Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Niagara Falls are Part of the Great Lakes Ecosystem

The Canadian Niagara Falls

Native Americans called Niagara Falls "Thunderer of Waters" a very apt name.  A rainbow arcs in the mist above the horseshoe shaped Canadian Falls.  On the United States side of the falls a powerful gathering of waters rush over the lip of the rock.

Some years ago I was watching from the Canadian side when someone decided to go over in a barrel.  I was watching at the exact time the barrel went over the falls, but I did not see it since the falls are so immense.  As we drove away from the falls in our car we heard about it on the radio.  This is against the law because so many have attempted this stunt and were killed.  Fortunately on that day, the person survived.

Below the falls the water thunders over rapids and curls into spinning whirlpools and finally reaches the Niagara River's mouth where the water flows into Lake Ontario.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buffalo New York

As a falcon flies, it's 80 miles from Presqueile, PA to Buffalo, New York, a highly populated city.  Freighters carry coal, iron and grains to ports on Lake Erie and the upper Great Lakes. Fishing boats are catching walleye.

 Buffalo is located on the Niagara River where the waters from the Great Lakes above it rush madly toward Niagara Falls.  The Welland Canal was built parallel to the Niagara River to let ships pass around Niagara Falls.  Unlike the Niagara River with its turbulent currents and mighty waterfall, the Welland Canal was engineered with a system of locks that allow 1,000 foot ships as well as small pleasure boats to pass around Niagara Falls and into and out of the Upper Great Lakes on the giant staircase filled with water.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Youtube video Underwater Lake Erie


In case you were wondering about what's under water in Lake Erie, here is a video showing the biota.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pennsyvania Coast: Lake Erie and Presquile

http://www.goerieblogs.com/other/presqueislenaturally/  Here is a good link to pictures and natural features of Presquile, PA.

The French name, Presquile means almost an island. It is a spit of land built by the wind and waves and the wind and waves change its shape continually depending upon the storms and water levels of Lake Erie.  It is dynamic--always changing.

There is a hardwood forest of oaks, hemlocks and ash trees and on the damp forest floor ferns and mushrooms of many shapes and colors push up through the dead leaves.  It's a good place for bird watchers.

In the summer, people flock to its sandy beaches.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lake Erie's Ohio Shore and Islands

There is an archipelago of islands on the western end of Lake Erie:  South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, North Bass Isand, Pelee Island and Kelleys Island.  On the North side of Kelleys Island, great grooves left by the last glacier are scoured deep into the limestone.  A trough 400 feet long and thirty five feet wide shows the direction of the glacier as it moved forward.

Fishing boats troll for warm water species of fish such as bass, walleye and yellow perch around these islands and elsewhere on Lake Erie.  Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and holds good fishing for these species.

Pictured are Glacial grooves on Kelley's Island

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Map of Bird and Wildlife Refuges on the Detroit River

An ore boat loaded with iron ore from Lake Superior passes manufacturing plants along the Detroit River.  Other freighters carrying grain and manufactured goods head for their home ports that could be any place in the world since the outlet of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River is the Atlantic Ocean. 

The peregrine falcon lands on Grassy Island in the Detroit River, 18 miles from the outlet of Lake St. Clair.  Grassy Isand is a favorite resting spot for migrating birds.  She snatches a weary Blackburnian warbler with bright orange and black plumage in her talons.  This is one of many refuges for birds.  Large cities near Lake Erie have not discouraged wildlife from following the patterns they have followed for thousands of years.  With its shallow, warm waters and abundant wetlands, Lake Eries fish and wildlife still find an environment with abundant food and shelter.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chart for Lake St. Clair and its delta

Chart of Lake St. Clair showing its freshwater delta, a nursery for fish and fowl.

I'm told sturgeon are making a comeback in this area.

Mayflies hatch in abundance here and that's when the fishing gets good.

Flight of the Peregrine Falcon from Detroit

Peregrine\noun a swift nearly cosmopolitan falcon that is used much in falconry

Peregrination\noun a journey

Webster’s Dictionary

Detroit, Lake St. Clair and Flight of the Peregrine Falcon

From a skyscraper in Detroit, a peregrine falcon flies northeast toward Lake St. Clair. Flying over cattails on its edge she hears the rasping voice of redwing blackbirds and the great blue heron’s loud clacking signal of alarm. She circles over heart shaped Lake St. Clair, past mansions on its shore and boats bobbing in the gentle waves. She soon reaches Lake St. Clair’s wetlands: St. John’s Marsh and the rich delta area above it where the St. Clair River fans out into hundreds of tiny channels to form the world’s largest freshwater delta, a rich breeding ground for many species of fish and birds. Her peregrination takes her to Lake St. Clair’s outlet, the Detroit River.

From the outlet of Lake St. Clair the peregrine flies eighteen miles down the Detroit River passing the large industrial centers in Windsor Canada and Detroit and River Rouge in Michigan. The Detroit River’s powerful current seems to boil as it drops about eight feet in elevation: the blue green waters of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have filtered through the marshes and Lake St. Clair and rush past Detroit, Michigan on one side of the river and Windsor Ontario on the other side.

Read more about the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes fourth edition now available for $9.95 + s&h  http://www.publishamerica.net/product95488

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beach Grass at Hoffmaster State Park

I painted this on the beach at Hoffmaster State Park where one can learn about dune succession.

This single beach grass can withstand drought and wind and helps build sand dunes.

I got much of the information for my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes from park naturalists at Hoffmaster State Park located in Norton Shores West Michigan. 

Now $9.95 + s&h

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marram Grass Builds Sand Dunes

Marram grass holds sand in place on the shores of the Great Lakes when westerly winds blow.  The roots of marram grass are a fine network that help build sand dunes.  I wrote this poem:

 Marram Grass

Roots of marram grass weave fine

webs under the sands as

a network expands

thousands of feet.

Stalks bow down to west winds

and multiply season after season

until the tasseled dune

waves with green grace.

Each year the dunes grow higher

in tasseled grasses

in marram grasses’

loving embrace.
         __Barbara Spring
         Sophia's Lost and Found: Poems of Above and Below
This book is available here:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Updated: The Dynamic Great Lakes

The Dynamic Great Lakes received rave reviews when it first was released.  Now it has been updated with the latest information about the Great Lakes and their ecosystems and may be purchased online at a lower price:


This is the fourth edition of The Dynamic Great Lakes.