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What's New
Plans explained for cleanup at former U.S. Steel site
Duluth News Tribune (8/25)
In Minnesota, details were announced Thursday for a $69 million proposed plan to address contaminated sediment at U.S. Steel's former industrial site in Duluth's Morgan Park neighborhood.

Investigation underway into Cicero company’s alleged wildlife hazard
CBS News (8/24)
An investigation is underway into allegations a Cicero, Ill., company created a hazard to fish and other wildlife in and around the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, an environmentally protected waterway.

Algae forming in Lake Erie despite drought
The Toledo Blade (8/20)
Drought and abnormally dry conditions are keeping western Lake Erie on track for a mild algae season while also giving Great Lakes scientists more insight into the long-term durability of toxic cyanobacteria that can threaten the region’s drinking water.

Microcystin levels low in Lake Erie
The Toledo Blade (8/22)
Algae-produced microcystin levels in Lake Erie — the toxin that fouled municipal water for three days in 2014 — have remained low near Toledo’s drinking water intake.

EDITORIAL: Welcome effort begins to undo the causes and effects of years of polluting Scajaquada Creek, Hoyt Lake
The Buffalo News (8/20)
Scajaquada Creek is expected to be cleaned of the sewage overflows that contaminate it, as part of a $20 million effort to repair an aging wastewater infrastructure.

Group targets Thames’ role in Erie algae
The London Free Press (8/18)
In Ontario, the Thames River’s link to the build-up of toxic algae in the Great Lakes is sparking a local group to take action.

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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: August 28, 2016
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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