Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore off of Lake Michigan.

Great Lakes’ protection requires more education, study finds

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: Michigan residents worry a lack of environmental education threatens the state’s defining feature, the Great Lakes, a recent study said. Focus groups identified environmental threats for coastal communities and called for education on how to be better stewards of the lakes. Concerns varied by lake, but the most common themes were rising water levels and lack of environmental education. Other concerns: beach erosion, pollution, public access, invasive species and lake user safety. We talk to an MSU expert and the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative executive director. By Taylor Haelterman. FOR HOLLAND, MANISTEE, OCEANA, BENZIE, TRAVERSE CITY, HARBOR SPRINGS, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, ALCONA, MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, MONROE AND ALL POINTS.

The newly built bridge over the St. Marys River is the only road that connects to the island.

Rapids return means fish returns

RAPIDS RESTORATION: A $9.4 million project that’s restoring the Little Falls Rapids on the St. Marys River is improving fish habitat, including spawning areas. A Lake Superior State University researcher and experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Great Lakes Commission explain. By Taylor Haelterman. FOR SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS.

AquaGate +PAC.

Massive filter keeps Detroit River contaminants in place

DETROIT RIVER: Thanks to a spongy M&M-like technology, contaminated soil in the Detroit River has been contained. Powdered activated carbon absorbed the contaminated soil in the $3.6 million Detroit Riverwalk project that finished in December. The progress makes it possible to start construction on a 3.5 mile extension of the Riverwalk along the east riverfront. We talk to a contractor and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. By Brianna M. Lane. FOR DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Professor inspects black tubing running into a machine.

MSU professor aims to turn wastewater into drinkable water

 A new water treatment facility is coming to East Lansing. The project, spearheaded by Michigan State University professor Dr. Wei Liao will be just south of 1855 Place on campus. The goal of the plant, according to Liao, is to turn wastewater into drinkable water. However, Liao says that goal is not attainable at this moment due to regulations. For now, Liao is focusing on turning sewage water and wastewater into renewable energy by extracting nutrients from food waste and sewage water and converting them into energy.

Green landscaping will prevent polluted runoff from Lake Superior State University’s Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education soon to be built along the St. Marys River.

Landscaping planned to keep stormwater pollution out of St. Marys River

ST. MARYS RIVER: Lake Superior State University received a $250,000 federal grant for high school students and community residents to install landscaping to reduce stormwater pollution flowing into the St. Marys River. The money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that protects drinking water and habitat. The university and U.S. Forest Service explain. By Taylor Haelterman. FOR SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, ALCONA, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS.

This map shows the geographical composition of Great Lakes Basin surface freshwater and groundwater.

With all eyes on Great Lakes water, concerned researchers work to conserve it

FRESHWATER CONSERVATION: As North America grapples with climate change and a rising population to feed, the agricultural industry’s interest in tapping into the region’s freshwater supply is growing. That’s setting off alarm bells for researchers in the U.S. and Canada, the two nations that economically rely on the water-rich region. A retired MSU soil biophysicist is among those working on the challenge to preserve freshwater. By Claire Moore. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS AND ALL POINTS.

Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

Great Lakes cleanup of contaminated areas making progress after 35 years

AREAS OF CONCERN: During 35 years of restoration in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern, there has been gradual progress and a hopeful future, a new study says. Development of a plan to restore heavily contaminated sites in 42 Areas of Concern in the U.S. and Canada began in 1985. So far, eight have been delisted, including the Lower Menominee River on the Michigan-Wisconsin border, White Lake in Muskegon County and Deer Lake in Marquette County. Still listed are parts of the Detroit River, Clinton River, River Raisin, Manistique River, Muskegon Lake, Saginaw River and Bay, St. Clair River, Kalamazoo River, St. Marys River, Rouge River and the U.P.’s Torch Lake. By Audrey Porter. FOR MARQUETTE, BLISSFIELD, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, DETROIT, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

Pieces of microplastics are common on Great Lakes’ coastal dunes shorelines.

Microplastics threaten Great Lakes, and not just the water

MICROPLASTICS: Microplastic particles, typically studied as aquatic pollutants, have become common in coastal dunes on Great Lakes’ shorelines, a new study says. The situation is worse than originally expected, based on findings from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Sources include a Michigan Sea Grant educator in the Saginaw Bay area. By Lillian Young. FOR ALCONA, ST. IGNACE, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MARQUETTE, MANISTEE, OCEANA, BENZIE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, LEELANAU, HARBOR SPRINGS, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.

A dead fish washes up on the shores of Lake Erie, which suffers from harmful algal blooms.

Turning toxic lemons into lemonade, from algae to biofuel

ALGAL SCRUBBERS. A Western Michigan University professor says new algal turf scrubber technology could combat the algae blooms that threaten to suffocate the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie. The devices filter water over areas designated for algae to grow and eventually be harvested for use as biofuel. Changes in farming practices to reduce runoff removing nitrogen and phosphorus from surface water upstream would still be necessary. By Lillian Young. FOR BLISSFIELD, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS AND ALL POINTS.