Good things are happening in the Great Lakes

With invasive species, outdated sewers and toxic algae blooms creating problems in parts of the Great Lakes, it’s easy to get depressed about the future of these incomparable bodies of water.

That’s why it is good to remind yourself, from time to time, that a small army of people is working diligently to restore the Great Lakes.

From Duluth to the St. Lawrence River, individuals, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, researchers and private engineering firms are working on projects that will make the Great Lakes healthier now and in the future. Learn more here.

Those efforts are paying off.

Millions of pounds of toxic mud has been removed from Great Lakes harbors in recent years, thousands of acres of coastal wetlands have been restored and cities are (slowly) reducing sewage overflows.

Heck, whitefish and lake sturgeon are thriving in the Detroit River. That’s pretty remarkable, considering the enormous abuse humans inflicted on that river over the past century.

And what about Lake Erie, which Time magazine declared “dead” in the 1960s? Lake Erie has made a tremendous recovery over the past four decades and now produces more fish each year than the other four Great Lakes combined.

In the coming months, I’ll feature several Great Lakes restoration success stories on this blog.

This is not me viewing the Great Lakes through rose-colored glasses. I realize that all of the lakes still suffer from a myriad of costly, vexing problems.  And there are menacing threats on the horizon, such as Asian carp.

But it’s important to remember in this era of 24-hour, gloom and doom news that good things are happening in the Great Lakes. There are dozens of projects underway that are improving water quality, restoring fish and wildlife habitat and, in general, making the lakes healthier.

That is something to celebrate the next time you enjoy a summer day on these glorious waters.