FRESH, November 22, 2022: Freshwater Mussel Revival in the Chicago River

November 22, 2022

Fresh is a biweekly newsletter from Circle of Blue that unpacks the biggest international, state, and local policy news stories facing the Great Lakes region today. Sign up for Fresh: A Great Lakes Policy Briefing, straight to your inbox, every other Tuesday.

— Rachel Duckett, Interim Fresh Editor

This Week’s Watersheds

  • A draft National Climate Assessment report describes how climate change may affect Great Lakes drinking water.
  • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will increase Lake Michigan’s Chinook salmon population by 50,000 in spring 2023.
  • A U.S. House of Representatives committee advanced legislation related to Great Lakes water levels.
  • The U.S. and Canada launch a green shipping initiative for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway.

An environmental nonprofit revives freshwater mussels in a section of the Chicago River.

“Many people still associate the Chicago River with chemical waste and pollution. But there is actually a huge improvement in the water quality, and we wish people can rediscover how the river is a true asset to the community.” – Nick Wesley, executive director of Urban Rivers

Freshwater mussels once thrived in the Chicago River. But decades of chemical and industrial pollution degraded their habitat. Now Urban Rivers, an environmental nonprofit, is leading an effort to restore the filter feeders to the waterway. Block Club Chicago reports that the group is nurturing juvenile mussels to transplant into the North Branch of the Chicago River as part of the Wild Mile eco-park.

Fresh from the Great Lakes News Collaborative

  • Lake Erie’s cyanobacterial bloom lasted longer than usual this year — Michigan Radio
  • Bill introduced to phase out toxic dry cleaning solvent in Michigan – Michigan Radio
  • Study finds lake cleanups help house values recover — Bridge Michigan
  • The Catch features a story of a 3,000-year-old canoe found in Lake Mendota in September — Great Lakes Now

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader. We work together to produce news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Find all the work here.

National Climate Assessment Draft Highlights Great Lakes Algae Threat

A draft National Climate Assessment report released last week shed light on the growing threat of toxic algal blooms to the Great Lakes. Fueled by warmer water caused by climate change and fertilizer washed into lakes during strong storms, algae threaten drinking water sources like Lake Michigan. An editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times argues that the U.S. House and Senate are ill-equipped to respond properly.

In the News

CHINOOK SALMON: Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources will increase the annual production target for Chinook salmon from 225,000 to 275,000 next spring.

Looking Ahead

GREEN SHIPPING: The U.S. and Canada are planning a “green shipping corridor” in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway system. The initiative is intended to help decarbonize the industry.

COASTAL FLOOD DATA: The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee advanced a handful of water-related bills. One would authorize NOAA to maintain a database of coastal flood risk, including sea-level rise, Great Lakes water levels, and land lost to erosion or subsidence. The bill was introduced by Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a Democrat from New York.

Upcoming Events

November 30, 2022 – National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Measuring benefits of nature-based solutions – register

December 1, 2022 – Great Lakes HABS — A regional update – register

Other News

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