Freshwater Weekly 7/20/17

Posted on July 20, 2017 by

This week: a northern lights show + freshwater jellyfish + progress on carp + an opportunity to comment on a Great Lakes pipeline study + more ways you can make a difference.


The Northern Lights were on display for residents across the northern Great Lakes overnight on Sunday, and what a show! Photographer Chris VanWinkle captured this timelapse video just a few miles from the Freshwater Future offices here in Petoskey, Michigan, and photographers from around the region have been sharing their captures with local media.

Did you catch the show? We’d love to see your photos and videos. Share them with us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram.


A few weeks ago, a woman in Port Dover, Ontario caught a tiny, clear creature in Lake Erie and reported it to the Ministry of Natural Resources. The creature was identified as a freshwater jellyfish, and it turns out they’ve been here for nearly a century. They hitched a ride, like other Great Lakes invaders, in the ballast water of freighters traveling from Asia.

Unlike other invasive species, they don’t seem to pose much of a threat to our Great Lakes ecosystem, so we can just admire their weird, ethereal beauty should we come upon one ourselves.


This morning the US Senate’s Energy and Water appropriations bill was amended to include language that would require the Army Corps of Engineers to release the Brandon Road Study, a report that details how best to prevent the spread of Asian carp. There are still several steps before the bill would become law and the real work on carp could begin, but this is a promising development.


In the Straits of Mackinac, a 64-year-old pipeline transports nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil a day through Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In response to growing public opposition to the continued operation of Line 5, the state of Michigan commissioned a study to analyze alternative methods of transport. A draft of the study was released a few weeks ago, and the public has until August 5 to provide comments that will help shape the final report.

At Freshwater Future, our mission is to ensure the healthy future of all Great Lakes waters. As we look to minimize the risk of an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac and search for realistic alternatives to Line 5, we must make sure that other risky means of transporting oil and gas—such as rail or merchant ship—are subjected to similar scrutiny for threats to water quality throughout the Great Lakes basin.

SUBMIT COMMENTS: Constructive public comments are our best hope for a comprehensive and accurate final alternatives report. Get guidance on how to craft effective comments, and then take action on our blog.


There are lots of simple ways to help protect our waters. Find more at


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.