Tag Archives: CAFO

In 2012 Saginaw Bay Muck Was Poop


This post was originally published in 2012. It’s one of the most viewed and searched for on ThumbWind.  With the recent budget cuts announced for the EPA by the current administration it’s feared that the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay will once again experience muck and fecal encrusted beaches.

We were trying to think of a tactful headline for this piece but decided cut to the chase. Huron County lake front owners have known for years that the declining water quality in Saginaw Bay is due to two factors. 1) Outdated and failing septic tanks and overflow from Bay City. 2) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations CAFOs. Now we have actual experts that confirmed local suspicions of what exactly is in the muck that has been appearing on beaches.

At the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference held at Saginaw Valley State University, Marc Werhougstraete, a Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife research assistant, said muck means sewage and fecal matter are likely present.

The blue green muck is composed of different types of algae, macrophytes and decomposing organic matter that varies from season to season. In research Werhougstraete conducted at the Bay City State Recreation Area, he found both human and bovine feces (poop) in the muck.

Basically if you see the muck on the beach, think “poop”. Don’t go into the water and don’t let your kids play in the wet sand. “To reduce risk of contracting illness”, said Werhougstraete,  “avoid contact with muck, wash hands when in contact with it and do not submerge your head in the water.”

Common muck management, such as raking, also can release the pathogens from the muck. People cleaning beaches should do so in the morning, when the beaches are less busy and the sun can kill bacteria, Werhougstraete said.

The algae and muck have gotten so bad in recent years it now compares with the situation Lake Erie faced in the 1960s. NASA released pictures shot from the space station that showed the full algae bloom in 2011.

Featured image from  NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research


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Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) threatens Lake Superior; Citizens take action


Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

April 21, 2015 by Mary Doughtery

Giant open-air cesspool from a CAFO featured in Mark  Devries' drone video of a factory farm. Giant open-air cesspool from a CAFO featured in Mark Devries’ drone video of a factory farm.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) was a foreign word in the Lake Superior Basin prior to the summer of 2014. Today the residents of Bayfield County know many new terms: nutrient management plans (NMP), best management practices, manure lagoons, gestation crates and animal units.

As the community learned about these things, We The People became very concerned and engaged. An organized response sprang to life, challenging a corporate factory hog operator from Iowa. The proposed Badgerwood facility is projected to have 26,000 hogs, annual production of 6.8 million gallons of liquid manure, annual facility water usage of nearly 34 million gallons—all in close proximity to Lake Superior, 10% of the world’s fresh water.

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Town of Eileen in the Fish Creek Watershed less…

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