Elk Lake trout may be new hope for Lake Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — Scientists have found a potential new ally in the fight to restore lake trout in Lake Michigan. Elk Lake in Antrim and Grand Traverse counties is home to a strain of fish that researchers say can contribute uniquely to trout restoration in Lake Michigan. Elk Lake trout have been self-sustaining and reproducing for years. That’s unusual in the Great Lakes Basin. The fish, which can grow up to 32 inches long, ruled the waters of Lake Michigan prior to the 1800s.

Researchers battle bird botulism

Capital News Service

LANSING — Two researchers are monitoring the Lake Michigan coast where dead birds have washed up. Dan Ray of the National Park Service and Jeanie Williams of the Inland Seas Education Association walk a beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore littered with about two dozen dead birds including scoters, loons and ducks. Researchers say the birds are dying because of a toxin called avian botulism, which can form on the lake bed under certain conditions. Standing over a dead duck, Ray describes what he sees, and the procedure that follows. “So we have a long-tailed duck, and we’re going to pick that up away from the shoreline, take it up into the foredune,” Ray says.

Realtor misled buyers of contaminated Lake Michigan condo, court says

Capital News Service
LANSING – A couple who bought a South Haven condo built on contaminated land two blocks from Lake Michigan is entitled to about $470,000 in damages from the Realtor and her real estate agency that handled the deal, the Court of Appeals has ruled. The Realtor who handled the deal knew that sales brochure information about environmental conditions at the 10-unit Factory Condominium redevelopment project – Belgravia – was false, the court said. Meryl Greene of Coldwell Banker Weber-Seiler Realtors also failed to tell purchasers Gary and Kathleen Bowman of Augusta that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had found the property still “highly contaminated with chlorinated solvents in the soil and groundwater, and metals in the near-surface soils.”
The abandoned building where the Bowmans’ condo is located had been a factory from 1916 to 1979 that made coffins, gun stocks, pipe organs and other products. According to legal documents and the DEQ, workers dumped industrial solvents, sludge and wastes from painting and plating that contained toxic materials – some linked to cancer – into the drains. A developer, who later declared bankruptcy, hired Greene to market the condos.

Oh, buoy! Info from webcams helps anglers on lakes Michigan, Erie

Capital News Service
LANSING — A newly activated webcam on a Lake Michigan buoy can help forecasters and anglers get a better sense of weather and water. The buoy is the first of its kind in the Great Lakes, said Edward Verhamme, a project engineer with LimnoTech, the Ann Arbor-based engineering firm that will maintain the buoy through 2015. Every 10 minutes the buoy reports the average wind speed, direction, gusts, air temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, wave height and water temperature. Additional sensors measure and report rainfall and hail intensity. The webcam is a new feature that helps verify the data that the buoy measures.

Wetland restoration snags millions for two projects

Capital News Service
LANSING – Two federal grants of $1 million each will help restore wetlands and migratory bird habitats in Michigan. The projects include work on water control and distribution structures in the Saginaw Bay area, Southeast Michigan and the Lake Michigan area. Tom Melius, Midwest regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said, “Wetlands in the upper Midwest not only serve as indicators of water quality for our communities, but also serve as the breeding and resting grounds for hundreds of species.”
More than 3 million waterfowl annually migrate through or breed in the Great Lakes region, many in the corridor that extends from Saginaw Bay to western Lake Erie, including Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. The corridor has vital breeding grounds for mallards and wood ducks, as well as American black ducks, redheads, shovelers and blue-winged teal.