The Great Lakes Potential for Wind Energy Drives Industry Interest

Two Michigan universities have joined forces with a Seattle-based design company to pursue offshore wind technology. Grand Valley State University and Michigan Technological University are in a group seeking federal funding for initial engineering and design of new floating-turbine technology. The floating technology has the potential of moving turbines to the middle of the lakes.

The public-private partnership is seeking investors to cover the matching funds needed in a U.S. Department of Energy wind technology grant program.

 The Glosten PelaStar floating wind turbine platforms would allow placement of utility-scale wind farms anywhere on the Great Lakes and in water depths that would allow the turbines to be located so they cannot be seen from shore. 

New Barrier along Trail Creek Installed to Stop Sea Lamprey

The sea lamprey barrier installed along Trail Creek is a collaboration between the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. The barrier is designed to keep sea lamprey from moving to spawning areas and will trap those that try to move through.

One sea lamprey can destroy more than 40 pounds of fish during its lifetime.

"Sea lamprey have been a disaster for Lake Michigan," said Bill James, the DNR's chief of fisheries and a member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "Sea lamprey really changed the way of life for Great Lakes fisheries." James said sea lamprey have no predators in the Great Lakes and nearly destroyed regional fisheries in the 1960s. Though barriers and application of lampricides have slowed their progression, sea lampreys still threaten the $7 billion Great Lakes fisheries industry, he said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will maintain the new barrier on Trail Creek, which has been treated eight times over the past 40 years with a lampricide. Charlie Wooley, deputy regional director of the service, said each application costs about $150,000.

The barrier, which will allow favorable fish to swim through to enter the lake, will eliminate that cost.

"We'll be able to use those resources elsewhere in the Great Lakes to help control the sea lamprey," Wooley said.

House Passage of Legislation to Ensure future funding of Harbor Maintenance

House Passage of Legislation to Ensure future funding of Harbor Maintenance throughout Southwest Michigan and Great Lakes guarantees that all funding in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be fully used for its intended purpose of harbor maintenance. House Passage of Legislation to Ensure future funding of Harbor Maintenance throughout Southwest Michigan and Great Lakes

Congressman Fred Upton praised the short-term highway bill (H.R. 4348), which guarantees that all funding in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be fully used for its intended purpose of harbor maintenance

 “Ensuring our harbors remain open and ready for business is essential to job creation and growth here in southwest Michigan,” said Upton.“Rather than denying our local harbors these vital dredging dollars – money that is already paid into the system through harbor user fees – we must see to it that our harbors remain bastions of economic growth.”Keeping the St. Joseph harbor open to commercial traffic has long been a top priority for Upton as our Great Lakes harbors are essential to economic growth, infrastructure development, and countless local jobs. From emergency dredging to maintaining standard operations, Upton has fought to keep these vital resources open. Upton is a strong supporter of the bipartisan Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act (H.R. 104), which likewise would ensure that all federal revenues currently being collected for harbor maintenance are fully used and not left unspent as a budgetary offset. This past winter, Upton worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to secure emergency funding to dredge the St. Joseph harbor, which had been closed to commercial traffic due to serve shoaling.

Tighten Water Withdrawal Limits for Protection of Walleye, Bass and Perch?

It has been reported that fishing and tourism groups want lawmakers to tighten water withdrawal limits for rivers and streams related to the Great Lakes Compact. Some say that tributaries of Lake Erie provide critical habitat for a number of sport fish species.

House Bill 473 (sponsored by Representative Wachtmann)  introduces a package of revamped regulations related to the use of waters from Lake Erie. Among other provisions, the new bill limits withdrawals at 2.5 million gallons per day before permitting is required, with additional protections for certain rivers and streams. The bill also would create a study group to make recommendations "to ensure that withdrawal and consumptive use permits issued under the bill will result in no significant individual or cumulative adverse impacts to the quantity or quality" of the watershed, according to documents.

Public Comment on Michigan's Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan

The State of Michigan is seeking public comment on a draft of the updated State Management Plan for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). This comprehensive plan outlines new actions for implementation as well as maintaining and enhancing existing efforts to prevent the introduction of new AIS, prevent the spread of AIS, detect and respond to new invaders, and reduce the harmful effects of AIS in Michigan waters. The Plan and its implementation will be most effective with input from anyone with a vested interest and/or concern for AIS issues within the State of Michigan including other government agencies, tribal entities, environmental organizations, affected industry, riparian land owners, anglers, boaters, resource managers, researchers, and others.

After reviewing the document, written comments can be submitted by email to or by post mail to:
Sarah LeSage
P.O. Box 30458
Lansing, MI 48909-7958
Written comments must be submitted by May 1, 2012

Public meeting dates, agenda and AIS plan 

Revisions of Boundaries for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)and Department of Commerce (DOC) have published a notice of intent to revise boundaries, prepare environmental impact statement; scoping meetings.

$880 K in Grants Will Protect Great Lakes Coasts

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded 22 grants totaling about $880,000 for projects designed to protect the state's Great Lakes coasts. 

The department says the recipients include coastal communities, nonprofit groups, state agencies and universities. The grants were announced this week.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is getting $24,000 for its adopt-a-beach program. Researchers at Central Michigan University will use a $44,500 grant to study birds and bats on islands and coastal areas of northern Lake Michigan.
Michigan Technological University's $55,560 will support study of Keweenaw Peninsula streams affected by mining.

Grants totaling $100,000 will go to the Department of Natural Resources for studies of nearshore fish communities and habitat.

Funding for the Michigan Coastal Management Program comes from the federal government.

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

By Gord Pyzer for In-Fisherman

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Kentucky, April in the Midwest, and June in the Far North. And you can’t bet on those dates. Biologists have found walleyes laying eggs in Red Lake, Minnesota, and Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, as early as April 5 and as late as May 7. Water ­temperature plays a key role. Even here, ideal temperatures vary by latitude. Southern walleyes prefer spawning temperatures between 48°F and 50°F, while their Yankee cousins and Canadian counterparts favor temperatures between 44°F and 48°F.

In the extreme Far North, if those ideal conditions don’t arrive early enough, walleyes absorb their eggs and forego spawning. In the South, on the other hand, walleyes spawn successfully based on what scientists call the chill temperature hypothesis. In order for their eggs to develop properly, they need to spend a portion of winter in water temperatures that dip below 50°F.

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Lake Erie Has More Native Fish


Lake Erie "contains more native fish than all the other lakes combined," Kaptur said. "We must protect this valuable ecological treasure, and the local multi-billion dollar economy it supports." Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer