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What's New
Michigan Environmental Council celebrates the vision and achievements of two environmental champions
WKAR - East Lansing, MI (7/22)
The Michigan Environmental Council’s recently held its 18th annual Environmental Awards Ceremony

PBDEs threaten both Canada, U.S
The London Free Press (7/21)
A pervasive, toxic chemical used as a fire retardant in thousands of products has made its way to a Canada/U.S. hit list — and a binational study group is calling on both countries to impose even tighter controls on its use and disposal.

Niagara Closeup: Beware of the beach
The St. Catharines Standard (7/21)
As Niagara, Ont., waters appeal to locals looking to beat the sweltering heat, the public health department suggests they first check out its water quality website.

Enbridge to pay $172M for Kalamazoo River oil spill
The Detroit News (7/20)
Enbridge Energy will pay more than $172 million as part of a consent decree with the U.S. government tied to the Alberta-based company’s 2010 pipeline rupture near Marshall, Mich., that fouled nearly 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

Ontario Power Generation's study of nuclear-waste vault near Lake Huron not specific enough, critics argue
The London Free Press (7/20)
Opponents of a proposed deep nuclear-waste vault near Lake Huron have accused Ontario Power Generation of side-stepping specific federal instructions to study alternative sites.

Boardman River restoration project partners see 'before' and 'after'
Traverse City Record-Eagle (7/20)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality have approved permits to remove the Boardman Dam and construction firms will soon bid on the removal contract. Design work for Sabin Dam's removal is underway, and the project should be ready to bid next summer.

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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: July 23, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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