Winter 2005

State of Lake Michigan and its Beaches

About 200 scientists, resource managers, and interested citizens gathered Nov. 2-3 in Green Bay for the joint meetings of the State of Lake Michigan Conference and Great Lakes Beach Association.

Speaking at the opening plenary session, Judy Beck, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Great Lakes, emphasized the dynamic nature of Lake Michigan. "As we’re standing here talking," she said, "that lake out there is changing."

Beck reported that positive and negative changes are happening side by side. Partial clean-up in 10 Areas of Concern has shown that ecosystems do respond positively, Beck said, but mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants remain a problem in many places. Beck urged resource managers and researchers to remain flexible and remember the necessity of adaptive management.

Victoria Harris, UW Sea Grant water quality specialist and conference coordinator, also spoke at the plenary session. Harris noted that 13 of Lake Michigan’s 33 watersheds flow through Green Bay, giving the bay great influence on the lake. Prominent among them, Harris noted, is the "mother of all Areas of Concern," the Fox River, which is the single largest contributor of contaminants to the lake.

A CD of conference presentations is expected to be available in January. Contact Vicky Harris at (920) 465-2795 or for details.

The conference was sponsored by the Lake Michigan Forum, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, UW Sea Grant Institute, and Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

©2011 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents