Plastic Pollution, Tawas Point Lighthouse

For Friday, Dec. 8, 2017

plastic-beach

Credit: David J

1 – What do all the Great Lakes have in common? Plastic pollution.

As 2017 comes to an end, the Alliance for the Great Lakes has released details from its ongoing beach cleanup program.

This year, 89 percent of all the litter picked up from Great Lakes beaches was plastic. And plastic has been the most common type of litter found for years.

Plastic never goes away. Once it’s in the water or on the beach, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. These microplastics, as they’re called, can then absorb toxic chemicals and be mistaken for food by fish and wildlife.

The Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach program helped remove plastic and other pollution during more than 500 cleanups in 2017, including along Saginaw Bay.

Throughout the lakes, volunteers picked up 36,128 pounds of trash in 2017.

2 – The application period is now open for next year’s Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program.

In 2018, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program will offer combined vacation and service opportunities for adults from May 16 to Oct. 16.

Those selected to be volunteer lighthouse keepers receive lodging in a restored keepers’ quarters next to the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park.

In exchange, participants provide about 35 hours of services each week in and around the lighthouse, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance.

Keepers stay in the second story of the keepers’ quarters attached to the lighthouse.

Accommodations include two bedrooms, which sleep up to four adults, and kitchen, bath and laundry facilities. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse.

The application and additional information about the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse.

The application period is open through Feb. 2, 2018.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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The Oscars of Farming and Land for Sale

For Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

1- The Oscars of farming is coming to Saginaw Bay.

The awards program is being organized by The Nature Conservancy to ecognize Saginaw Bay area farmers, agribusinesses and conservation professionals that have made significant contributions to agricultural conservation in the watershed.

Nominations are now open for the awards, in categories from Conservation Innovation to Veteran and Newcomer. The Conservancy wants to shine a spotlight on exemplary work to improve agricultural practices for people and nature.

The organization has been working with farmers and others in the area for the past few years to test innovative conservation program aimed at reducing sediment runoff in the watershed.

The inaugural awards dinner is planned for March in Bay City, the same month as the Academy Awards.

Farm award winners will be selected by a committee that includes representatives from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Bureau, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development and Delta Institute.

To make a nomination or to learn more, go online to nature.org/sagbayawards.

 

2 – Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.

mark twain buy land

Credit: The Met

The state is auctioning off surplus land starting Dec. 12.

The sale is by sealed bid, and runs from Dec. 12 through Jan. 10. There are 80 parcels in counties including Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Gladwin, Midland, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 146 acres. Several are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources say the lands for sale are isolated from other DNR-managed public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public outdoor recreation benefits.

More Information on the auction is available at www.michigan.gov/landforsale.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

Asian Carp Solutions from 27 Countries, Agriculture Census to 3 Million Producers

For Nov. 17, 2017

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1 – A Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge has netted more than 350 entries.

The Challenge sought solutions to stop the movement of invasive carp.

Michigan officials say entries were received from 27 countries.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges, with up to eight solutions selected for awards of $25,000.

First-round awards will be announced in February.

For final awards, a select number of Stage 1 awardees will present their ideas for additional cash awards totaling up to $500,000.

A live event is planned for March 2018 in Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge during his State of the State address in January. The state pledged $1 million to seek innovative methods to prevent the movement of invasive carp into Lake Michigan.

2 – Everyone is affected by rural development.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking a 2017 Census of about 3 million producers.

They’re encouraging those who receive surveys to fill out the questionnaires.

Data collected from the survey affects how resources are directed to things such as roads and disaster relief.

Census data also is used in the development of new technologies and helps direct agriculture education in schools.

This year, the department will collect new information, including expanded questions about food marketing practices.

Census responses are due by Feb. 5, 2018.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Michigan Makes It Easier to Snag Best Camp Sites, Saginaw Library Recognized

For Nov. 3, 2017

1 – A new Michigan reservation policy is meant to make it easier for people to secure campsites at many of the state’s most-visited parks.

The new Department of Natural Resources policy that took effect this week encourages people to firm up their reservations further in advance of planned camping dates.

Campers still can make reservations up to six months in advance.

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Credit: Tony Failoa

The new structure retains a $10 cost to cancel or modify a camping reservation. It adds an additional incremental fee based on the length of time between the date of the initial reservation and the planned arrival date.

Rather than holding onto several blocks of campsites at a campground – or in some cases, multiple campgrounds – the new policy encourages campers to finalize their plans as soon as possible. So a reservation held for up to two months will incur a 10 percent fee to modify or cancel, and one held for longer than five months will incur a 40 percent fee to modify or cancel.

For more information, see Michigan.gov/camping.


2 – 
The Hoyt Library in Saginaw was honored by Gov. Rick Snyder for an energy project.

The Governor’s Energy Excellence Award was given to eight individuals and organizations for efforts to reduce energy waste.

The winners and finalists were announced at a ceremony in Detroit last month.

Hoyt was recognized as a finalist for the Best Public Project. Officials say the 126-year-old library was costly to operate, subject to inconsistent temperatures and unchecked humidity was creating serious mold problems.

With help from a Consumers Energy audit and grant, the library invested in a high-efficiency boiler, a more efficient chiller, automation controls for its HVAC system, and a new and improved air quality system. The improvements are expected to save on annual natural gas costs and improve the building’s environment for staff, patrons, and the books it houses.

Winning energy solutions ranged from improving existing structures with energy-efficient, state-of-the-art heating, cooling and lighting systems to constructing new buildings.Consumers Energy won for the Best Communication or Education Program.

– Via GLREA

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

Great Lakes Restoration, Phragmites and Insect Hotels

For Oct. 20, 2017

1- Great Lakes advocates gathered in Buffalo, New York, this week for the 13th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference.

The event, hosted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition attracted hundreds of people from the Saginaw Bay area, other parts of Michigan, and other states. It occurred while Congress is working to finalize the federal budget.

Coalition officials say federal investments in the Great Lakes are producing results around the region, which benefit communities, the environment and the economy.

The coalition is urging Congress to maintain support for federal investments for programs to clean up toxic pollution and help fix wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums.

2 – School children are learning about the impacts of invasive plants.

Earlier this month, sixth graders from Tawas Area Schools visited a patch of phragmites that have developed on the property of the St. Joseph Health System in Tawas City.

Non-native phragmites, also know as common reed, can grow into tall stands and crowd out native plants and animals.

The hospital wanted to treat for the plants and worked with the nonprofit Huron Pines in Gaylord to turn the request into a learning experience for the students.

Student activities included calculating the density of the patch, dissecting the plant, mapping the site, and journaling ideas for future site plans.

The students and teachers plan to continue the lessons by bringing the data back to the classroom for further discussion.

3 – Hotels have been built in a nature preserve.

 

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An insect hotel. Credit: Little Forks Conservancy

Don’t worry though, these hotels are for insects.

A Boy Scout built and installed the insect hotels for the Little Forks Conservancy of Midland.

The conservancy says these hotels are great for gardens and natural areas. The insects that check in are friendly pollinators and creatures that help control harmful bugs. The hotels are stuffed with materials to attract various insects.

Ten hotels were installed along the trail at the Averill Preserve and Riverview Natural Area. They will be seeded by the Chippewa Nature Center in the spring with native wildflowers and grasses.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

OktoberForest Campaign and Open Burning Information

For Oct. 13, 2017

 

1 – More than 20 breweries in Michigan have joined an OktoberForest campaign by The Nature Conservancy to raise awareness about the importance of forests to freshwater.

Oktoberforest_Coaster_2017

An OktoberForest coaster. Credit: TNC

That includes Tri City Brewing in Bay City.

The OktoberForest campaign aims to educate beer fans about the link between the health of America’s forests and water, which is the main ingredient in beer.  

Twenty one Michigan breweries are participating out of 81 nationwide, the most of any state.

Coasters with information about OktoberForest can be found at breweries including Tri City Brewing in Bay City and Midland Brewing in Midland, along with Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling and Snowbelt Brewing Co. in Gaylord.

Forests help improve water supplies in a number of ways. Forests shade streams, lakes and snow from evaporation; the forest floor helps filter sediment; and tree roots help hold soil together so it can store water.

2 –  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has information on open burning in the state.

Open burning is the burning of unwanted materials like brush, leaves and grass. It pollutes the air and poses a forest fire hazard, state regulators say. And there are various rules that people need to follow.

For instance, you can’t burn hazardous materials, chemicals, tires, trash, plastics or electronics. If you live 1,400 feet outside of an incorporated city or village limit, you can burn brush and trees. If you want to burn grass and leaves, you need to check with your local government.

Go to Michigan.gov/burnpermit to see if you need a burn permit. State regulators say the rules are in place to protect people and the environment.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Invasive Plant Boat Tours, Fall Colors

For Sept. 22, 2017

1 – You can learn about the effects of invasive plants during free boat tours on Lake Huron.

phragmites-boat-tour-saginaw-bay-lake-huron

Bay County and a group called Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is offering half-hour public tours to showcase phragmites treatment efforts.

The tours leave every half hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the Finn Road Boat Launch in Essexville on Sept. 29, the Quanicassee Boat Launch in Fairgrove on Sept. 30, and Eagle Bay Marina in Standish on Oct. 1.

Those who join can learn about the effects of invasive phragmites on recreation and the ecosystem of Saginaw Bay. Local naturalists will explain the issues caused by these invasive plants and showcase areas where treatment has killed a majority of the infestation.

The tours will take place aboard charter fishing boats and are family friendly.

2 – Friday, Sept. 22, is the first day of fall.

fall leaves colors michigan

Credit: MDNR

Fall color is predicted to peak throughout October in Michigan, depending on the location. The Pure Michigan website has a map to find out the best times to visit different areas of the state.

See Michigan.org/fall.

The state Department of Natural Resources also notes that fall camping is available for people traveling north to view the colors.

Reservations are reported to be much easier to find in the fall, and officials say campgrounds are less crowded.

Many state parks will host harvest festivals for campers. Events are planned at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township on Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

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