Some call it prom night for amphibians: When warm rain falls in early spring, Michigan’s normally-elusive salamanders and other species gather at ephemeral wetlands to dance in the dark, looking for a mate.
Outdated federal water laws and chemicals that were approved for industry without assessing for risk leave Ann Arbor and other communities struggling to ward off water contaminants before they foul drinking supplies.
Climate change is already affecting the Great Lakes. One group is urging Michigan, other Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces to coordinate efforts to make the Great Lakes basin more resilient to those changes.
The Great Lakes News Collaborative asked state and national experts how Michigan could break the cycle of underfunding and poor decision-making that has left water systems across Michigan in sorry shape.
Septic systems are common around Elk Lake and many other lake communities. If they’re maintained, they usually manage to keep bacteria and viruses in check. But failing systems can allow contaminated water to seep into nearby bodies of water.
Legal experts say the public trust doctrine in Michigan should be expanded to protect groundwater, but they don't think legislators should target water bottling operations. They believe all users should be treated the same.
The Michigan Public Service Commission included climate change impact as it considers Enbridge Energy's request to move its Line 5 oil pipeline from the lake bed of the Mackinac Straits to a proposed tunnel under the Straits.
There are an estimated 330,000 failing systems across Michigan, costing many thousands of dollars to repair. A measure touted as having bipartisan support would use American Rescue Plan funds to help pay the expense.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Line 5 closed a year ago, citing safety concerns. The Biden administration is now involved. But chances of an imminent shutdown appear slim. We lay out some of the hurdles.