July 15, 2008

Events Celebrate Preciousness of Lake Superior

By John Myers, Duluth News-Tribune, Minn.

Jul. 15--Some Twin Ports churches will congregate outdoors for services. Kids will pick up trash along Barker's Island. And folks can go fly a kite at Canal Park.

Lake Superior Day will be celebrated Sunday around the world's largest body of fresh water with events to honor the lake.

The event is held the third Sunday every July, promoted by the Lake Superior Binational Forum -- an advisory group on Lake Superior issues for the government of Canada and the U.S.

The day is intended to be a reminder to residents who live around the lake and visitors who vacation here that the lake's beauty and bounty is not limitless.

Despite its giant size, Lake Superior is under siege from polluted runoff, development along its shores, invasive species from faraway seas and pollution that falls from the sky in rain and snow.

The lake also is warming faster than on-land locations because of changing climate conditions.

Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, Clean Water Action coordinator in Northeastern Minnesota, said this year's theme centers on clean boats -- educating and inspiring anglers and other boaters to make sure they aren't spreading invasive species into or out of Lake Superior waters.

"We want people to know that their small boats can be part of the problem and part of the solution," Loeffler-Kemp said.

Minnesota Sea Grant and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials will be on hand to talk about ways to keep boats clear of species such as zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and Eurasian water milfoil. It's also critical not to move fish or bait from lake to lake to prevent the spread of the fish-killing VHS disease.

Groups around the lake also will be sponsoring kite flying to highlight clean energy while celebrating the lake.

Commissioner Allen Olson of the International Joint Commission will speak Sunday afternoon at the Great Lakes Aquarium. The commission, which overseas Great Lakes regulation, currently is studying water level changes on the lakes.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Duluth News-Tribune, Minn.

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