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Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island. Jeff Lefevre / NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Lawsuit Could Shut Down Controversial Great Lakes Pipeline

Two environmental groups have filed suit against the U.S. Coast Guard in a Detroit federal district court, arguing that their plan to respond in the case of a Great Lakes pipeline oil spill is inadequate, The Detroit News reported on Aug. 22.

The suit is part of a larger push to shut down Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Huron and Michigan and comes as indigenous activists have set up camps protesting the line that could damage 400 miles of shoreline in a spill.

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DWalker44 / Getty Images

Tons of Plastic Trash Enter the Great Lakes Every Year – Where Does It Go?

By Matthew J. Hoffman

Awareness is rising worldwide about the scourge of ocean plastic pollution, from Earth Day 2018 events to the cover of National Geographic magazine. But few people realize that similar concentrations of plastic pollution are accumulating in lakes and rivers. One recent study found microplastic particles—fragments measuring less then five millimeters—in globally sourced tap water and beer brewed with water from the Great Lakes.

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Adventure
Oru Kayak / Instagram

Float On This Season With 9 Paddling Must-Haves

By Conor Mihell

After nearly 20 years of venturing in canoes and kayaks down wild rivers and along all three of North America's seacoasts, plus guiding multiday tours on the Great Lakes, I have distilled my expectations for paddle-sports gear into three nonnegotiables: simplicity, versatility and durability. Based on those criteria, here are some favorites.

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Health

Across U.S., Toxic Algal Blooms Threaten Lakes and Other Waterways

Across the U.S., a growing epidemic of toxic algal blooms is polluting lakes and other waterways, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

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Animals
Western tanager. Dennis Morrison

Five Migrating Birds That May Stop in Your Yard

By Jane Kirchner

Right now, more than a 150 species of birds are on their way northward from tropical wintering grounds to take advantage of emerging insects, budding plants and an abundance of nesting locations. While larger birds tend to travel during daylight hours, songbirds and smaller species fly at night and will stop off and stick around for a day to eat and build up fat stores before continuing their journey. The best time to see and hear them in your yard is the first two hours after the sun rises!

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Climate
A massive dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico every year, fed by farm runoff that washes down the Mississippi River. EPA

Dead Zones Are a Global Water Pollution Challenge — But With Sustained Effort They Can Come Back to Life

By Donald Scavia

Scientists have identified a dead zone as large as Florida in the Gulf of Oman, which connects the Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf. Around the world there are more than 400 current dead zones in oceans and lakes, where water contains so little oxygen that aquatic life can't survive.

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Shutterstock

Microplastics Pollute Rivers and Lakes, Too

By Kennedy Bucci and Chelsea Rochman

When you think of microplastic pollution, plastic debris less than five millimeters in size, you likely envision the ocean—probably because ocean gyres gained notoriety for being a microplastic soup.

But what about our lakes, rivers, forests and fields? They can be just as contaminated with microplastic debris as the oceans.

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Health
Monitoring wells stand as silent sentinels on the grounds of a fire training site at Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Chemicals used at the site have contaminated nearby groundwater, rivers and lakes. Brett Walton / Circle of Blue

Fear and Fury in Michigan Town Where Air Force Contaminated Water

By Brett Walton

Anthony Spaniola knew something was off with his town's water. He read accounts in the Detroit Free Press and attended community meetings hosted by state health and environment agencies. Until last summer Spaniola was concerned but didn't think the situation was out of control.

Then he saw foam on Van Etten Lake.

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Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake Superior. iStock

Can the Great Lakes Become Fishable, Drinkable and Swimmable Again?

By Susan Cosier

As Mark Mattson waited to speak to Canada's minister for the environment, Catherine McKenna, about the Great Lakes last December, he could feel the weight of the 184-page report he carried in his shoulder bag. At the Toronto meeting, McKenna asked Mattson, founder and president of the Lake Ontario arm of the nonprofit Waterkeeper Alliance, what she could do to help protect the five massive basins. He handed her the contents of his bag, with the important parts underlined or highlighted.

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