Lake Huron Fall, Michigan Coastal Initiatives, Energy Plans

For Sept. 8, 2017

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/m5qrqpwxg55vg9x/mr-great-lakes-sept-8-2017-environment-report.mp3]

1 – While fall doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22, Sept. 1 was the equivalent in terms of weather and water levels.

Michigan State University Extension notes that levels on Lake Huron seem to have peaked in July and August and are now following a typical seasonal decline.

This decline usually continues into October and through December, and then the lake begins a seasonal increase in January and February.

Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically one lake that’s connected by the Straits of Mackinac. The current forecast is that Lake Huron will dip by 2 inches by around Oct 1. That 2-inch decrease amounts to about 1.5 trillion gallons of water (evaporation, precipitation and runoff.)

2 – Michigan is supporting coastal initiatives throughout the state.

Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes will use a half-million dollars in federal grants for 11 projects along the coastline.

The funding supports local governments, nonprofits, and university researchers. Projects will improve beach safety, create public access, and develop tools to protect coastal habitat, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Some funds will continue support for initiatives like the Adopt-a-Beach and Clean Marina programs. Others will explore new ground with aerial photography and geospatial technology.

The projects include a master plan for the village of Sebewaing in Huron County. The plan will be crafted with public input and is intended to help manage natural and recreational Lake Huron resources that include coastal wetlands, a marina, an inland waterway, and a campground.

sebewaing park huron county michigan

Credit: Dale Noel

3 – Clean air and health advocates are pushing for expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan.

Groups including the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Ecology Center are calling for utility companies to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of Integrated Resource Plans (IRP).

Under a new energy law that took effect in April, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy must file Integrated Resource Plans that lay out long-term plans for energy efficiency and demand response, and for building power plants and other forms of electricity generation.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding public comment sessions throughout the state on these plans.

One was held held this week in Livonia. Others are planned for Grand Rapids and Marquette.

Comments on the plans also are being taken online until Oct. 6 at michigan.gov/lara.

– 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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Antidepressants in Fish Brains, Beach Trash in Bags

For Sept 1, 2017

1 – A Great Lakes-wide event is planned for Sept. 16.

Thousands of people are expected to participate in September Adopt-a-Beach on Sept. 16. The day is organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and dedicated to volunteering and cleaning up Great Lakes beaches and shorelines.

The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, involving millions of people caring for local shorelines around the world.

In the Great Lakes last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up more than 40,000 pounds of litter. 87 percent of it was plastic.

To find a cleanup near you, or host your own event, go online to GreatLakesAdopt.org.

2 – Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region.

antidepressants pills

Credit: Wendy

In a new study, researchers from the University of Buffalo detected high concentrations of antidepressants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River.

The Niagara River connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls.

The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, researchers say.

The active ingredients from antidepressants are coming from wastewater treatment plants, and could affect the feeding behavior of fish and their survival instincts.

The levels of antidepressants found do not pose a danger to humans who eat the fish, but are a threat to biodiversity if they disrupt the balance between species that keep the ecosystem stable.

The study was published on Aug. 16 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

– 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

Tittabawassee River Sturgeon, Cedar River Monitoring

For Aug. 24, 2017

1- The state is stocking the Tittabawassee River with lake sturgeon for the first time.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 193 lake sturgeon were stocked in the river in Midland County on Monday (Aug. 21).

A DNR Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy identified the Saginaw River watershed, including the Tittabawassee, as a system whose lake sturgeon population is in dire need of improvement.

The stocking was the first reintroduction of the species in the Saginaw River watershed. It’s the culmination of work aimed at rehabilitating the sturgeon in waters where they once flourished.

Lake sturgeon are a slow-growing, late-maturing fish that can live more than 100 years.

The fish stocked in the Tittabawassee River likely will not return to spawn until 2040.

Credit: Michigan DNR

2 – Volunteers will be back in the Cedar River this fall to determine the river’s water quality by looking at macroinvertebrates which live in the water.

Little Forks Conservancy is seeking volunteers for a stream sampling day on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Volunteers will meet at the Gladwin Community Building at 9 a.m. Teams will sample six sites in the Cedar River in Gladwin and Clare counties.

Little Forks Conservancy began monitoring Cedar River water quality in fall of 2015.

Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans, worms and aquatic insects.

Experienced volunteers will act as team leaders and collectors, working in the streams to ensure that quality samples are collected.

The conservancy says each successive monitoring event helps create a more complete picture of the health of the Cedar River.

For more details, see littleforks.org.

– 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

On Following a Black Bear and Germania Restoration

For Aug. 18, 2017

1 – Michigan educators can register for classroom wildlife programs.

black bear michigan crossing

Credit: Tony Faiola

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers free educational opportunities for K through 12 educators.

The resources meet required educational standards and include “Elk University,” which touches on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology and wildlife disease.

There’s also “A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear,” which includes following a bear through its seasonal movements by using actual data points from a radio-collared Michigan black bear.

Educators are asked to register for these classroom programs by Sept. 30.

To register, visit mi.gov/dnrteachers and click on “Wildlife Education and Outreach.”

2 – Two community meetings are planned for Sept. 13 at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center in Saginaw.

The meetings are to discuss the future use and restoration of the former Germania country club, which recently became part of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

The public is invited to provide input about their needs for wildlife, outdoor recreation and environmental education along with any concerns they may have on future management of the area.

The Sept. 13 meetings will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Two future meetings are being planned in the Saginaw area.

– 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 Carp Challenge, ‘How You Dune’ Survey, Frankenmuth Catfish

For Aug. 11, 2017

1 – An Invasive Carp Challenge is accepting proposals to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

In June, an eight-pound silver carp was captured nine miles from Lake Michigan, beyond an electric barrier. Michigan is working with other states and Canadian provinces to keep silver and bighead carp – two species of Asian carp – from entering the Great Lakes.

The Invasive Carp Challenge is will accept solutions in any phase of development, from concept to design to field-tested models, which are aimed at preventing invasive carp movement into the Great Lakes.

Written proposals will be accepted online through Oct. 31.

One or more solutions will share up to $700,000 in cash awards provided by the state of Michigan.

2 – The Great Lakes include the largest collection of freshwater sand dunes in the world.

There are about 275,000 acres of coastal sand dunes in Michigan, according to state officials.

Most dunes are located on Lakes Michigan and Superior and made up of wind-blown glacial sand. The diversity of plants and wildlife on these dunes attracts millions of human visitors to Michigan shorelines. And so the state is conducting a survey to gather information on the value and recreation uses of these Great Lakes coastal dunes.

The “How You Dune” survey is online, and asks questions related to the locations of coastal dunes that people visit, their most recent trip to coastal dunes, and costs related to the most recent trip.

Responses are anonymous. The survey can be found at http://HowYouDuneSurvey.com.

3 – There’s more than chicken in Frankenmuth.

fried chicken

Credit: Shelby Bell

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network reports that flathead catfish are making it past the Cass River dam thanks to a fish passage project completed in 2015 and supported in part by network funding.

Researchers have been gathering species that are navigating past the dam thanks to a rock ramp. The ramp reconnects Saginaw Bay fish to more than 73 miles of historically significant spawning areas.

And the researchers have caught what may be the first confirmed flathead catfish above Frankenmuth.

The species was common to the lower southwest area of Michigan but has increased its range over the past 25 years.

The network says flathead catfish are now showing up more commonly in the Saginaw River and have been found in the Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawasee rivers. They grow to be 25 pounds or larger, and are reported by some anglers to be the tastiest of all catfish.

– 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

 

Comment on Lake Huron LAMP, Info on Rapid Beach Testing

For July 28, 2017

1 – U.S. and Canadian officials are seeking feedback on a draft plan for improving Lake Huron water quality.

The Lake Huron Lakewide Action and Management Plan, or LAMP, is a five-year strategy for maintaining and restoring the water quality of Lake Huron and the St. Marys River. It was developed by a partnership led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The plan for Lake Huron identifies key priorities for the lake, and guides the coordination of binational environmental protection and restoration activities.

The plan deals with topics such as drinking water quality, beach health, fish and wildlife consumption, chemical contamination, invasive species and nutrient pollution that contributes to harmful algal blooms.

Comments are being accepted until Sept. 5.

Officials want to hear the public’s views on Lake Huron’s health, key environmental issues within the watershed, and proposed priorities and actions to restore and maintain the waters.

To find out more and comment, go online to binational.net.

 

2 – Seven local governments will soon be using a new, rapid testing method for public beaches that counts the DNA of E. coli bacteria in a water sample.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality provided grants for the work.

A total of 15 communities received $200,000 to monitor the water quality of more than 180 inland lake beaches. 

michigan beach sand fisheye

Credit: Kevin Dooley

Seven of those communities are using the new rapid testing method for E. coli bacteria at public beaches.

Those include the Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola, and Roscommon counties.

Testing results will be posted on the DEQ’s BeachGuard website.

– 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

 

 

Saginaw Bay Algal Blooms, UP Monarchs, River Cleanups

For July 14, 2017

1 – Phosphorous pollution has been responsible for toxic algae blooms in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced a plan to fight phosphorous in Lake Erie.

The plan targets phosphorous pollution from farms – a large contributor to toxic blooms.

The focus is on reducing the amount of phosphorous that makes it into the water – by creating individual plans for riverside farms.

A state official says the same methods could be used to help the Saginaw Bay, which also sees heavy agricultural runoff.

 

2 – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is an important stopover site for monarch butterflies on their annual migration from Canada to Mexico.

giphy (1)

via Giphy

A nonprofit called the Superior Watershed Partnership has engaged communities across the UP to help.

Monarch butterfly populations have declined more than 80 percent in recent decades due to habitat loss, pesticides and other factors. Partnership programs are restoring habitat on public and private lands throughout the UP in an effort to counter this trend. The common milkweed plant is the monarch’s preferred food. They also rely on milkweed plants to deposit their eggs and feed their larvae.

The city of Marquette recently worked with the Partnership to mail out more than 6,000 packets of milkweed seeds in utility bills to city residents and businesses.

The group also distributed more than 10,000 seed packets to other UP communities, schools, churches and community groups on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

 

3 – Friends of the Shiawassee River are celebrating 20 years of cleanup events.

The Friends and the Shiawassee County Health Department have removed hundreds of cubic yards of debris and more than 650 tires from the river since the first cleanup in 1997.

Funding comes from the Great Lakes Commission and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

This year, volunteers will meet at the Oakwood Avenue Bridge in Owosso or McCurdy Park in Corunna at 9 a.m. on July 29. For more information, see shiawasseeriver.org.

The Shiawassee River drains an area of more than 1,200 square miles and is a major tributary to the Saginaw River.

– 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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