Death and Life of the Great Lakes
by Egan, Dan

Chapter 1 Carving a Fourth Seacoast Dreams of a Seaway
Chapter 2 Three Fish The Story of Lake Trout, Sea Lampreys and Alewives
Chapter 3 The World's Great Fishing Hole the Introduction of Coho and Chinook Salmon
Chapter 4 Noxious Cargo the Invasion of Zebra and Quagga Mussels
Chapter 5 Continental Undivide Asian Carp and Chicago's Backwards River
Chapter 6 Conquering a Continent the Mussel Infestation of the West
Chapter 7 North America's "Dead" Sea Toxic Algae and the Threat to Toledo's Water Supply
Chapter 8 Plugging the Drain the Never-Ending Threat to Siphon Away Great Lakes Water
Chapter 9 A Shaky Balancing Act Climate Change and the Fall and Rise of the Lakes
Chapter 10 A Great Lake Revival Charting a Course Toward Integrity, Stability and Balance
Selected Bibliography345(4)
Illustration Credits349(2)

An award-winning journalist traces the scientific, historical and ecological factors that are endangering the Great Lakes, discussing the late-19th century's effort to connect the lakes to the Atlantic, which unexpectedly introduced invasive species from the natural world.

*Starred Review* For 10 years, Egan, an award-winning reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, covered the Great Lakes. He now channels his findings about these five inland seas holding 20 percent of the earth's fresh water into a vivid, fascinating, and alarming chronicle of an epic clash between natural order and human chaos. Egan maps the unique geography that for millennia kept the Great Lakes in pristine and thriving isolation, a resplendent abundance that didn't inspire stewardship in the new, colonizing North Americans, but rather dreams of wealth from international shipping. Egan charts the engineering feats and failures of the Erie and Welland Canals and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which were too small to handle the envisioned shipping boom, yet capacious enough to allow seafaring ships to traverse the Great Lakes, carelessly dumping ballast water, which Egan describes as "mini-oceans" teeming with voracious invasive species. He precisely and dramatically elucidates the rampages of the sea lamprey, alewife, and zebra and quagga mussels, as well as the debacle of stocking the Great Lakes with coho salmon, and the ravages of water pollution. The devastation of the Great Lakes ecosystem delivered severe economic hardships, and new threats are pending, including the dreaded Asian carp. Egan's in-depth investigation is crucial testimony to the dire consequences of our profligate abuse of precious earthly resources. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

An alarming account of the "slow-motion catastrophe" facing the world's largest freshwater system.Based on 13 years of reporting for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this exhaustively detailed examination of the Great Lakes reveals the extent to which this 94,000-square-mile natural resource has been exploited for two centuries. The main culprits have been "over-fishing, over-polluting, and over-prioritizing navigation," writes Egan, winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Combining scientific details, the stories of researchers investigating ecological crises, and interviews with people who live and work along the lakes, the author crafts an absorbing narrative of science and human folly. The St. Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks, canals, and channels leading to the Atlantic Ocean, which allows "noxious species" from foreign ports to enter the lakes through ballast water dumped by freighters, has been a central player. Biologically contaminated ballast water i s "the worst kind of pollution," writes Egan. "It breeds." As a result, mussels and other invasive species have been devastating the ecosystem and traveling across the country to wreak harm in the West. At the same time, farm-fertilizer runoff has helped create "massive seasonal toxic algae blooms that are turning [Lake] Erie's water into something that seems impossible for a sea of its size: poison." The blooms contain "the seeds of a natural and public health disaster." While lengthy and often highly technical, Egan's sections on frustrating attempts to engineer the lakes by introducing predator fish species underscore the complexity of the challenge. The author also covers the threats posed by climate change and attempts by outsiders to divert lake waters for profit. He notes that the political will is lacking to reduce farm runoffs. The lakes could "heal on their own," if protected from new invasions and if the fish and mussels already present "find a new ecological bala n ce." Not light reading but essential for policymakers-and highly recommended for the 40 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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