Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 1012: Warmup, Cleanup

This year’s relatively warm winter boosted ice-fishing tourism in one part of the Great Lakes while potentially spelling disaster for businesses that depend on colder weather. Also in this episode, catch up with the communities featured in our award-winning documentary “The Forever Chemicals,” and learn what Great Lakes states and provinces are doing to fight PFAS contamination.

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Warmup, Cleanup | Episode 1012

This year’s relatively warm winter boosted ice-fishing tourism in one part of the Great Lakes while potentially spelling disaster for businesses that depend on colder weather. Also in this episode, catch up with the communities featured in our award-winning documentary “The Forever Chemicals,” and learn what Great Lakes states and provinces are doing to fight PFAS contamination.


Watch Live on DPTV

Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 PM


Detroit, Michigan

Alpena, Michigan

Bad Axe, Michigan

Bowling Green, Ohio

Buffalo, New York

Cadillac, Michigan

Chicago, Illinois

East Lansing, Michigan

Erie, Pennsylvania

Flint, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Marquette, Michigan

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mount Pleasant Michigan

South Bend, Indiana

Syracuse, New York

Toledo, Ohio

University Center, Michigan

Watertown, New York for Ontario signal

Watertown, New York for U.S. signal

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In the Month of March on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 1012.

Ontario’s Ice-Fishing Extremes

SEGMENT 1 | Manitoulin Island, Ontario; Mitchell’s Bay, Ontario

The unseasonably warm winter this year created different economic impacts from ice fishing in different Canadian communities on the Great Lakes.

On Manitoulin Island, nearly 1,000 people competed for $50,000 in prizes during the annual ice fishing tournament, almost doubling the previous year’s attendance.

But just a nine-hour drive south, most lodges haven’t been so busy. Ice hasn’t formed in Lake St. Clair this season, in contrast to the 24 inches of ice that were on the connector lake in 2017.

Jim Williams, who owns Parkside Restaurant & Cabins in Mitchell’s Bay on Lake St. Clair, said customers have gone where the ice is.

“We have to adapt to the changes that have happened and move forward with it,” he said.

Here is other Great Lakes Now work about warm winter and the outdoors:

  • What does a warming winter mean for Minnesota? Click HERE to read more.
  • Read HERE about how the Lake Erie ice fishing industry is suffering with warmer weather.
  • Warmer weather is changing but not stopping outdoor recreation for people HERE.

Click HERE to learn more about the way government and industry is trying to collaborate on promoting outdoor recreation.

The PFAS Problem

SEGMENT 2 | Rockford, Michigan; Belmont, Michigan; Lansing Michigan; Washington D.C.

In March 2019, Great Lakes Now released the documentary “The Forever Chemicals,” which examined the impact of PFAS contamination in west Michigan communities: Private wells that tapped into groundwater near the dump sites were delivering PFAS-laden drinking water to unsuspecting residents for years, until the contamination was detected and reported publicly.

Since then, lawsuits there have moved forward, Michigan’s political leadership changed, and other Great Lakes states are addressing their own drinking water contamination issues.

Here are some of the latest developments about how—without enforceable standards at the federal level in the U.S. or Canada—states and provinces around the Great Lakes are addressing PFAS in differing ways and on differing timetables.

Here is other Great Lakes Now work about PFAS in the Great Lakes region:

  • What actions and standards are happening in each of the Great Lakes states and the two Canadian provinces? Read more HERE.
  • Check out this map of the official government webpage for each state or province on PFAS HERE.
  • Read about the documentary on PFAS, “No Defense: The U.S. Military’s War On Water,” from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sara Ganim HERE.
  • Watch Great Lakes Now’s web extras on the PFAS struggles of two residents of Kent County, Michigan, HERE and on Michigan’s efforts to deal with PFAS HERE.

Videos from Episode 1012

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Previous Episodes

In the Waters

Episode 1008

Politics, economics, recreation and science are all part of the latest episode of Great Lakes Now. Go underwater in the five lakes with a group of women who dove them all in 24 hours, and learn more about the controversy about controlling water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. Get aboard a commercial fishing boat on Lake Huron, and meet Dr. Katfish, who wants you to know that Great Lakes fish can be fun and festive.

Watch the Show

Finding Impacts

Episode 1009

Search for a meteorite on the bottom of Lake Michigan. Learn how a little striped fish might help us understand the health impacts of industrial chemicals on people, and see how a Milwaukee community is UN-developing a river to improve the environment and water quality.

Watch the Show

Sand, Sinkholes and Science

Episode 1010

Travel with Great Lakes Now to the remote Canadian research station where scientists are working to understand – and protect – freshwater. Go deep into Lake Huron to see mysterious sinkholes, and watch as some homeowners try to save their Lake Michigan coastal homes while the waters wash away the beaches below them.

Watch the Show

Drop, Soo and Lock It

Episode 1011

Winter doesn’t stop work around the Great Lakes. See what happens at the Soo Locks when they close for maintenance, and drop into the chilly water with commercial divers who battle the zebra and quagga mussel invasions in the lakes. In a warmer setting, join us in the Mackinac Island school gym for a tournament just for island school teams.

Watch the Show

Featured Articles

Study: Warmer summers worsen tick infestations for US moose
- by The Associated Press

It’s a ghastly sight: ticks by tens of thousands burrowed into a moose’s broad body, sucking its lifeblood as the agonized host rubs against trees so vigorously that much of its fur wears away.

Ignore the buzz, here’s why Enbridge Line 5 won’t likely close anytime soon
- by Bridge Michigan

Anyone following recent national and international news about the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline could be forgiven for believing the pipeline might shutter any day now, with major implications for winter fuel prices.

Fossil Finds: Great Lakes coral and sea life remnants says much about its past and future
- by Maya Sundaresan

The Great Lakes region was once covered in seawater and home to various tropical organisms. Because of this, the region houses numerous diverse fossils. Great Lakes Now has compiled a list on several museums that showcase them.

Say Goodbye to Your National Parks Road Trips?
- by The Revelator

Climate change is already shaking up the natural world, changing the timing of seasonal snow melts, flower blooms and animal migrations. Now a new study from researchers at Utah State University suggests that, not surprisingly, it will also change when people interact with those landscapes.

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

Digital Designer: Shelby Jouppi

Additional Video Provided by: Mlive Media Group, Fishtown Preservation Society, National Weather Service, Oceana County Road Commission, WTTW/Chicago Tonight, WRVO Public Media, Robert Carlisle