Environment: The Case of the Missing Gulls

With its 1,367 cherry orchards sloping down to spotless Lake Michigan beaches, Traverse City (pop. 18,000) was long admired as one of the state's prettiest communities. But no longer. The beaches are now littered with rotting alewives, smelts and garbage. "I've been raking dead fish into piles, but I can't keep up with the amount that washes in," says Mrs. Josephine Hoehler, a summer resident. She notes another change: "I haven't seen one sea gull since I came up here three weeks ago."

In past times, the area teemed with thousands of breeding gulls. Wheeling overhead, they scavenged for dead fish...

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