In the news: More bad news (plus a glimmer of hope) about Asian carp

From the Detroit Free Press:
Scientists at the Department of Natural Resources Lake Huron research laboratory have spent decades trying to figure out how to cope with destructive exotic invaders from alewives to zebra mussels.

So when it became obvious last week that a federal effort to keep two species of Asian carp out of the Great lakes is on the verge of failure, lab chief James Johnson asked a very pertinent question: Could filter-feeders like silver and bighead carp eat the abundant cladophora algae that has covered thousands of square miles of the lakes? Read more.


Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Request for Proposals

From the U.S. EPA:
This Request For Proposals (RFP) [PDF 583Kb, 79 pages] solicits proposals from eligible entities for grants and cooperative agreements to be awarded pursuant to a portion of the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative included in Public Law 111-88, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 which is in furtherance of President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (the “Initiative”) announced in February 2009. Read more.


In the news: New eDNA Monitoring Results Spurs Rapid Response Action

From the Army Corp of Engineers:
On November 17, the University of Notre Dame notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that some water samples, taken from the area between the electric barriers and Lake Michigan on September 23 and October 1, tested positive for the presence of Asian carp. The positive samples were from an area about one mile south of the O'Brien Lock, approximately 8 miles from Lake Michigan.

As part of its ongoing Asian carp monitoring program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to work with the university to use eDNA genetic testing of water samples to monitor the presence of bighead and silver carp in Chicago area waterways.

"Keeping Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan remains the focus and goal of the IDNR and the Rapid Response Work Group. We will continue to work with the group and our partners on how best to address this new issue and move forward with achieving our overall goal," said IDNR Assistant Director John Rogner.

The multi-agency rapid response team is working to develop appropriate courses of action based on this new information. Initial response actions will include focusing Asian carp eDNA sampling and other monitoring efforts on areas upstream of the barrier to gather near real-time data on the current location of Asian carp to aid the Rapid Response team in their planning efforts.

The Rapid Response Work Group is finalizing plans to apply rotenone to a section of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in early December as part of a scheduled fish barrier maintenance shut down.

“Scheduled barrier maintenance will proceed as planned,” said Major General John W. Peabody, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. “This new information reinforces the importance of preventing any further intrusion of the Asian carp via the largest pathway, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.”

Additional information about the recent sampling efforts is available on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' website.

Additional information about Asian carp and the Rapid Response Work Group members is at www.asiancarp.org/rapidresponse.

In the news: Asian carp may have breached barrier

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The decade-old battle to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes might be over.

New research shows the fish likely have made it past the $9 million electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a source familiar with the situation told the Journal Sentinel late Thursday.

The barrier is considered the last chance to stop the super-sized fish that can upend entire ecosystems, and recent environmental DNA tests showed that the carp had advanced to within a mile of the barrier. Read more.


In the news: Indiana Dunes threatened by climate change, report warns

From the Chicago Tribune:
About a decade ago, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore had one of the country's largest populations of the Karner blue butterfly. The nickel-size insects feasted on the national park's bountiful wild lupine and relied on northwest Indiana's heavy snowfall to protect its eggs in winter for spring hatching.

But the butterfly's population has declined in recent years, and some researchers are pointing to, among other things, warmer winters, less snowfall and other weather-related changes threatening the wild lupine.

The Karner blue's predicament is one of many listed in a report released last month naming the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore among 25 national parks in the United States endangered by climate change. Read more.


In the news: Chicago canal to be poisoned to stop Asian carp

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
A practical battalion of state and federal fishery workers will soon be dispatched to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in a drastic attempt to keep Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan.

Early next month, more than 200 people are expected to participate in a two-day, $1.5 million project to poison nearly 6 miles of canal just southwest of Chicago. The idea is for biologists to temporarily kill the river so a new electric fish barrier can be briefly shut down for maintenance. Read more.


IISG goes back to Indiana for unwanted medicine collection program workshop

When people's prescriptions change, their drugs expire or are no longer needed, these medicines are typically flushed or thrown away. A 2008 Associated Press investigation found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.

Illinois-Indian Sea Grant has developed a series of toolkits and initiatives to help communities, schools and individuals develop and promote programs for safe disposal of unwanted medicine.

This Thursday, November 19, over 110 local waste managers and others are registered to take part in a one-day workshop on developing collection programs for unwanted medicines in Indianapolis. This workshop will provide information and tools for community unwanted medicine collection programs, as well as for pharmacies and medical facilities to safely manage unwanted medicines. Presenters will focus on alternatives to flushing, including best practices from solid waste facilities in Indiana and surrounding states.

Topics to be discussed include: why unwanted medicine disposal is a problem, wastewater treatment issues, unwanted medication handling and disposal, and an update on legislation regarding unwanted medicine collection and disposal.

This is the third workshop on this topic that IISG has sponsored in Indianapolis in the past several years. This workshop is also sponsored by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Board of Pharmacy, the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, the Indiana Household Hazardous Waste Task Force, and Eli Lilly.

For more information on the tool kit, visit Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community or contact IISG’s Beth Hinchey Malloy or Susan Boehme.

In the news: Leasing water system could be a risky move for Chicago

From the Chicago Tribune:
Mayor Richard Daley says any part of city government is up for grabs if the price is right.

But if he is tempted to dangle Chicago's vast water system as his next lease deal, he might want to first consult Atlanta, which is still smarting from a botched experiment with privatizing a big-city water supply.

Or the mayor could look someplace closer to home, like Bolingbrook, one of dozens of suburbs and downstate communities furious about steep rate increases imposed by a private water operator.

Daley is searching for more jackpots as his administration draws heavily on the money it reaped from leasing parking meters and the Chicago Skyway to ease the city through the recession. The mayor recently told the Tribune editorial board that he has met with consultants who outlined new privatization deals, but he would not provide details. Read more.


In the news: Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across US

From Science Daily:
Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb. Read more.


In the news: Marquette Greenway takes big step forward

From the Post-Tribune:
It may not have been the biggest news of last week, but it likely will have a longer-lasting impact on Northwest Indiana than any other story.

What we are talking about is the unveiling of the 9.65-mile trail that will connect the east and west halves of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Lakeshore Connector is a vital link in the 50-mile Marquette Greenway trail that will run from the Illinois border to the Michigan state line. Read more.


In the News: New insights into pesticide for invasives

From the Traverse City Record Eagle:
Great Lakes officials are trying to beat back the voracious Asian carp at the gates of Lake Michigan, while still wrangling with another nasty invader that snuck in at least 90 years ago.

Sea lampreys, eel-like parasitic fish native to the Atlantic Ocean, use a mouthful of teeth and a bony tongue to latch onto and scrape through fish flesh.

Scientists debate whether the lamprey is native to Lake Ontario, where it was discovered in 1835. But it invaded Lake Erie by 1921 and spread throughout the Great Lakes, reaching Lake Superior in 1938, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Now researchers have new insights on a pesticide used against lampreys for 60 years. Their findings could help fishery managers kill more lampreys with less money and less poison in Great Lakes streams. Read more.

In the News: Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None

From the New York Times:
At Yellowstone National Park, the clear soda cups and white utensils are not your typical cafe-counter garbage. Made of plant-based plastics, they dissolve magically when heated for more than a few minutes.

At Ecco, a popular restaurant in Atlanta, waiters no longer scrape food scraps into the trash bin. Uneaten morsels are dumped into five-gallon pails and taken to a compost heap out back.

And at eight of its North American plants, Honda is recycling so diligently that the factories have gotten rid of their trash Dumpsters altogether.

Across the nation, an antigarbage strategy known as “zero waste” is moving from the fringes to the mainstream, taking hold in school cafeterias, national parks, restaurants, stadiums and corporations. Read more.