Book Review | 100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario by Chris Earley and Tracy C. Read

img_0335For those interested in exploring nature, be it conservation areas for flora and fauna, hiking, camping, biking, canoeing or cross county skiing, this book offers a wealth of information about places worth visiting in Ontario. Divided into geographical sections, Earley and Read give a brief history of the hot spots and their highlights. Photographs from each place are included along with general spot information about dates open and applicable activities. As the book says, it will appeal to “birders, botanists, wildlife lovers, rock hounds and naturalists”.

100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario serves as a great introduction for parties interested in visiting wild Ontario. From seeing the Northern Lights to exploring caves or finding rare species, the authors spell out where to go and when. It would work well as a starting point for trip planning purposes or for Ontarians interested in better exploring their own province. The included photographs are very helpful to get an idea of what one might see in the named hot spot, but in some places photo quality is a bit lacking on enlargements. The book offers a wealth of information, and would be best digested in small chunks or as reference material, though it is very clearly written for all audiences. Helpful area maps are included, but the whole of Ontario with all hot spots is not. Check it out from a library near youI received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.


Book Review | Perimeter : A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan by Kevin J. Miyazaki

book cover Perimeter by Kevin J. MiyazakiI wish I had been fortunate enough to see the exhibit at Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art that is encompassed by Kevin J. Miyazaki’s artistic book Perimeter. As Miyazaki traveled nearly 1800 miles around the shores of Lake Michigan through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, he photographed the people he encountered and the Lake along the way. The book is a compilation of the waterscapes, the portraits and the stories behind them. From surfers and scientists to fishermen and families, portraits and prose highlight both the differences and similarities of those who’ve made Lake Michigan a part of their lives.

This was an impressive book, and as I mentioned, it would have been great to see the exhibit. The portable photo booth that Miyazaki constructed from PVC pipe and other supplies provided for exceedingly crisp and clean images. I read a color copy of the ebook and am sure the printed book would prove even more intriguing. Hearing so many different perspectives of the value of the Lake lends the reader increased awareness about what an important resource it is. If you love Lake Michigan or haven’t yet had a chance to visit, or if you’re just a fan of great photos, check out Perimeter from a library near you.

Invasives at Fault for Great Lakes Salmon Dearth?

Four decades ago, salmon were added to the Great Lakes by Michigan fisheries biologists. In the following years, the fishing industry flourished as did the salmon. Cars hauling boats would be lined up with anglers just waiting to get out in the lakes and catch fish. But now, things have changed.

The invasive mussels came in and altered the food web. Alewives, one of salmons’ favorite fish to feed on, have mostly disappeared from the Great Lakes. Without enough time, the salmon were unable to adapt their diet as their food supply disappeared. Walleye, a native species, have returned to the lakes and are also responsible for eating the salmon. Last fall the Lake Michigan salmon never showed up at spawning time. Things aren’t looking good for the salmon.

Listen to the NPR Story for more details.

Photo credit: Coho salmon –

Great Lakes Literacy Principles

Awarded “Site of the Month” by Great Lakes Information Net-work (GLIN), Great Lakes Literacy Principles, prepared by the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, is a website that explains “essential principles and fundamental concepts for Great Lakes learning” and further matches those concepts with Ocean Literacy ones. It breaks down eight specific concepts about the Great Lakes and helps to explain the importance of peoples’ interactions with the lakes.

The eight areas which are broken down range from what are the Great Lakes and how were they formed, to the influence of climate and weather on the lakes, to the types of species that inhabit the lakes, to connections between the lakes and what can be learned from the Great Lakes. The site also has a handy pdf brochure that explains the concept of Great Lakes Literacy and the eight areas from the website. This site is endorsed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Sea Grant and can be a helpful resource for teaching or learning about the Great Lakes.

Image from

Against Aquatic Nuisance Species: GLMRIS

Conducted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), other federal agencies, Native American tribes, state agencies, local governments and non-governmental organizations, the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) will evaluate different methods of preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River through open waterways. Aquatic nuisance species are defined as “a nonindigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities dependent on such waters” (GLMRIS page).
The results of this regional study will be available in four years. Concerns have been raised that something needs to be done about Asian Carp now, and critics are wondering if this is the best course of action. State DNRs have positively responded to this project. The study is hoped to provide suggestions for permanent solutions in addition to actions that are currently taking place. For more information, read the Green Bay release.
Study area map from GLMRIS website.

New Rules for Ballast Water in Great Lakes?

On January 26th, a public hearing in Superior will determine if Wisconsin regulations regarding ballast water discharged by ships in the Great Lakes will be changed to match those required by the International Maritime Organization. This would apply to large commercial shipping vessels that travel between the Great Lakes and the ocean. As cargo loads change, the ships take on or expel water in order to stay balanced. This water can also include plants, animals and pathogens. WDNR states “Ballast water is the primary way aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel, round goby and spiny water flea have been introduced into the Great Lakes over the last century.” This proposed changed is aimed to combat the threat of invasive species.

For news and information about the Ballast Water Discharge General Permit, view the WDNR’s page. For more information about the proposed changed to ballast regulations, read the WDNR news release. For general reading on Great Lakes ships and shipping visit the Water Library’s recommended reading list.

Photo credit: Frank Koshere, WDNR website

New Funds Allocated to Halt Asian Carp

Many efforts are still being made to stop, or reduce the number of, Asian carp spreading to the Great Lakes. Yesterday $47 million in funds were announced that will go toward 13 different projects of prevention.
In addition to creating a lab in Wisconsin where Asian carp DNA will be sampled, pathways into the Great Lakes are going to be examined with hopes of finding ways to block the route of the fish.
Some of this funding is coming from money that was previously designated by the federal government for clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes. Arguments have been made that the funding to fight Asian Carp should come from a separate source. For further information, see the Detroit Free Press article.
Photo credit: Brian Kaufman/Detroit Free Press