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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Life and Death on Lake Superior

August 2017

Many bees on the native plants.

I had just seen a hawk fly along Lake Superior, but was surprised when two large birds came crashing into a window where was sitting. This created a 45 minute ordeal below my window. The flicker cried, fought and cried some more, but the talons of the hawk had a firm grip. Blue jays and crows came to watch the commotion. The persistence of the hawk ruled and she was too strong and determined for the flicker. An unusual number of hawks in our neighborhood this August have changed the lives of chipmunks, squirrels, and the birds.

On a happier note, A a fresh bright monarch was drying her wings after emerging from her cocoon, and a monarch caterpillar was weaving herself into a cocoon and will hopefully evolve into a new monarch in two weeks.

The great south migration has started with groups of night-hawks and yellow-rump warblers migrating through, and in another week the hummingbirds will be gone, also.  Harbingers of fall.

Common Wood-nymph

The flowers are at their peak and the bees are crazy for bee balm and anise hyssop. The wood-nymph butterflies have been plentiul, but they too are at the end of their life cycle to be replaced by white admirals, cabbage whites, and fritillaries.

June on Lake Superior

Magnificent skies

June is a month of variety, fresh green plants, and interesting skies. As the month ends, I reflect on the beauty of Lake Superior and the landscape that surrounds it. The length of the days and natural beauty is energizing. Everyday differs with the direction of the wind, and the big lake is usually part of this equation.
The birds are secretly nesting and raising their young, but I watch an unaware flicker fly in and out of her nest hole with food.

Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.

 

White Admiral Butterfly
Lupine on Lake Superior

 

 

 

 

 

The lupine, wild geraniums, Canada anemone, thimbleberry, and raspberries bloom while the milkweed takes over the garden path.

And.. everyday enjoys a new butterfly.

 

Superior Views: Lots of Rain

A rainy week on Lake Superior. Leaves are just budding on the  birch trees
A rose-breasted grosbeak brightens the rainy days

The week began with “extreme fire danger” warnings. But the rains came on Monday, and it has rained all week.  The swollen rivers and streams pour into Lake Superior turning the lake muddy brown.
The middle of May is always fabulous for viewing migrating warblers in northern Wisconsin. Even with the rain and storms migrants are passing through to their nesting areas. I hope they stay safe. This week we saw yellow-rumps, palm warblers, chestnut-sided, Nashville, oven-bird, and red-starts. Also, we had a beautiful male rose-breasted grosbeak visiting our feeder.
Blooming marsh marigolds are perfect for the wet ditches.

Marsh Marigolds love the rain!

Celebrate World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day!

Lake Superior in winter

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  http://www.worldwaterday.org/

The water on our planet is the only water we will ever have.  There is no getting

The Mississippi Watershed by Jon Platek

more of it!  We need to appreciate our waterways and take are of them.

On this World Water Day what sustainable practices protect our waterways?

My simple suggestions are: 1. Appreciate our water 2. Go chemical-free 3. Re-use the water that runs off your

Rain gardens and rain barrels collect run-off

house/garage/property /

Buffer strips along lakes and streams  protects water quality.

4. If you have water property, plant a buffer-strip of plants/trees to collect run-off from your yard/agricultural land.

And a video of migrating sand hill cranes on the Platte River

 

March on Lake Superior

The lake is full of moving slush
The lake is full of moving slush

March brings melting snow, longer days and deep blue sun,

Hope of spring and then a big snow fall!
Hope of spring and then a big snow fall!

but then a big dump of new snow. Today the lake in front of my house is full of white slush, but two days ago it was empty of snow, ice, or any sign of winter. With the winds and currents the lake is constantly refreshing itself!

15 degree temps and there were fishermen in a small boat fishing in the ice chunks
15 degree temps, and there were fishermen in a small boat fishing in the ice chunks

A New Frozen Look

Lake Superior on February 3,
Lake Superior on February 3,

February 1st, Lake Superior waves were crashing and pounding the shore, and it was reported that only 5% of the big lake was covered with ice. I was surprised that early morning February 2, our bay became covered with ice. The waves look frozen in time, and the frozen landscape brings a new quiet peaceful reality. How long will it last? Probably not long. Lake ice today is fragile and depends on the winds and sudden whims of this living warming lake. The first big wind will probably break and send the ice onto the shore, or to another bay to continue the fascinating winter entertainment.