‘Great Lakes Soda’ Repels Asian Carp

For July 8, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/aa4lntd3i1jkvcg/mr-great-lakes-7-8-16-environment-report.mp3]

1 – Making Great Lakes soda may help control Asian carp.

Researchers say adding carbon dioxide gas to water, a process similar to making carbonated soda, could help control the movement and behavior of invasive carp in the Great Lakes.

Bighead carp and silver carp are species of invasive Asian carp that threaten the Great Lakes.

Scientists with the University of Illinois and the U.S. Geological Survey tested the effectiveness of infusing water with carbon dioxide gas to discourage movement of the carp. Both carp species avoided CO2-infused water in a research pond in Wisconsin.

The study’s lead author says the responses provide evidence that CO2 could be used as a tool to deter the movement of bighead and silver carp.

Scientists say further tests are needed before CO2 can be used in Asian carp management.

The next research step is to test the usefulness of CO2 gas in controlling carp movement in a natural river.

 

2 – Visit the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, and don’t forget your cell phone.

The refuge, located in Saginaw County, is putting on a Cell Phone Photography Contest.

The contest will be judged by adult and youth age groups.

Each group can submit photos that depict wildlife, or plants and landscapes.

The public will vote online for their favorite photos in the two categories from July 24-30.

Certificates and prizes will be awarded.

Photos will be displayed at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center and on the Refuge’s Facebook page.

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

Boat Launch Events for Invasive Species Week, Michigan-Ohio Energy Partnership

For July 1, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/ynwghhz5zd1hbqk/mr-great-lakes-7-1-16.mp3]

1 – July 3-9 is Invasive Species Awareness Week in Michigan.

With recent discoveries of invasive New Zealand mud snails in the Au Sable and Pere Marquette rivers, state officials say the week takes on added importance.

new zealand mudsnails michigan deq

New Zealand mud snails. Credit: Michigan DEQ

Aquatic invasive species are non-native plants and animals that disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy.

For Invasive Species Awareness Week, state departments are putting on outreach events at more than 50 boat launches.

The events, which include the Department of Environmental Quality and local volunteers, are meant to assist boaters in preventing the spread of aquatic invasives and comply with related laws.

Many invasive species, including New Zealand mud snails, are easily spread by boaters and anglers who use their equipment in multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it.

2 – Michigan is working with Ohio boost the region’s advanced energy sector.

A new Clean Energy Manufacturing Roadmap was developed by state energy agencies in Michigan and Ohio.

It focuses on strategies for advancing energy efficient building technology and reducing energy costs related to clean energy manufacturing.

The effort was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and analyzed energy storage, LED lighting and electronics. The report puts a strong focus on increased research and development.

Officials say recommendations from the report can be used to build the region’s clean energy cluster and accelerate regional economic development.

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

Midland Signs on to PACE, Warbler Fest Draws Visitors, Dow AgroSciences Picks up Award

For Friday, June 24, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/m2od3pocux63jkf/environment-report-mr-great-lakes-6-24-16.mp3]

1- Midland is the latest county to sign on to a renewable energy financing program.

The Lean & Green Michigan Property Assessed Clean Energy program is known as PACE for short.

The program makes businesses and nonprofits in the county eligible to add renewable energy generating items like solar panels to their buildings.

PACE deals with the high upfront costs of such projects by providing 100 percent financing at long-term, fixed rates for up to 25 years.

The money also can be used for energy efficiency and water saving improvements, and be paid back through property taxes.

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Participating jurisdictions. Via Lean & Green Michigan

Other governments to join PACE include Bay, Saginaw and Huron counties.

This is according to Petros PACE Finance, which is sponsoring training on the program for local contractors.

2 – The Roscommon area drew people from as far away as California, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina and Florida earlier this month.

florida nasa

Florida. Credit: NASA

They attended Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend events on June 3 and 4.

A festival in Roscommon is meant to bring awareness to the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. Proceeds also go to support conservation programs for the songbird.

Populations of the warbler have made a comeback in recent years, but advocates say management is still needed to sustain the bird, which is selective about its nesting sites in places that include Northern Michigan.

Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, says the visitors delivered an economic boost to the area. Leaders say continued management for warbler habitat will have lasting impacts for the birds and Northeast Michigan, bringing birders, canoeists, hikers, bikers and others to the area.

3 – Winners of a national green chemistry award include Dow AgroSciences.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently honored recipients of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

The award recognizes landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn environmental problems into business opportunities and spur innovation and economic development.

Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Midland-based Dow Chemical Co., was honored for an additive called Instinct.

The EPA says the additive reduces runoff from fertilizers, and cuts nitrous oxide emissions.

The additive retains applied nitrogen longer in the root zones of plants like corn, which increases yields for farmers.

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

Plans for Saginaw Riverfront Park, Michigan Water Strategy

For Friday, June 17, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/qvafc03ehurcgs0/mr-great-lakes-riverfront-strategy-6-17-16.mp3]

1 – Planning for a proposed Riverfront Park is progressing in Saginaw.

The Saginaw Community Foundation has awarded a grant to The Nature Conservancy.

The Conservancy is working on a project to develop and implement a community vision for a former General Motors property.

The Conservancy is working with community partners including Saginaw County and Saginaw Future on an open space, recreation and conservation vision for the proposed Riverfront Park.

The conceptual plan includes public access to the river and lake for fishing, multiple trails, and a link to a larger regional vision for trails, open space and recreation lands.

Grant funds will be used for the initial stages of the project and to begin the proposed improvements to Riverfront Park.

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2 – Michigan officials have released a 30-year vision for stewardship of the state’s water resources.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has published the first part of Michigan’s Water Strategy, a plan to protect, manage and enhance Michigan’s water resources.

Part I of the Strategy is centered on promoting stewardship through improving water literacy and community engagement, and protecting and preserving Michigan’s water resources.

The final Strategy will focus on five priorities:

  • Safe drinking water
  • A 40 percent phosphorous reduction in the Western Lake Erie basin
  • Preventing the introduction of new invasive species
  • Supporting investments in commercial and recreational harbors
  • Developing and implementing a Michigan water trails system.

The state is to form a Water Team to involve governments, nongovernmental organizations, industry, academia, local communities and individuals.

 

 

Proposing New Cleanup Criteria, Using Turtles to Monitor Wetlands

For June 10, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j5nvyaecp37es6w/6-9-16-mr-great-lakes-cleanup-criteria-turtles-wetlands.mp3]

1 – The state is proposing new cleanup criteria rules for contaminated sites.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a series of informational meetings throughout the state on the newly proposed generic cleanup criteria rules.

Such rules are used to evaluate risks to public health, safety, welfare and the environment from regulated hazardous substances at sites of environmental contamination.

The update of the cleanup criteria includes 304 regulated hazardous substances. The criteria is used to evaluate exposure pathways such as drinking water and direct contact.

Meetings are planned for June 16 in Gaylord and June 28 in Bay City.

A formal public comment period runs from June 17-July 26.

Pre-registration for the meetings is requested.

 

2 – You’ve heard of the canary in the coal mine. How about the turtle in the wetland?

Just like canaries were once used to test the safety of air in coal mines, turtles can be used to measure pollution in wetlands.

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Credit: Don Henlse

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame report that painted and snapping turtles could be a useful source for measuring pollution in the Great Lakes from the historical dumping of industrial waste.

During work on a federal project to monitor coastal wetlands, researchers tested painted turtles, which can live up to 20 years, and snapping turtles, which live up to 50 years.

They analyzed the muscle, liver, shell and claws of captured turtles in four wetland locations in Lake Michigan for various metals.

They found that concentrations broadly correlated with assessments of metals in the soil of the wetlands.

Because turtles live longer than fish and are relatively high on the food chain, they can be a useful source for measuring wetland pollution.

A paper describing the research was published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

Research Vessels, Energy Appraisal and Bad Axe Renewables

For Friday, June 3, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/md2k740gy9g9fxe/6-3-16-mr-great-lakes-fish-energy-badaxe.mp3]

1 – Four state fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says surveys conducted by the vessels are designed to examine and collect information on all aspects of the state’s Great Lakes fish community.

The vessels work throughout the Great Lakes on a wide variety of assessments and evaluations. Operations will continue into November.

channelcat

R/V Channel Cat. Via MDNR

On Lake Huron, the work is conducted by the Research Vessel Tanner  Chinook. The vessel focuses work on specific assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, as well as broader assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River that evaluate fish community changes.

The Saginaw Bay evaluations are conducted jointly with the Research Vessel Channel Cat, which is based in Lake St. Clair at the Fisheries Research Station in Harrison Township.

 

2- Michigan consumers are benefiting from an abundant production and supply of natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products.

This is resulting in decreased prices across the board, according to a new state energy appraisal.

This summer, residents should enjoy dramatically lower prices at the pump.

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Credit: Joe Ross

Gas prices are about 13 percent lower than last year, officials say, along with the price of natural gas.

Officials say successful energy waste reduction efforts are noticeable in electricity demand.

Baseline usage is expected to decrease by 0.9 percent, despite a rise in economic activity and slightly increased usage by the industrial sector.

The state energy appraisal comes from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

 

3 – An old building Bad Axe has been renewed.

The Huron Renewable Energy Center was opened recently by DTE Energy, bringing 25 jobs to the Thumb.

The facility was vacant for two years and is a former Normans Warehouse and the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952.

The newly-renovated center includes offices, garage facilities, warehousing and a maintenance shop area.

The facility also has an unfinished 3,000 square-foot space.

DTE plans to develop the space to serve as an area for renewable energy education and the hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities.

Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

Ag Runoff, Wetland Restoration, and a Race for Nature

For Friday, May 27, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0x26d3t6gjwz0y3/05-27-16-mr-great-lakes-ag-wetlands-race.mp3]

1 – More than $4.3 million in grants will go to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution.

Officials say the Michigan Department of Environment Quality grants will help restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.

Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually deposits those contaminants into waterways.

Organizations and projects selected to receive funding include the Tuscola Conservation District in Caro.

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A example of agricultural runoff. Credit: USDA

That group is receiving about $205,000 to reduce agricultural sources of E. coli bacteria to the Cass River. The work will involve best management practices for agriculture and an outreach campaign.

The grants are funded under the federal Clean Water Act.

 

2 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is restoring 940 acres of farmland to emergent marsh.

It’s the largest wetland restoration in the history of the Saginaw County refuge, and the largest wetland restoration in the last several decades for the Great Lakes region.

During the restoration, two large holes will be cut into an auto tour road to put in culverts and water control structures.

The structures are necessary to allow water back into the restoration area. Officials say the structures will enable the refuge to manage water levels in wetlands, provide optimum habitat for wildlife and control invasive species.

As a result of this work, the opening of an auto tour route, called Wildlife Drive, will be delayed from June 1 until about June 21.

Wildlife Drive surrounds three sides of the restoration area.

 

3 – The Michigan Nature Association is hosting the Race for Michigan Nature.

The event is a statewide series of Family Fun Runs & 5Ks stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Each race will spotlight one of Michigan’s rarest species and promote the importance of protecting natural areas.

The next race in the series is the Kirtland’s Warbler Family Fun Run & 5K on June 4 in Roscommon.

Other races will take place in the summer and fall.

The runs are endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Each 5K race will be timed and there are prizes for male and female overall winners. Walkers also are welcome. 

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

 

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