The Great Lakes are warmer than they’ve ever been in early November: Why that’s a problem in several ways
Some parts of the Northern Great Lakes region were greeted by their first significant snowfall of the season earlier this week, but not even the arrival of the fluffy white stuff could mask these historic times for the Great Lakes themselves.
Freighter aground on Detroit River now freed
DETROIT – A freighter that ran aground on the Detroit River has been freed Thursday. The U.S. Coast Guard tweeted that the the Harvest Spirit has been refloated and will undergo further inspection. The 500-foot freighter Harvest Spirit, aground in the Detroit River since Wednesday morning, was successfully refloated this afternoon and is safely anchored in U.S. waters while awaiting a thorough inspection. News release: https://t.co/uso2FQQpnp pic.twitter.com/L3X47zJDww — USCG Great Lakes (@USCGGreatLakes) December 4, 2020Shipping was routed to Detroit River’s Amherstburg Channel, east of Bois Blanc Island. The Detroit River is one of the busiest rivers for commercial shipping on the planet.
Freighter runs aground in Detroit River
DETROIT – A freighter ran aground in the Detroit River’s Livingstone Channel at about 7 a.m. Wednesday. Boat traffic is being redirected as crews are working to free the Harvest Spirit, a Canadian vessel built in 2012. The ship was headed toward Thunder Bay in Ontario, just north of Isle Royale in Lake Superior, when it went aground between Grosse Ile and Bois Blanc Island.
Local artist creates replica of S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald
DETROIT – Today marks the 45th anniversary of one of the most famous Great Lakes shipwrecks: the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald. S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975 with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, it was the largest ship on North America’s Great Lakes, and remains the largest to have sunk there. One local man decided he wanted to pay his respects to the victims lost on the vessel. According to a Los Angeles Times obituary, Edmund Fitzgerald, who died in 1986, was a civic leader in his hometown of Milwaukee.
Several Michigan beaches either closed or under bacteria contamination advisory
Several Michigan beaches are either closed or under a contamination advisory due to high bacteria levels heading into Fourth of July weekend. According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, there are currently 10 closures or advisories in Michigan. Most of them are in the Upper Peninsula. Much of the increase in bacteria levels are due to storm water runoff, according to the DEQ, but some are closed due to a potential toxin-forming blue-green algal bloom. Related: Gross: Study uncovers 10 Michigan beaches with most bacterial contaminationMichigan beach closures and advisories (as of July 1, 2020):Sanford Lake - Sanford Lake Park - Midland (Closure)Muskegon River - Crawford Park - Osceola (Contamination Advisory)Lake Michigan - Veterans Memorial Park - Antrim (Contamination Advisory)Pike Bay at Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Chassell Beach - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Torch Lake - Dreamland Camp - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Hancock City Beach - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Houghton City Beach - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Sandy Bottom Beach/ Dollar Bay - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Torch Lake / Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Lake Linden Campground Beach - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)Torch Lake / Portage Canal / Lake Superior - Hubbell Park - Houghton (Contamination Advisory)
Great Lakes water levels expected to increase by 2020
MICHIGAN - Monthly mean water levels continued to set records in September with Lake Superior tying its monthly record high and Lakes St. Clair and Erie setting new record-high September levels. On Lakes Michigan-Huron and Ontario, water levels remain well above average and near record levels. During the spring, the lakes tend to rise due to increased precipitation and increased runoff as a result of snowmelt. We refer to the combined effect of precipitation over the lake, evaporation from the lake, and runoff to the lake as Net Basin Supply (NBS). This edition of the Water Level Outlook incorporates the projection of water levels if the cumulative NBS over the next 12 months is a repeat of last year (high), near average, or a lower cumulative NBS scenario.
Gale Warning issued for Lake Superior with 19-foot waves possible
A Gale Warning in effect for Lake Superior. The National Weather Service issued the warning for all of Lake Superior until 5 p.m. on Friday. The largest expected significant waves will be 13 feet with a maximum wave height of up to 19 feet possible." A Gale Warning means winds of 34 to 47 knots are imminent or occurring. It is highly recommended that mariners without the proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions.
Michigan weekend road trip: A brief journey through the UP
My trip included staying at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park Rivermouth campground and the Au Train Beach Campgound. The Tahquamenon Falls campground is situated on the Tahquamenon River and has a boat launch, kayak rentals and a fishing platform. Park at the lower falls and take the about 4-mile hike to the upper falls, where there is shopping and dining, including the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub. The hike from the lower falls to the upper falls at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. My friends and I did a kayak tour of Pictured Rocks through Uncle Ducky's Paddling Michigan.
3 wolves moved to Michigan's Isle Royale, helping rebuild population
HOUGHTON, Mich. - Officials say four gray wolves from Michigan's Upper Peninsula were transported for resettlement in Isle Royale National Park to help restore the predator species on the Lake Superior island chain, though one of them died shortly after arriving. The National Park Service said Friday that Isle Royale's wolf population is now 17. Superintendent Phyllis Green says obtaining animals from different places will prevent the inbreeding that nearly wiped out the population. One female died shortly afterward. A necropsy is planned but Green says the relocation is stressful for wolves.
EPA gives $3.7M to protect endangered Lake Superior reef
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is spending $3.7 million to remove copper mining waste rock from a Lake Superior harbor where it threatens an important fish spawning area. Waste known as stamp sands was dumped along the lakefront during the early 20th century. It covers 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of shoreline and lake bottom and is drifting toward Buffalo Reef, where trout and whitefish reproduce. About 157,000 cubic yards (120,035 cubic meters) of rock will be removed from Grand Traverse Harbor and a trough will be dug to create a sediment trap near the reef. The EPA funding was awarded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that focuses on longstanding environmental problems in the region.
VIDEO: Kayakers escape injury as cliff collapses at Pictured Rocks
MUNISING, Mich. - Kayakers on a tour of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in northern Michigan narrowly escaped injury when a large section of cliff collapsed near them into Lake Superior. WLUC-TV reports the kayakers were in an area where sandstone cliffs stand up to about 200 feet (61 meters) above the water. Van Ouellette-Ballas of Northern Waters Adventures, one of the guides, says smaller rocks had fallen near the group Monday before the massive section fell. He says they thought we were at a safe distance and were paddling away when the large collapse missed them by about 50 feet (15 meters). MLive.com reports nature photographers Jon Smithers and Craig Blacklock were on a boat and Smithers turned a drone toward the sounds of the collapse in time to record video of it.
Rising Great Lakes erode shorelines, create uncertainty
The city of Duluth has dealt with three major storms on Lake Superior in less than two years, with the latest hitting last October. (WDIV)DULUTH, Minn. - Rapidly rising water levels in the Great Lakes are damaging shorelines and creating uncertainty for lakeshore residents. Duluth's construction project supervisor, Mike LeBeau, tells Minnesota Public Radio News high water levels are making the storms even more destructive. Lake levels began rising rapidly in 2014. But the higher lake levels are a boon for the shipping industry, which was complaining about record low water levels only six years ago.
Group finds remains of ship that sank 103 years ago in Lake Superior
The Kirby sank near Eagle Harbor in May 1916. (WDIV)TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society has discovered the remains of a ship that sank 103 years ago in Lake Superior off Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The society announced this month that it found the wreck of the 294-foot S.R. Kirby near the Keweenaw Peninsula last year. The group says the Kirby sank near Eagle Harbor in May 1916.
3 historic Michigan lighthouses on the Great Lakes to be auctioned
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Three historic Great Lakes lighthouses owned by the federal government are going on the auction block. The Ontonagon Breakwater lighthouse will also be auctioned. Its the westernmost lighthouse in Michigans Upper Peninsula, perched at the entrance of the channel leading to the Ontonagon River from Lake Superior. It sits on a sandbar between Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. The U.S. General Services Administration is offering the lighthouses through an online auction .
Topless woman at Minnesota beach sparks debate over public nudity
DULUTH, Minn. - A Minnesota woman who swims topless in Lake Superior has sparked a debate over the state's indecent exposure law. Michelle Bennett has been going topless at Lake Superior Park for years and never had any complaints until last month. I pointed out to him that I wasn't nude, I was topless," Bennett said. A separate Minnesota law does say nudity includes a woman's breasts but nudity is only defined as illegal if you're presenting it to an audience. Bennett said she wasn't doing this for an audience and because of that wasn't breaking a law.