Top 10 Threats to the Great Lakes

One of the biggest natural resources in Michigan is our water. The Great Lakes make up an essential piece of our ecosystem, and the way we use that water will strongly affect our state’s future.

The Environment Report has just concluded a series on the top ten threats to the great lakes. The series is a wonderful resource and it can be found online at

This series is unique because it was originally produced for National Public Radio, so you can listen to many different stories that go in-depth on each threat.

Great Lakes Featured in IMAX Movie

MYSTERIES OF THE GREAT LAKES is a timely film. All across the Great Lakes basin, there is a renewed interest in the health of the Lakes, and an increased awareness of the importance of this fresh water resource to the social and economic vitality of North America. Dubbed ‘inland seas’ by early European explorers, the Great Lakes have some of the most spectacular wilderness scenery on earth, and a fifth of all the planet’s fresh water. Today, 25% of all Canadians, and 10% of Americans live on the Great Lakes. In addition, one in every three Canadians and one in every seven Americans rely on the Great Lakes for their fresh water.

Through several interlocking stories, including the story of maritime commerce and the ships that move cargo through the inland waterway, MYSTERIES OF THE GREAT LAKES will take you on a journey through the greatest lake system in the world, and showcase the amazing geography, ecology, science, and history of the region through the most powerful film medium in the world — IMAX.

You can view a preview of the movie by clicking the link below:

To find movie theatres and showtimes near you visit, you can search by city or movie title. The movie is scheduled to open at the end of July.

Get To Know A Sanctuary- Lost Lake

MNA file photo

Lost Lake Nature Sanctuary is an 80 acre sanctuary adjacent to the state-owned DNRE Rifle River Recreation Area in Ogemaw County.

The sanctuary is primarily a cedar swamp and is home to a large variety of flowers including 3 kinds of orchids, ferns,  and animal species.

The sanctuary does not have clearly identified trails, but it can be easily navigated with the help of a compass and map.

From parking along Sensabaugh Rd. you head straight west using a walk-in easement through the open woods, past a small trail and down a slope that signals the transition from upland to swamp. You will pass moss covered logs, beautiful ferns, dogwood, rosemary, and an occasional lady-slipper along your path. In about 30 minutes you will reach Lost Lake, which is beautifully surrounded by many different kinds of flowers and mosses.

Lost lake is a beautiful sanctuary to explore, and a fence clearly marks the property on three sides. The area is completely natural, so your compass, map and boots are in order.

When you are done visiting you head due east and back down the same easement you used when you came into the sanctuary.

On July 25th our Stewardship Director Sherri Laier will be leading a work day to Lost Lake which would be an excellent way to get to know the sanctuary and help MNA install the sanctuary’s new sign. Please email or call 517-655-5655 to sign up for the even.

Environmental News


It’s one of the eternal questions, ‘paper or plastic?’ They’re both recyclable, but only paper bags come from a renewable resource. And since only 1% of all the plastic bags on earth are actually recycled, some cities and even one national company are wondering why we need plastic bags at all…

Americans send around 100 billion plastic bags to landfills every year, where they’re supposed to be compacted by bulldozers. That is, unless they catch the wind and transform into mini parachutes that litter tree and fence lines along landfills. Besides that, they clog storm drains, and eventually end up in waterways and oceans, where fish mistake them for jellyfish.

The solution, it would seem, is to recycle them, but many shoppers seem to think that’s too much of a hassle.

“You unload your groceries and you go home and throw them away. That’s what I do with them.” shopper Mary Jo Wickliffe commented.

Since Wickliffe shops at the organic market Whole Foods she says she’s been doing less of that. Because the chain recently bagged the plastic.

Cleveland Store Manager Chery Wiseman says to stop offering plastic bags is a decision that goes against business school 101.

“It costs us more money to buy our paper recyclable bags, but we feel that’s worth it to keep the plastics out.”

Cities are beginning to ban plastic bags as well, San Fransisco was the first to do so. New York City, Annapolis, Maryland, New Haven, Connecticut, Santa Monica, and Portland, are looking to shun plastic too.

For some, however, choosing paper over plastic isn’t enough. A few people are starting to shop with reusable cloth bags. But the concept of bringing their own bags to the store is still foreign to some shoppers.

Whether it’s paper, plastic, or cloth, each can be environmentally-friendly in their own way, but none are if we keep throwin them away. 

Story courtesey of The Environment Report

from the University of Michigan and Michigan Public Radio