In the news: After 25 years, Lake Michigan refuge fails to nurture wild lake trout

From the Great Lakes Echo:
Any lake trout pulled from the wild blue waters of Lake Michigan now was probably born in a government building.

That’s despite a 45-year-old, multi-million-dollar program aimed at restoring a self-sustaining, naturally reproducing population of what was formerly the Great Lakes’ top predator.

Lake trout were wiped out in most of the Great Lakes by the mid-1900s as a result of overfishing, invasive species and habitat destruction. Managers started stocking them in Lake Michigan in 1965.

After little success, a 1985 revamp of the plan focused stocking on two relatively shallow, rocky sections of Lake Michigan where fishing for the species was banned.

At least part of that overhaul has proven fruitless, according to a study published recently in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Read more.


Illinois State Fair visitors learn how to get rid of stuff sensibly

IISG's Web Specialist Angela Archer explains the Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly marble game to a young fair goer. Altogether this year, about 775 visitors stopped by the IISG exhibit and learned more about recycling, reusing, and sensible disposal. Download the display flyer to read about disposal problems and solutions, and find handy web resources for recycling and more.


In the news: State, feds moving to require cleanup of Chicago River for recreation

From the Chicago Tribune:
In virtually every other city in the nation, it would be illegal to pump out partially treated sewage teeming with the amount of disease-causing bacteria that churns endlessly into the Chicago River.

That may soon change for Chicago. But as a state rulemaking panel moves closer to requiring its fetid waterways to be more like other rivers, a simmering dispute among scientists and policymakers is becoming more intense.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Pollution Control Board tentatively agreed to designate stretches of the river system as suitable for "limited contact recreation," a legal term for activities other than swimming. Now the obscure but influential panel must decide if anything needs to be done to protect people when they are on the river.

Most experts think the ruling will force the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to disinfect wastewater from its three massive treatment plants — an important germ-killing step that every other major U.S. city is required to take. Read more.


In the news: Carp explanation may be a fish story

From the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel:
In the wake of a government news release that pointed a finger at humans for planting an Asian carp near Lake Michigan, facts are coming to light that indicate Illinois officials may have stretched their own science to sell a whopper of a fish tale.

When netting crews hunting for Asian carp above an electric barrier on the Chicago canal system in June pulled a three-foot long, 20-pound mature bighead carp from Lake Calumet - just six miles south of Lake Michigan - the question was: How did it get there?

If it swam on its own, that would spell trouble for Lake Michigan because it could indicate that the electric fish barrier about 35 miles downstream from the lake was not doing its job, and more fish had perhaps breached this last line of defense.

If it were determined that the fish got there with human help, then it could more easily be explained as an isolated find, and not evidence that additional steps should be taken on the canal system to protect the Great Lakes. Read more.


Learn about recycling at the Illinois State Fair

Look for IISG's Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly display in Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair. The fair opens today, August 12 and runs through August 22. Get Rid of Stuff Sensibly provides helpful information about recycling, reusing or sensible disposing of a variety of items, including medicines, electronics, and aquarium fish and plants.

On August 13, 20, 21, and 22, Sea Grant staff members will be there to answer questions, hand out informational prizes, and provide the opportunity for kids to play our educational marble game.


In the news: EPA clamps down on cement plant pollution

From the USA Today:
After 12 years and four lawsuits, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday for the first time set rules governing how much mercury and other pollutants existing cement plants can release.

The agency says the rules will cut mercury emissions by these plants by 92%, particulate matter by 92% and sulfur dioxide by 78%, saving $7 to $19 in public health benefits for every dollar in costs.

Cement plants are the United States' third-largest airborne source of mercury, after coal-fired power plants and industrial and commercial boilers, the EPA says. Read more.


In the news: Asian carp spent its life in Great Lakes waters

From CBS News:
A bighead carp caught near Lake Michigan in June likely lived nearly its whole life in waters from the Great Lakes, tests show.

The nine-kilogram fish captured in Lake Calumet on June 22 was the first Asian carp caught on the wrong sRead moreide of underwater electric barriers near Chicago intended to keep the invasive species from moving up the Mississippi River system into the Great Lakes and adjoining waters.

Researchers at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center analyzed the chemical markers in the inner ear bones of the fish and released the results Thursday. Read more.