’s eating whom in Lake Michigan? The emergence of a few bad actors has made it difficult to answer that question. That’s why University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers are studying the impact of aquatic invasive species – specifically round gobies – on Lake Michigan food webs. Gobies are a ravenous and aggressive fish species that invaded Great Lakes in the early 1990s. They subsist on tiny bottom-dwelling organisms and feed on baby quagga mussels for a side dish, scientists say.

Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes named nation’s favorite beauty

If it’s a beauty pageant, then Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes is certainly the crowd favorite. Good Morning America voters recently named it one of the most beautiful places in the country. And its 35 miles of sandy beaches and crystal waters earned it a top spot on a beach expert’s best Great Lakes beaches in July. Host Josh Elliott visited Lake Michigan’s best-kept secret and called the dunes “stunning monuments to the passage of time.” They formed when ice sheets melted and formed glacial lakes, pushing rock debris to the shoreline. Now covered in sand, the dunes have captured national attention for their beauty; they are even celebrity chef Mario Batali’s favorite vacation spot.

VIDEO: Great Lakes celebrate 332 years of European water exploration

The first European mariners to explore the upper Great Lakes set sail 332 years ago last Sunday. Navigating the Niagara Falls proved too tricky for explorers before 1679, when Robert La Salle built a ship from scratch above the falls and cruised to Lake Michigan. A super cool segment of Yahoo! Who Knew? explores the history of European adventures on the world’s largest freshwater bodies of water.