Great Lakes

If you like ice, you have to love the Great Lakes, where it comes in all shapes and sizes. With the recent deep freeze, we're seeing a lot more ice than in the past few winters -- including a frosty Niagara Falls. ​Here's a look at some unusual shapes and sizes:

David Sommerstein / North Country Public Radio

There are few regions in the world where you can make true "ice wine," a sweet vintage fit for after dinner sipping or dessert courses.

Invasive Garlic Mustard: Love It Or Leave It?

Jan 5, 2018
Rebecca Thiele / Great Lakes Today

Garlic mustard is a forest plant with heart-like leaves and clusters of white flowers. It can grow up to about four feet tall and is often the first green plant you’ll see in the spring.

Over the past two winters, there wasn’t much ice cover on the Great Lakes. That changed with this month’s deep freeze.

Frigid temperatures have frozen more than 40% of Lake Erie’s surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.  Scientists there predict ice cover could jump to almost 90% by Sunday. This time last year, ice barely covered 2% of the lake.

Amy Nichole Harris / Shutterstock

A new year brings new opportunities for recreation and commercial interests along the Great Lakes. It also means seven gubernatorial elections in states that border the lakes, and growing concern over climate change.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Over the years, pollution has been seen as a big threat to fish in the Great Lakes. Now, a data scientist says that might not always be the case.

The appointment of Cathy Stepp to lead a regional EPA office that covers most of the Great Lakes is drawing praise and criticism.

EPA adminstrator Scott Pruitt says her background as a Wisconsin official and small business owner "will bring a fresh perspective to EPA as we look to implement President Trump’s agenda."

But Henry Henderson, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest director, told the AP that Stepp’s record fits with the administration's "lax mode of enforcement.”

Flushed: Painkillers And Antidepressants Contaminate Great Lakes

Dec 18, 2017
Emily Rowan / Fix For Addiction

As America confronts the opioid crisis, environmental scientists are warning about a related problem. Chemicals from pain-killers and other drugs often end up in lakes and rivers, creating what some scientists say could be a deadly cocktail for fish and other wildlife.

On the Great Lakes, boat and ship traffic is slowing down for the winter.  Meanwhile, in Cleveland, residents have a chance to watch Lake Erie change as ice builds up -- and breaks up – it’s part of an unusual public art exhibit called Waiting for a Break, by Ohio artist Julia Christiansen.  

On a large screen downtown, 6 live video feeds show different spots along Lake Erie. One shows waves lapping over rocks, others show a remote island and a nearby bay.

The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River make up the world's biggest freshwater system -- and an enormously valuable resource. It supplies drinking water for millions of residents and powers the region's economy.

Last year, 42 million gallons were withdrawn from the basin each day, according to a new report from the Great Lakes Commission. Here's where it went.

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