It's now the law in Minnesota. Text below.
I was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, and the Great Lakes have been dear to me since I was a small boy. The north shore has provided my family with many good memories, stories and of many adventures spent along its shores, woods and rivers. I have always been overwhelmed by Lake Superior’s ruggedness. In contrast, and after having lived in Michigan for several years as an adult, Lake Michigan captivates me with it subtleness. It is a very powerful place, full of history, its fishing villages, its people, it is just a truly wonderful body of water. With that, and all of Michigan in general, comes its historic lighthouses. Say what you want about the east coast lighthouses, the Great Lakes are the Great Lakes because if its lighthouses. The combination of those two elements simply led me as an artist to attempt to capture this spirit on film in two very fascinating book projects.
Reporter and book author Kari Lydersen has some valuable Great Lakes insights from her post in the Midwest Bureau of the Post.
This week the six-member IJC released its 14th "Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality," a series of reports that grew out of the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It is an unglamorous and relatively unexciting document, highlighting problems and costs that many Great Lakes watchers are already aware of. But the fight to save the Great Lakes, especially given the politics and processes involved, has largely been one of dry, detail-laden debates and repetitiveness, as policy and behavioral changes are only made - if they are made at all - after years of studies and speeches.
Once again, property rights activists sniff a plot to take away control of their land. This time it's the innocuous-sounding Clean Water Restoration Act, which would return federal law to its standing before two muddled U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In effect, it would confirm the ecological reality that the quality of navigable waters (which even the property rights activists acknowledge are federally regulated) is linked to the quality of non-navigable waters, including the existence of wetlands that filter the pollution that otherwise reaches both.
This lengthy article delves into the intent of the sponsor, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, and the arguments of the opponents. The opponents apparently believe the feds have authority to regulate only those waters where you can float a boat, ignoring what feeds those waters. The chief fear of expanded authority is that the feds will tell every landowner in America what he or she must do on his or her own land to protect water. Clarifying amendments have already addressed this concern, but the debate is no longer about the substance; this is one measure the opponents want to kill regardless of the content.
An interesting new hypothesis.
Tom Bridgeman, a researcher at the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center, told members of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission yesterday the new finding is significant because it goes beyond the usual correlation between algae and rain. It also raises new questions about the federal government's long-standing practice of dumping silt dredgings from the Toledo shipping channel into the open lake water, which has drawn the ire of Michigan and Ohio politicians since the mid 1980s.
To oversimplify a very complicated situation, with an Oct. 1 deadline looming for its termination, Michigan's wetland program is on the line with the Michigan Senate and House disagreeing.
The House is trying to strip out Senate language that doesn't allow the Department of Environmental (DEQ) to apply a standard for evaluation of “feasible and prudent alternatives” to wetland destruction that is any more stringent than federal rules.
The House is also trying to strip out an addition to the Senate version that messes with state protection of coastal waters. The Senate version requires the DEQ to negotiate a state programmatic general permit for all activities authorized by the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which is either impractical or illegal. It sets a two-year deadline for DEQ to do this, and if it is not done, the DEQ will lose power to issue state wetland permits in waters regulated by the Corps. Michigan could thus lose authority to regulate destruction and alteration of coastal wetlands, some of the most important wetland systems in the state.
The Beaver Archipelago is a chain of 13 islands casually scattered across northern Lake Michigan. The archipelago lies 25 miles northwest of Charlevoix and 50 miles southwest of the Straits of Mackinac. Some of the islands are little more than overgrown sandbars, but others—Squaw, High, Hat, Garden, Hog, Gull, Trout and Whiskey—are considerable. The largest in the chain, and the largest island in Lake Michigan, is Beaver, some 13 miles long and six wide.