The Death and Life of the Great Lakes (W.W. Norton), by Dan Egan
One of the world’s natural wonders, the Great Lakes are a giant reservoir of fresh water capable of tsunami-high waves. As Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan relates in The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, those inland seas contain one of every five gallons of surface fresh water on Earth. The Clean Water Act (1972) stanched the industrial pollution of the lakes, yet failed to halt contamination from ocean-going ships introducing “noxious species” that are “inexorably unstitching a delicate ecological web.” Native fish stocks declined and algae proliferated. However, Egan finds positive signs, including the ability of surviving native fish to adapt to changing environments. Given the economic underperformance of the St. Lawrence Seaway linking the lakes to the Atlantic, Egan proposes closing this doorway to invasive species and tightening environmental rules—ideas that will find tough going in the current political climate.