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News stories tagged with "lake-ontario"

We donít really know what these chemicals are doing to the fish, to the wildlife, and to the people that live around the Great Lakes.

Report: new chemicals threaten Great Lakes

A new report calls on the U.S. and Canada to do more to protect human health and water quality in the Great Lakes. The International Joint Commission's biennial report says beach closures, contaminated groundwater, and invasive species continue to be significant problems in the region. Todd Moe reports.  Go to full article
The <em>Hermann Schoening</em> [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]
The Hermann Schoening [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]

Aboard a cold Seaway ship with a sick crew

Twenty-two Chinese seamen are resting up in Montreal after a harrowing Christmas journey through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew aboard the German-owned Hermann Schoening became violently ill after phosphine gas leaked into the living and working spaces. The gas is used regularly as a fumigant to kill pests in the cargo hold. The freighter is carrying 19,000 tons of midwestern corn bound for Algeria.

The crew was treated at a hospital in Ontario. But the ship then continued on with windows open to air out the gas.

Don Metzger piloted the freighter from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River to Massena. He's been a Seaway pilot for more than 30 years. He told David Sommerstein he's never seen anything like this happen before. Metzger says the crew was sick and cold, and unprepared for winter weather.
Carolyn Osbourne of the Mariners House of Montreal says the crew spent yesterday recovering after being sickened by phosphine gas. She says they received a second hospital checkup, as well as warm coats, gloves, and Christmas gifts while in port. The ship was scheduled to resume its travels this morning.

An official with Transport Canada says the incident is under investigation. The shipowners could be fined if violations of the Canada Shipping Act are found. But the gas leak is so far being considered an anomaly.  Go to full article

Jefferson County town bans wind power

Towns across the North Country have been consumed by commercial wind farm projects. Wind power has divided neighbors, even families. It's turned the results of elections in places like Hammond and Cape Vincent. A recent planning board meeting in Cape Vincent dealing with wind power devolved into a physical altercation.

The town of Henderson, on the shore of eastern Lake Ontario in Jefferson County, has side-stepped future wind clashes. It's become the first North Country town to ban all wind turbines - industrial ones, private ones, even wind test towers.

Henderson town supervisor Ray Walker voted with the 4 to 1 majority passing the law Wednesday night. He told David Sommerstein a mostly anti-wind citizens' group came up with a set of zoning regulations after a year of research.  Go to full article

Lake Ontario ecosystem incorporating invasive zebra and quagga mussels

An update now on the invasive zebra and quagga mussels. Yesterday, we told you about the Sackets Harbor water treatment plant on the shore of Lake Ontario. It was nearly shut down last week after its intake pipe was so choked with mussels almost no water came through.

This morning, we hear from Dr Dawn Dittman. She's a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey in Cortland, New York--and one of only a few people tracking the invasive mussels.

She says their numbers appear to be stabilizing. And she tells Jonathan Brown some popular sport fish--native to Lake Ontario--are starting to find zebra and quagga mussels quite tasty.  Go to full article

Zebra mussels rebounding near Sackets Harbor

A thick cake of zebra mussels nearly shut down a water treatment plant in Sackets Harbor last week. The invasive species has been wreaking havoc in Lake Ontario for more than 20 years now. New regulations on the ocean-going freighters that first brought zebra mussels to these shores--and other measures--have led some to believe the invader has been contained. But, as Jonathan Brown reports, officials in Sackets Harbor now fear the species is rebounding.  Go to full article

Wolfe Island bird kills raise wind power concerns

A recent study of bird and bat mortality at Wolfe Island's 82-turbine wind farm is raising concerns among environmentalists. Wolfe Island is Canadian territory, located where Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River. The report found 600 birds and more than a thousand bats were killed by the windmill blades in a six month period. Nature Canada called the numbers "shockingly high." Ornithologist Bill Evans says the real question is which species of birds died. Evans directs Old Bird, Inc. in Ithaca and has consulted for both wind power companies and environmental groups. He told David Sommerstein Wolfe Island is a designated important bird area, so ornithologists predicted high fatalities. Evans says the number of hawks, owls, and other raptors was the most alarming.  Go to full article
Coming to the Great Lakes soon?  (Photo: USFWS)
Coming to the Great Lakes soon? (Photo: USFWS)

Green groups want Obama to protect Great Lakes from Asian carp invasion

Environmental groups are blasting the US Corps of Engineers and urging President Obama to do far more to stop the spread of an invasive fish into the Great Lakes.

Scientists say the aggressive Asian carp -which can weigh up to 100 pounds--could wipe out natural fish stocks in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

As Brian Mann reports, some lawmakers want new, permanent barriers that would prevent the fish from spreading.  Go to full article

USGS gets new $4 million ship to learn more about Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is getting a new research vessel. The multi-million dollar ship will gather data across the lake and where it empties into the St Lawrence River. It will be stationed at the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Station near Oswego.

Supervisor Brian Lantry says the new, 69-foot, deep-water science vessel will replace the 50-year-old ship now used to collect data for a host of research projects on Lake Ontario.

Lantry says the new ship will carry heavier equipment, now used almost exclusively on ocean-going vessels. And he tells Jonathan Brown--because it's so difficult getting those ships on the Great Lakes--the new research vessel will provide more data on Lake Ontario's chemistry, physics and aquatic life.  Go to full article
Grass carp, one of four Asian species now in American waters.
Grass carp, one of four Asian species now in American waters.

Asian carp closer to Great Lakes?

Two New York lawmakers are demanding that U.S. officials shut two Chicago shipping locks to prevent an invasive fish from getting into the Great Lakes. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said Friday they are concerned about the recent discovery of a 20-pound Asian carp in Chicago's Lake Calumet, six miles from Lake Michigan. David Sommerstein has more.  Go to full article
A dock in Morristown last month, posted by Susan Steffen LaRue to Save the River's Facebook page.
A dock in Morristown last month, posted by Susan Steffen LaRue to Save the River's Facebook page.

Thousand Islands boaters nervous as water level dips

The sun and warm temperatures are starting to bring boaters back to the St. Lawrence River. But especially in the Thousand Islands, they're being greeted by unusually low water levels. A dry winter and warm spring across the Great Lakes is mostly to blame. But that hasn't stopped lawmakers on both sides of the border from clamoring for a new system for controlling water flows. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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