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What's New
EDITORIAL: Pump up Great Lakes restoration, but don't water down Clean Water Act
The Plain Dealer (7/11)
A funding bill released last week by a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee floats the boats of both hope and dismay for the Great Lakes.

Banned chemical a concern in Great Lakes
CHCH-TV - Hamilton, ON (7/10)
A chemical that's been banned in Minnesota and is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. has a group in Ontario concerned about its potential effects on the Great Lakes.

Tribes ask EPA to intervene in Gogebic iron mine proposal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (6/27)
Six Chippewa Indian bands in Wisconsin have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the environmental effects of a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin before the plan is reviewed by the state regulators and another federal agency.

Great Lakes mayors honor Highland Park for water conservation measures
Highland Park News (6/26)
The City of Highland Park, Ill. has been honored by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative for adopting a forward-thinking water conservation program.

Great Lakes conference talks climate concerns in region
The Michigan Daily (6/25)
The University’s Graham Sustainability Institute, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation and Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities, held a conference at the University Tuesday through Thursday on issues of climate change in the Great Lakes region.

Great Lakes get a boost
Grand Haven Tribune (6/14)
President Barack Obama signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act — which, among other things, authorizes projects to fix ailing locks and dams, improve ports and waterways, and restore damaged ecosystems.

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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: August 1, 2014
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