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What's New
Blue-green algae toxin in drinking water worries upstate New York
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (9/30)
For the first time ever in New York, a dangerous toxin from blue-green algae has been found in treated drinking water in Cayuga County.

Researchers watching a new chemical turning up in wildlife
Michigan Public Radio (9/29)
Across the Great Lakes, researchers have found a chemical called PFPIA in cormorants, northern pike, and bottlenose dolphins.

Better filters, effect on food supply among algae topics
The Toledo Blade (9/16)
Researchers from across the country gathered in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday to share their ideas and news of technology advances concerning western Lake Erie algae.

Microplastics widespread in Great Lakes tributaries
Michigan Public Radio (9/15)
Tiny particles of plastic are prevalent in rivers that flow into the Great Lakes, according to a new study by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the State University of New York at Fredonia.

A watershed moment for Davis Creek?
WMUK – Kalamazoo, MI (9/16)
After people spoke out, plans to clean up Davis Creek in Kalamazoo, Michigan began to come together.

Less algae means more perch, better fishing on lake
The News-Messenger (9/13)
In spite of 2015's algal bloom and woeful fishing season, there have been no lingering effects on business or a reduction in the number of charter boat captains operating on Lake Erie.

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Overview
The environment of the Great Lakes region is blessed with huge forests and wilderness areas, rich agricultural land, hundreds of tributaries and thousands of smaller lakes, and extensive mineral deposits. The region's glacial history and the tremendous influence of the lakes themselves create unique conditions that support a wealth of biological diversity, including more than 130 rare species and ecosystems.

The environment supports a world-class fishery and a variety of wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, weasel, fox, black bear, bobcat, moose and other furbearing animals. Bird populations thrive on the various terrains, some migrating south in the winter, others making permanent homes. An estimated 180 species of fish are native to the Great Lakes, including small- and large-mouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, lake herring, whitefish, walleye and lake trout. Rare species making their home in the Great Lakes region include the world's last known population of the white catspaw pearly mussel, the copper redhorse fish and the Kirtland's warbler.

The region's sand dunes, coastal marshes, rocky shorelines, lakeplain prairies, savannas, forests, fens, wetlands and other landscapes contain features that are either unique or best represented withink the Great Lakes basin. For example, the world's largest freshwater dunes line the shores of Lake Michigan.

Over the course of history, many types of pollution have inflicted and been reduced in the region, yet significant challenges remain. These range from threats to divert water out of the Great Lakes basin to the introduction of nonindigenous invasive species and airborne toxics into the basin. Protection of water quality and sustainable development remain long-term goals.

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General Resources
Great Lakes Atlas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
This Environmental Atlas and Resource Book is an excellent resource on the Great Lakes, including physical characteristics, natural processes, people, concerns, joint management and new directions (mirrored on Environment Canada's site).

Great Lakes Radio Consortium
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium produces environmentally focused radio features and news featured on more than 100 public radio stations around the Great Lakes region and several national radio programs.

Illinois Natural Resources Information Network
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Provides natural resource-related information to the citizens of Illinois so that individuals and groups can make informed decisions about natural resource management and policy.

Science & The Environment Bulletin
Environment Canada
This bimonthly publication provides information on leading-edge environmental science and technology. Includes collections on habitat, pollution, species at risk, water and related topics.

Software for Environmental Awareness
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 and Purdue University produce free interactive software programs on environmental topics.

Summary of Environmental Law in North America
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)
The CEC created this summary to improve public access to the environmental law of the three parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement; i.e., Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Visualizing the Great Lakes
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO)
GLNPO has an extensive collection of images from around the Great Lakes that is available for you to use.

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Updated: October 1, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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