Saturday, August 29, 2009

Great Lakes Plankton

Zooplankton in the Great Lakes such as this copepod pictured are a little less numerous than the phytoplankton they feed upon. Invasive species such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels deplete the waters of food important to immature fish and other parts of the food pyramid.
For more information about Great Lakes biota, read
The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Great Lakes are Freshwater Seas

Our beautiful water planet as seen from the moon. Most of the water on this planet is salt water. The freshwater seas--the five Great Lakes--need to be preserved for generations to come.
They are 18 per cent of the fresh surface water on this planet. Water is life. These lakes would lose their integrity and the living things they support if the water is sold outside of their watersheds. We should never allow them to become sold, polluted with mine wastes and other industrial byproducts. Water is too precious for that.
Learn more about the Great Lakes water systems in The Dynamic Great Lakes by Barbara Spring

available at Barnes & Noble and many other stores.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love Potion for Lamprey Eels

MSU researchers hope man-made love potion can save state's fish
As the sun begins to sink along the Little Manistee River in northern Michigan, researcher Nick Johnson is excited and a little nervous. There's a lot riding on what he's about to do.
It's spawning season for the sea lamprey, a prehistoric creature that invaded the Great Lakes 80 years ago, and Johnson is injecting a love potion into the river to lure female sea lampreys into traps.
The eel-like lampreys are one of the Great Lakes' most destructive invasive species, devouring native fish by sucking out their innards. They invaded the lakes in the 1920s, wiping out lake trout in some lakes by the 1950s. A chemical developed to kill lampreys has helped lower their numbers to about half a million in the lakes, but it is expensive and there still are too many lampreys.
Scientists at Michigan State University have developed a man-made copy of a love scent male sea lampreys emit during spawning. Now, they are testing it in 10 Michigan streams.
"It has shown a dramatic impact on the behavior of lamprey," said Mike Siefkes, lamprey control specialist at the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor.
If the pheromone works, it could be a breakthrough in the battle against lamprey in the Great Lakes.
Read more about invasive species in The Dynamic Great Lakes

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

American Eels in the Great Lakes

The American eel is a fish endemic to the Great Lakes. Here is an excerpt from The Dynamic Great Lakes:

...they live in freshwater and then
swim to the exact location where they hatched in the saltwater seas
to mate. The mature American eel looks like a snake with a long
dorsal fin and may live from five to twenty years. At about eight
years, they make an incredible journey from the Great Lakes to their
birthplace in the Sargasso Sea to spawn, a journey of thousands of
miles through the Atlantic. When they reach the Sargasso Sea, a
sluggish area filled with seaweed that lies between Bermuda and
Puerto Rico, they spawn and die. Their eggs hatch into transparent,
leaf like larvae that drift in the Gulf Stream feeding upon plankton
until they reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a year’s journey.
By this time they have reached a length of six inches and have
become round-bodied young eels called elvers or grass eels. From
the river’s mouth they swim in thick swarms for a thousand more
miles up the St. Lawrence River into Lake Ontario...
Read more about the species found in the Great Lakes in my book: The Dynamic Great Lakes widely available on the www and in brick and mortar stores such as Barnes & Noble and many others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alvar on the Bruce Peninsula

I took this photo on the Bruce Peninsula in Canada, a finger of land that juts into Lake Huron. Here and on the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin these peninsulas are of limestone and sometimes fossils may be found embedded in the rock. The tree pictured is a cedar. Many shipwrecks lie under the waters surrounding these peninsulas since the waters are trecherous. The Door Peninsula was so named because sailors called it "Death's Door."

I like this photo so well I asked my publisher to use it for the cover of my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My books on Amazon

The Dynamic Great Lakes may be ordered from as well as Barnes and Noble and many other online bookstore in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Great Lakes as seen from outer space. These freshwater lakes are fed by tributaries, ground water within their watersheds and by rain and snow. Lake levels rise and fall as they always have. The lakes contain cold water species of fish as well as warm water fish that thrive in their embayments and in the shallowest lake, Lake Erie.

There is world class fishing to be found in the Great Lakes. Read more about their fish in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Barnes & Noble as well as many other stores carry the book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dangerous Conditions on Lake Michigan

When waves are crashing against the pier, it's not safe to venture out on it. Lives have been lost by people who were hit by a wave and knocked into the water. Waves are high today and kite surfers have been make the most of the wind.

Whenever I hear sirens, I hope that someone has not gotten into trouble on the big lake. The red flag is flying. That means it's not safe to go in the water, however there are always some that do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Research Vessels on the Great Lakes

GLERL research vessel, "Shenehon", Great Lakes, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL)
While researching my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, I went out on Lake Michigan with groups of students and research scientists to see the work they were doing. Pictured is a NOAA research vessel. I worked with professors from Grand Valley State University where I was teaching at the time.
Since my book is interdisciplinary, I also consulted experts in areas such as geology, fish biology, limnology and naturalists. I am not an expert, but I consulted a lot of experts while exploring the Great Lakes and their many wonders.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fishing on the Great Lakes

Pictured is a king salmon also called a Chinook salmon. These anadromous fish ( fish that run upstream to spawn) are now being caught in Lake Michigan and are of a good size. They are Pacific salmon that were planted in the Great Lakes to control an invasive species of trash fish.

Read about this phenomenon in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, widely available on the www and in stores.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Isle Royale in Lake Superior

Isle Royale is an island in Lake Superior where no cars are allowed. Unlike Mackinac Island, you will not find horse drawn carriages. There are hiking trails that wind through thimbleberries that taste like none other types, and there are wolves and moose that have been studied for many years. You may see and hear the moose, but the wolves are very elusive and it's unlikey you will see a wolf.

This is the place where the endemic fish, the redfin lake trout spawn in the rocks offshore. The semi-precious greenstone is found on the island and places where ancient Native Americans mined copper.

It is a National Park that is reached by ferry or small planes.

Read more about the Great Lakes and their special places in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, available at Barnes & Noble and many other online stores.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Last summer I painted this picture while visiting Mackinac Island.
No cars are allowed so people get around on bicycles, horse drawn buggies or roller blades. As you can see on the picture, the water is a lovely shade of green at this spot where water flows into Lake Huron from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Wildflowers are blooming, sailboats sail and it's a wonderful Great Lakes getaway.

Read more about the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes available online at Barnes & Noble etc.

Friday, August 14, 2009

King Salmon Caught Today

My husband, Norm Spring just came back from fishing on Lake Michigan with two very nice king salmon. As I write this, he is cleaning them and plans to smoke them. I have observed and fished the Great Lakes for years and so this has given me inspiration for my book, the Dynamic Great Lakes.

Norm and I have been active in the environmental movement even before it became so popular. He started the Steelheaders group years ago. I sometimes speak out for the Great Lakes at governmental meetings. It's all for our children's future and ours.

To learn more about the Great Lakes and their fish, you may find The Dynamic Great Lakes at the Bookman, the University store, Hostetters, and Marine Tech in Grand Haven, MI as well as Barnes & Noble online and many other places.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer on the Great Lakes

Lots of fun on the Great Lakes this summer. The fishing is great, the water has warmed to the 60's and 70's.
I took this photo on a Lake Michigan beach.
Read more about this planet's greatest freshwater system in The Dynamic Great Lakes. Available at, Barnes & Noble and many other stores.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Salmon fishing in Lake Michigan

Here is a coho salmon or silver salmon as some call them. They are, as I write this, being caught in Lake Michigan from boats and from the pier. They are Pacific salmon that were planted in the Great Lakes to devour the invasion of a trash fish called alewives.
The coho are still thriving although the alewives are fewer. Now they can feed on another invasive species, the gobi.
Read about coho salmon and other species of fish in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Plutonium and the Great Lakes

Some people believe that building more nuclear power plants will give us clean, cheap energy. Not true.
Plutonium, the byproduct of generating electricity with nuclear power, is being stored near water on the shores of the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Just a tiny amount of plutonium can kill living things and life as we know it. Plutonium does not break down for thousands of years. If plutonium should get into the Great Lakes water system, the greatest freshwater system could be destroyed overnight. Do we want to take chances like this when no one has solved the problem of where and how to handle this deadly product?

We should phase out the aging nuclear power plants we now have and work on safer solutions to our energy problems. We should turn off the lights and walk more. We should unplug things that use power even when turned off. There are lots of ways to save energy.

Read more about this in The Dynamic Great Lakes

Monday, August 10, 2009

You may read about Pacific salmon such as this coho salmon that were planted in the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.
The catches have been great this year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Great Lakes Tour on Google Earth

If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, you can take a tour of the Great Lakes via NASA. You can even see underwater; the ridges and deep places, the fish and shipwrecks. This is a great way to see under the waters of the Great Lakes without getting wet.
My non-fiction book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, may be found at Barnes & Noble and many other online stores. The book has been critically acclaimed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reviews of The Dynamic Great Lakes

The Dynamic Great Lakes BOB GROSS , Of The Oakland Press USA (3/19/2003)

This is an impressive little book. Not quite 118 pages long, it's a read of about an hour or so. The author has, however, managed to jam it full of facts and information about the Great Lakes. It's the kind of book that you might keep on a desk, ready at hand when you need to know something like the native fish population of Lake Superior. OK, so maybe not everyone has that need. The point is that you'll probably learn something about the lakes that you didn't know before. I, for example, had never heard of the whiting effect whereby the lakes regulate the balance between acid and alkaline and also cleanse themselves of pollutants, including metals - and that's coming from someone who has lived along the shores of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior. The author also sprinkles a strong environmental ethic throughout the book, coupled with a belief that the democratic process can make a difference.
Very Informative Lisa Y NJ (1/30/2003)

The Dynamic Great Lakes was full of information I never knew about our Great Lakes. The lake chapters contain basic facts about each individual lake, yet the author never lets you forget they are a system. What happens to one, happens to the others and the entire ecological niche.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Charlie Misner The Bookman (12/3/2002)

Spring's new book has resonated with readers who appreciate its user-friendly descriptions of Great Lakes phenomena...People like the idea that there's a book about the Great Lakes that's not technical. It's aimed at a general audience.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Ron Mader (9/26/2002)

Interesting collection of essays about the Great Lakes, formed by Ice Age glaciers and now polluted by toxins. The author writes: "The Great Lakes system is a treasure. Understanding their natural processes and understanding the dynamics of what we do is essential to these life-giving waters.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Elle Andra-Warner, Book Reviewer, Thunder Bay Post Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada (8/17/2002)

I've lived beside the waters of Lake Superior most of my life, but it wasn't until I read this book that I've really begun to understand and appreciate Lake Superior and the Great Lakes. The book is only 107 pages but it covers everything you need to know about the Great Lakes: how they were formed, the individual physical characteristics of each lake; their changes over time; the problems that affect them and the possible solutions. And the message that humans can positively affect their environment is strong: think globally and act locally. Entertaining, yet informative -- "The Dynamic Great Lakes" is a must read for anyone living near the Great Lakes.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Norman Goldman Bookideas (8/9/2002)

Many of us know very little about the five Great Lakes other than perhaps being able to name them. As Barbara Spring states in her introduction to her outstanding primer The Dynamic Great Lakes they are "a flowing river of seas left behind by Ice Age glaciers and are nearly twenty percent of the world's supply of fresh surface water; the world's greatest freshwater system." The ecosystem of this great body of water is very complex and unfortunately due to pollution and the fallout of modern industry and agriculture they have gone through a gradual transformation.
One of the unique characteristics of this compact book is that it is written in a language devoid of esoteric explanations. The eight chapters of the book reflect the author's teaching and journalistic aptitudes in knowing how to unravel the mystery of the Great Lakes and the many painful dangers it has faced and continues to face.
Each of the five Lakes is introduced with a brief synopsis of important elements distinguishing one from the other such as: elevation, length, breadth, average depth, maximum depth, volume, water area, retention time, population and outlet. From this point of departure the author deals with the various changes that have taken place as well as the various major issues affecting the Lakes. There are also brief descriptions of the various animal life found in each of the Lakes and how they have been affected by pollution and the appearance of harmful species, such as the Lamprey Eel.
However, we are also reminded throughout the reading of the book that "people power" can have an effect and if we band together and make our voices heard we could exert influence in reversing some of the harmful trends that have caused ecological disaster. For example we are apprised of the situation that occurred in relation to Lake Erie. In 1969 a tributary river of Lake Erie, the Cayahoga, caught on fire due to being heavily coated with oil and debris. As a result, the Federal Water Quality Administration launched a one and half billion dollar municipal sewage treatment program for the Erie Basin which included the five surrounding states: Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
The conclusion of the book most appropriately reminds us that: "we are all challenged to use our knowledge, creativity and common sense to keep the Great Lakes great. Can you think of ways to think globally and act locally?" We are also warned " life on earth is only possible as long as our limited life support system works.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Jonathan David Masters (7/9/2002)

My first impression of Ms Spring’s book was that here was a woman who was on a labor of love. Her enthusiasm for her subject is contagious. She gives the reader an overall history of the Great Lakes, a few secondary level ecology and geology lessons and then a brief history of each of the five lakes. She then sums up by identifying the major problems and elegantly expresses what she sees as possible solutions.
The general theme of her book is that we have and are continuing to make mistakes with regards to how we’ve handle these lakes in the past and that while some of these mistakes are irreversible (the extinction of species), others can be corrected through the democratic process.
The author is not a doomsday prophet, to the contrary, I found her book full of hope and promise ‘IF’ we (you and I) the ordinary citizen will care enough to become informed and get involved.
Worth a reading if for no other reason then that the writing is masterfully done and the many facts you’ll learn about these ever changing bodies of water are copious and engaging. Reminded me a little of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
The Dynamic Great Lakes Rodney Hsu Fishing With Rod (7/9/2002)

Although living in coastal BC, the complexity of the Great Lakes has often made me curious. After attending a lecture in 2000 regarding this subject, I was eager to find out more about the history of this body of water. In the recent month, I have been reading through Barbara Spring's new book The Dynamic Great Lakes and learned a tremendous amount of history and facts.
The Great Lakes are made of several large bodies of water that were formed during glaciation in eastern North America. These bodies of water include Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It is the largest freshwater system on this planet that are interconnected by waterways and rivers. These lakes are so large that they behave like a small ocean.
Barbara Spring is a resident of the Great Lakes and she has observed and done extensive researches on this complex ecosystem. She is an artist who sees the beauty of the Great Lakes, and a very vocal activitist who is determined to fight against pollution and other threats to preserve this beauty.
As the name implies, The Dynamic Great Lakes describes the changes that these lakes undergo overtime. Reading through this book is like taking a journey through time. Spring introduces you to the major historical events that took place at each lake and the unique characteristics that they possess today. It is a biology lesson and a history lesson that is taught through storytelling by a knowledgeable local. Unlike most scientific publications, one does not have to be a diehard biologist to understand the scientific concepts that are written by Spring. She has written in a language that readers of all ages and education levels can appreciate it.
Spring also addresses the major issues that have been taking place in the Great Lakes during the past few decades. She stresses the devastation of pollutants such as DDT and dioxin have caused in the Great Lakes. She also inspired me by giving examples of how these effects can be reversed when residents are determined to make a difference.
To an angler, this book can be a helpful guide if one wants to understand the dynamic system of a lake. I also enjoyed reading through many biological facts of fish species that were brought up throughout the book. Although my background in limnology is fairly broad, I found that the amount of knowledge that I have gained after reading this book was plentiful. If you are looking for a book that can help you grow as an angler, a scientist or an environmentalist, pick up The Great Dynamic Lakes now.
Great Lakes Hold Surprising Information Peter Wild (5/6/2002)

U. S. Water News Co -Published by The Freshwater Society
Are dinosaurs cruising the benthic depths of the Great Lakes even while we go about our daily tasks? Not exactly. Yet sturgeon, fish weighing up to 300 pounds and similarly plated with armor,are nosing around down there. Occasionally you can see the monsters appear, making their spawning runs up rivers and surfacing like submarines in the pools beneath waterfalls... The five Great Lakes, holding nearly twenty percent of the earth's fresh water, are quite young. Gouged out by glaciers, they assumed their present shapes a mere 3,000 years ago. For that, they are a dynamic shifting system, still changing and exhibiting surprising differences. Lake Ontario, for example, the easternmost, although smallest of the bodies, holds more water than Lake Erie, its shallower nearby sister. Here's a handy primer for all such things, from the interaction of phytoplankton and calcium carbonate that gives a white cast to these inland oceans come August and helps clean the water to the charming ice volcanoes spouting chilly "lava" in the winter. This is intriguing stuff for adults, but the straightforward presentation also lends itself to use in schools, beginning about the sixth grade and up. And yes, we get the latest news on the zebra mussel, the tube nose goby, and other threats to the natural scheme of things. Also good news; how since the banning of DDT in the 1970's, the bald eagles have come back.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lake Superior Witch Tree

Lake Superior was named by French voyageurs. They gave it the name superior since it is the farthest north of the Great Lakes. A French explorer noted this gnarled tree making it at least 300 years old. The Ojibwa indians call the tree Manido Gizhigance or little cedar spirit tree.
source: Wikipedia
also read:
The Dynamic Great Lakes, a book about changes in the Great Lakes ecosystems.
Order online from or or other online stores.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One picture worth 10,000 words--Chinese saying.
Before NASA gave us pictures of Planet Earth, we could only see parts of the Great Lakes. Now we can see how all five freshwater lakes are connected and how they empty into the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence River.
I kept this in mind as I wrote The Dynamic Great Lakes. The book's focus is on ecosystems.
I wrote the book because these lakes are an important part of the planet's water system. The book is widely available online and has been critically acclaimed.