Monday, March 23, 2009

Despite residents' efforts, lake invaders prove hard to kill - March 20, 2009

Starry Stonewort is an invasive aquatic weed to be reckoned with, lake experts say.

People around lakes infested with it are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year trying to harvest it and treat it with copper-based algacides to stop its spread. So far, it has creeped into 21 inland lakes in the state, including 12 in Oakland County alone. And experts fear it could get much worse.


Contamination cover-up alleged in Benton Harbor lakefront golf-course plan - 3/20/09

Federal regulators approved a controversial land swap and golf development without full knowledge of the contamination on land involved, warn opponents of the privatization of Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park. They are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the project’s permits while it considers the new information.


Ecological concerns collide - March 22, 2009

The incredible 2003 documentary Winged Migration taught me I'm more passionate about birds than I realized.

So did risking frostbite in December, 2004, when I tromped through woods for more than four hours in 11-below wind chill with hard-core birders during the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. And when I spent a gorgeous Saturday in September, 2005, at southeastern Michigan's Hawkfest, watching raptors come down from Canada and get lifted skyward by large columns of warm, rising air called thermals.



Sarah S. Burnham has been quilting for more than 25 years and she has always stitched the quilts by hand. Her new hobby is repairing worn, old quilts that have seen better days.

"It started when someone asked me if I would mind helping them, and I didn't, so here I am," she said Saturday during the Great Lakes Seaway Trail "Storytelling" Quilt Show and Competition. "The hardest part is finding the fabric to match."


Great Lakes ice cover shows climate change's existence -- and its complexity

Michael Scott/Plain Dealer Reporter March 23, 2009

Looking for some solid evidence that global warming is forcing slow but certain changes on the Great Lakes region?

Take a peek inside the freezer: Winter ice cover in the middle of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes has been diminishing by 1.3 percent a year for three decades.

That's more than a 30 percent decline since the 1970s, lake scientists say.


Great Lakes ignore global warming - March 18

The winter of record cold and snow for much of the nation has lingered late into the season. The debate of a warming climate has been energized this winter with many reports of snow across the deep south (Houston and New Orleans in December; Alabama and Georgia early this month) and even in Las Vegas.

The Great Lakes are accustomed to snow and extreme cold, but this winter has been exceptional. According to the latest report from NASA's Earth Obsevatory:


Don't be a "Gilligan" on the Water

Most of us remember the bungling Gilligan character from the 1960's sitcom Gilligan's Island, he was claimed to be a mighty sailing man under the command of a skipper who was claimed to be brave and sure. Education, planning and preparation may have been better than being mighty, brave and sure.

The SS Minnow was only suppose to be going out for a three hour tour but ran into some unexpected bad weather and well, you know the rest of the story.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary urges boaters not to be a "Gilligan" on the water. Be prepared for bad weather by checking the weather forecast before getting underway and monitoring weather forecasts while underway. Always file a float plan. The filing of a Float Plan with friends or relatives enables these people to inform the Coast Guard when you don't arrive when and where you are supposed to. When properly completed the float plan contains information to make a potential search faster and easier. In the case of the SS Minnow no one knew they were overdue for several weeks.

Equip your vessel with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB.) Had the Minnow been equipped with an EPIRB, the crew and passengers would have been located and rescued with minimum delay. Don't rely on cell phones, they have limited offshore range. The Coast Guard also recommends all boaters equip their vessel with a VHF marine radio, but remember VHF marine radios also have limited offshore range. Consider the limitations of your vessel - is it appropriate for the intended voyage?

As we approach the start of the traditional recreational boating season both inexperienced and seasoned boaters should take advantage boater education classes and free vessel safety checks offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Power Squadron. Visit for more information. Education, planning and preparation are the key to a safe boating experience.

Although we have made a little light out of the voyage of the Minnow, safe boating and seamanship is no joke. For more information about safe boating, check out the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.