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Interview with Dr. Frank Quinn

5 | All about the lakes!

What are the top three issues that are facing the Great Lakes today?
The top two issues that I think most people would agree on are water levels, which I've already discussed, and non-native invasive species.

Click for larger image. The third issue involves how we are going to use the water in the Great Lakes. As many places in the country, particularly the southwest and parts of Colorado and Nebraska, expand at a rate faster than their available water supply, those people will be looking toward the Great Lakes to satisfy their own water shortages. How much water can other people take and still maintain the integrity of the Great Lakes? People can identify with the Great Lakes, even if they live in the middle of Michigan and don't see the lakes everyday. It's part of their psyche. The threats to the Great Lakes are very important to people. The idea that Great Lakes water could be sold by-passes politics, and all types of people are working together to preserve the Great Lakes.

What are some of your favorite places on the Great Lakes?
I have a lot of favorite places!

The Copper Country, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is beautiful. It's a great place to witness the beauty of Lake Superior and to see the Canadian Shield, which are some of the oldest rocks found in North America.

Charlevoix and Petoskey along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan have beautiful beaches. Then there's the dunes on the western side of Michigan and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary along the western shore of Lake Huron.

In Canada there's Sable Beach along the eastern shore of Lake Huron, which is now one of the best beaches on the Great Lakes due to the low lake levels.

And, of course, Niagara Falls -- no matter how many times you see the falls, they're impressive. And the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 Islands are fascinating regions that are full of history.

One of the interesting things in this region is that people who come from the Great Lakes region are always trying to come back!

Graphic: Great blue heron on the Great Lakes (Don Breneman)

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