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Large storms are creating issues for Lake Superior according to study

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ASHLAND, WI-- Larger than normal storms over the last several years are causing issues for Lake Superior, according to a group of researchers at Northland College in Ashland.

Researchers there released a study on Tuesday breaking down the impact climate change has on the lake and what issues it's causing.

"Since 2012 we have experienced three 500 to 1,000-year storm events," said Valerie Damstra, Operations Manager, at the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation.

Damstra and her colleagues have discovered major storms are causing problems for the lake.

"What we are seeing is an unprecedented amount of run-off that is going into the lake. With that, it is bringing sediment and nutrients that are on the ground into the lake," Damstra added.

Matt Hudson, Associate Director, of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, says this is problematic when it comes to algae blooms.

"Nutrients, things that algae needs to grow gets washed into the lake when an event like this happens. So when you get the right conditions in the lake to allow one of these blooms to form, then that happens," Hudson said.

These storms also bringing higher than average lake levels, causing more concern for the duo of researchers.

"More shoreline erosion can lead to more issues in the coastal communities in our area and be a whole host of problems related to infrastructure as well," Hudson added.

While mother nature remains unpredictable, Damstra and Hudson say protecting the environment starts with the community.

"Changing out our road infrastructure, making our culverts bigger, our bridges bigger, replacing stormwater systems so that it can handle more water influx so we aren't getting overflows, those are the sorts of things we are starting to talk about," Damstra said.

For more on the study, you can click here.

John Cardinale

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