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What's New
MSU conference explores need for greater international cooperation to protect vital global watersheds
MLive (11/25)
A recent Michigan State University workshop focused on water rights and improving cross-border policies for the protection of the great waters of the world.

Environmentalists oppose Great Lakes net pens, support current aquaculture practices
Gaylord Herald Times (11/23)
In Michigan, two proposals are on the table to allow a fish-raising practice that some say would benefit the economy, while others say it would put the Great Lakes at risk.

COMMENTARY: Bipartisanship key in working to protect Great Lakes
MLive (11/11)
Our Great Lakes really are the lifeline of Southwest Michigan, and communities across the region. We can uphold the natural beauty by working in a bipartisan manner so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy the exquisite beauty of the Great Lakes.

Supporters celebrate opening of Elmwood Dunes Preserve
Chicago Tribune (11/4)
Wilmette, Ill., residents, elected officials and nature lovers came together recently to celebrate the transformation of a once-neglected strip of Wilmette lakefront property into its new identity as the Elmwood Dunes Preserve.

Publicly accessible conservation area could be coming to the Etobicoke-Mississauga border
The Etobicoke Guardian (11/3)
A future lakefront naturalized conservation area the size of 48 football fields, just west of the Etobicoke-Mississauga border, in Ontario, got a further push in the process recently.

Red Cliff Tribe continues push to raise more Lake Superior munitions barrels
Wisconsin Public Radio (10/26)
A northern Wisconsin tribe says an environmental firm it hired is recommending further study of army munitions barrels that were dumped into Lake Superior during the Cold War.

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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: November 30, 2015
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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