‘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

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j100j9ftsyzmdjz/mr-great-lakes-8-12-16-pacu-endangered-species.mp3]

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.

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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

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/u9g1dlgyd6xomj2/mr-great-lakes-environment-report-8-5-16.mp3]

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

 

 

 

 

Frog-Bit, Japanese Barberry, and Nonpoint Source Pollution

For Friday, July 29, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/z5x6ems4pqlju34/mr-great-lakes-7-29-16.mp3]

1 – The Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area exists to create and support collaborative invasive species management among federal and state agencies.

The group also works with municipalities, tribes, nonprofits, community organizations, schools, and private landowners.

Recently, members have been busy pulling European frog-bit.

 

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European frog-bit. Via: MISIN

 

These invasive plants look like water lilies but are listed as a prohibited noxious weed by the state. They occur in shallow, slow-moving water on the edges of lakes and other places.

Earlier in July, the Saginaw Bay group spent time removing European frog-bit at the Bay City State Recreation Area.  

They worked with the state Department of Natural Resources and reportedly spent 10 hours removing the weed, gathering about 1,000 pounds of plant material.

Officials say frog-bit is a newer invasive species that is quickly spreading along Saginaw Bay.  

 

2 – Huron Pines staff are out conducting Floristic Quality Assessments along the Mason Tract, a special management area along the South Branch of the AuSable River that takes in about 4,500 acres.

The Gaylord nonprofit is working with local partners to push back invasive Japanese barberry. Japanese barberry is a spiny shrub that forms dense stands and competes with native trees and herbaceous plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Data from the work will help researchers understand the recovery and resiliency of the area’s special native plant communities.

Those interested can apply to be a seasonal stewardship technician with Huron Pines.

– Via http://icont.ac/3tbUt

 

3 – Nonpoint source pollution happens when rain, snowmelt, or wind carries pollutants off the land and into lakes, streams, wetlands, and other water bodies.

Michigan has a Nonpoint Source Program to assist local governments, nonprofits, and others in reducing this type of pollution by implementing plans to protect watersheds in the state.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality anticipates that $4.3 million will be available in fiscal year 2017 for projects that implement recommendations in approved watershed management plans.

A webinar with more information is planned for Aug. 2. Projects are to awarded in the summer of 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

 

‘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.

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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.

 

 

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