In 1998, President Bill Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, the Detroit Red Wings won their ninth Stanley Cup, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif.
It was also the last year that Lake Michigan water levels were at their long-term average height.
In September, Lake Michigan's average water level was 577.56 feet, or 18 inches below its long-term average for the month, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The 14 years of below-average levels on Lake Michigan is "the longest in its period of record," the corps said in its September Great Lakes Water Level Summary. Earlier in January, Lake Michigan dropped to its lowest average level ever recorded.
HURON — By 8 a.m. on an unseasonably warm, sunny October day, wildlife officials are speeding across fairly calm water toward gill nets they’ve set near Huron and Vermilion.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources workers expect the nets, which they set on Lake Erie the previous evening, to yield a catch of walleye and white bass, among other species, that they plan to count and study to determine adult population numbers and health during ODNR’s annual October fish survey.
Ultimately, the information they obtain from studying these fish will help ODNR and wildlife agencies from Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario set how many walleye can be harvested — by commercial and sport anglers — from the lake next year, said Chris Vandergoot, fisheries biologist supervisor at ODNR’s Sandusky Fish Research Unit.
Lake Superior is warming faster than any of the other Great Lakes. In fact, it’s warming faster than any lake on the planet.
The lake itself, in the past three decades, has warmed some six degrees Fahrenheit — a rate that actually exceeds the melting rate of the ice caps in the Antarctic and the Arctic oceans. Lake Superior is the largest, deepest and coldest of all the Great Lakes, so it's somewhat counter-intuitive that it would be warming faster. But James Kitchell, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, says it's precisely because of the size.
With all of that surface area, the lake absorbs solar radiation and warms, he said.
"When there’s ice on the lakes, a lot of that solar energy is reflected back into the atmosphere, but in the most recent three decades, the duration of ice on the lake has reduced by as much as 50 percent or more," he said.
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (KTIV/KUOO) -
In the summer, the Iowa Great Lakes are filled with boaters. That all changes when temps begin to fall. But, it does give conservation officials the chance to look for things that threaten the health of the waters.
In addition to falling leaves and football, another fall ritual is taking place in the Iowa Great Lakes: The removal of docks and boat hoists.
When it comes to that, Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is reminding everyone to look over those items once they've been removed from the water for any signs of zebra mussels.
"These mussels will be very small, only an eighth to a quarter of an inch in size, and it actually makes sense to look at the hoist and dock after it's had a chance to dry in the air. These little shells become a lot more visible once the surface is dried," said Hawkins.
Oct 14, 2013 — Big, ugly algal blooms are reappearing in the western basin (and sometimes the central basin) of Lake Erie. The blooms happen when excess nutrients - mostly phosphorus - run off into the lake from farms and sewage treatment plants. Some of these kinds of algae produce toxins that are among the most powerful natural poisons on Earth.
Over the past decade, these algal blooms have been common in Lake Erie. And scientists predict climate change could make the problem worse.
Toxic green goo
Frank and Sandy Bihn took us out on a boat ride in Maumee Bay near Toledo. Sandy’s the executive director of the group Lake Erie Waterkeeper.
What could be more seductive than bile salts? Well, for a sea lamprey, bile salts are about as good a come-on as come-ons come.
The sea lamprey, an invasive and destructive species in the Great Lakes, has evolved to use bile salts, acids brewed in their livers to assist in digestion, as pheromones. That's right: female sea lampreys are so enthusiastic about digestive aids that they'll squiggle upstream in pursuit of the enticing males producing them.
It’s an unusual preference — so unusual, new research shows, that not even the silver lamprey, a cousin to the sea lamprey but a native to the lakes, shares the sea lamprey's predilection. That’s a find that could help researchers develop traps that use the sea lamprey’s affinity for bile salts against it, while sparing the native lamprey species.
RACINE — Sinking lake levels, built-up sediment and a deteriorating boat ramp. Those are the issues the city and county are partnering up to fix — by July 1 of next year or sooner, if all goes according to plan — with the county taking the lead.
County Public Works and Development Services Director Julie Anderson outlined a tentative timeline Wednesday for dredging the small boat basin and repairing the boat ramp at Pershing Park, projects the county says are imperative to the continued success of big events such as Salmon-A-Rama.
LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) During a kick-off ceremony that included a ride on a tugboat named the "Dewitt Clinton," Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker, along with State and local officials, announced the start of a $1.7 million dollar construction project to restore the "Flight of Five" locks.
Built in 1864, the locks were part of the original Erie Canal system that allowed boats to travel from New York City, up over the escarpment, to the Great Lakes.
Think you know a lot about fish? The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a tool that could help even the most knowledgeable fish enthusiast identify and differentiate between species in the Great Lakes region.
A new smart phone application and online tool, “Wisconsin Fish,” helps users identify and learn about 174 different fish found in the state. Users can search fish by name or appearance, and find facts, FAQ’s and slideshows on the online version.
I won't say that optimism was his theme, exactly, and certainly there was no suggestion that Minnesota relax any of its efforts to keep Asian carp from colonizing its waterways.
But the overall picture that Duane Chapman laid out in his talk in St. Paul Tuesday night, on the subject of "Biology and Management of Asian Carps: Lessons for Minnesota," was certainly more nuanced, way more interesting and markedly less dismal than the usual disaster scenarios we hear.
Submit your fish recipe to win $100! Minnesota Sea Grant and Northland’s NewsCenter invites the public to submit their best fish recipes for the Hooked on Fish Recipe Contest.