State of the Great Lakes, Consumers Energy Foundation, Plastics Study

For Friday, May 7, 2021


1 – The State of the Great Lakes is … progressing, according to a new report. 

From the cover of the Michigan State of the Great Lakes 2020 Report

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is out with its 2020 State of the Great Lakes Report. 

Officials describe it as “a deep dive into efforts underway by the state and its many partners to drive progress toward addressing the challenges facing the lakes and Michigan water resources.” 

Among the topics examined in the report: preventing the introduction of Asian carp, coping with high water levels, addressing nutrients and harmful algal blooms, the threat that climate change poses to lakes and other water resources, and initiatives to increase community resiliency and sustainability. 

Highlights related to Saginaw Bay include a reef habitat restoration project to improve fish spawning

You can find the report online at

2 – A half million dollars from the Consumers Energy Foundation is going to four environmental projects in Michigan. 

Two of those include work by Huron Pines in Gaylord and the Bay Area Community Foundation in Bay City. 

Huron Pines is receiving $200,000 for a Protect Wild Places project.

The aim is to restore 5,000 acres of wildlife habitat and recreational land, and 150 miles of waterways and Great Lakes shoreline. 

The Bay County Community Foundation has been awarded $75,000 to support the Lake Huron Forever Initiative. 

The effort involves nature-based solutions and projects, community assessments, and training programs. The goal is to advance water quality protection and healthy, sustainable communities.

3 – Nearly 10,000 metric tons—or 22 million pounds—of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes every year from the United States and Canada. 

That’s according to a new plastic pollution study by researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

A lead author says the work presents “the first picture of the true scale of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.”

Computer simulations were used to follow the volume of plastic debris moving across state and international boundaries.

Earlier studies estimate 40,000 to 110,000 metric tons of plastics enter the oceans along the U.S. coastline.

The new study reports that half of the plastic pollution entering the Great Lakes—5,000 metrics tons per year—goes into Lake Michigan, followed by Lake Erie with 2,500 metric tons and Lake Ontario with 1,400 metric tons. 

Lake Huron receives 600 metric tons of plastic and Lake Superior, 32 metric tons per year.

Plastic accounts for about 80 percent of the litter on the shorelines of the Great Lakes. 

Researchers say the findings could help inform cleanup efforts and target pollution prevention.

Find out more at

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (listen). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes


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