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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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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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Climate

Does Record Snowfall Disprove Global Warming? 'Exactly the Opposite,' Scientist Says

The lakefront city of Erie, Pa. has been inundated by several feet of snow this week, “shattering many records," the National Weather Service said.

The historic storm—a whopping 62.9 inches since Dec. 23, with more flakes to come—prompted the city's police department to declare a “Snow Emergency" due to dangerous and impassable roads.

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Cascade, 2015. Oil and alkyd on wood panel, 72 x 144 inches. Commissioned by Grand Rapids Art Museum with funds provided by Peter Wege, Jim and Mary Nelson, John and Muriel Halick, Mary B. Loupee, and Karl and Patricia Betz. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015 - 19. Alexis Rockman

Beauty and Despair Collide in These Murals of the Great Lakes

By Clara Chaisson

With loons and trout alongside allegorical monsters, the fantastical murals at the center of artist Alexis Rockman's new exhibition don't just look like a dream sequence; they are a dream come true.

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The Mackinac bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac. Julie Falk / Flickr

Environmental Groups Blast Michigan Officials for 'Trust' in Pipeline Operator

Environmental groups are attacking an agreement between Michigan and Canadian oil transport company Enbridge, Inc. that set a timeline to determine the future of a controversial pipeline running across a channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan come together.

The 645-mile pipeline, Line 5, lies at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile-long environmentally sensitive stretch of water that serves as a center piece in Michigan's tourist industry. It cuts through the state as it runs from western to eastern Canada, bringing 23 million gallons of oil and liquid natural gas across the straits between Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas—an area noted for its choppy waters, unpredictable currents and subzero temperatures.

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