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Grade

6 Text-based Writing Stimulus and Prompt Guidelines



Directions: Manage your time carefully so that you can:
read the passages;
plan your response;
write your response; and
revise and edit your response.

You have 90 minutes to read the passages, and plan, write, revise, and edit your
essay.

The passages below discuss the impact of humans on the Great Lakes and their
resources. Using information from the passages below, explain what impact
humans have on nature and natural resources, and what we can do to protect
them.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow at White Lake Restoration Celebration: 'It's been a
long time coming'
MONTAGUE, MI What was originally planned as a celebration of the restoration
of White Lake, became a stage for an announcement some have been waiting to hear
since 1985.
The celebration coordinated by the White Lake Public Advisory Council at The
Book Nook and Java Shop on Thursday, Oct. 30 was meant to mark decades of
work by the White Lake community in collaboration with state and federal officials
in meeting necessary standards to eventually have the lake delisted from an
international "toxic hot spot" list.
However, at approximately 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
announced that White Lake had been officially delisted as a Great Lakes Area of
Concern.
The timing was ideal for those who turned out at the celebration.
"This is our first Great Lakes restoration initiative project to get a clean bill of
health," Stabenow said. "We knew that it would be sometime before the end of the

year that the EPA would feel confident in delisting the lake from being an area of
concern. It's been a long time coming."
In addition to White Lake being removed, Deer Lake an Upper Peninsula lake in
the Lake Superior basin was also taken off the list of "toxic hot spots."
"We got to take two off the list, so it's a great thing for the Great Lakes," said
Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the administrator of the U.S. EPA. "We worked
really hard to get the delisting to take place in a synchronized way with this event. I
went to my first White Lake area of concern meeting back in 1987, so there have
been a lot of people working really hard for a long time to get to this day."
The celebration also involved poetry readings from Montague and Whitehall school
students, as well as a brief presentation on White Lake's pollution history and
recovery.

Great Lakes? Not for Long.

The Great Lakes help quench the thirst of 40 million people in the United States and
Canada. But this pool of resources may not be around for long. The Great Lakes are
in trouble.

A team of scientists recently released a report about the Great Lakes dire state. The
lakes are threatened by toxic substances, over fishing, invasive species, air pollution,
and loss of habitat for wildlife. "The Great Lakes are under tremendous stress,"
Alfred Beeton of the University of Michigan told reporters.

The report says that concentrating on one or two of the issues wont wave good-bye
to the problems. Instead, the scientists wrote, the government needs to look at the
entire Great Lakes ecosystem. An ecosystem is a community of living things and its
environment. Scientists asked Congress for $20 billion to help protect the lakes.
Experts say the money would be used to clean polluted harbors.

Scientists also want to restore wetlands, such as marshes and swamps. Because
wetlands hold moisture and prevent erosion, they could help the lakes heal
themselves. Something must be done fast, warns Andy Buchsbaum of the National
Wildlife Federation. If not, "the damage is likely to be irreversible," he says.

Microplastics Threaten Marine Life In The Great Lakes
Tiny pieces of plastic each about the size of a grain of sand are posing a huge

threat to marine life in the Great Lakes.


For the past two summers, researchers from an organization called 5 Gyres have
been collecting water samples from the Great Lakes.
They used fine-mesh nets to skim the surface of the water. When they looked at
what they had collected, they found thousands of tiny plastic beads, each less than a
millimetre.
At first the scientists didnt know where these microbeads came from. Then they
used an electron microscope to compare them to products such as face and body
washes or toothpaste that people use to help scrub and polish our skin and teeth.
They found that those products contained microbeads that were the same size,
colour, texture and shape as the plastic beads found in the water samples.
When the researchers put the contents of a single tube of facial scrub through a
sieve, it left behind about 330,000 microbeads. They think there could be as many as
1.1 million bits of plastic per square mile in the Great Lakes.
This is a problem because marine animals such as mussels, worms, fish and
plankton may mistake the plastic beads for fish eggs or microscopic organisms and
eat them.
Microbeads are made of toxic (poisonous) chemicals. Because they float around in
the water for a long time without breaking down, they also absorb other harmful
chemicals that might be in the water, like detergents, oil and pesticides. When
animals eat the beads, they are also eating all of these chemicals.
Scientists in England have been studying a type of marine animal called a lugworm
to see how microplastics affect them. Lugworms live in the sand of beaches in
Europe and North America, around the Atlantic Ocean. They eat microorganisms
that live in the sand, and then they are eaten by fish and birds.
When lugworms mistakenly eat microplastics that have sunk into the sand, it fills
them up so they dont eat enough proper food. Then they dont grow as much as
they should and they dont reproduce as often. This could mean fewer lugworms in
the environment and less food for species that feed on them.
Scientists think microplastics probably have similar effects on other animals that eat
them. They also found that these toxins remain in an animals body, so they can be
passed up the food chain to the fish or birds that eat that animal. Eventually, the
toxic chemicals could end up in fish that are eaten by people.
Microplastics can come from a variety of sources. Some are particles of larger pieces
of plastic that have broken down. Others come from synthetic fabrics like polyester:
every time a piece of polyester clothing is washed, hundreds of fibres are released

into the water.


But most come from microbeads that are either melted down to make larger plastic
items, or added to cosmetic products.
Dealing with pollution from microplastics is especially difficult because of their tiny
size. The beads are too small to be filtered out of the water at wastewater treatment
plants (where used water is cleaned before being returned to the environment).
Once they have entered the environment, it is impossible to remove them from the
water because plankton and other microscopic organisms would be scooped up
along with them.
Making better systems for filtering wastewater before it is released back into the
environment is one way to help prevent microplastic pollution. But the best way to
solve the problem is to stop creating more pollution.
An organization called the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative represents
more than 100 cities in Canada and the United States. It is asking the governments
in both countries to get involved in preventing and cleaning up plastics pollution.
That organization and researchers from 5 Gyres have also asked cosmetics
manufacturers to stop using microplastic beads in their products and replace them
with natural alternatives instead. Things like nutshells, grape seeds, oat kernel flour,
or even sugar will work just as well in cosmetic products, and they are
biodegradable. (Biodegradable means they will break down and be absorbed into
the environment without causing harm.)
Many companies have agreed to stop using microbeads, but it may take them a few
years to remove them from all of their products.
Meanwhile, environmentalists are encouraging consumers to stop buying products
that contain microplastics and choose natural options instead.