Too Much Water, Too Much Sediment

Lake Superior and all lakes are precious, protect them!

This summer I wished I could have given some of our rain to drought stricken North or South Dakota. Everyday on Lake Superior seemed to sprout a rain shower.  When I read the water quality of Lake Superior wasn’t superior to other Great Lakes anymore, my first thought was of this summer’s rain. Because of the rainy summer, the lake level became very high, and this high water caused some of the soft lake banks to erode into the lake causing lake sediment.  The streams running into the lake bring more sediment into the lake.

An unusual fact about Lake Superior: Many streams and rivers drain into the big lake, but only one river drains out of the lake, the St. Mary’s River, and that is regulated at Sault Ste. Marie. I know the water that flows out through the St. Mary’s River is complicated with many factors, but releasing more water from the lake could probably help water quality of Lake Superior. Read at St. Mary’s River.

We can all do better to protect the water quality this magnificent lake, and other lakes also.

Buffer strips along lakes protect water quality.

Slowing down the water flow can help. Buffer strips of deep-rooted plants along streams and along the lake can reduce sediment run-off, and putting in rain gardens and rain barrels can also slow the water.

The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:
1 .Be conservative with your water use.
2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. And….NEVER burn trash.
3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
6. Plant native trees According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
7. Install a rain barrel
8. Create an energy-efficient home.
9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
10. Love our lakes!

I would add a few more:

  1. Plastics have become a big problem for our waterways.  Reduce plastic use and be sure any plastic-use is recycled. Also remember to say, “No straw please!”
  2. Micro-fibers in our clothes also are polluting our waterways. As of yet there isn’t a good solution. Read about micro-fibers here.
  3. Always pick up litter.

The water we have on earth is the only water we will ever have, we must take care of it!

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Does “climate change” exist in Wisconsin?

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long, and the lake is warming!
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long, and the lake is warming!

As Wisconsin and the world have probably just experienced one of the warmest years on record, Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, is deleting climate change from existence, or trying anyway. Sorry governor, climate change is not going away!

I have a cabin in Wisconsin, and can rattle off the climate changes I have seen in just the last few years:  First I have lived through three very dangerous storms.  All three were 100-year events with flooding and loss of many trees. Second, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, lakes surrounding Wisconsin, are warming at a pace never seen before.  Third, good winter snow is a thing of the past.  Either it doesn’t snow, or after it snows, it rains or warms up making winter sports icy and dangerous.  We experience long droughts, then too much rain at one time.  And finally, the night temperatures are rising; it doesn’t get as cold on winter or summer nights. Where I sit in Wisconsin the climate is changing!

The governor must feel the need for some attention, or maybe he is applying for a position in the Trump administration?  What is the purpose, to waste taxpayer money?

As a taxpayer in Wisconsin I do not appreciate such a waste of time and resources. Can this be good for the Wisconsin economy? I know people who refuse to spend any money in Wisconsin. They drive through refusing to stop or spend a dollar.  Why would businesses want to locate in such a backwards place?

Why should we care about climate change?

What is the future, when we can't accept the reality of the present
What is the future, when we can’t accept the reality of the present?

http://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change-deleted-dnr-website-2166939088.html

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin

http://gizmodo.com/good-news-humans-no-longer-caused-climate-change-acco-1790641483

What Products Contain Microbeads?

Lake Superior
Lake Superior

How can you reduce your use of microbeads?  By purchasing products at my local food

Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles

coop and refilling my bottles and containers, I have hoped I wasn’t adding microbeads to our waterways.  Below from the Sierra Club is the best information I have seen on microbeads. Read to find out which products NOT to purchase, and how to get rid of them if you have any of the listed items!

Below is from the Sierra Club 

HOW TO HANDLE MICROBEADS

BY BOB SHILDGEN

First let’s review. “Microbeads” are tiny beads of plastic less than a millimeter thick that are often added to cosmetics as exfoliants and cleansing agents. Even some toothpastes contain them. It may sound like a strange use of plastic, but cosmetic companies apparently found that microbeads were cheaper than non-synthetic alternatives. The beads themselves (also called “mermaid’s tears”) are made of polyethylene or polystyrene. They are not toxic, but can pass through filters in water treatment plants and enter the water system. There, researchers warn, they can bind to toxic substances such as DDT, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Creatures in the water ingest these now poisonous little pellets, endangering themselves and the food chain. Yeah, I know, it’s weird to think that by washing your face or brushing your teeth you might beget a mutant fish—or mermaid—smack in the middle of Lake Erie, but such are the risks of progress through chemistry.

So–the safest way to get rid of the stuff is to leave it in its container, tighten the lid, and send it to the landfill with your regular garbage where it’s quite unlikely to escape into the environment. But NEVER, ever, not ever, pour it down a drain or flush it down the toilet, because that’s exactly how it spreads into the watershed.

By the way, to find out if a product contains these deadly beads, check the label for “polyethylene,” “PE,” “polystyrene,” or PS. The organization, “Beat the Microbead” has a list of products known to contain the beads.

http://beatthemicrobead.org/images/pdf/RED%20UNITED%20STATES.pdf  Products that contain microbeads

Some good news: The fight against these beady polluters is already having some success. Illinois has banned the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads, and bans have been proposed in several other states. There is also a growing movement to ban the beads in Europe. The cosmetics industry itself is in damage-control mode as some major companies have agreed to replace the microbeads with safer materials. This is a hopeful sign, because, as we’ve noted before, the last thing we need is still more plastic in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. —Bob Schildgen

http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/28/plastic-pellets-pollute-lake-erie/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=33c62c534f-Top_News_7_28_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-33c62c534f-85912169

Yikes, Too Many Chemicals in our Lakes

DSC00360

It is August and August is the best month of the summer.  The air is dry, nights are cool, and daylight still dominates. Sunsets are magnificent.

It is disheartening to hear the discussion of all the nitrates that are being deposited in our Minnesota lakes including Lake Superior.  Nitrates poison the lake, and cause thick algae to grow choking out good plants and light for the fish and other aquatic animals. Nitrates in the lakes are caused by fertilizers on our lawns and fertilizers in the production of crops.  What we put on our lawns and fields ends up in our lakes and streams.  Is this why some call August the “Dog Days of summer” because we have spent the summer poisoning our lakes?

Those of us who live in the land of lakes forget how lucky we are to have our beautiful lakes, and we all need to work for good lake quality whether it is being careful not to spread invasives or being aware of the chemicals we use. With climate change Texas and the Southwest USA are dealing with severe water shortage(see articles below).  Let’s take care of our wonderful water resource!

The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, and the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:

  1. Be conservative with your water use.
  2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair.  And….NEVER burn trash.
  3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
  4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
  5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
  6. Plant native trees  According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
  7. Install a rain barrel
  8. Create an energy-efficient  home.
  9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
  10. Love our lakes!

I would add several more:

  1. Rain gardens are excellent for capturing harmful water runoff.
  2. Keep leaves and trash out of streets and storm drains-Adopt a storm drain!
  3. Never use cleaning products or hand sanitizer with triclosan.
  4. Reduce all plastic use–If you must use plastic bags and bottles, be sure you recycle them.

    We love playing in our lakes
    We love playing in our lakes

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/current-news-releases/mpca-study-confirms-suspicions-high-nitrate-levels-in-southern-minnesota.html

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/11/211130501/the-algae-is-coming-but-its-impact-is-felt-far-from-water?ft=1&f=1001&sc=tw&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/about-mpca/mpca-news/current-news-releases/mpca-study-confirms-suspicions-high-nitrate-levels-in-southern-minnesota.html

http://unconsumption.tumblr.com/post/58098198181/plastic-beads-are-the-latest-pollution-threat-to-great#

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/11/texas-tragedy-ample-oil-no-water

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/35bdf2381af844658d7a5b5943ba38c5/NV–Western-Water-Colorado-River

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/219989751.html