WBEZ | great lakes http://www.wbez.org/tags/great-lakes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en An Industrial Chemical Finds its Way into Great Lakes Trout http://www.wbez.org/news/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout-114670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/great_lakes_trout.png" alt="" /><p><p>An industrial chemical is showing up in trout from all five of the Great Lakes. It&rsquo;s called perfluoro-1-butane sulfonamide, or FBSA.</p><p>Researchers traced this chemical back to several products on the market. Those include detergents and surfactants first used in 2003. Surfactants are materials made to stainproof and waterproof products.</p><p><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout#stream/0"><em><strong>LISTEN TO THE STORY</strong></em></a></p><p>This research was&nbsp;<a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b05058">published in the Environmental Science and Technology</a>&nbsp;journal.</p><p>Robert Letcher is one of the study&#39;s authors. He&rsquo;s a senior research scientist for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ec.gc.ca/cc/">Environment and Climate Change Canada</a>, a department of the Canadian government.</p><p>Letcher says his team tested trout samples from seven different sites throughout the Great Lakes. They also tested fish from four other lakes in Canada.</p><p>Almost all of the fish his team tested had detectable levels of the&nbsp;FBSA chemical in their bodies. Thirty-two of the 33 samples tested came back showing the chemical. To be clear, we&rsquo;re talking low levels here &mdash; parts per billion low.</p><p>Letcher says it was a surprise to find the chemical in fish.</p><p>&ldquo;We were the first ever to find this compound in the environment &mdash; like to demonstrate its presence,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s never been reported before.&rdquo;</p><div><img data-interchange-default="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/default/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-large="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/large/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-medium="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/medium/public/201602/figure_1.png" data-interchange-small="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/small/public/201602/figure_1.png" src="http://michiganradio.org/sites/michigan/files/styles/large/public/201602/figure_1.png" style="height: 247px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The fish sampling sites. (From &quot;A New Flourinated Surfactant Contaminant in Biota&quot;)" /><div><div>The researchers don&rsquo;t know exactly what&rsquo;s happening here. It could be that other chemicals are breaking down into FBSA in the environment. But the chemical might also be coming straight from industrial products.</div></div></div><p>Letcher says some companies started using FBSA to replace a different chemical, called FOSA, or perfluorooctane sulfonamide. Studies showed that chemical was breaking down, and part of it was building up in the food web.</p><p>In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency put together an industry-wide agreement to phase that chemical out. So industries replaced it with chemicals like FBSA. And that&rsquo;s the chemical Letcher and his team are now finding in fish.</p><p>He says scientists often have to play catch up to figure out if there are problems with new chemicals brought onto the market.</p><p>&ldquo;When a body of evidence &mdash; scientific evidence &mdash; builds up great enough to basically render a negative decision against a compound, and it gets regulated or what have you, companies phase these compounds out and they look for alternatives which to use that are safer, but also to serve their purpose,&rdquo; Letcher says.</p><p><strong>Unknown Effects</strong></p><p>He says research into FBSA is so new, they just don&rsquo;t know much about what this might mean for fish or for people who eat the fish.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s completely impossible to tell, because nobody&rsquo;s done anything regarding toxicology,&rdquo; Letcher says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s usually the way things go. Somebody like us, we find a new chemical, and in this case in fish. And obviously a lot of aquatic fish toxicologists out there are going, &lsquo;Well, we should really try to understand what this chemical could be doing to the fish.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Letcher says one of the next steps is to look at other species in the food web. That way his team can figure out if this chemical is building up in other creatures.</p><p>The American Chemistry Council said the FBSA chemical is not made by any of its<a href="https://www.americanchemistry.com/Membership/MemberCompanies">member companies</a>, and was therefore unwilling to comment.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout#stream/0"><em> via Michigan Radio</em></a></p></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 09:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/industrial-chemical-finds-its-way-great-lakes-trout-114670 Ferry-tale: Could a Chicago-to-Michigan Ferry Return from Extinction? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/ferry-tale-could-chicago-michigan-ferry-return-extinction-114151 <p><p>Barbara Laing is a vibrant, five-cups-of-coffee-a-day kind of person. And that caffeine does not go to waste; Barbara owns and operates a small <a href="http://paintedlightphotoframing.com/" target="_blank">photography and framing shop</a> in Chicago&rsquo;s West Andersonville neighborhood, and she has to hustle to keep all the balls in the air.</p><p>Come summertime, Barbara needs a breather. An escape. So, occasionally she&rsquo;ll set aside a weekend and venture to Southwestern Michigan to get away from the stress of her business and to-do lists: &ldquo;I just love to kind of poke around. I love to relax ... take walks down by the lake. There&rsquo;s lots of beautiful rocks that you find on Lake Michigan over there on the sands.&rdquo;</p><p>But when Barbara gets in her car to head back to Chicago on Sunday, I-94 looks more like a parking lot than a freeway. That&rsquo;s when her internal dialogue begins: &ldquo;I&#39;m just like, take yourself out of this moment, keep your eyes on the road, but just remember that walk you took on the lake. Remember that nice meal you had ... and remember it will be over in, oh, I don&#39;t know, three or four hours.&rdquo;</p><p>One day while strolling along Lake Michigan, Barbara dreamed of an alternate way to make the trip, and asked us to investigate: &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Has there ever been a ferry between Chicago and Michigan, and why isn&#39;t there one now?</em></p><p>Barbara has always had a certain reverence for Lake Michigan (&ldquo;It&#39;s kind of poetic to be out on the water,&rdquo; she says), but even if you don&rsquo;t share her feelings, you&rsquo;ve probably been stuck in a horrible car trip at some point and can relate to rooting for an alternative.</p><p>So could a lake ferry be that alternative &mdash; a waterborne savior, if you will? Are your finger&rsquo;s crossed?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">When Lake Michigan was Chicago&rsquo;s superhighway</span></p><p>Turns out, there was an alternative! It&rsquo;s just that, at the time, people called them steamers, not ferries.</p><p>In the mid-19th century, back before cars or trucks paved roads, the Great Lakes were the region&rsquo;s superhighways. Grand steamships darted from harbor to harbor, making money by moving products and people.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20The-excursion-boat-Theodore-Roosevelt-heads-east-under-the-State-Street-bridge-in-1910.jpg" style="height: 395px; width: 620px;" title="The excursion boat Theodore Roosevelt heads east under the State Street bridge in 1910. (Source: The Lost Panoramas, published by CityFiles Press) " /></div><p>Ted Karamanski, a public historian at Loyola University, emphasizes that both revenue streams were vital to the profitability of the steamship industry.</p><p>&ldquo;These were steamships that carried excursionists out for a day of fun on Lake Michigan, or they would carry light manufacturing goods and then, of course &hellip; fresh fruit from Southwest Michigan to the Chicago produce markets,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>In the 1880&rsquo;s, passenger traffic was thriving. There were two different kinds of tourists on the lake: the daytrippers and the overnighters.</p><p>Daytrippers went from &ldquo;Chicago to Michigan City, or Chicago to St. Joseph, relatively short three, four, five hour trips&rdquo; across the lake, says Karamanski. St. Joseph, Michigan, even became known as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/travel/lake-michigan-tour.html" target="_blank">Chicago&rsquo;s Coney Island</a>. People would picnic and lounge and splash about and then jump on the boat at 5:00 p.m. and be back in Chicago by nightfall.</p><p>The overnighters took 12-hour trips up to Northwest Michigan, bringing tourists to destinations like Grand Traverse Bay, Little Traverse Bay, even some to Mackinac Island for longer stays, Karamanski says. These were usually wealthy travelers who could afford to spend weeks or even months away from the city. &nbsp;</p><p>But not all of the region&rsquo;s tourists traveled simply to unwind. Before antihistamines, many Chicagoans escaped their allergies in the crisp air of Northern Michigan. Little tent cities popped up along the shore; they were called &ldquo;achoo clubs.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They would usually be organized by different religious denominations,&rdquo; Karamanski explains. &ldquo;So the <a href="http://www.bayviewassociation.org/" target="_blank">Methodists</a> would have a club where people could go, and the Presbyterians would be in another place, the Baptists somewhere else.&rdquo; That way, husbands who stayed in the city for the summer to work could rest assured that their wives and children were escaping the heat and histamines in a safe, morally righteous place. Over time the small tent colonies developed into clusters of cottages, and eventually those cottages became enormous Victorian manors.</p><p>At the turn of the last century, Petoskey was just one of the many popular destinations that catered to Chicago tourists along the northern shoreline of Michigan. (Fun fact: In 1882 the Western Hay Fever Association christened Petoskey as its official headquarters.)</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/petoskey%20image2.png" style="height: 366px; width: 620px;" title="A postcard from the New Arlington Hotel, in Petoskey, Michigan, where many Chicagoans flocked in the summer months to escape the summer heat and histamines. (WBEZ/Courtesy of Little Traverse Bay History Museum)" /></div><p>Jane Garver, Co-Executive Director of the Little Traverse Bay Historical Museum in Petoskey, imagines the area offered a literal breath of fresh air to jaded Chicagoans: &ldquo;If I got off the boat from Chicago &hellip; I would be so relieved to arrive here on Little Traverse Bay: cool breezes, a beautiful area, million-dollar sunsets, and plenty to do without being so overwhelming that you wouldn&#39;t know what to do.&rdquo;</p><p>There was an opera house and dance halls and tea rooms &mdash; you name it.</p><p>&ldquo;People might be surprised to know that there were so many well-known names that visited here,&rdquo; Garver says. &ldquo;In fact, I&#39;m surprised when I go through records and see ... &lsquo;Oh yes, Amelia Earhart, she came here and spoke here.&rsquo;&rdquo; <a href="http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/onstage/wrldtr6.html" target="_blank">Mark Twain</a> gave a lecture, and <a href="http://www.petoskeyarea.com/ernest-hemingway-192/" target="_blank">Ernest Hemingway</a> wiled away his childhood summers at his family&rsquo;s cottage. The list goes on.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The decline of steamships</span></p><p>But, you should know, a voyage on a steamship was not all fun and games. Karamanski noted that, in high winds, it could get a little bouncy on the lake, &ldquo;which could make this nice little cruise ship what sometimes they used to call a vomit comet.&rdquo;</p><p>And sometimes, the boats were just plain unsafe. Like the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-eastland-disaster-kc-met-0726-20150725-story.html" target="_blank">S.S. Eastland</a>. You may have heard about this: On July 24, 1915, about 2,500 people boarded the Eastland for Western Electric Company&rsquo;s annual employee picnic when the boat <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2015/02/26/more_graphic_footage_of_eastland_di.php" target="_blank">tipped into the murky Chicago River</a>.</p><p>844 people died in the accident, 20 feet from dry land. &ldquo;You would think that this might be sort of the death knell of steamships,&rdquo; Karamanski explains. &ldquo;But it wasn&#39;t.&rdquo;</p><p>Cars were.</p><p>Steamships took a huge hit after the introduction of the automobile. People and products &mdash; the two legs that the steamship industry stood upon &mdash; were no longer bound to the waterways. Karamanski emphasizes that not everyone defected from the steamers right away: &ldquo;Steamers were still very popular through the early &lsquo;20s, but beginning in about 1925, we see a steep decline in the number of people traveling by steamship, and this is tied to the improvement of roads, particularly in Michigan. Since Michigan was the center for the automotive business, they invested a lot of money in good, modern roads.&rdquo;</p><p>And, over time, it only got worse. During the 1950s, the interstate highway system began to zigzag across the nation. As infrastructure improved, more and more people abandoned lake ferries in favor of their cars.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/ferry-tale-could-chicago-michigan-ferry-return-extinction-114151#mapnotes"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ferry%20graphic5.png" style="height: 444px; width: 620px;" title="This map depicts 1947 and 2015 travel times from Chicago to St. Joseph and South Haven, Michigan, via ferry and car travel. For details on data and sources, click on image. " /></a></div><p>There were consequences for people and communities on both sides of the lake.</p><p>Karamanski believes Chicagoans lost a historic, intimate connection to the lake, which had helped the city develop in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;Just steps away from the pavement of Chicago, we got three-hundred miles of wilderness, an alien environment, which if you don&#39;t take care, it will kill you,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Most Chicagoans just don&#39;t appreciate that. It&#39;s just taken for granted like the water in our taps.&rdquo;</p><p>On the Michigan side of the equation, Garver says that the highways drastically changed the face of Petoskey. Back in the day, &ldquo;when travelers arrived by steamship or by train here ... they had their choice of 15 different luxury hotels,&rdquo; all centrally located in the heart of downtown. Since the age of the automobile, all but one of the those 15 hotels either went out of business or burned down and was never rebuilt. Today, plenty of hotels dot the interstate on the way into town, hoping to be the first place you see well before you reach Petoskey&rsquo;s historic city center.</p><p>The ferry-less fate of the Chicago region was sealed in 1958 with the completion of the <a href="http://www.chicagoskyway.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Skyway</a>. As Karmanski explains, the Skyway was &ldquo;designed specifically to get people, fast, from downtown Chicago via the Dan Ryan Expressway to Southwest Michigan. So why take a boat when you can do it in an hour and a half?&rdquo;</p><p>But these days, in bad traffic, that same trip might take closer to three hours. Which leads one to wonder: Could ferries make a comeback?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Is there a case to be made for a Chicago lake ferry revival?</span></p><p>Remember: Questioner Barbara Laing&rsquo;s interest in the history of lake ferries is not simply nostalgic. She&rsquo;s a business woman and she knows a money-making opportunity when she sees one.</p><p>&ldquo;Here&#39;s the thing,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;As a small business owner, you look for business ventures, and you think well what else could I do?&rdquo;</p><p>A Chicago ferry came to mind, she says, but, &ldquo;I don&#39;t have a captain&#39;s license, so it&#39;s not within my realm of experience. But somebody should do it.&rdquo;</p><p>After all, there are two ferries that operate on the lake today. <a href="http://www.lake-express.com/">Lake Express</a> runs from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Muskegon, Michigan. <a href="http://www.ssbadger.com/" target="_blank">The S.S. Badger</a> operates between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan. It stands to reason that Chicago, with its lakeside location and enormous metropolitan population, brimming with potential customers, could have a modern ferry service, too.</p><p>Right?</p><p>Wrong, says Ken Szallai, president and founder of Lake Express. His professional opinion: &ldquo;Running a ferry parallel to the interstate highway system is not a feasible ferry operation.&rdquo;</p><p>Szallai explains that a Chicago ferry would compete with the interstate and <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/michigan-services-train" target="_blank">Amtrak&rsquo;s Pere Marquette line</a>. Milwaukee&rsquo;s ferry doesn&rsquo;t have that problem; the Lake Express&rsquo; route is a straight shot across the water, which helps customers cut out hundreds of miles of travel around the lake.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20lake%20express.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Lake Express is a high-speed ferry from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Muskegon, Michigan. President and founder Ken Szallai says the business is feasible from Milwaukee, but would compete too much with the Interstate if he opened up shop in Chicago. (Flickr/Lake Express)" /></div><p>Szallai says when you factor in the fierce competition, plus operating expenses and the short operating season thanks to the region&rsquo;s fierce winter &hellip; Well, he&rsquo;s not going to invest in a Chicago ferry anytime soon.</p><p>But that hasn&rsquo;t stopped other people from trying. Douglas Callaghan of Grand Rapids, Michigan, chuckles when asked about a business venture he pioneered over a decade ago: &ldquo;Oh yes, the infamous ferry.&rdquo;</p><p>Why was it infamous, you might be wondering? &ldquo;Well, because it never made it into the water,&rdquo; Callaghan retorts.</p><p>In 2003 and 2004, Callaghan&rsquo;s small company, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-01-12/news/0301120281_1_lake-michigan-passenger-and-vehicle-ferry-new-york-harbor" target="_blank">LEF Corp (Lake Express Ferry)</a>, attempted to reinstate a ferry service between Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier and Benton Harbor in St. Joseph, Michigan. They conducted a <a href="http://www.sname.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=b07d8b5d-54a8-4577-9203-a3d728680a19" target="_blank">feasibility study</a>, analyzing travel demand and what type of boat would be best suited to the project. And, as Callaghan puts it, &ldquo;there were about five super-rich lovers of catamarans &mdash; not all American &mdash; who invested in our proposal.&rdquo;</p><p>Kim Gallagher of the <a href="http://www.swmpc.org/" target="_blank">Southwestern Michigan Planning Commission</a> was a consultant on LEF Corp&rsquo;s proposal at the time. She remembers that the local community was delighted when investors were brought in for a tour of the port: &ldquo;The Benton Harbor, St. Joseph area was very supportive of the project because it offered an additional mode of transportation to get around the lake in two and half hours.&rdquo;</p><p>Both Gallagher and Callaghan agree that the primary reason for the proposal&rsquo;s failure originated on the other side of the lake. &ldquo;I think somewhere along the line, a message came down from on high in Chicago that said we&rsquo;re not going to do it,&rdquo; Callaghan recalls. &ldquo;Every time we turned around, another issue would come up.&rdquo;</p><p>After awhile, it became clear to Callaghan that the proposal was dead in the water and LEF Corp disbanded.</p><p>When asked to comment on the reasons that Callaghan&rsquo;s proposal fell through, Nick Shields, Director of Communications for Navy Pier, Inc., has this to say: &ldquo;It is our understanding that the company went out of business in 2004 and we did not receive a final proposal before then.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Shields affirms that Navy Pier remains open to the idea of a ferry revival: &ldquo;Yes, Navy Pier, Inc. would consider a future investor&rsquo;s proposal. We view the idea as a unique opportunity to bring new visitors to Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Who knows? If maritime technology improves and ferries get faster while Chicago-area traffic gets worse, and global warming heats up the planet and eliminates our icy winters, maybe, just maybe, someone will revive a Chicago-Michigan ferry.</p><p>Should that day come, Barbara Laing will be the first in line to go out on the water and float all the way to Michigan, just like the generations of Chicagoans before her: &ldquo;It&#39;s something that people long to do, I think. If there&#39;s water there, you want to go out in it.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20chloe%20and%20barbara.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Reporter Chloe Prasinos and questioner Barbara Laing at WBEZ. (Logan Jaffe/WBEZ)" /></div><p><em>Chloe Prasinos is an independent reporter and producer based in Chicago. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/chloeprasinos" target="_blank">@chloeprasinos</a>.</em></p><hr /><div><strong><a name="mapnotes"></a>Notes on map:</strong></div><div><p dir="ltr">Ferry travel times for 1947 were calculated with an average speed of 19 mph and based on the routes depicted in <a href="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1947/04/24/page/7/article/how-ferry-would-cut-mileage/" target="_blank">a related infographic from <em>Chicago Tribune</em> archives</a>. Ferry travel times for 2015 were calculated with an average speed of 35 mph and informed by our interview with Ken Szallai, president and founder of the Lake Express ferry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Car travel routes from Chicago (Navy Pier) to St. Joseph and South Haven, Michigan, depict general directions, not exact directions over specific streets, highways and interstates. The 1947 route includes US 41 and Red Arrow Highway, with an average speed of 45 mph established in consultation with Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University&rsquo;s <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/centers-and-institutes/chaddick-institute-for-metropolitan-development/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development</a>. The 2015 car travel time was suggested by Google Maps with a route via I-90/94.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the timeframe during which the U.S. Interstate Highway System affected transportation options and habits. The correct decade for delineating the start of that program is the 1950s. &nbsp;</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 17:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/ferry-tale-could-chicago-michigan-ferry-return-extinction-114151 Montreal dumping 2.1 billion gallons of sewage into St. Lawrence River http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-11/montreal-dumping-21-billion-gallons-sewage-st-lawrence-river-113741 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1111_st-lawrence-river-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95932"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="A freighter is sailing in the St. Lawrence River on July, 18th along L'ïle d'orléans Island (Québec, Canada). Just after midnight this morning, the city of Montreal began dumping raw, untreated sewage into this main waterway. Over the next six days, the city will dump more than 2 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the river, which runs from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. (Clement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1111_st-lawrence-river-624x416.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A freighter is sailing in the St. Lawrence River on July, 18th along L’ïle d’orléans Island of Québec, Canada. Just after midnight this morning, the city of Montreal began dumping raw, untreated sewage into this main waterway. Over the next six days, the city will dump more than 2 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the river, which runs from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. (Clement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images)" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>Just after midnight this morning, the city of Montreal began dumping raw, untreated sewage into its main waterway, the St. Lawrence River. Over the next six days, the city will dump around 2.1 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the river, which runs from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, along part of the U.S.-Canada border.</p><p>Here &amp; Now&lsquo;s Jeremy Hobson talks with&nbsp;Tracey Lindeman&nbsp;of the CBC in Montreal, about why the city is dumping so much sewage into the river, and what the environmental implications could be.</p><p><strong><em><a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/st-lawrence-montreal-sewage-dump-underway-1.3313623" target="_blank">Read more via&nbsp;the CBC</a></em></strong></p></p> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-11/montreal-dumping-21-billion-gallons-sewage-st-lawrence-river-113741 EcoMyths: Nutrients pollution in the Great Lakes http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-nutrients-pollution-great-lakes-114729 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/EcoMyths-Great Lakes.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-d1bb12dd-b31c-386c-48e6-c8cbc3807f42">Our relatively &ldquo;clean&rdquo; drinking water in the U.S. leads many to believe that the best place to clean our water may be at the local treatment plant. But EcoMyths Alliance says that may not be the case and that this year has seen &ldquo;a sea change in how we understand and begin to better address nutrient pollution in the Great Lakes.&rdquo; Kate Sackman from <a href="http://ecomyths.org/">EcoMyths Alliance</a> will talk about what she calls the &nbsp;&ldquo;war on nutrient pollution&rdquo; with Joel Brammeier, executive director at <a href="http://www.greatlakes.org/">Alliance for the Great Lakes</a> and Paul Botts, executive director of <a href="http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/">The Wetlands Initiative</a>.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/230364493&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe>This year has seen a sea change in how we understand and begin to better address <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/nutrientpollution">nutrient pollution</a> in the Great Lakes. We&#39;ll discuss the new updates in the war on nutrient pollution, beginning with the basics of the problem and then exploring unfolding solutions&mdash;from two complementary perspectives.</p><p><strong>Outcome: </strong>Busted. The most effective place to stop nutrient pollution is to stop it before it goes off the farmland in the first place. Anything else is like a band-aid.</p><p><strong>Nutrient Pollution 101</strong></p><p>Huge swaths of the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system are choked with nutrient pollution, that is: over-abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus in water is creating anoxic conditions</p><p>Why? Factories they may <em>look</em> like the polluters, (ie ,those smokestacks in Gary), but today agricultural runoff is #1 source, at least in the Midwest/Farm Belt. &quot;Agricultural nutrient pollution is arguably the biggest water-quality issue of our time and place,&quot; says Botts. We&#39;re growing more food than ever, plus more effective fertilizer and field tiling means more nutrients running off into water, without strong requirements from the Clean Water Act to keep it in check.</p><p>Problems of this are becoming more evident, from public health to economic to environmental. Many Great Lakes residents all too familiar with notices of water that&#39;s unsafe to swim in or even drink, and fishing and tourism industries have taken a hit.</p><p>Impact is local&mdash;and beyond. Midwestern agricultural nutrient pollution runs two different ways, with huge but differing impacts through the Great Lakes system and Mississippi River basin.</p><p><strong>&quot;Sea Change&quot; in last year</strong></p><p>Big algal blooms in last year around the region, including S. Illinois, when people were being told not to go in the water, and of course Toledo&#39;s infamous drinking water disaster last summer, continue to make headlines.</p><p><u>The good news</u> is farmers are listening, and TWI has noted a sea change in their interest in helping, as well as public interest in the topic. Toledo/Pelee Island was a wake-up call, as was a recent lawsuit in Des Moines against some of the farm communities.</p><p>&middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Rising costs for cities to treat polluted water: evidenced by Des Moines lawsuit against rural farms</p><p>&middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Toledo/Pelee Island water crisis last summer</p><p>&middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ontario, MI and OH <a href="http://windsorstar.com/uncategorized/ontario-michigan-and-ohio-pledge-40-phosphorus-cut-to-reduce-algal-blooms">pledged to cut phosphorus by 40%.</a></p><p>&middot;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; More visible pollution, such as the massive algal bloom seen this summer in Southern Illinois</p><p><strong>The sensitive topic of farmers: A note</strong></p><p>Farms are causing this, but as Botts says, but they also don&#39;t want to be the villains. They consider themselves stewards of the land. Challenges they face are: it&#39;s expensive to change, it&#39;s risky to change, and, often, the problems seem so far they may simply not connect their practices to the pollution problems further downstream.</p><p>For example, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana are numbers 1, 2 and 3 as sources of the excessive nutrients flowing out of the mouth of the Mississippi to create a <a href="http://ecomyths.org/2009/07/01/what-happens-and-pollutes-in-chicago-stays-in-chicago/">Dead Zone</a>. Meanwhile in W. Lake Erie, the polluting farms are as much as 200 miles away from the people in Toledo being affected by the drinking water crisis.</p><p><strong>Solutions</strong></p><p>Millions of tons of pollutants won&#39;t clean themselves up. We have to stop it at the source&mdash;which in this region&#39;s case, means stopping it at the farm through a suite of tactics that can include:</p><ul><li>Wetland development &ndash; with the right landscape, other factors (eg: TWI&#39;s constructed wetland time-lapse <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoHvnTtouEg&amp;feature=youtu.be">video</a>)</li><li>Buffer strips</li><li>Smart fertilization&hellip;ie, how, how much and when you apply</li><li>Regionally apt solutions, eg, Ohio banned the spreading of the manure on frozen ground</li><li>Federal and state policy, such as A4GL-supported 40% bill</li><li>Public and private partnerships, such as TWI and farm-growers</li></ul><p><strong>One Green Thing</strong></p><p>Explore your local river.</p><p>Joel: just getting in a canoe &ndash; in a creek downstate is an act of support for clean water. Paul can reco tributaries if desired!</p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 09:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-nutrients-pollution-great-lakes-114729 Michigan tribes make efforts to save native language http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/michigan-tribes-make-efforts-save-native-language-113298 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1012_native-language-immersion-624x427.jpg" title="Two-year-olds at the Sasiwaans language immersion school in Mt. Pleasant get a lesson in the Native American tradition of smudging. (Emily Fox/Michigan Radio)" /></div><p>The language that was spoken by Native American tribes in Michigan is nearing extinction in the state. Some communities have no fluent speakers; others have one or two elders who still speak fluently.</p><p>But as&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/foxontheradio" target="_blank">Emily Fox</a>&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;contributor Michigan Radio reports, there are efforts to prevent the language &ndash; Anishinaabemowin &ndash; from going extinct, including an immersion school for young children.</p><p><strong><em><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/what-some-tribes-michigan-are-doing-stop-their-native-language-going-extinct#stream/0" target="_blank">Read more via Michigan Radio</a></em></strong></p><p><strong><em>&mdash;</em></strong><em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/12/michigan-tribes-language"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/michigan-tribes-make-efforts-save-native-language-113298 Mystery boat: Alone and idle in a waterlogged corner of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/mystery-boat-alone-and-idle-waterlogged-corner-chicago-112735 <p><p>There is something incongruous, maybe even outlandish, about seeing a big rusty ship from a freeway in America&rsquo;s Breadbasket.</p><p>Have you ever seen it? The 620-foot vessel docked up on the Calumet River under the Illinois International Port sign, clearly visible by anyone driving north on the Bishop Ford Expressway.</p><p>Our questioner, Chicagoan Samantha Kruse, saw it while out on her uncle&rsquo;s boat. They&rsquo;d set out for a leisurely cruise on the Calumet River when, there she blew: a giant old hulk of a ship. Seemingly abandoned. Covered in rust.</p><p>She joked with her uncle that it was likely haunted and filled with ghosts. But ultimately, she wondered, &ldquo;What is the deal with that ship?&rdquo;</p><p>So she came to Curious City for help. (As did two other people who asked about this boat).</p><p>An answer, though? This turned out to be a bit of a head scratcher. Initial research brought up very little. And most people we asked had absolutely no clue. Even the security guard who guards the Port&rsquo;s entrance, where the ship is docked, had no idea why the boat was there. He just knew it never moved.</p><p>But we do have an account of the boat&rsquo;s predicament, one that reveals a lot about the fate of a regional industry as well as a waterlogged corner of the city that &mdash; when it&rsquo;s not just passed up entirely &mdash; is probably best known for heavy industry, as well as black clouds of swirling <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-city-move-crack-down-petcoke-chicago-109412">petroleum coke pollution</a> or a <a href="http://www.calumetfisheries.com/">colorful shack that produces famous smoked shrimp and sturgeon</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The mystery boat, uncovered</span></p><p>Our research produced a name for the vessel: <a href="http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/ctcno1.htm" target="_blank">the C.T.C No. 1</a>.</p><p>The C.T.C No. 1 &mdash; just the latest in a string of five names given by each new owner &mdash; was built in 1942 and moved iron ore to steel mills throughout the Great Lakes. It was wartime, and the country was hungry for raw materials to produce more ships, tanks and aircraft. The ship continued to ferry bulk materials around the Great Lakes until 1980, when it was converted into a cement storage facility, a job it stopped doing in 2009.</p><p>So, clearly the ship had been useful at one point, but what was it doing now? And why didn&rsquo;t it ever move?</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m13!1m8!1m3!1d3325.873456615632!2d-87.58940332364065!3d41.666989634240146!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m2!1m1!1s0x880e26c7283a4ef7%3A0x614fbf32bcd2ea29!5e1!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1440623973334" style="border:0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Even in the Google age, you can&rsquo;t get a succinct account of why the boat&rsquo;s idle. To get a fuller picture, I interviewed people in the ship&rsquo;s neighborhood, a sleepy industrial swath on the city&rsquo;s Southeast Side that&rsquo;s home steel processing facilities, the Ford Motor Co. plant, as well as yacht clubs and tugboat companies.</p><p>I got some of the most useful information from the<a href="http://www.chicagoshipmasters.com/"> International Shipmasters Association</a>, which, lucky for me, was holding its monthly meeting at Georgie&rsquo;s Tavern on 134th Street. Several members said the boat had been a mystery to them, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve heard the question many, many, many times,&rdquo; said Marshal Bundren, the chaplain of the shipmasters local. &ldquo;Because there is a great big ship and here we are in the middle of the Midwest on a ten-lane highway driving by. Why is that there?&rdquo;</p><p>But Bob Hansen, the shipmasters secretary, was familiar with the mystery boat and its history.</p><p>&ldquo;[It&rsquo;s the] Bethlehem Steel boat,&rdquo; he said, referring to an earlier owner. &ldquo;It says C.T.C. 1 on it because they use it for storing cement.&rdquo; (The C.T.C comes from its time in service for Cement Transit Co. of Detroit.)</p><p>Hansen went on to say, in rapid-fire succession, what our earlier research had shown: that the ship was built in 1942 and was used to move iron ore throughout the Great Lakes during World War II.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s empty and there is no place for her to go. She has no home,&rdquo; Hansen said. He went on to explain that the walls of the ship contain asbestos, <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/learn-about-asbestos#asbestos">a highly carcinogenic mineral fiber once commonly used for insulation and fireproofing</a>. Scrapping the boat, he added, would likely require expensive safety procedures.</p><p>And with the shipping industry as it is, struggling, it was too expensive to justify the rehab.</p><p>&ldquo;So for the moment it&rsquo;s sitting,&rdquo; he said of the vessel.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="410" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=400&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;speed=stop&amp;setId=72157657382651669&amp;click=true&amp;caption=on&amp;credit=2&amp;trans=1&amp;theme=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why it doesn&rsquo;t shove off</span></p><p>Scott Bravener, the president of Grand River Navigation, who owns the C.T.C. No. 1, assured me that the asbestos is well contained, though its future is unknown. He said it would cost the company roughly $30 million to rehabilitate the ship and integrate it back into the company&rsquo;s fleet as a working barge. (The boat no longer has an engine.) The company already owns three of its sister ships. And with the C.T.C.&rsquo;s hull still in relatively good condition, the ship acts almost like an insurance policy if something goes wrong with one of the other vessels.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also pretty inexpensive to keep it where it is. According to the Port, Grand River pays $600 per month to keep the C.T.C. No.1 docked there.</p><p>But, according to Bravener, the ultimate reason the ship sits idle is because there isn&rsquo;t enough demand to justify putting it into service, a view corroborated by William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago specializing in manufacturing and shipping on the Great Lakes.</p><p>Strauss said softness in the shipping industry is due to sluggish global growth and a lack of investment in the country&rsquo;s infrastructure for shipping.</p><p>&ldquo;Low commodity prices [and] some struggle with regard to growth of different markets for commodities, has really left a challenge to justify the expenditure,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Overall, the shipping industry is still relatively active, but the Port of Chicago is not the economic engine it once was. According to a 2011 report, the most recent data available, the Port generates nearly 2,700 jobs, 25 percent less than it did nearly a decade prior. And the jobs the Port creates indirectly have dropped by 22 percent over the same period. Industry-wide, shipping on the Great Lakes faces headwinds, due to the phasing out of coal and a steel industry that has yet to return to its pre-Recession peak. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an industry that will never die. But it will never get better,&rdquo; Hansen said. &ldquo;It just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. As we lose our steel. As we lose our cement. As we lose our coal.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, marine transport is the most economic way to get cargo from one place to another &mdash; <a href="http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11134.pdf">far cheaper than trucking and even rail</a>.</p><p>But a struggling manufacturing sector mixed with low commodity prices, means ships like the C.T.C. No. 1 are left waiting in the wings, stuck in a kind of limbo where they&rsquo;re too valuable to ditch, but not useful enough to repair.</p><p>However, there is one thing working in the favor of Great Lakes shipping. Despite the rusty look of the ship, Strauss said the fresh water of the Great Lakes is forgiving on vessels, nearly tripling their lifespan compared to their ocean-going counterparts. Boats like C.T.C. No. 1 have the possibility of being reintroduced to fleet, even after years spent idle.</p><p>When I told our questioner, Samantha Kruse, that her mystery ship was not abandoned, but just empty and unused, she wasn&rsquo;t all that surprised. &ldquo;I think that is where I thought it was heading,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>What&rsquo;s more, she said she&rsquo;s glad to be reminded that the Calumet River isn&rsquo;t just for recreational boating. That in fact, there is an active shipping industry still there.</p><p>&ldquo;There are all these people working on barges. It&rsquo;s not something I think about everyday,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>One thing she is a little bummed about, she said: &ldquo;That I probably can&rsquo;t make the boat into an awesome haunted house one day.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/samanthastudio.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Questioner Samantha Kruse at the WBEZ studios. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">More about our questioner</span></p><p>Samantha Kruse grew up in the South suburb of Lansing, Illinois. The 27-year-old program adviser at the University of Illinois at Chicago said she noticed the ship &mdash; never moving, always there &mdash; for years. But it wasn&rsquo;t until she saw the mammoth ship from the waterside that her curiosity peaked.\</p><p>She tried the usual Googling spree, but couldn&rsquo;t find much of anything. Only one article that referred to it as simply, &ldquo;a rusted boat.&rdquo; Clearly, she knew that already.</p><p>&ldquo;I was so fascinated that this whole other part of Chicago existed that I never really thought about,&rdquo; Kruse says, referring to the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. &ldquo;Then we came close to that rusted boat and I was like what&rsquo;s the deal with that boat.&rdquo;</p><p>Her family has always been big boaters, but even they didn&rsquo;t know anything about the ship. &ldquo;It was accepted. It was just there,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Kruse lives in Logan Square with her rescue dog. She says she&rsquo;s glad to know the ship had a past, though she&rsquo;s not all that surprised it&rsquo;s idle and empty.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to know she had a name and where she was from &hellip; and people cared about her,&rdquo; she says.</p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/mystery-boat-alone-and-idle-waterlogged-corner-chicago-112735 Just another bull shark story http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/just-another-bull-shark-story-112347 <p><p>It&rsquo;s the kind of &ldquo;fact&rdquo; that makes you blink and wonder if you read it correctly. The Global Shark Attack File, a listing of every documented shark attack in recent history, compiled by the non-profit Shark Research Institute, <a href="http://www.sharkattackdata.com/gsaf/attack/united_states_of_america/illinois/1955.00.00.c" target="_blank">lists a shark attack in Lake Michigan in 1955</a>. The details are thin. The name of the victim: George Lawson. The species: bull shark. Lawson was bitten on the right leg. The bite was unprovoked and non-fatal.</p><p>It sounds impossible, right? Sharks live in the oceans, and while you sometimes hear of them in brackish rivers, Lake Michigan is nearly 2,000 navigational miles from the nearest ocean. The story persists in various <a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/09/22/chicago-mythbusters/" target="_blank">mythbusting columns</a>, and while most experts think the story is probably an urban legend, Chicagoans keep bringing it up. Curious City got two very similar questions, one from Adam Kovac of Chicago, and another from Hilary Winiarz of Hawthorn Woods. Winarz&rsquo;s wording summons the frustration of many Chicagoans about the ongoing lack of a satisfying answer.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Can we please get a final ruling on whether or not one young George Lawson was actually attacked by a shark, in Lake Michigan in 1955?</em></p><p>We&rsquo;d love to help Hillary, Adam, and the unsatisfied masses. The problem is, there&rsquo;s very little evidence either way. And it can be very difficult to prove that something did NOT happen. Nevertheless, we took a three-pronged approach to answering this question.</p><p>Approach 1: Find a witness or participant in the event itself.</p><p>Approach 2: Locate the original source of the story, and evaluate its reliability.</p><p>Approach 3: Examine the scientific plausibility of a mature bull shark entering Lake Michigan, surviving long enough to attack a person in 1955.</p><p>Following this trajectory, we found a few clues about the origins of the story, and learned that a shark in Lake Michigan may not be as implausible as you would think.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Approach 1: Can I get a witness?</span></p><p>The Shark Research Institute sent us the names of the two people involved in the Lake Michigan shark attack; the victim, a boy named George Lawson, and the rescuer, John Adler. We searched public records for those names (including spelling variations) in the Chicago area, and found two George Lawsons and two John Adlers who could have been the right age in 1955; the Lawsons would have been under 16 and the Adlers over 18. We called the listed phone numbers. One phone line was disconnected, and we left messages on the other three. We heard from one respondent that he was NOT the John Adler we were looking for. Nobody else returned our calls. It seems clear that if a remaining John Adler or George Lawson were involved in a shark attack, they were not interested in discussing it with Curious City. Nor does it appear that any George Lawson or John Adler has ever given an interview about the shark attack.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Approach 2: Where did this bull shark story come from anyway?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/man eating sharks book.jpg" style="float: right; height: 328px; width: 250px;" title="The book Man-Eating sharks, which we purchased for exactly 1 cent. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe) " />The Global Shark Attack database actually does list a source as &ldquo;F. Dennis P &nbsp;52&rdquo;. After a little sleuthing, we found a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Man-Eating-Sharks-Terrifying-Compilati/dp/0706405544/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1436195032&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=man-eating+sharks" target="_blank">picture book</a> published in 1975 called Man-Eating Sharks: a Terrifying Compilation of Shark-Attacks, Shark-facts and Shark-Legend! &ldquo;F. Dennis&rdquo; refers to <a href="http://www.felixdennis.com/" target="_blank">Felix Dennis,</a> who, as it turns out, is a famous and eccentric book and magazine publisher in the UK. He is known for founding several successful magazines including Maxim, Blender, PC World, and several others.</p><p>Unfortunately, he died of cancer in 2014, but his estate kindly put Curious City in touch with one of the authors of Man-Eating Sharks, Christopher Rowley, now based in upstate New York. Rowley remembers the book quite clearly: &ldquo;Felix wanted to carve out a chunk of the enormous money flowing due to the Jaws phenomenon in 1975.&rdquo;, he says.</p><p>Of course, he means Steven Spielberg&rsquo;s mega-hit film, which sparked tremendous fascination and fear of sharks. In the midst of the Jaws craze, Dennis hired Rowley and two other writers to find out everything they could about sharks. &ldquo;When Felix wanted something like that, it was like crash diving,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Klaxons are roaring, go out and buy everything you can. It was all about being nimble and quick in those days.&rdquo;</p><p>Rowley spent five weeks at the library, reading about sharks, compiling information, and writing passages of the book. He doesn&rsquo;t remember where the story of the Lake Michigan shark attack comes from, but definitely recalls reading about bull sharks. He admits they may have made up some of the details &mdash; fast and loose fact-finding didn&rsquo;t begin with the internet age &mdash; but doesn&rsquo;t think they made up that particular story. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s too much little detail there,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;On the other hand, I can&rsquo;t remember how much invention went into it, and how much we found in the libraries.&rdquo;</p><p>So if you believe Rowley, it suggests there may be another mysterious source of the Lake Michigan shark attack, possibly in another newspaper or magazine somewhere. If so, nobody involved with Man-Eating Sharks remembers what it was. Or, it&rsquo;s possible Rowley or one of his collaborators just made up the story out of whole cloth, possibly after reading of the bull shark&rsquo;s notorious habit of swimming up freshwater rivers. Which brings us to our next approach ...</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Approach 3: So you&rsquo;re saying there&rsquo;s a chance?</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bullsharkillustration.png" style="height: 421px; width: 620px;" title="While most shark species can only survive in saltwater, bull sharks have the unusual ability to survive in freshwater, too. (Illustration from the book Man-Eating Sharks)" /></p><p>Scientists enjoy a good hypothetical situation, and several we spoke with indulged us by entertaining the possibility of a shark entering and surviving in Lake Michigan. Phil Willink, the Senior Research Scientist at the Shedd Aquarium, says the bull shark &mdash; the kind of shark named in the Global Shark Attack File &mdash; is notorious &nbsp;for entering freshwater: &ldquo;It is able to control the salt and other compounds in its blood, to maintain a balance with the water that&rsquo;s around it, and is able to move back and forth between freshwater and saltwater. So, yes, bull sharks can swim into freshwater and we think they can stay there for several years possibly.&rdquo;</p><p>Furthermore, Willink says bull sharks have been documented as far as 2,000 miles upstream in the Amazon River, a few hundred miles farther than the distance between Lake Michigan and the nearest saltwater. So it is theoretically possible for a bull shark to swim to Lake Michigan, if it could find a viable route.</p><p>One path a shark could take to Lake Michigan is the St. Lawrence seaway, entering the St. Lawrence River north of New Brunswick, Canada, and swimming through Lake Ontario, The Wellend Canal near Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and finally into Lake Michigan. Scientists agree this is probably impossible because of the great distance, the navigational obstacles, and most importantly, because the water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence &nbsp;at the entrance to the Seaway is far too cold for bull sharks. Their <a href="http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/bullshark/bullshark.htm" target="_blank">northernmost range is Massachussets</a>, seven hundred miles to the south.</p><p>The more likely route, according to scientists, would be via the Mississippi River and Illinois River and Canal System. There are few obstacles to prevent a bull shark from reaching the Illinois River, and in fact, bull sharks have been occasionally spotted near St. Louis. But if you&#39;re curious what all it would take for a shark to get from the Mississippi River Delta to Lake Michigan in the first place,<a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.knightlab.com/storymapjs/5f15087581297692d20d2c039b06eb5d/the-more-likely-but-still-unlikely-journey-of-the-shark-that-might-have-attacked-george-lawson-in-lake-michigan-in-1955/index.html" target="_blank"> we&#39;ve put together the details:</a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.knightlab.com/storymapjs/5f15087581297692d20d2c039b06eb5d/the-more-likely-but-still-unlikely-journey-of-the-shark-that-might-have-attacked-george-lawson-in-lake-michigan-in-1955/index.html" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20most%20unlikely%20png.PNG" style="height: 483px; width: 620px;" title="" /></a></div><p>If the shark did somehow manage to get through all eight locks and gates, it would face another immediate problem:The water is too cold. Bull sharks prefer water <a href="http://oceanofk.org/tag/Tagmigrate/ddisttemp.html" target="_blank">warmer than seventy degrees fahrenheit</a>, and Lake Michigan&rsquo;s water is <a href="http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/statistic/avg-sst.php?lk=m&amp;yr=0" target="_blank">only that warm during a few weeks each year</a>. That means the bull shark would have to accomplish all of this in a very short period of time, or, as Kevin Irons points out, find one of the places warm water is discharged into the lake by power plants. Neither Irons nor the Shedd Aquarium&#39;s <a href="http://www.sheddaquarium.org/Conservation--Research/Conservation-Research-Experts/Dr-Phillip-Willink/" target="_blank">Phillip Willink </a>will go so far to say a shark could never make it to Lake Michigan and survive long enough to attack a person, but both consider the odds to be outlandishly high. &nbsp;</p><p>Of course, the shark may have had help. A shark could certainly have been brought to Lake Michigan &nbsp;in a water tank on a truck, an airplane, or helicopter, perhaps in a<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dghbyBaQyI" target="_blank"> similar scenario</a> to the one faced by Batman in the 1966 film, Batman. We know this kind of thing happens, because at least two dead saltwater sharks have been found in Lake Michigan.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/milwaukee2.png" title="One of the two known hoaxes involving sharks in Lake Michigan. (Source: Chicago Tribune, 1969) " /></div></div><p>One was later revealed as a prank, and scientists think the <a href="http://www.neatorama.com/2008/08/30/shark-found-in-lake-michigan/" target="_blank">other</a> may have been a prank, or possibly a discarded pet. Phillip Willink admits the Shedd aquarium has several sharks swimming in tanks just a few feet from the waters of Lake Michigan, but promises &ldquo;We keep them in the building at all times.&rdquo; Kevin Irons allows a baby shark could arrive in a cargo ship&rsquo;s ballast water tank, but it would most likely die in the lake. It would need to survive several years, living through the frigid winters, avoiding predation, until it was large enough to attack a child. Again, all of this is exceedingly unlikely.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The um, shark&rsquo;s tooth in the coffin?</span></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve been anywhere near a television or national newspaper in the last few weeks, you have seen reports of shark attacks in the Carolinas. Shark attacks make the news. Editors and reporters know there&rsquo;s something fascinating and horrific about toothed death emerging from tranquil waters in a vacation spot to ruin somebody&rsquo;s week. If a shark did attack somebody in Chicago, you would expect to see it in the Chicago newspapers. You would expect anniversary stories, stories pegged to &ldquo;Shark Week&rdquo;, and &ldquo;where are they now?&rdquo; stories about Lawson and Adler. We have access to digital, searchable archives for both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Defender and neither paper carried a shark attack story. This, more than any other piece of evidence, really makes the case that the bull shark story is an urban legend</p><p>And one further point. Often, urban legends have their grounding in some true but prosaic story. Over time the details are exaggerated and enhanced into an enduring fiction. But there appears to be absolutely nothing CLOSE to the 1955 shark attack in any records. Until 1975. There are references to Lawson in the Tribune&rsquo;s &ldquo;Action Line&rdquo; column, and the earliest one: October 1975, and it references a magazine called <a href="http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/killer-sharks-jaws-death-vol-jaws-408438933" target="_blank">Killer Sharks: The Jaws of Death</a>, also published in 1975, the same year as Felix Dennis&rsquo; Man-Eating Sharks. All three verifiable references of George Lawson occur in 1975, the year of Jaws, and a year characterized by intense shark interest world wide. This cluster of references suggests a likely scenario: Somebody, possibly one of Felix Dennis&rsquo; authors, possibly the Jaws of Death publishers, possibly the publishers of another mysterious book or magazine designed to capitalize on the Jaws phenomenon; somebody just made the whole thing up to sell magazines and make a quick buck. If that fabricator would only come forward, it would save our questioners, and the city of Chicago, a great deal of frustration.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/jesse%20and%20question%20asker.jpg" style="float: left; height: 180px; width: 320px;" title="Producer Jesse Dukes, left, and questioner Hilary Winiarz. " /><span style="font-size:24px;">Our questioners</span></p><p>Adam Kovac asked his version of the question back in 2012, in the early days of the Curious City project. He was surprised and pleased when he heard we were finally tackling his question, three years (and several swimming seasons) later. We were unable to talk to him due to scheduling difficulties. Hilary Winiarz&#39;s day job is as a writer in corporate communication and a mother of a ten year old boy, Matty, who also likes sharks. In what spare time she can scrape up, she writes fiction. Perhaps, it&rsquo;s the romance novelist in her that makes her say she wants the shark story to be true: &ldquo;I would, actually. I mean he lived, so it&rsquo;s not terribly tragic.&rdquo; Still unsatisfied, she mentioned the possibility of going through hospital records to find a patient named George Lawson in 1955. &nbsp;When we suggested that may prove a wild goose chase, she wasn&rsquo;t sure: &ldquo;The jury is still out on the goose chasey-ness of this of this, but it&rsquo;s enough potential for a goose chase to say I might be spinning my wheels.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer, and he knows a<a href="http://www.vqronline.org/essay/lions-deep" target="_blank"> thing</a> or two about sharks. Thanks to Emily Charnock for sharkival assistance.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 16:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/just-another-bull-shark-story-112347 Ice stalls Great Lakes shipping season http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-stalls-great-lakes-shipping-season-111806 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Great Lakes_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the second year in a row, the spring shipping season is off to a slow start. Ice still covers much of the lakes and most ports don&rsquo;t expect to see international cargo ships for another two weeks.</p><p>April is historically the busiest time of year for the more than 100 ports and commercial docks along the Great Lakes.</p><p>Rick Heimann is port director for Burns Harbor in Portage, Indiana.</p><p>Burns Harbor handles more international cargo than any other port along the Great Lakes, including 15 percent of U.S. steel shipments to Europe. But at the end of March, the docks are empty.</p><p>On any given year, an average of 500,000 trucks, 10,000 railcars and 100 ships will pass through the port.</p><p>It was so cold last year, he didn&rsquo;t see a cargo ship until mid-April.</p><p>Around this time last year, more than half of Lake Michigan was covered in ice. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard share the responsibility of clearing the Great Lakes waterways.</p><p>Every year, in early March, they deploy a fleet of icebreakers before the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 22,000-mile-long waterway that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.</p><p>But U.S. Coast Guard Mark Gill says it was 13 days after opening up the waterway that the first ship was able to reach the locks.</p><p>&ldquo;And a lot of ships incurred damage because they came out and the ice was too hard for them,&rdquo; Gill said.</p><p>Gill says the Coast Guard logged more than 11,000 hours of breaking ice in 2014.</p><p>According to the Lake Carrier&rsquo;s Association, last year&rsquo;s icey waterways cost the economy more than $700 million and nearly 4,000 jobs.</p><p>Mark Baker is president of the Interlake Steamship Company and a member of the Lake Carrier&rsquo;s Association. His boats carry steel. Others along this route carry grains.</p><p>Baker says it took one his ships 23 days to complete a trip that normally takes six.</p><p>&ldquo;And so what happened there was, their inventory levels became critically low. And in some cases, some steel mills last year had to idle plants and cut down on on production,&rdquo; Baker said.</p><p>Baker adds that the the repercussions of a bad shipping season would be felt throughout the U.S. steel industry, which feeds the U.S. auto industry. Baker says his steel is used in small plants in Michigan and Wisconsin.&nbsp;</p><p>The Lake Carriers Association wants the Coast Guard to invest in another heavy icebreaker to keep shipping lanes open during harsh winters.</p><p>But the Coast Guard says last year&rsquo;s winter was unique.</p><p>At the port of Indiana, Heimann says that&#39;s what scary.</p><p>&ldquo;Ice is something that you don&rsquo;t have control over,&rdquo; Heimann said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just say: &lsquo;Ice be-gone or bring the coast guard cutter in all the time.&rsquo;&quot;</p><p>He adds that the delayed start to the 2015 season doesn&#39;t phase him, but he is counting the days until the first ships roll in.</p><p>&ldquo;We are connecting the state of Indiana to the world,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re in the state of Indiana, the heartland of the USA, yet we are only six and a half days away from the Atlantic Ocean.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, at a time of widespread delays, Burns Harbor recorded its highest cargo volume since the port opened in 1970.</p><p><em>Claudia Morell is a reporter in Chicago. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/claudiamorell" target="_blank">@claudiamorell</a></em></p><p><em>Front and Center is funded by The Joyce Foundation: Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-stalls-great-lakes-shipping-season-111806 Great Lakes racing to prepare for a new kind of oil spill http://www.wbez.org/news/science/great-lakes-racing-prepare-new-kind-oil-spill-110797 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/boom2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.uscg.mil/d9/">U.S. Coast Guard&rsquo;s Ninth District</a> is in charge of protecting the maritime interests of the Great Lakes. Those interests include industries like shipping, fishing, and tourism that create billions of dollars in revenue for the Great Lakes basin each year. And so, the agency is always thinking about oil spills. It conducts dozens of tabletop and real world preparation exercises every year to prepare.</p><p>But the oil spill game is changing.The explosion in tar sands production in western Canada means increasing amounts of crude oil is making its way to the American Midwest. Imports of crude oil to the Midwest reached a record high earlier this month, according to the Energy Information Association. Tar sands bitumen is different than traditional crude oil. It&rsquo;s heavier and it sinks in freshwater. And that has caught the attention of the people in charge of cleaning up oil spills, including the U.S. Coast Guard.</p><p>&ldquo;The Midwest and the Great Lakes lie at a virtual crossroads of production and transportation and distribution. And because those things carry inherent risk. we&rsquo;re faced with some tough questions about how to deal with that,&rdquo; says Rear Admiral Fred Midgette, who commands the U.S. Coast Guard&rsquo;s Ninth District.</p><p>&ldquo;From my perspective, clearly one of the most important things that are going to happen in the next decade is how we handle this issue of heavy oil. We need to get it right,&rdquo; he told a crowd last week in Detroit at the <a href="http://www.spillcontrol.org/">International Spill Control Organization</a>&rsquo;s annual forum. ISCO has been around for decades, but this was the first time its annual forum focused exclusively on responding to heavy, Group V oils that can sink in water.</p><p>The reason why has a lot to do with what happened four years ago in the small town of Marshall, Michigan. On July 26, 2010, a 30-inch pipeline belonging to Enbridge Energy Partners LLP burst and spilled over a million gallons of tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek. From there, it made its way to the Kalamazoo River where it traveled over 35 miles downstream, coating birds, turtles, and other wildlife with oil.</p><p>Cleaning up the river took longer than anyone expected. That&rsquo;s because tar sands oil is too thick to move through a pipeline on its own--imagine a kind of shiny, black peanut butter. It&rsquo;s thinned out with other chemicals to get it flowing. But when the mixture is exposed to air, those chemicals gradually evaporate over a period of several days or weeks. At the Kalamazoo River, that left behind over a million gallons of heavy, sticky goo at the river bottom. Crews are finally wrapping up the dredging process four years and nearly $1 billion later.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t speak for a lot of the other players, but I know for us the EPA response and the Enbridge response to the Kalamazoo, I think opened a lot of people&rsquo;s eyes in that the threat is real from heavy oils and what they can do to the environment,&rdquo; says Jerry Popiel, incident management advisor for the Coast Guard&rsquo;s 9th District.</p><p>Popiel says there aren&rsquo;t any vessels carrying tar sands crude oil on the Great Lakes right now, but at least one company--<a href="http://www.calumetspecialty.com/">Calumet Specialty Products Partners</a> in Indianapolis--has expressed interest in the idea. And that has Popiel thinking about the challenges of responding to a such a spill in the Great Lakes.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one thing when you have 10 feet of water, 5 feet of water, or maybe 30 feet of water. Well, okay there are tethers and things and divers you might potentially use for there. That&rsquo;s one set of problems. If it happens in Lake Superior in 800 feet of water, that&rsquo;s a different set of problems,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Right now, those are problems without good solutions. The Coast Guard&rsquo;s trying to change that, and so is a whole industry that&rsquo;s grown up to respond to oil spills. In 2011, the Coast Guard awarded $2.5 million to three companies. They were asked to develop technologies that could better detect and recover sinking oils.</p><p>Some of those technologies were on display at last week&rsquo;s forum, including one from <a href="http://www.alionscience.com/">Alion Science and Technology</a> called the Seagoing Adaptable Heavy Oil Recovery System or the SEAHORSE. The SEAHORSE looks more like a giant carburetor than a dainty ocean creature. But Al Arsenault, an engineer with the company, says it&rsquo;s safer and more effective than traditional methods.</p><p>&ldquo;The scenarios in the past have used divers. It&rsquo;s a dirty job, it&rsquo;s a very dangerous job to send divers down when this product is on the water column, on the surface, and on the bottom. It sticks to you like peanut butter,&rdquo; Arsenault explains.</p><p>The SEAHORSE doesn&rsquo;t use any divers. Instead, its trio of remotely operated vehicles scans the seafloor for oil and pumps it back up to the surface. SEAHORSE and other new technologies let responders reach spills hundreds of feet under water and can detect and recover oil at the same time. The Coast Guard says these new technologies are promising, but they aren&rsquo;t widely available and can be costly to build.</p><p>Emergency responders in our region may still have some time to sort out those problems. It isn&rsquo;t clear yet that Great Lakes shipping is going to be a good option for moving tar sands oil. For one thing, the lakes are frozen over for several months every year.</p><p>&ldquo;The other big issue is competition. Shipping oil on the Great Lakes will make sense if it&rsquo;s less expensive than shipping it by rail,&rdquo; says Steve Fisher, Executive Director of the <a href="http://www.greatlakesports.org/">American Great Lakes Ports Association</a>. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Fisher says a lot would have to change before tankers full of tar sands crude oil set sail on the Great Lakes. It would require the oil industry to make long-term commitments with shipping companies to entice them to make investments in new ships and shoreside loading facilities.</p><p>Still, environmentalists say economic pressures are building.</p><p>Several refineries in the region, including one just south of Chicago in Whiting, Indiana, have been upgraded to process tar sands oil. Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program Director at the <a href="http://www.greatlakes.org/">Alliance for the Great Lakes</a>, says shipping by vessel on the lakes also opens up a route for transport to refineries on the East Coast.</p><p>Welch says right now, a lot of the decisions that could set the scene for shipping this kind of oil on the Great Lakes are happening at a state or local level. And he says that patchwork approach could have consequences for the entire region.</p><p>&ldquo;A spill could happen anywhere, not just in the state where the initial dock is built to allow for this shipment,&rdquo; says Welch.</p><p>The dock he&rsquo;s referring to is owned by Elkhorn Industries in Superior, Wisconsin. The company reapplied for a permit to upgrade the dock in August after its first application was rejected by the state earlier this year. It&rsquo;s considered a first step in the project proposed by Calumet Specialty Products, though Elkhorn says they don&rsquo;t have concrete plans to partner with the company yet.</p><p>But the possibility that it could worries Welch, who says existing spill response preparation measures are inadequate when it comes to responding to a spill of tar sands oil.</p><p>There are increasing efforts to beef up those measures. Emergency responders like the Coast Guard and EPA are starting to include heavy oil spills in their preparation exercises. And the spill response industry continues to develop new and better technology for dealing with heavy oil spills.</p><p>But Welch says we shouldn&rsquo;t accept the shipment of tar sands oil on the Great Lakes as inevitable, even as we work out the regulatory kinks.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s vital that our Great Lakes region and community has a discussion as to whether the Great Lakes should become this thoroughfare for tar sands crude oil shipping. Are we prepared to accept that risk?&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s not a question, Welch says, for industry or government, but for each of the 34 million people who call the Great Lakes basin home.</p><p><em>April Van Buren is an assistant producer at WKAR in East Lansing. You can follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/aprilveebee">@aprilveebee</a>.</em></p><p><em>Front and Center is funded by The Joyce Foundation: Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/great-lakes-racing-prepare-new-kind-oil-spill-110797 After Water: Science, art and journalism around climate change http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/after-water-science-art-and-journalism-around-climate-change-110544 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/After-Water_crop.png" style="height: 269px; width: 620px;" title="" />Join us as we focus on the future of the Great Lakes, in a way that is a little different for us. WBEZ&#39;s brought fiction writers and scientists together, then asked the writers to jump off from there, creating stories set decades from now&mdash;when clean, fresh water could be a rare resource.</p><p>We want to contemplate the future from a dual lens of <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/sets/after-water-the-science">science</a> and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/sets/after-water-fiction">art.</a> We&#39;ll be sharing our writers&rsquo; stories and the science behind them here. It&rsquo;s <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater"><em>After Water</em></a>. We invite your thoughts.</p><p><strong>The stories</strong></p><p>Local author Nnedi Okorafor starts out the series on Chicago&#39;s South Side. In her story,<a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92735533543/after-water-fiction-thirst-by-max-andrew-dubinsky"> </a><a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92734891798/after-water-fiction-poison-fish-by-nnedi-okorafor">&quot;Poison Fish&quot;</a> (or, &quot;Poison Poisson&quot;), Okorafor brings us to a dystopian backdrop of memories and chaos, set along the waterfront on Chicago&#39;s Rainbow Beach.<a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/after-water-an-interview-with-author-nnedi-okorafor/s-KJdW3">&nbsp;Listen to an interview</a> about this story with Nnedi Okorafor. Or<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/sets/after-water-the-science"> hear some of the science behind her story.&nbsp;</a></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/159874918&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92735533543/after-water-fiction-thirst-by-max-andrew-dubinsky">In his story</a><a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92735533543/after-water-fiction-thirst-by-max-andrew-dubinsky">,</a> &ldquo;Thirst&rdquo; Los Angeles-based author Max Andrew Dubinsky brings us to a California that&rsquo;s dry and dying, its inhabitants looking to the Great Lakes as their last salvation. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/after-water-an-interview-with-author-max-andrew-dubinsky/s-mxJX9">Listen to an interview</a> about this story with Max Andrew Dubinsky. Or<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/sets/after-water-the-science">&nbsp;hear some of the science behind his story.&nbsp;</a></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/159999662&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In <a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92743040588/after-water-fiction-world-after-water">&quot;World After Water,&quot;</a> Abby Geni brings us to a city drowned in dirty, toxic water. Four young brothers are forced to steal filtered water from their wealthy neighbors in order to survive. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/after-water-an-interview-with-author-abby-geni">Listen to an interview</a> with Abby Geni about her story. Or<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/sets/after-water-the-science"> hear about some of science</a> behind her story.</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160123800&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></em></p><p>In <a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/92840460528/after-water-fiction-the-floating-city-of-new-chicago">&quot;The Floating City of New Chicago&quot;</a>, we see a Chicago divided by class...and water. The wealthy have fled the city for a secret island in Lake Michigan. The &quot;wet-collar&quot; workers have been left behind to do the city&#39;s dirtiest jobs. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/after-water-an-interview-with-author-tricia-bobeda">Listen to author Tricia Bobeda</a> talk about how she found inspiration in a <em>30 Rock</em> episode. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/how-do-you-sleep-at-night-michele-morano-asks-climate-scientists-how-they-cope">Or hear conversations</a> about the science behind her story.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160658367&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In <a href="http://afterwater.tumblr.com/post/93235111273/after-water-fiction-the-last-cribkeeper-by-peter-orner">&quot;The Last Cribkeeper&quot;</a> we meet Harry Osgood as he walks along the shores of Lake Michigan. For years, he served as the guard for one of the water intake cribs miles from Chicago&#39;s shores. Now an old man, Harry looks out over the lake and reflects on how it has shaped the city&#39;s identity and his own.<a href="https://soundcloud.com/afterwater/after-water-an-interview-with-author-peter-orner"> Listen to author Peter Orner</a> talk about his lifelong fascination with the city&#39;s water cribs. Or <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/how-do-you-sleep-at-night-michele-morano-asks-climate-scientists-how-they-cope">check out some of the science</a> behind the story.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160834671&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>The science behind the stories</strong></p><p>The short&nbsp;stories you&#39;ve been listening to are solidly in the science fiction category.&nbsp;But some of&nbsp;the&nbsp;issues the&nbsp;writers touch on aren&#39;t as far out as you might think. Before they jumped 100 years into the future, we paired writers&nbsp;with scientists and policy experts to talk about the threats facing the Great Lakes right now. You can hear our conversations about the science behind the stories below.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/44458855&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Front and Center is funded by The Joyce Foundation: Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/after-water-science-art-and-journalism-around-climate-change-110544