Category: Great Lakes

Report: Lake Michigan is ‘running a fever.’ More storms, less fish possible.

Read the full story at Bridge Michigan.

In a first-of-its kind study, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory have used the only known long-term dataset of deep-lake temperatures to determine that Lake Michigan’s temperature is slowly increasing over the past 30 years.

This inverted building saves energy because it’s 300 feet underground

Read the full story at Fast Company.

This proposal for a new Chicago development would build down instead of up.

Review: Everything You Never Knew about Chicago and Nature, City of Lake and Prairie

Read the full book review at Third Coast Review.

A little more than a century ago, in one of the world’s largest cities, Chicagoans lived a lot closer to nature than we do today—as in closer to animals, their smells, and their manure and urine.

Consider that, in 1918, some 2,000 dairy cows were being milked each morning in the city. A bit earlier, in 1900, you could wander around the city’s neighborhoods and find 5,000.

And it wasn’t only cows. Chicagoans also kept pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, and rabbits, as Katherine Macica reports in “Animals at Work in Industrial Chicago,” one of 19 essays in City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago’s Environmental History, edited by Kathleen A. Brosnan, Ann Durkin Keating, and William C. Barnett.

Too few farmers are curbing pollution in Lake Erie. Should they be forced?

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

Ohio, Michigan and Ontario have given themselves until 2025 to reduce phosphorus into Lake Erie by 40% compared to 2008 levels — a deadline they collectively are not on track to achieve despite throwing billions of dollars at the problem. By one estimate, millions of acres-worth of farmland in the vast western basin, which includes a large swath of Ohio and smaller portions of Indiana, Michigan and Ontario, would have to follow Williams’ example to hit the target. 

The cost of failure is staggering: Communities surrounding Lake Erie lose tens of millions of dollars annually to the bloom, which depresses property values, repels tourists and forces lakeshore communities to spend more on drinking water treatment. 

And then there’s the impact toxic algae has on human health and quality of life, which many Toledo residents felt acutely as a 2014 bloom settled over the city’s water intake pipe and left residents without drinking water for three days.

EPA says latest cleanup at the former Kopper’s Tie Plant site in Carbondale is complete

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisan.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the completion of another cleanup at the former Koppers Wood-Treating Facility at 1555 N. Marion St. in Carbondale, according to a press release dated Feb. 24. The agency required the current owner, Beazer East Inc., to address dioxin/furan-contaminated soil on 16 acres of the site.

Illinois legislation could free towns from dirty power but not the payments

Read the full story from Energy News Network.

The proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act would set closure dates for all coal plants in Illinois, including the troubled Prairie State Energy Campus. But it wouldn’t guarantee financial relief for customers locked into long-term contracts.

Transition Opportunities for Prairie State Energy Campus

Download the document.

The 1,600 MW Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC) is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Illinois. It is also less than 10 years old, making it one of the newest coal plants in the country.

Using publicly available information, RMI evaluated historic economics of PSEC and analyzed future scenarios to determine how continued PSEC operations will compare to market and clean energy solutions in 2029.

The analysis finds that over the past four years, the plant cost $20 million more per year to operate than short-term market energy and capacity purchases. When the cost of servicing PSEC’s debt is considered, the plant cost an average of between $390 million and $470 million more than buying from the market.

The report analyzed future plant economics compared with market and clean energy alternatives and concluded that plant net economics are likely to deteriorate prior to 2030.

The RMI analysis suggests that at the very least, 2030 closure of PSEC (as has been proposed in the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act) will not result in any significant rate increases to PSEC owners. In fact, 2030-mandated closure may help extricate the many plant owners from an asset which is currently expensive and may become highly uneconomic in the coming years.

The future of Lake Superior with climate disruption

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

The Great Lakes are warming. For the coldest and largest of the lakes, Lake Superior, that could mean a lot of changes. Researchers are still sorting out what the future might be, but a lot of it doesn’t look good.

He’s one in a million: Rare yellow cardinal has taken a liking to backyard bird feeders in Rushville, Illinois

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Yellow cardinals have been spotted in Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio and Florida in recent years. And now, according to Auburn University biological sciences professor Geoffrey Hill, who reviewed photos of the Currys’ cardinal at the request of the Tribune, Illinois has a yellow cardinal of its own.

Silent Killer

Read the full story in Q Magazine.

What is coal ash, and why is it so dangerous?

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