Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 2210: Surf and Turf

Exploring a debate over Great Lakes land use, eFoiling on Lake Huron, and The Catch. 


Surf and Turf – Episode 2210


In this episode of GLN, digging into the future of land use in the Great Lakes as needs grow for both housing and agriculture, then an eFoiling adventure on Lake Huron, and The Catch has news about the lakes you love!




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Premieres on DPTV

Wednesday, October 26, at 7:30 PM


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In the Month of October on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 2210.

Koffi Kpachavi is the executive director of the Grand Traverse Conservation District, which oversees land and water resource conservation projects throughout Grand Traverse County.

Watch The Feature

Raise Houses or Raise Crops?

SEGMENT 1 | Traverse City, Michigan

Wildfires at a backyard’s edge, sinking coastal habitat, submerged streets – the impacts of climate change are knocking around North America. And that means the Great Lakes region, with abundant freshwater and relatively limited natural disasters, is becoming a highly desirable place to live.

For example: Traverse City, Michigan, where the average residential sales price jumped from about $283,000 in early 2020 to well over $400,000 in the first two months of 2022, according to Northern Great Lakes Realtors MLS.

But the area also is a farming sweet spot. With water scarcity threatening agriculture in the West, Koffi Kpachavi,executive director of the Grand Traverse Conservation District, thinks the Great Lakes region needs to become more agriculturally productive and that means conserving farmland.

“You have to think about food production. You know, just look at what happened during the pandemic. You know, what happened to our food delivery systems,” he said. “And then on top of that, the war in Ukraine. We don’t want to have to rely on faraway places to feed our communities.”

But competition from developers is making it harder to keep farmland in farming. Kpachavi is concerned, “land acquisition is the biggest barrier for a beginning farmer. The cost of land is pretty high.”


Here is other Great Lakes Now work related to land use and community decisions about it:

Grand Traverse group wins praise for preserving key land from development

The Catch: Historic land transfer

Farm Protection: Ontario invests in projects to help farms improve Great Lakes water quality

Chicago educator empowers students to make climate connections in their own communities

Great Lakes Now contributor Ian Solomon prepares to try eFoiling on Lake Huron.

Watch The Feature

What’s an eFoil?

SEGMENT 2 | Tawas City, Michigan

For years, water sports enthusiasts have been riding the wind on the Great Lakes with windsurfing, kiteboarding, even surfing. But now, there’s a new trend called hydrofoiling.

The rider is on a board with a wing that extends into the water and then uses a kite or a hand-held wing to propel it. With hydrofoiling sports like kitefoiling or wingfoiling, the board actually glides above the water.

But even hydrofoiling has something new, something that doesn’t require the wind. It’s called eFoiling and uses a small electric motor to drive the board.

GLN Contributor Ian Solomon traveled to Tawas City, Michigan, to meet Mark Kuban, a watersports instructor, who gives him an eFoiling lesson. According to Kuban, eFoiling is gaining popularity across the Great Lakes region.

“This is blowing up on the Great Lakes,” Kuban said.. “This is super fun on any lake or any body of water.”

Ride along as Ian tries to master this new sport in the chilly waters of Lake Huron.

Read his column about the experience.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on water sports:

Surfing the Great Lakes: ‘What? People do that here?’

Surfing the Great Lakes: Want to know where to start?

Boating on a Budget: Get off land and onto the Great Lakes

Sporting Uncertainty: COVID-19 casts shadow over Great Lakes sports events

A team of researchers and scientists recover a 3,000 year-old canoe from Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin.

Watch The Feature

The Catch: News about the Lakes You Love

SEGMENT 3 | Ann Arbor, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; Madison, Wisconsin

Keep up with the Great Lakes’ biggest issues. Find out how environmental challenges are impacting your enjoyment of the outdoors and the health of the ecosystem. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region.

This new segment – The Catch – in our award-winning PBS program will keep you in the know. This month, stories about piping plovers, Great Lakes cruise ships and an ancient canoe.

First up, a story from Michigan Radio’s Briana Rice, who has some good news about piping plovers. In 2022, there were 150 fledglings born to 72 breeding pairs around the Great Lakes. That’s the biggest brood of fledglings since Great Lakes piping plovers were listed as federally endangered in 1986. Of the Great Lakes region’s 72 breeding pairs, 48 were in Michigan, and Michigan’s nests produced a record number of chicks. Rice says researchers and conservationists have played a big role in the comeback.

Next, Dan Kraker of Minnesota Public Radio, is diving into a growing part of the Great Lakes tourism industry. The summer of 2022 “was a record-setting year for cruise ships in the Great Lakes, and that meant a lot more tourists coming to the region,” Kraker said “It’s also meant economic development for some small towns.”

There’s been a small Great Lakes cruise industry in the past, but this year saw a big jump with 25 percent growth in the number of passengers since 2019.

Finally, a trip to Madison, where Wisconsin Public Radio Reporter Sarah Leher has been covering the discovery and preservation of an ancient Great Lakes relic. A team of archeologists and divers pulled a 3,000-year-old canoe out of Lake Mendota in Madison in September. It’s believed to be the oldest canoe ever discovered in the Great Lakes region and the second to be found in Lake Mendota.


Click below for other Great Lakes Now work on issues reported in this month’s “The Catch”: 

Monty and Rose: Those Chicago piping plovers, where are they now, what are they doing?

Great Lakes Learning: Take a cruise and learn about the lakes

Paddle Battle: International canoe race brings families together

Videos from Episode 2210
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Previous Episodes

Featured Articles

New Michigan law requires homeowners associations to allow rooftop solar
- by Interlochen Public Radio

Supporters say it’s a step toward making rooftop solar and other energy efficiency measures more accessible to many in Michigan who belong to an HOA.

What is a liquid? Utilities sue to avoid coal ash cleanup — and lose
- by Grist

With the definition resolved, will the EPA come for polluting coal plants?

As climate change alters lakes, tribes and conservationists fight for the future of spearfishing
- by The Associated Press

As a result of warming waters, walleye numbers in some lakes are dwindling. Losing the species would mean losing a food source for community members, and a deep connection to tradition and nature.

Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.