The Great Lakes News Collaborative

Independent News brought to you by Bridge Michigan, Circle of Blue, Great Lakes Now and Michigan Radio

Great Lakes News Collaborative

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit PBS; Michigan Public, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; and The Narwhal who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Projects from the Great Lakes News Collaborative


This series investigates contemporary water pollution challenges in the Great Lakes region and explores the Clean Water Act’s shortcomings


Water’s True Cost

The Great Lakes News Collaborative investigates the true cost of water in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Featured Stories

Latest News

Wild fish spring to life in Lake Ontario, despite dams, pollution and hatchery competitors
- by The Narwhal

Non-native species of salmon and trout have become an important part of Lake Ontario’s ecosystem. Keeping them healthy is often at odds with stocking fish for anglers.

Sault tribe challenges Michigan fishing deal, chides ‘preposterous’ rules
- by Bridge Michigan

With key species like whitefish nearing the brink of collapse, Michigan’s largest Native American tribe wants fewer restrictions on when, how and where its members can fish.

Palisades “work family” reunites for shot at reopening a Michigan nuclear plant
- by Michigan Public

The Palisades Nuclear Plant in Covert Township could be the first shuttered nuclear facility to reopen in the U.S.

‘You start with us’: Conservation authority head has parting message for Ontario government
- by The Narwhal

Outgoing CEO of Conservation Halton reflects on government cuts and how to enable development while protecting nature and future generations.

Through a Glass Darkly
- by Sean Ericson, Great Lakes Now

Antidepressants can affect reaction times in fish and birth control gives male specimens female traits. How might pharmaceutical pollution impact life around the Great Lakes?

Feds award $1.5 billion for Palisades nuclear plant restart
- by Bridge Michigan

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touted the southwest Michigan plant as a key part of America’s energy future. Opponents questioned the safety of the 53-year-old facility.

Ontario weakens watershed protections (again) as natural resources minister gets new powers
- by The Narwhal

New rules reduce buffer zones between development and wetlands and empower Doug Ford’s cabinet to issue permits without their say.

Road salt use dips 37% in Michigan warm winter, saving millions, easing pollution
- by Bridge Michigan

Michigan in poised to save $10 million in road salt costs, bucking a trend of increased use — and pollution — in lakes, rivers and groundwater.

International nuclear energy expert questions Michigan’s Palisades restart
- by Gary Wilson, Great Lakes Now

Holtec’s lack of nuclear operating experience is cited as a potential issue, and expert Mycle Schneider urges a focus on renewables.

Judge holds Flint in contempt for continued lead pipe replacement delays
- by Bridge Michigan

The city was supposed to finish replacing all lead service lines in Flint by 2020. The work still isn’t done. The ruling includes no financial penalties.

“Bad River” documentary combines historical treatment of indigenous people with the fight to protect Lake Superior 
- by Gary Wilson, Great Lakes Now

Filmmaker Mary Mazzio talks about capturing the Bad River Tribe’s fight to shut down Line 5 oil pipeline.

Waves of Change: Meet Milwaukee Water Commons Co-Executive Director Brenda Coley
- by Great Lakes Now

We spoke with Brenda Coley, co-executive director of the urban network and non-profit organization Milwaukee Water Commons.

Whitefish are on brink in Michigan. Can they learn to love rivers to survive?
- by Bridge Michigan

A staple for centuries, the fish are struggling to reproduce in the Great Lakes. So scientists hope to convince the whitefish to spawn in rivers, away from threats.

WATCH: Why Chicago will take decades to replace lead pipes
- by Great Lakes Now

The EPA recently proposed new rules that would remove lead pipes from America’s drinking water infrastructure over the next decade. But with more lead pipes than any other city, Chicago is a notable exception.

The future of water management, with Curt Wolf
- by Lisa John Rogers, Great Lakes Now

After Detroit’s 2021 catastrophic flooding event, new ideas emerged about climate adaptation. Curt Wolf sat down with Great Lakes Now to discuss how the Michigan Center for Freshwater Innovation is bringing solutions to the table by getting everyone to the table.

As Michigan winters vanish, researchers study snow for clues about what’s next
- by Bridge Michigan

Scientists once believed little important happened during winters. But as they vanish, the study of snowpack is increasing.

Reimagined St. Ignace memorial to be a showcase of Native American history
- by Bridge Michigan

The DNR is rebuilding the Father Marquette National Memorial in St. Ignace. The exhibits, art work and signage will focus on the area’s rich Native American culture and history.

Michigan’s lost winter cancels sturgeon season, ski, dog sled races
- by Bridge Michigan

Cancellations mount as Michigan experiences one of the warmest winters in memory. Experts blame El Niño and climate change.

Study calls for EPA to include human well-being in Great Lakes restoration program
- by Gary Wilson, Great Lakes Now

Historically restoration work focused on measurable ecological outcomes. Researchers make the case to codify human well-being into the process.

Ontario sides with Enbridge Gas in fight to connect new homes to natural gas
- by The Narwhal

Saying fossil fuel use will decline, the Ontario Energy Board told Enbridge Gas to charge developers, not homeowners, for new natural gas hookups.

Flint residents reach $25M settlement with engineers in water crisis case
- by Bridge Michigan

Engineering company Veolia North America settles class-action lawsuit before a trial was set to begin. The company consulted the city of Flint after its disastrous 2014 water switch.

Waves of Change: Meet Wisconsin Green Muslims founder and director Huda Alkaff
- by Great Lakes Now

We spoke with Huda Alkaff, an ecologist, environmental educator and the founder and director of Wisconsin Green Muslims.

Restoring Ontario’s lost grasslands is as important as planting trees
- by The Narwhal

Most of the grasslands that once dotted Ontario have been lost to development and agriculture. Bringing back these carbon-rich landscapes would be good for birds, bees, butterflies and people.

Michigan lawmakers have more energy priorities in 2024
- by Bridge Michigan

Michigan lawmakers made sweeping changes to Michigan energy laws last fall. But plenty of items missed the cut, from community solar to finding solutions for Michigan’s outage-prone power grid.

Supreme Court poop dispute could have big impact on Michigan environment
- by Bridge Michigan

How far can Michigan go in its quest to limit farm pollution in Michigan’s lakes and rivers? That’s the subject of a case now before the state’s highest court.

Michigan’s state park camping reservations are open and filling up quickly
- by Bridge Michigan

Campsite reservations are 35-80 percent booked through July across Michigan’s state parks.

Group launches campaign to overturn Michigan solar siting law
- by Bridge Michigan

Opponents of the new law, which stripped away local permitting control over large wind and solar projects, are pushing a ballot initiative that would ask voters in November to overturn the law.

Upper Peninsula tribe closer to compensation for land seized by the U.S. government
- by Michigan Public

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community would get $34 million if legislation passed by the U.S. Senate is approved by the House and signed by President Joe Biden.

Great Lakes Now sits down with director of Flint water crisis film “Lead and Copper”
- by Great Lakes Now

William Hart, director of a documentary about the Flint water crisis called “Lead and Copper,” joined Great Lakes Now’s Anna Sysling for a discussion about the film.

PFAS experts gather to address growing chemical crisis
- by Kathy Johnson, Great Lakes Now

In light of the ongoing PFAS crisis, stricter groundwater regulations were part of a Michigan statewide effort to protect resident’s health and improve water quality. This legal dilemma took center stage during EGLE’s fourth annual Great Lakes PFAS Summit.

Can Michigan reduce phosphorus pollution getting into Lake Erie by 40 percent?
- by Michigan Public

Michigan won’t reach the phosphorus reduction goal by 2025 as planned. It’s uncertain when it might attain that goal to help reduce cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie.

Michigan farm czar: Our fight against Lake Erie pollution isn’t working
- by Bridge Michigan

Ahead of a gathering to assess the health of Lake Erie, Michigan acknowledges it won’t meet a 2025 deadline to cut phosphorus runoff into the lake by 40 percent.

WATCH: Ontario’s greenhouse sector with The Narwhal
- by Great Lakes Now

The Catch took a look at why experts are saying water from greenhouses in southern Ontario could be harming Lake Erie. Journalist and farmer Matt McIntosh recently reported on the issue for The Narwhal.

The Great Lakes Compact at 15: Region celebrates, veteran policy experts caution against complacency
- by Gary Wilson, Great Lakes Now

“The compact is a step forward for the Great Lakes but it’s just the beginning of a long journey.”

WATCH: Milwaukee’s polluted hotspot
- by Great Lakes Now

The Catch took a look at the largest project ever funded under a Great Lakes cleanup program. The aim is to remove contaminated sediments from a polluted hotspot in Milwaukee.

Will Energy From Manure Help or Harm Water Quality in Michigan?
- by Circle of Blue

Chevron and two utilities are building big methane biodigesters on the state’s largest dairies.

Michigan regulators approve key permit for Enbridge Line 5 tunnel
- by Bridge Michigan

The ruling puts Enbridge Energy a step closer to tunnel construction despite opposition from environmental and Native American groups.

Waves of Change: Meet Executive Director Alicia Smith
- by Great Lakes Now

We spoke with Alicia Smith, executive director of the Junction Coalition, a community nonprofit based in Toledo, Ohio.

We’re going to need a bigger fishbowl
- by Brian Owens, Great Lakes Now

Tracking escaped goldfish in Hamilton Harbour could help control the invasive species.

When to Watch?

Check your local station for when Great Lakes Now is on in your area.