Bears, Bay Alerts and Wind

For Friday, Nov. 20, 2015

1 – There’s a bear hunt going on in northern Michigan.

This is a hunt for black bear dens. Hunters and trappers are being asked to report bear dens that they come across this season. The state Department of Natural Resources is looking for the locations of bear dens for an ongoing research program.

After locating a denned bear, DNR biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for the project. Bears that are selected will be sedated and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags.

The bear will then be returned to its den, where it will sleep through the winter.

Information gathered from bears will assist in managing the population, according to a DNR biologist in Roscommon.

Currently, three female bears are being monitored from the air and ground using radio tracking equipment.

2 – Bay Alerts are back in Bay County.

The county’s 911 department recently relaunched a new and improved Bay Alerts Emergency Management Notification system. The system includes new features that allow residents to manage the type, frequency, and method of emergency alerts that they receive.

Residents who sign-up for Bay Alerts receive text or email notices advising them of emergency information on severe thunderstorms, tornado, and winter storm warnings.

Bay Alerts also can notify residents via land-line telephones.

Residents can choose to receive additional alerts on traffic, road closures, preparedness tips and more.

To sign up or for more information, see the Bay County website or call 895-4112.

3 – Wind farms can bring a windfall to Michigan.

The American Wind Energy Association and Wind Energy Foundation recently looked at calculations made by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The analysis says further expansion of wind energy in Michigan could supply the electricity for more than 710,000 homes by 2030, and add more than $17 million in annual property tax revenue. More wind energy also could bring in $7.6 million in annual lease payments to Michigan landowners.

Wind farms provide about 3.7 percent of the electricity generated in Michigan; the report envisions 6.8% by 2030.

Wind energy has attracted almost $3 billion in investment to Michigan, and rural landowners receive a total of about $4.6 million a year in land lease payments for hosting wind turbines.

Currently, about 4,000 jobs are supported by wind power in Michigan, including at 33 factories that produce parts and supplies. The state has about 900 wind turbines installed, powering the equivalent of about 355,000 homes.


Happy Thanksgiving!

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter



Alternatives to Microbeads, Frankenmuth Fish Passage, Michigan’s Recycling Rate

For Friday, Nov. 6, 2015

1 – Microbeads continue to threaten the health of the Great Lakes. They’re used in products like facial scrubs, body washes and toothpaste.

Credit: Maxence

Credit: Maxence

But they’re ending up in the Great Lakes because they’re too tiny to be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants.

There’s concern that fish and other creatures are eating the beads, and that the beads are absorbing pollutants.

What’s a consumer to do? Michigan State University Extension suggests that consumers look for products that contain natural ingredients instead of plastic.

That means stop buying products that contain ‘polypropylene’ and ‘polyethylene’ and look for products that contain pumice, oatmeal, apricot pits and walnut husks.

A Michigan House bill would halt the manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads by 2018.

2 – A Frankenmuth project has opened up spawning habitat to fish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced the completion of the Frankenmuth fish passage project, located in Saginaw County.

The project restores fishery access to more than 73 miles of river and spawning habitat. Previously, the Cass River Dam prevented walleye, lake sturgeon and other native species from accessing the areas.

A rock ramp was constructed downstream from the dam to allow fish to pass. The rock ramp will allow fish to access spawning habitat that had been unreachable for more than 150 years.

The improvements are intended to restore the walleye population in the Cass River, so it can be largely self-sustained through natural reproduction. The river has been identified as one of six in the Saginaw Bay watershed that are key to increasing the natural reproduction of walleye.

3 – Michigan leaders want to double the state’s recycling rate.

They’re planning a challenge called Recycle by Design that will launch early next year.

Michigan’s overall recycling rate is 15 percent, lower than every other Great Lakes state, and below the national average of 34 percent, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Recycle by Design is due to kick off on Feb. 15.

The challenge aims to foster public and private partnerships that result in successful strategies to increase recycling in Michigan.

For more information, see


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Extreme Storm Survey, Saginaw Bay Fishing Regs and Solar Design

For Friday, Oct. 23, 2015


1 – Bay County is surveying residents on extreme storm impacts.

County officials say extreme storm events present a serious threat to community health, safety, and economic stability.

Credit: Erik Drost

Credit: Erik Drost

The survey was developed by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and other local collaborators in the Saginaw Bay region.

The results of the survey will inform future projects to improve community preparedness and reduce extreme storm impacts in the 22 counties that make up the Saginaw Bay watershed.

According to Michigan Sea Grant, the watershed is particularly vulnerable to storm hazards because of the region’s unique topography and land-use patterns. The Saginaw Bay watershed drains about 15 percent of the state of Michigan.

The survey is online and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It will close on Nov. 16.

2 – The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved changes to walleye and yellow perch recreational fishing regulations for Saginaw Bay.

For walleye, the daily possession limit is increased from five to eight fish. The minimum size limit is reduced from 15 to 13 inches. For yellow perch, the daily possession limit is reduced from 50 to 25 fish.

Officials say walleye have recovered and are abundant in Saginaw Bay. This is good news, but walleye are now depressing the available prey base and the population of adult yellow perch has been greatly reduced.

The Department of Natural Resources says the changes are the start of a new management process where future fish possession and size limits will be tied to the status of the walleye population.

3 – A Student Solar Design Competition will award $10,000 in total prize money. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students from any Michigan college.  

solar map us


Registration for the competition closes on Oct. 31. Submissions are due on Nov. 25.

The competition is put being on by Michigan State University.

The challenge is design a solar panel array that can be integrated into a campus landscape.

The competition will award three cash prizes for first, second and third place. The winning team also may receive assistance to strengthen the design concept and bring the idea to life.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

More Conservation Volunteers, First on PACE, Stressed Out Saginaw Bay

For Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

1 – More volunteers are working on conservation in Michigan.

Credit: Steven Depolo

Credit: Steven Depolo

Next year will be the biggest yet for the Huron Pines Americorps program.

Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, has 23 Americorps members signed up. They’ll be placed around Michigan with host sites in Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Alpena, Marquette, Gladwin, Oscoda, Petoskey, Lake City and Midland.

AmeriCorps members are college graduates who apply to be placed with grassroots nonprofits and agencies.

For the past eight years, Huron Pines AmeriCorps members have stabilized eroding streambanks, replanted trees, helped control invasive plants, improved wildlife habitat and expanded access to recreation.

Applications are still being accepted through Oct. 26, to begin serving in January 2016.

(You can find more information online at

2 – Michigan Agency for Energy is the first energy agency in the nation to make improvements using Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, also known as PACE.

Credit: Michigan Energy Agency

Credit: Michigan Energy Agency

Taxpayers are expected to save $800,000 due to energy efficiency improvements including solar panels at the agency’s Lansing offices.

The improvements, which cost about $437,000 to install, include LED lights, occupancy light sensors, roof insulation, electric vehicle charging stations, and variable speed motors for heating and cooling.

Under PACE, energy efficiency projects are financed through property tax payments rather than regular bank loan payments.

(More on PACE from Midwest Energy News)

3 – Saginaw Bay is stressed out.

Parts of the bay are looking stressed in updated maps from the GLEAM project, which stands for Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping.

University of Michigan researchers and colleagues have created detailed maps of five recreational activities in the Great Lakes: sport fishing, recreational boating, birding, beach use and park visits. They say the information can be used to help prioritize restoration projects.

map saginaw bay stressors

Via University of Michigan – GLEAM

A map of recreational use and stress shows high recreation and high stress on parts of inner Saginaw Bay. The Thumb area shows high recreation and low stress.

A paper summarizing the study’s findings was published this month in a journal of the Ecological Society of America.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Top 10 Eco-Schools and Lake Trout in Lake Huron

For Friday, Oct. 2, 2015

1 – The National Wildlife Federation is honoring the Top 10 eco-schools in the

The schools are being recognized for “their commitment to wildlife protection, sustainability and environmental education” as part of the Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program.

The top schools are in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, California, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Maryland and Florida.

According to the NWF, the Top 10 schools in total saved more than $207,000 in energy, water and waste that was diverted or saved.

There are already 67 eco-schools registered in Michigan. They include St. James Elementary in Bay City, Vassar High School, Frankenmuth High School and Marshall Greene Middle School in Birch Run.

2 – Successes of the federally funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are being highlighted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lake trout stocking in the Great Lakes. Credit: USFWS

Lake trout stocking in the Great Lakes. Credit: USFWS

The Service has received more than $41 million this year to support new and ongoing Great Lakes projects, and more than $271 million over the past six years.

A “Restoring the Great Lakes” report from the agency says the conservation investments are starting to show tangible returns.

Lake trout, for instance, have been a central focus of Great Lakes stocking efforts for decades.

Now they are starting to make a resurgence, and reproduce naturally.

In Lake Huron, annual lake trout surveys recently revealed that more than 60 percent of the fish collected were of wild origin, the agency says.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Invasive Plant Hunt, Green Infrastructure Contest, and a Total Eclipse of the Moon

For Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

1 – The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland is hosting an online challenge to promote the use of a smartphone app.

The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network app allows users to track and determine areas where invasive species exist.

The Conservancy is holding free public workshops in October in Midland, Gladwin and Clare counties. The workshops will show landowners how use the app to identify invasive plants, and become more aware of invasive plants and the threats they pose.

Participants will use the app to record the locations and images of invasive plants in their towns.

The challenge will take place from Oct. 21-29.

Little Forks will award prizes to the participant who reports the most invasive plants from each county.

Register here.

2 – Registration is open until Sept. 30 for the fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The contest, being put on by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is for undergraduate and graduate students.

The EPA is inviting student teams to design a green infrastructure project for their campus. The project should show how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

As opposed to catch basins, pipes, and ponds that move stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls.

This year, EPA is asking student teams to incorporate climate resiliency into their designs.

There are two design categories: the Master Plan and the Demonstration Project.

EPA will award a total of $16,000 to first- and second-place winners for the Campus RainWorks Challenge. Winners will be notified in April 2016.

First-place winners for 2014 were from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland, College Park.

3 – Michigan has three state parks with dark sky preserves, including Port Crescent State Park in Huron County, and parks in Lenawee and Emmet counties.

super blood moon

Via US Naval Observatory/EarthSky

On the night of Sept. 27 to the early hours of Sept. 28, these parks are the perfect spot to view a total eclipse of the moon, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

The Harvest Moon eclipse begins at 9:07 p.m., but the best views will be from about 10:10 to 11:30 p.m., from anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains.

Michigan state park day use areas are closed after 10 p.m. For late-night viewing opportunities, you’ll need to book a campsite and watch the skies from the campground.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Two New Invasive Species, Fall Conservation Summit and MiWaters

For Friday, Sept. 11, 2015

1 – Two new invasive species have been found in Michigan waters

Staff from the state Department of Environment Quality have confirmed a freshwater alga commonly known as didymo (di di-mo)  – or rock snot – growing in extensive mats in the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie.

Also recently discovered were New Zealand mud snails in the Pere Marquette River near Ludington.

Didymo is a nuisance algae that thrives in cold, clean water. It can grow into thick mats that cover the river bottom. The algae is not a threat to human health, but it can crowd out biologically valuable algae and important food for fish. It also can interfere with fishing and wading.

New Zealand mud snails are about an (1/8) eighth of an inch long. But they cluster together, and compete with native snails for food and space.

State agencies want to remind anglers and boaters to clean, drain and dry their equipment to help prevent the spread of didymo, New Zealand mud snails, and other types of aquatic invasive species.

new zealand mud snails key usfws

New Zealand mud snails. Credit: Dan Gustafson

2 – A Fall Conservation Summit is coming to Bay City on Monday, Sept. 21.

fall leaves conservation summit michigan bay city
Credit: Erik Przekop

The event is being put on by Heart of the Lakes at the Delta College Planetarium on Center Avenue in downtown Bay City.

Speakers include:

A walking or biking field trip to the Michigan Sugar Trails also is planned.

Heart of the Lakes is a statewide nonprofit serving conservation organizations and Michigan’s land conservancies.

For more information on Sept. 21 Fall Summit, see

3 – 
Michigan has a new Web-based system designed to streamline the process of obtaining federal environmental permits.

The MiWaters system replaces more than 25 applications and databases, some of which were more than 30 years old.

Officials say MiWaters simplifies the process for permits dealing with aquatic nuisance control and wastewater, stormwater and groundwater discharges.

It also includes electronic reporting of untreated or partially treated sanitary wastewater.

— Via AP and Michigan DEQ


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter


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