I am from a town with two lakes, Lake Michigan and its one of its tributaries Muskegon Lake. They have been a fishing destination for the most part of my life. As an avid fisherman, I can say that fishing in Lake Michigan or a tributary of Lake Michigan in Muskegon Lake angers me when compared with other lakes. The problem I have comes through a bothersome, ample species: The Goby.
When fishing in Lake Michigan or its tributaries around Muskegon with a live worm, I don’t have much fun. I w set my fishing pole in the water briefly and within seconds I will have a tiny Goby (only about an inch or two long) on my line, which is no fun to reel in. They never stop biting and seem to be endless. You cannot eat or clean them because they are very tiny. Goby are very pesky because they are so small, hard to hook, and often steal my bait. We are supposed to kill every single Goby caught.
The Gobies gained access into the Great Lakes and its tributaries in 1990. They came from the Black and Caspian Sea areas of Eastern Europe. They got to the Great Lakes via big ships and vessels. Gobies look as portrayed, “Round Gobies can reach up to 10 inches in length as adults, but usually they are less than 7 inches long in the Great Lakes. Females and immature male round Gobies are a mottled gray and brown color. Spawning males turn almost solid black. Round Gobies have a soft body and a large, rounded head with eyes that protrude near the top” (USGS).
So what is the problem with Gobies and why are they such a big deal? I personally have noticed that they spawn like crazy, eat other species food and eggs, and survive in almost all climates. To prove my observation “Once round gobies arrive they can become the dominant fish species. Round Gobies prefer rocky, shallow areas, but have flourished in a variety of habitat types. Regardless of the habitat, round Gobies are very aggressive fish that compete with native fishes for food and space. Anglers who fish in areas with round Gobies often find that the gobies steal their bait and appear to be the only type of fish in the area”(USGS). Gobies make it hard for fish close to extinction to survive and affect the population of other fish previously thriving.
http://www.glsc.usgs.gov/main.php?content=research_invasive_goby&title=Invasive%20Fish0&menu=research_invasive_fish (Round Goby: An Exotic fish in the Great Fact Sheet)
The Michigan turtle is a profound example of the influence contaminated and deteriorating water systems have on social and culture traditions. The Great Lakes Woodland Indians have recognized and respected the turtle throughout their history. Mackinac Island shows this reverence, for it means, “Great turtle” in Ottawa language. Turtles, according to oral stories and traditions, represent peace, patience, and most often, long life.
But Michigan turtles, in recent years, have become endangered. And the reasons are evident: increased development has allowed for runoff of contaminants into watersheds, increased traffic volumes, and predators.
But turtles only represent one of the smaller issues for Native American communities and culture. Water deterioration continues to affect and destroy many sacred practices of Native American life. Now the issues that remains is how to balance between respect for the Native American tribe’s cultural connection with water, with the mass use of water in the United States by industries, residences, and commercial enterprises alike.
What needs to be implemented in the future is an increased awareness and understanding of the cultural significance of water in native communities as well as more developed collaborations amongst tribal leaders and interested parties. In recent years there has been such improvements in these matters.
One such example is National Geographic’s article on how climate change is linked to waterborne diseases in Inuit Communities. The report found that as global warming triggers heavier rainfall and faster snowmelt in the Arctic, Inuit communities in Canada are reporting more cases of illness attributed to pathogens that have washed into surface water and groundwater. The startling implications, however, is that native communities worldwide are disproportionately affected by climate change because of their intimate cultural and spiritual connections with water. But the silver lining in the article is that a cultural-specific lens is now being applied to such areas of scientific research. This blending of culture and science is making great strides in the ways marginalized communities are able to adapt and survive when such ecological problems are thrown at them.
I remember the early crisp mornings waking up grabbing my fishing pole and heading to Lake Michigan to try and catch that trophy fish I’ve always wanted to catch. As it turns out I never caught that fish but I am still trying to reel in that trophy fish from our natural beauty we call Lake Michigan. But my childhood dreams could end up being crushed by a flying fish that smacks me right in the face! I’m talking about the Asian carp, an evasive species that is a danger to the Great Lakes Region. The Asian carp was introduced into the U.S. in the 1970’s to filter pond water in fish farms in Arkansas when a flood allowed them to escape and establish reproducing populations in the wild by the early 1980’s. These evasive species originated in Arkansas and now have been found in 23 states and are currently in the Illinois River in the direction of the Great Lakes.
A lot of you might be thinking “what can a little fishy do that could harm our Lakes?” Well the problem with Asian carp is they are a voracious filter feeder, meaning they consume up to 20% of their body weight per day in plankton (small floating organisms that are food for fish and other organisms, essential to our native fish) and these carp can grow up to be 100 lbs. and will strip away all of our natural species food supply, starving them into dwindling numbers. These fish also are known for their jumping ability when a motor boat is running. The sound of the motor drives them hurling out of the water and at boaters causing injury to people. The carp have no natural predators in North America and they lay half a million eggs each time they spawn. The U.S. Geological survey found 22 rivers in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes that would provide suitable spawning habitat for Asian carp and the temperature of the great lakes are within the fish’s native climate range making the great lakes a perfect home for them. If this evasive species destroys our native fish we lose a big portion of our food supply and tons of fisherman will go out of business because the asian carpet is an unwanted fish due to its horrible taste
These fish almost seem unstoppable, so how are we to stop them? Well a few proposals have emerged over the years but the U.S. Army Corps of engineers is working on a few solutions that may not be introduced till 2015, but currently have emplaced and maintain three electric barriers to prevent this evasive species from enter the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Council has been in a debate over closing the waterways but Chicago is against the idea due to the amount of business that travels through the waterways and the potential of flooding to occur. I feel that we should continue with the electric barriers for now, but we should add more barriers in tributaries of the Great Lakes and we should bump up the voltage to guarantee that they do not enter. At the same time we can have people set up charter fishing trips where they can hunt the carp with bow and arrows, harpoons, and nets while we wait until the U.S. Army of Engineers have discovered a more promising solution.
The White House has taken up an interest in wind energy developments in the Great Lakes regions as of last month. The goal is to plant windmills in the Great Lakes in order to gain wind energy from the lake winds. This could be a pioneering break through for Michigan because electricity would become more economically accessible. Launched in the water last week in the middle of Lake Michigan was a yellow buoy that will be used to measure and collect data from wind at different heights. Although this project has finally taken off, it faced difficulties and still is under the threat of being shut down due to lack of financial resources. $1.3 million that was originally supposed to come from a state grant through the Michigan Public Service Commission was cancelled by a court ruling last year. Despite this devastating draw back on funding, the buoy was launched and built on $1.2 million from the Department of Energy along with $250,00o from a Wisconsin utility. As of currently this buoy is one of two in the North American region and could be at risk of being docked by 2013 because of lack of funding. Grand Valley State University has reached out to the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Technological universities for aide in collecting research over the Great Lakes. This research includes the studying and tracking of flight patterns for birds and bats so that the turbines aren’t build in areas that put these animals in danger.
Currently Michigan holds the manufacturing skills to produce wind turbines and can benefit significantly economically from wind energy. This pioneering in wind technology in Michigan can help create jobs, make access to energy more economical and benefit the environment. “Why export” and lose out of this powerful opportunity to change Michigan’s economy.
Federal government, 5 states put wind farms on fast track
The outbreak in algae growth in the great lakes is a subject that is close to home for me. My Family has a cottage on Lake Charlevoix, which is directly connected to lake Michigan. Lake Charlevoix as well as many other lakes are also experiencing algal outbreaks. These outbreaks are not directly harmful to humans but show that the residential development and other human activity are altering the delicate ecosystem that we need to fight to preserve.
The algae thrive on minerals washed into the lakes from multiple sources including, lawn fertilizers, septic tanks, storm water runoff and sewage plant waste matter that has not been treated well enough. This has been linked to higher water temperatures and lower lake levels. As well as greater water clarity caused by the invasive Zebra Mussels.
Many think the bigger culprits are the Zebra Mussels rather than the phosphorus pollution. Zebra Mussels are an invasive species that reached the Great Lakes in the late 1980’s. The mussels promote algae growth by filtering water and making it clearer, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper. Shoreline algae, known as cladophora, often fastens itself to the mussel shells and feeds on their waste.
The only mitigation that is known of is reducing the amount of phosphorous that enters the water from runoff. This is the only way people can help reduce future algae growth because attempts to curb the zebra mussels increasing populations has been extremely ineffective. There has been no safe way discovered to remove the mussels. Some ways citizens can help reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the lakes by locating the source of the phosphorus and reduce the amount of lawn fertilizers they use or repair any possible septic field leakage. These are two things we have done to help curb the algae growth at my cottage. We recently replaced or septic tank and stopped using fertilizers on our lawn.
The algal blooms shows that we needed to attempt to prevent additional exotic species from entering the Great Lakes system as well as the need for continued research on the affects of phosphorous and Zebra Mussels and other possible mitigation techniques.
– Austin Wertheimer
The Asian carp issue has been on the minds of many lately in the Great Lakes region. What the threat that the carp pose is the entire devastation of native fish in the lakes. The carp will be able to consume all the fish eggs and disrupt the breeding of native fish. This possible devastation in one of the greatest fishing industries is terrifying. The issues and problems at hand lie within the surrounding states coming to an agreement on what to do. As of now there is an electric field between the Chicago water ways to Lake Michigan. This is a precaution to keep any possible invasive species out. But they know it is not enough to keep the Asian carp out. Michigan, along with a few other states wants to put a barrier between the Chicago water ways to the Lake. But this would create a potential giant problem to the Chicago area, which is flooding. All of these possible solutions and arguments remain at large while the U.S. Army of Corps Engineers spend a lot of money and time studying the Great Lakes and the Asian carp habits in hopes to come up with a solution(s). As of now the Corps plans to be finished around 2015 with their studies and produce data. This is too much time and the worst case scenario could happen in that time. Also to come with these studies done by the Corps, the hopes of new ways to clean up the Great Lakes and surrounding waters. In the mean time, proposals will be pushed by legislators of the area to speed up the studies by the Army Corps Engineers. Proposals have already been sent by Michigan, which request some data to be produced within 90 days of the passing, and a full plan within 18 months. Some proposals have already gained popularity and have signatures by surround area attorney generals.
By Frank King
As time passes, the global warming is getting worse. In Michigan, we can feel the weather is getting warmer, winter is shorter than before. Although there are severval reasons can cause the global warming in Michigan, here, i will give you the global warming at the Great Lakes.
As commercial fishing was a major enterprise at the five great lakes, naturally, there were many companies around the Great Lakes. The facts are that those fishing companies and transport companies need large amount of ships to work for them. The greenhouse gas produced by those ships and other industrial equipments make the surrounding weather warm. The effects are that because the global warming, the ice at the great lakes are melted by the warm weather. However, the water level is still not getting higher because of the EI Nino, the weather is warm but the perticipation is not increasing. Besiedes, the evaporation of the water in Great Lakes is also accelerated by the warm weather. After all, the water level of the Great Lakes is getting lower and lower. And that will cause some potential problems.
First, as the water level is getting lower, especially at St.Louis river, people are forced to move their piers to deeper water, and that costs a lot of money, approximately is 500,000 dollars. And, the water level getting lower also will influence the surrounding brewhouses. These are the economic problems. Second, the lower water level also brings the neggative affects to ecosystem, declining of water level will make the disapperance of wetlands, if wetlands disappear, the seawater will come into the fresh lakes and it will cause the fish which can only live in fresh water die, that breaks the balancing of ecosystem. And maybe, people in Michigan can not get fish which they really want to eat.
Here are several solutions to prevent those problems. Due to all problems are caused by the lower water level and the declining of water level is caused by global warming (greenhouse gas). Government should remove all the industrial fatories and limits the size of the transporting ships, although it will increase some costs, it worth.
By Jiajun Zhao
Michigan’s climate has been affected negatively by global warming just like the rest of the world. However, it is especially important to monitor Michigan’s climate because the possible effect on our enormous fresh water supply. It can be difficult for people to wrap their heads around the long term effects of global warming because it is such an extensive issue affecting all aspects of our daily life. However, if we look at the effects on our health, it is easier to put the consequences of global warming, in perspective. If human survival is at stake, people are much more likely to be concerned with the issue at hand.
Global warming causes a rise in average temperature of our earth. The combination of human and environmental factors leads to several health threatening changes in our lives. Agriculture, water quality, UV exposure, and life-threatening storms will all be affected due to changes in our earth’s climate. It is so important to study these effects because they will directly affect the safety and livelihood of future generations.
First of all and probably most obvious is the increase in heat-related deaths that are a result of the increase in average temperature and increase in the number of days of extreme heat. The human body cannot withstand extreme heat for long periods of time, especially in times of water shortages and power outages. The number of days of extreme heat is expected to double or triple in cities like Detroit in the next few years. This extreme heat can cause fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. These symptoms can be prevented but they require careful planning and lots of water.
Water is crucial to human survival but global warming has many negative effects on water quality as well. The increase in sea levels along our coasts could flood many cities, resulting in a drop in water quality and a direct health risk to humans in the nearby areas. Also, when our river flows decrease and the temperature continues to rise, this will greatly increase the pollutants in our rivers and bays, because there will be less water to dilute our supplies. Even large storms that will be a result of global warming will cause more runoff, and flooding of our sewage systems, increasing the infectious disease in our waterways.
Another life-threatening effect of global warming is the intensity of the sun’s rays. As our atmosphere is damaged due to the gases that we release into the air, the sun’s UV rays become more intense. These UV rays are responsible for skin damage that can even lead to cancer. Although we have sunscreen to protect ourselves, as the problem gets worse, it will become more difficult to completely protect ourselves. This damage to our atmosphere will also increase the incidence of ground level ozone. This will decrease air quality and therefore lead to increase incidence of respiratory diseases.
Michigan residents will experience all o f these negative health effects if we do not start to change our lifestyles and protect our earth from the effects of global warming.
It is no surprise that with the climate changing, that the water levels of the Great Lakes are dropping. For the past ten years the water levels have steadily decreased. Brian Ramler longs for the days when his marina on the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron used to hold fifty boats. Now Ramler says he can only hold about half of what he used to. Ramler wants the government to lend a helping hand and bring back the water to the Great Lakes. Most may see this as an awful feat, losing water from the greatest freshwater system on Earth, but some residents who live on Lake Michigan disagree. Philip Lunsford would rather have low water levels, than have high water levels. Lunsford does not want a repeat of the high water levels of the eighties, when many beach homes were destroyed. Although in the past year alone, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are five inches higher. Lake Superior is four inches higher than it was a year ago, and Lakes Michigan and Huron are six inches higher. Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior are estimated to rise three inches over the next month. Lunsford fears Lake Michigan water levels will raise if they add water to Lake Huron. Residents of the Great Lake areas are fighting over water. The battle over water levels being too low or too high has been going on for a while now. With even more research being developed about the warming climate, the battle grows stronger. Scientists and engineers combined have released a five-year study that explores some minor ways to stop the Great Lakes from dropping, and have explored an engineering project that would cost approximately eight billion dollars that would include comparisons of the Hoover Dam and Panama Canal. However, the feedback from the study advised against spending billions of dollars and using many resources.
As time goes and goes, the global warming is getting more accelerated over the world. The global warming itself is not bad effect but the change which the global warming has been caused is being regarded as a severe problem. In Michigan, we can find out the problem of the global warming at a great lakes.
Because of the global warming, the temperature of great lakes is getting warm and increasing about by two to four degrees. So, the ice that existed at the great lakes came to be melted by warm water. There by also precipitation of great lakes is increasing by 25%. However, because of warm water, the evaporation of water of great lakes is also accelerated. So, the water level of great lakes is decreasing in the end. It would bring potential negative effect.
Warm water and lower water level at great lake can cause several problems. First, the damage of wetland can cause continuous problem. Since the wetlands of great lakes are the critical area where migratory bird stay, it provides food, the declining of wetlands would make a bad effects on the ecosystem. Additionally, at least 32 of the 36 species of fish in the great lakes have been affected by the coastal wetlands for reproduction. So, reduction of the wetlands that was by declining of water levels would make unbalance of ecosystem. Second, lower water level would bring economic effect. Great lake is the primary place to transport the cargo. If the water level reduce, the waterline and the bottom of a ship, which is called draft, will be reduced. There by, it will cuts the capacity of cargo and finally it will raise the costs to transport because the capacity of ship could not be enough as it was. Consequently, transporting cost would be increase.
To prevent the problems that are caused by lower water level at great lakes, we should reduce the emission of greenhouse gas. So, I think government of each nation has to strengthen the rule about the amount of green house gas emission more strictly. If we shorten the greenhouse gas emission, we will cope with the damage that would be caused by global warming.
By Jeong KyungHyun