The last known Douglas's hawthorn 1994...

In 1994, the U.S. Coast Guard directed the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society to restore Douglas’s Hawthorn trees after they were destroyed by clearing and brushing out for development and a parking lot. In 2002, GLSHS agreed to "reestablish the Douglas Hawthorn and Western Bilberry species to the site to reflect historic levels" (see page 33 of the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.) GLSHS still had not re-established the Douglas Hawthorn or Western Bilberry species at Whitefish Point as of February 2008. 
See comments and recommendations for Whitefish Point by Dr. Edward G. Voss, a leading Michigan botanical authority.
Ongoing loss of critical habitat at Whitefish Point....

“Currently there is no active management of people within areas serving as critical habitat for migrating birds. In the absence of management control, there has been considerable loss of vegetation, erosion, and destabilization of sandy soils. This problem is primarily caused by foot traffic … Trails shall keep all people and pets out of environmentally sensitive habitat at all times of the year ... ”

- From 2002 Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point, page 31.

By the end of 2007, the stakeholders at Whitefish Point failed to establish a trail system to protect environmentally sensitive habitat.

“The environmentally sensitive habitat area requires active restoration and mitigation of the degraded habitat areas as well as protection of existing habitat. The Joint Committee shall appoint a Habitat Maintenance and Restoration Subcommittee to oversee habitat and restoration of degraded habitat areas, control invasive species, and manage human behavior to prevent habitat destruction.”

- From 2002 Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point, page 31.

By the end of 2007, the stakeholders of Whitefish Point failed to restore, mitigate, or protect habitat.''

On January 3, 2008, GLSHS's Board of Director president lobbied the Whitefish Township Board of Trustees to circumvent the other Whitefish Point stakeholders by purchasing property for a GLSHS parking lot that would destroy more habitat at Whitefish Point.


See You Tube Video:
Fine Distinctions of Doubletalk: Fact & Fiction at Whitefish Point


GLSHS mercury spills at Whitefish Point 1989...

In 1989 a large mercury spill occurred inside the GLSHS Shipwreck Museum. The public was allowed to walk through residual mercury for two years until the spill was finally reported in 1991. GLSHS stored a large amount of mercury at Whitefish Point until 2002. Mercury vapor levels were unexpectedly high inside the Shipwreck Museum and fog signal building as recently as 2004. A seemingly disproportionate number of long-term employees of the Shipwreck Museum have suffered from dementia. The Whitefish Point stakeholders refuse to test the groundwater for hazardous substances.

See: 1991 EPA Administrative Order for GLSHS mercury clean-up at Whitefish Point.

See: 1991 Chippewa County Health Department Report on the mercury spill inside the Shipwreck Museum.

See: 2002 mercury manifests from GLSHS/Whitefish Point.

See: 2004 Chippewa County Health Department report on Whitefish Point mercury.


See You Tube Video:
Not in My Backyard

This video about a 1989 mercury spill & contamination at Whitefish Point aired at the International Joint Commission’s “Sustainable Cities, Healthy Watersheds” Biennial Meeting and Conference in Chicago on June 6, 2007.

U.S. Coast Guard diesel fuel spill at Whitefish Point 1991...
In 1991 a U.S. Coast Guard diesel fuel spill occurred at the Whitefish Point Light Station. The Coast Guard cleaned up the diesel fuel spill and placed monitoring test wells at Whitefish Point.

GLSHS over-development at Whitefish Point...

GLSHS’s unchecked thirst for an expanding commercial operation at Whitefish Point included in their construction of one of the largest gift shops (1999) in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula and a bed & breakfast operation (2002) in the historic crews quarters building even though consultants warned that the site likely would not support an adequate septic system and the groundwater was probably already contaminated with nitrates. GLSHS’s over-development at Whitefish Point led the Michigan Audubon Society to file a lawsuit that resulted in a settlement agreement that produced the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.

GLSHS billboard for historic Whitefish Point crews quarters bed & breakfast operation

Inadequate sewage capacity at Whitefish Point

“Review of engineering plans for the new septic system connected to the Crews Quarters and Multi-purpose/Gift Shop indicated that the system may have been over-capacity on peak visitation days.”

- From Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point, page 28.

“Based on observations, vicinity residential well records, aerial photography, soil maps, site hydrology, topography and setting, a permanent high water table exists at this location, suggesting the likelihood for groundwater contamination and contaminant plume migration to adjacent Lake Superior/Whitefish Bay from current septic system operation. … This review finds that soils and hydrology at the study site severely limit, if not preclude, lawful on-site conventional septic systems as currently utilized. Therefore the proposed increase of commercial use of septic systems at this site is likely additionally inappropriate and/or unlawful. .. Specifically, it is our belief that past operations of on-site septic systems at this site has likely resulted in nitrate contamination of groundwater at this location in violation of [Michigan law.]”

- Dr. Christopher Grobbel's 2002 “Evaluation of Environmental and Ecological Impacts from the Perennial Use of Crew’s Quarters, Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, Michigan”.

See page 19 of the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.

Michigan Audubon Society, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and GLSHS agreed in 2002 to install test wells to monitor the groundwater for contamination at Whitefish Point. The test wells were not installed until November 8, 2007 - a five year delay.  As of December 2007, the Whitefish Point groundwater was not tested for contamination.  The stakeholders continue to refuse to test the groundwater for hazardous substances despite the public’s appeal.

See page 29 and 68 of the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.

Flooding of GLSHS buildings at Whitefish Point ...

Dr. Christopher Grobbel reported a permanent high water table at Whitefish Point ranging from 2 - 4.64 feet in 2002. The U.S. Coast Guard reported the water table at 4.5 feet in 1992.

Dr. Grobbel reported flooding in the GLSHS Crew’s Quarters building at Whitefish Point in 2000. These photos show sump water from the GLSHS Crew’s Quarters building pumped onto fragile dunes at Whitefish Point in 2004.

See GLSHS 2005 tax returns for details on flood insurance reimbursement.
Note: Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality did not respond when notified of this action by GLSHS.

Continued damage by unmonitored human use...
The Whitefish Point stakeholder’s dependence on monitoring human use by “anecdotal evidence of problems” does not protect the fragile environment from continued damage.

See page 45 of the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.

SUV on sand dune at Whitefish Point 1/14/06

Invasive species at Whitefish Point 2007...

Clearing of habitat has resulted in the establishment of invasive plant species on property held by the GLSHS at the Whitefish Point Light Station in violation of the conservation values of Whitefish Point.

See page 30 & 31 of the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.

See Official Responses about Whitefish Point’s Environment

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