In honor of Earth Day, I thought it appropriate to explore the current state of the Great Lakes — the good, bad and ugly. The lakes today are far healthier than in 1972, when Congress passed the federal Clean Water Act. Water quality has improved in most areas of the lakes and rivers that feed into North America’s freshwater seas, many fisheries have recovered and concentrations of several pollutants have decreased. That’s the good news.
The bad news: The lakes face a host of new problems, including the spread of foreign mussels and other aquatic invasive species, new pollutants that are transported to the lakes by wind currents, and the resurgence of nuisance and toxic algae blooms across much of Lake Erie and isolated parts of lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario.
Despite enormous challenges, and the threat of an Asian carp invasion, the Great Lakes remain a source of…
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