CSI Great Lakes: Fish forensics

Capital News Service

LANSING — Some trout in Great Lakes tributaries are just as contaminated with a chemical linked to respiratory, liver and skin ailments as the Pacific salmon that they eat, according to a new study. The findings should help those making decisions on eating fish, dam removal and stocking, according to the researchers. Pacific salmon, such as Chinook and coho, are large sports fish that live most of their lives in the Great Lakes and then spawn and die in rivers and streams.
The study by University of Notre Dame biologists looked for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in salmon tissue during autumn spawning runs in tributaries of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. It compared that tissue with the tissue of native brook trout and mottled sculpin that live full time in the same rivers and eat the eggs and flesh of the salmon. The results showed the organic pollutant levels of the two types of fish are a close match in those living in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan tributaries.

Thousands celebrate bats at festivals

Capital News Service
LANSING — Bat enthusiasts hope to see festivals celebrating the web-winged mammal in every Great Lakes state. The original Great Lakes Bat Festival started in Michigan, founded by the Organization for Bat Conservation, a nonprofit group to protect bats and teach about them. The festival celebrated its 15th anniversary two weeks ago and drew more than 3,000 people to Clinton Township. “We started the bat festival because we realized that it was really important to get all the agencies and bat experts together to educate the public and reach out to the media about how important bats are in the Great Lakes region,” said Rob Mies, the executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, based at Cranbrook Indtitute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. This weekend his group, the U.S. Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  are putting on one of the biggest bat festivals in the region: the Wisconsin Bat Festival.

Ban on baiting trout with chum stirs controversy

Capital News Service

LANSING — Many anglers and guides are unhappy about the Natural Resources Commission’s new ban on scattering fish parts and eggs to lure fish on trout streams.
“It kind of drives me nuts,” said Chad Betts, owner of Betts Guide Service and Outfitters in Newaygo. Known as chumming, the practice has long been controversial. Critics say it can cause disease and that it’s an unfair way to catch more fish. But some anglers don’t think those are reasons enough to categorically ban the practice on trout streams, as the commission did in July. They argue that the ban will deal a blow to Michigan’s fishing tourism economy.

Want to buy a Great Lakes lighthouse?

Capital News Service
LANSING — If you’re in the market for some truly unique property, four Lake Michigan lighthouses are up for auction by the federal Government Services Administration. For sale: The North Manitou Offshore Lighthouse near the Manitou Islands, the Minneapolis Shoal Lighthouse at the entrance to Little Bay de Noc in the Upper Peninsula and the White Shoals and Grays Reef lighthouses, both between Emmet County and Beaver Island. The North Manitou Offshore Lighthouse began operating in 1935. It was one of the last lighthouses run by an actual crew until it became automated in 1980, according to Great Lakes lighthouse historian Kraig Anderson’s Lighthouse Friends database. The White Shoals light began operating in 1910, according to the University of North Carolina Lighthouse Directory.