Growing the Saginaw Children’s Zoo and Michigan Solar

For Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/7ct5pzjqolmck6i/childrens-zoo-solar-mrgreatlakes-9-23-2016.mp3]

1 – The Children’s Zoo in Saginaw owns about 16 acres of vacant land next to its developed zoo site.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network is funding a project to turn the land into an outdoor classroom and nature play area.

The play area will include natural features such as boulders, logs, and native plants.

A nature trail will include signs geared toward families and children, to describe natural features on the land.

Invasive species on the property will be removed.

The project is slated for 2017.

2 – The solar industry is growing 10 times faster than the national economy.

That’s due to continuing technology improvements and declining costs, according to the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.

A recently released Michigan Public Service Commission report says net metering and solar pilot programs increased by 20 percent in 2015.

That’s on top of 25 percent growth in solar deployment in 2014 and an 18 percent growth in 2013.

The Council says there’s still room for more, since Michigan’s two largest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE, have more than 80 percent of space left in their net metering programs.

Under Michigan’s net metering program, customers with on-site renewable energy systems like solar panels receive a credit on their bills for excess energy that’s generated and sent to the grid.

– 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

Share Your Stories at The Great Flood of 1986 Website (Interview)

For Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 –

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1 – Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University and the Bay County Historical Society have launched a new website, 30 years later.

The website at 1986Flood.com was developed as part of a project to collect and preserve stories from Michigan’s Great Flood of 1986.

great-flood-1986-website-michigan

Residents who lived through the storm can submit stories, memories, and photographs to be featured on the site and entered into the permanent archives at the Historical Museum of Bay County.

The project is hosting events for people to share their memories in person with historians and get their photos scanned for preservation.

The first event was Thursday, Sept. 15, in Bay City.

The second event is Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland.

The 30th anniversary of storm occurred this past weekend. Project organizers say it should remind us of the importance of preparing for extreme storm events at the individual and community level.

Two simple actions you can take to prepare for future floods include having a plan, and building an emergency kit.

You can find more information on preparing for future floods and links to local and national flood preparedness resources at 1986Flood.com.

2 – Remembering the 30th anniversary of the flood of 1986 is part of a larger project for Michigan State University Extension.

Katy Hintzen, with the Bay County Extension office, says an $80,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is being used to improve resilency in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

After 1986 Storm, Green Infrastructure Grew (Photos, Public Event)

For Sept. 9, 2016

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1 – This month marks the 30th anniversary of the storm of 1986 — one of the most devastating in Michigan’s history.

Throughout the month, Michigan State University Extension is sharing stories of extreme storms in the Saginaw Bay region, how they impact communities and the natural environment, and what you can do to be better prepared.

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In the years since the 1986 flood devastated 22 counties across the Saginaw Bay and Thumb regions, Michigan has made significant progress in adopting new policies and practices to reduce flood damage. One key area of improvement has been an expansion of green infrastructure projects across the state.

Green infrastructure is an approach to stormwater management that mimics the way rainwater is stored and filtered in nature. Green infrastructure methods slow down, store and filter rain water before it reaches the storm drain or local waterways, resulting in improved flood protection.

Upcoming Public Event – Sept. 15 in Bay City:

30th-anniversary-1986-flood

2 – Green infrastructure comes in all different shapes and sizes, from large networks of parks and wetlands to smaller projects like bioswales, rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs.

Michigan State University Extension says millions of dollars have been invested in green infrastructure across the state, and hundreds of communities have participated in planning efforts.

In the Saginaw Bay area, the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network established a group to bring together local, state, and federal agencies, nonprofits, and concerned citizens to identify and map important green infrastructure elements across the tri-counties.

The 1986 flood had a direct impact on land use planning and the prevalence of greenspace around the region. Some of the hardest hit cities, such as Midland and Vassar, responded by changing their development practices. Over the past 30 years, these communities have converted river adjacent land from residential and business districts into parks and green space that can more easily withstand and absorb flood waters.

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See also: Remembering the 30th Anniversary of Michigan’s Flood of 1986

– 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

 

 

 

Remembering the 30th Anniversary of Michigan’s Flood of 1986

For Sept. 2, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/n9gb6uauzv4xbxo/flood-of-1986-9-2-16-mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1 – September marks the 30th anniversary of one of the worst flooding events in Michigan history.

The 1986 storm hit hardest in the Saginaw Bay and Thumb region.

For three days, from Sept. 10 to 12, rainfall over Central Lower Michigan averaged between 6 and 12 inches, with some reports as high as 14 inches.

Several rivers established record crests. Eleven dams failed. Across the state, more than 3,600 miles of road and 30,000 homes were flooded.

Ten people died as a result of the storm. Damages totaled $500 million. Twenty two counties were declared federal disaster areas, impacting more than 1.8 million residents.

A new project spearheaded by Michigan State University and Michigan Sea Grant will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1986 storm and help communities prepare for future storm events.

The project includes an online interactive map showcasing firsthand accounts of the 1986 storm as well as events in communities that were heavily impacted by the flooding.

Residents who lived through the 1986 storm can submit photos and written descriptions of their experiences.

All of the historical documents and accounts submitted to the project will be archived by the Bay County Historical Society.

A new website for the project will go live around the anniversary of the storm. Stay tuned for updates.

2 – If you want to be a citizen scientist and protect against potential invasive threats, here’s your chance.

Little Forks Conservancy is hosting a free workshop on Wednesday, Sept.7, along with Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Forest Association.

The training is from 5:30-8 p.m. in the Community Room of the Dow Memorial Library in Midland.

The Sept. 7 workshop is part of a statewide effort called Eyes on the Forest.

The goal is to inform residents about the impact and risk of invasive species, and recruit trained volunteers to monitor trees across the state.

During the workshop, experts will explain the program, and show people what to look for and how to report their findings.

The workshop is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested by contacting Little Forks Conservancy in Midland.

– 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

 

On Curbing Beach and Back-to-School Trash

For Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

1 – Beach cleanup season starts next month.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is celebrating 25 years of volunteer beach cleanup efforts.

This season’s kickoff is Sept. 17.

The annual September Adopt-a-Beach Event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

Throughout the month, beach and shoreline cleanups involving thousands of volunteers will be held to remove trash and collect data on the findings.

Cleanups will take place in Michigan along with Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Along Saginaw Bay, volunteers will be out at the Bay City State Recreation Area and the Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area.

You  can register online at greatlakesadopt.org to take part in a cleanup.

2 – A local waste hauler has some back to school tips.

Republic Services, which collects trash and recyclables in locations including Bay County, is encouraging parents to think sustainably when planning for the end of summer vacation.

The tips include:

  • Before starting the new school year, sort through old supplies. Many from last year can be reused, repurposed or donated.
  • Make a list before you shop for school supplies to limit impulse buying.
  • Purchase and use supplies made from recycled or reused products.
  • Bring drinks in a thermos or reusable water bottle and be sure to recycle milk cartons, bottles or other recyclable containers.
  • And, if your child brings their lunch to school, send reusable containers and carry them in a reusable bag or lunch box.

TRASHed Coachella 2015 Collection
– 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

‘Human-Toothed’ Pacu in Michigan Waters, Endangered Species Running Out of Time

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Pacu fish. Via Thinking Humanity

For Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

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Fish with human-like teeth have been caught in Michigan waters.

The South American fish, called a pacu, uses its teeth for eating nuts and seeds, rather than people.

But three recent reports from anglers who reeled in a pacu are resulting in an announcement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The message is, don’t release aquarium pets into the wild.

The non-native pacu is a popular aquarium fish.

Pacus are not considered invasive in Michigan because they are tropical fish — and not likely to survive Michigan winters.

Still, releasing a pet into the wild is almost never humane, the DNR says, because such animals are poorly equipped to fend off predators and can spread exotic diseases to native animals.

And, planting a fish of any kind in Michigan waters without a permit is illegal. A new statewide campaign offers solutions for aquarium and pond owners. More information is available from the DNR Michigan Invasive Species website.

prairie fringed orchid endangered threatened fish wildlife service

Prairie Fringed Orchid. Credit: USFWS

If you’re an endangered species, time may not be on your side.

Under the Endangered Species Act, there’s a two-year timeline for a species threatened with extinction to receive protection.

A study from the University of Missouri finds that many species are encountering much longer wait times. Scientists say such delays could lead to less global biodiversity.

There’s a Michigan-related example, of the prairie fringed orchid.

In the study, the authors document species that went extinct due to a delay in the process. The island night lizard was listed in 1.19 years, whereas the prairie fringed orchid took 14.7 years to be listed.

The lizard has since recovered and been removed from endangered status; the orchid – which grows in parts of Michigan – is still considered threatened.

– 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

 

Lake Guardian Survey, Phragmites Treatment, Electric Vehicles

For Friday, Aug. 5, 2016

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1 – Consumers Energy wants to install electric vehicle charging stations across the state.

The Michigan utility hopes to install more than 800 charging stations as part of a $15 million statewide electric vehicle infrastructure program.

The request is under consideration by the Michigan Public Service Commission as part of a broader rate increase.

The utility is looking to install 60 direct current fast-charge stations and 750 alternating current stations across the state, according to Midwest Energy News.

The fast-charging stations would be located along highways and allow drivers to recharge up to 80 percent of their battery in about 20 minutes.

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An example of an electric vehicle charging station in Virginia. Credit: alexanderromero

2 – The public is invited to a Phragmites Treatment Information Meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Phragmites is a perennial wetland grass. An invasive variety of the plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and degrade wetlands and coastal areas by crowding out native plants and animals.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Akron Township Hall in Unionville. It’s intended to help private landowners through the phragmites treatment process.

Those who attend can find out about how to control phragmites, along with the permits that are required and contractors who are available to do the work.

There is no cost for the meeting.

More information is available from the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp.

3 – This month, the Lake Guardian begins its summer survey of the five Great Lakes.

The Lake Guardian is a research vessel operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Chicago.

The ship is used to gather environmental data to gauge the health of the lakes. Its crew samples water, air, sediments and aquatic organisms like plankton.

Month-long surveys are done each year in the spring and summer.

You can track the ship’s location during this summer’s survey at lakeguardian.org.

The vessel started its survey on Lake Michigan and was near Milwaukee on Thursday.

– 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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