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Lake Superior issues: Forum to address global warming, invasive species

September 4, 2009
By MIRIAM MOELLER Journal Staff Writer

GRAND MARAIS - From an enticing turquoise to a sublime dark blue, Lake Superior has many faces that influence the land it borders and the people settled on its shores. But as the lake affects us, we're affecting the lake. That's the topic of the Lake Superior Binational Forum held in Grand Marais Sept. 11.

The forum will host speakers discussing environmental and economic issues related to Lake Superior, while gathering input from the public on what they think some of the problems are.

"We try to travel all around the lake, so we can learn about the important issues that are in that community, so we can tell that back to the governments that manage the lakeshores," said Lissa Radke of Ashland, Wis., coordinator of the Lake Superior Binational Forum.

Article Photos

Shown is Miner’s Castle in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The public may voice opinions on the management of the park and other environmental issues at a forum in Grand Marais on Sept. 11. (Journal file photo)

Composed of Canadian and American members, the group aims to consult government, industry and "environmental stakeholders on the restoration and protection of Lake Superior," according to its Web site. Hosting public gatherings four times a year in Canada and the U.S., the forum gathers information on issues such as critical pollutants, sustainability

indicators, land use and invasive species. It also informs the public on issues related to Lake Superior.

Usually forums have themes, Radke said, and the Grand Marais meeting will deal with "Managing Lake Superior's Parks and Protected Areas."

"We heard they were investigating how climate change and user impact is affecting the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore," she said, adding that as a result they invited Gregg Bruff, chief of heritage education and outreach at the park to discuss global warming.

"We will talk about climate change and how people can minimize their carbon footprints," she said, adding that invasive species will also be on the list of topics. "There is a real big problem for rural areas with invasive species. We're trying to get information out to people on how we can prevent the spread in recreational areas."

Ron Sundell, a geography professor at Northern Michigan University, is the co-chairman of the eco-system committee for the forum. He has been a member of the Forum for the past six years, and he will be part of the Grand Marais meeting.

"It's not just about the environment but also the economic well-being," he said. "A lot of us live here because of the lake."

He added that people's input could impact how environmental policies governing Lake Superior will be set.

"Personally, I think everybody should attend because of the lake and eco-region that we're part of ... we live in it and everything we do affects us and the lake," he said.

The public forum begins at 1 p.m. at the Community Center in Grand Marais. Besides Bruff, a presentation on the management of natural resources in the Hiawatha National Forest by Theresa Chase, district ranger; and a presentation on the management of natural resources on private land by the Nature Conservancy of the Upper Peninsula will be held. For more information, go to www.superiorforum.org/forum

 
 

 

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