Editor's Note: Today we re-launch Front and Center, our special series about the Great Lakes region. In June and July, WBEZ broadcast more than 30 stories focused on water, examining everything from pollution to climate change to invasive species.
When the United States was a largely agrarian economy, the Great Lakes provided irrigation and transportation and helped the region to become a central food source. In the industrial age, the lakes provided the large amounts of water needed for manufacturing. But what about now?
In Leelanau County in Northern Michigan, a small American Indian tribe has struggled for generations to survive economic and social hardships. The tribe has always been deeply connected to the lakes economically and culturally.
Climate change isn’t just hitting polar bears and melting glaciers. Scientists and advocates say it’s affecting the Great Lakes too, even Lake Superior, the lake that’s so big, all the other Great Lakes could fit inside with room to spare.