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.
WHERE WE TAKE YOU IN MARCH
Watch Live on DPTV
Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 PM
STATIONS CARRYING THE SERIES
Mount Pleasant Michigan
South Bend, Indiana
Syracuse, New York
University Center, Michigan
Watertown, New York for Ontario signal
Watertown, New York for U.S. signal
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 1012Subscribe on YouTube
In the Waters
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
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
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
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
Having artificial intelligence track the spread of invasive species would be quicker and cheaper, but only once scientists can guarantee accuracy.
Around the region, you can find power plants for hydro, solar, wind, coal and more. In this map, see where those plants stand.
The quality of Michigan’s water infrastructure and the consequences of failure, while still real and apparent, are no longer being ignored.
Any definitions for old-growth or mature trees adopted by the Biden’s administration are “going to be subjective,” said Mark Ashton, a forestry professor at the Yale School of the Environment.
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