Great Lakes 1
The Great Lakes Ecosystem
Great Lakes 2
Everything on our planet is connected through the circle of life. As a chain on a bicycle cannot move the vehicle forward if a link is missing neither can our planet’s food chain continue to flourish if links become extinct. If we continue to squander our natural resources faster than our planet can restore them we will have a situation we will never be able to repair. The Great Lakes ecosystem is a valuable resource in dire need of protection. There is a great need to conserve and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem as more and more wildlife and aquatic species are becoming extinct and being driven from their habitats.
Human Imposed Neglect and Imbalances
Pollution from agricultural, industrial, and municipal sources are the greatest threat “with over 92 billion tons of raw sewage emptying into the lakes each year.” (Environmental Defence, 2007). The Great Lakes have been used as a gigantic garbage can for decades. The thought behind this was that anything dumped into the water would dissolve and go away. By the 1970’s the dumping of wastes and over fishing began to take its toll on the lakes themselves and the species living in and around them.
Fig. 1, source: GLIN
Research done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows over 30,000 chemicals produced and used in the Great Lakes region alone; with 362 toxins identified within the waters themselves. These toxins have been evaluated for their effects on aquatic life, wildlife, and human health with 11 of them cited as the most persistent. Those toxins are: polychlorinated biphenals (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), benzo pyrene (PAHs), hexachlorobenzene, mirex, lead, mercury, furans, dieldrin, toxaphene, and dioxins. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2007). Eight of these toxins tend to biomagnify; increase in amount, as they go up the food chain. For example, the toxins...