Ready for March Madness? Let’s Take a Look at Another Fab Five…

from Wildlife Promise

(Photo: Ryan_Fung/Flickr)

In the spirit of March Madness, let’s remember the legacy created by a sports revolution.

From the University of Michigan, the Fabulous Five, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, changed the game of college basketball and were considered the greatest recruiting class of basketball players ever known. These iconic players shocked the world through their style, brotherhood and basketball skills that are unmatched in college basketball to this day.

Similar to the Fab Five of basketball, 35 million people honor another Fab Five: Erie, Michigan, Superior, Huron and Ontario.

The Great Lakes

Even ESPN announcer Dick Vitale would agree that the five Great Lakes are some of the most important players for water issues to people and wildlife in the United States. These water bodies form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, holding a total of 18 percent of the world’s freshwater supply. More than 35 million people live in the Great Lakes Basin, as well as animals like bald eagles, moose, grey wolves, trout, perch and river otters.

A subspecies of the Walleye, the Blue Pike went extinct in the 1980s. (Photo: NOAA)

Unfortunately, the Great Lakes are in trouble. Due to climate change, algae blooms, invasive species, and a multitude of other problems, the Great Lakes have become so polluted and overused that it is going to take a lot of teamwork to heal them.

Does anyone remember the Blue Pike? Probably not. In the 1950s, 50 percent of the commercial catch coming out of the Great Lakes Basin was the Blue Pike. This native freshwater fish could be found in the millions and was extremely valuable to the economy and the ecosystems in the region. The Blue Pike could easy have been deemed the MVP of the fishing world but sadly, they no longer exist today.

Help the Great Lakes From Fouling Out

To avoid other native species going extinct, we need to face the ecological challenges in the Great Lakes Basin. One of the challenges is the annual ice cover on the lakes rapidly shrinking due to global climate change. This increases evaporation rates, which decreases the levels of water in the lakes. Low water affects the communities surrounding the lakes for cargo shippers, marina operators and other businesses, greatly impacting the economy.

Just as the Michigan Five persevered through trials and tribulations, the Great Lakes can persevere — with our help!  Don’t just be a spectator; join our team and help the Great Lakes by participating in the HOW Coalition and future Great Lakes Days to assist the Great Lakes and make them the champions they should be.

Take ActionTake Action! Protect the Great Lakes from an invasion of Asian carp by sending a message to your Member of Congress today, urging them to advance the “Stop Asian Carp Act.”