Saturday, December 29, 2007

Keweenaw Now announces 2007 Photo Contest winners

HANCOCK -- As the end of 2007 approaches, let us praise Lake Superior and its watershed, the greatest natural resource of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, now threatened by potentially destructive mining. Let us express our love for the Big Lake -- its beauty, its wildlife and its recreational and educational features -- with some photo memories of 2007.

Keweenaw Now presents the winners of our first Lake Superior Photo Contest. Last fall we invited readers to submit amateur photos in three categories: landscapes, wildlife and responsible action (environmental stewardship or responsible recreation in the Lake Superior watershed). Here are the winning photos, as judged by photographer Eric Munch of Calumet.

Landscape category: First place goes to Joe Kaplan of Hancock for his photo of a sunset at Lane Cove, on Isle Royale.

This photo of a sunset at Lane Cove, Isle Royale, wins first place in the landscape category of Keweenaw Now's Lake Superior photo contest.

Winning second place in the landscapes is this photo by Bryan McKamey of Copper Harbor:

Taking second place in the landscape category is this photo of the Lake Superior shoreline just west of the Hunter's Point area in Copper Harbor. The photographer, Bryan McKamey of Copper Harbor, notes the young woman in the photo is his daughter Aliza.

Wildlife category: Joe Kaplan takes another first place with this photo of Isle Royale wildlife:

Joe Kaplan's candid shot of this red squirrel taking his siesta at Blake Point, Isle Royale, wins first place in the wildlife category.

Second place for wildlife goes to Dan Larson of Skanee for this photo of a loon taken while kayaking on Dirkman Lake:

Dan Larson of Skanee wins second place in the wildlife category for this photo of a loon on Dirkman Lake.

Stewardship category:
Winning first place in the stewardship category is Sue Haralson, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) administrator, for her photo of volunteers pulling knapweed at the Joseph and Mary Lizzadro Preserve on Lake Superior, between Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) is an aggressive weed that is crowding out native plants at both the Lizzadro and the Bete Grise Preserves. Last July HKCD sponsored the knapweed pulling at both preserves.

Volunteers pull Spotted knapweed, an invasive, non-native plant, at the Lizzadro Preserve on Lake Superior July 18, 2007. Sue Haralson, Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) administrator, takes first place in the stewardship category for this photo. Pictured here in the foreground are Janet Shea, right, of Keweenaw County, and her grandson Nathan Ozment of Sheboygan, Wis. Pictured in the background are John Bowie and Larry Forth of Ahmeek. Others who helped (not pictured here) were Rachel Tarpey, Bonnie Hay, Rex and Nick Wilson and Gina Nicholas.

"It was a hot day with a lot of hard work; but the ice cold lemonade, chips and cookies hit our spot!" Haralson noted. "Nine people showed up, and we filled 16 large garbage bags with knapweed."

Second place in the stewardship category also goes to Sue Haralson for her photo of participants in the Gratiot Lake Conservancy's Reading the Landscape (RTL) program last summer. On July 21, 2007, RTL participants visited Bete Grise beaches with educators Jim and Judy St. Arnold and writer and teacher Peter Blau to gain an Ojibwe perspective on both historical and current use of natural resources along the shore.

Second place in the stewardship category goes to Sue Haralson for this photo of Reading the Landscape participants walking along the beach at Bete Grise South, famous for its "singing sands."

Keweenaw Now wishes to thank those who sent photos for our first Lake Superior photo contest. Readers, please save your best 2008 photos for next year's contest!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sulfide mine opponents sue MDEQ for issuing illegal permits

MARQUETTE -- One week after a controversial decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to permit a sulfide mine in the central Upper Peninsula, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Huron Mountain Club and Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve filed, on Dec. 21, 2007, a contested case petition and a lawsuit against the MDEQ as the first step in a legal challenge to halt the mine.

"The opponents of the mine have presented MDEQ with over 1000 pages of unequivocal evidence that Kennecott’s proposed sulfide mine does not meet the state’s legal requirements and would result in profound pollution, impairment and destruction of air, water and other natural resources," Michelle Halley, attorney for NWF and the other co-petitioners explained. "The MDEQ has issued permits that are based upon defective, inadequate and incomplete applications and are therefore illegal," she added.

Read the rest of this press release on Save the Wild UP.
Read the Marquette Mining Journal article.

Read also the article, "Rio Tinto Poised to Open 6 More Projects on the Yellow Dog Plains" concerning plans by Rio Tinto (Kennecott's parent company) to expand its mining operations in the U.P. beyond the current Eagle Project in order to meet demands for nickel, especially from China.

See also other related articles on Save the Wild UP, including Congressman Bart Stupak's statement expressing his disappointment at the DEQ decision to permit the Eagle Project sulfide mine near Marquette.
Photo: A fall 2006 view of the Salmon Trout River, which flows through an area proposed for Kennecott Minerals' Eagle Project sulfide mine. The river contains a rare population of Coaster Brook Trout. (Photo © 2007 and courtesy lexup at Save the Wild UP. Reprinted with permission.)