Great Woes for the Great Lakes

Check out Kari Lyderson’s article in today’s Washington Post for a look at how decreased ice cover on the Great Lakes is impacting the shipping industry, outdoor recreation opportunities and wildlife and habitat.

Great Lakes’ Lower Water Levels Propel a Cascade of Hardships
By Kari Lydersen, Washington Post

“A decade ago, Chicago winters meant monumental ice hillocks and caves forming along the lakeshore, skirted by interlocking ice sheets like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

“Today, it is rare to see more than a thin frozen shelf or a few small ice floes sloshing in Lake Michigan below the city’s skyline.”

The article is a scary look at how changes in the climate are having repercussions throughout the region. Low water levels are changing shipping routes and forcing freighters to be loaded “inch by inch.” The water is so low that Lake Superior broke its 81-year-old low-water record by 1.6 inches in September.

Reduced wetlands are altering wildlife habitat and weakening the Great Lakes ecosystem. Jeff Skelding, senior manager of NWF’s Great Lakes Restoration Campaign is quoted in the article:

“We firmly believe the changes we’re seeing are impacting fisheries, possibly in a dramatic way,” said Jeff Skelding of the National Wildlife Federation. “Disruption of habitat will impede fish species from being able to reproduce.”

Read the entire Washington Post article…

Check out these Great Lakes links to find out more about how wildlife is being impacted and what you can do to make a difference: