Trump Budget, River Cleanups, Free Fishing

For Feb. 16, 2018

1 – Environmental groups are sounding the alarm about a proposed federal budget from President Trump.

Donald Trump considers issuing new tour ban
The plan would drastically cut core Great Lakes programs as well as funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says it will be up to Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support Great Lakes restoration efforts.

The Coalition says reductions to programs in the Trump Administration Budget include a 90 percent cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and a 34 percent cut to the EPA, which helps administer restoration and clean water protection programs.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition includes more than 150 environmental, conservation and other organizations.

2 – Applications are being accepted for the 2018 Volunteer River, Stream, and Creek Cleanup Program.

The program provides small grants to local governments for volunteer cleanups of rivers, streams, and creeks in Michigan.

Funding comes from the state Department of Environmental Quality through fees collected from the sale of Water Quality Protection License Plates.

Grants range from $500 to $5,000, and may be used to support the cleanup and removal of human-made trash and debris from rivers and streams and along their banks.

Grant funds awarded under the program can pay for such items as disposal costs, hand tools and supplies.

The application deadline is Feb. 20.

For more information on the Michigan Volunteer River, Stream, and Creek Cleanup Grant Program, visit GLC.org.

3 – This weekend, Saturday Feb. 17 and Sunday Feb. 18, is Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan.

A license is not required to fish those two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.

The annual effort aims to promote fishing opportunities in the state. You can bundle up and head out on your own, or join one of several organized events throughout the state.

Fishing the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan

Those include the 26th Annual Shanty Days in Caseville, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. This event is hosted by the Caseville Chamber of Commerce and rewards anglers who catch the biggest walleye, lake trout, yellow perch and northern pike.

There’s also the 25 Annual Winter Festival in Bay County at the Bay City State Recreation Area, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. It includes a Family Ice Fishing Derby, Youth Ice Fishing Clinic, raffle and other winter activities.

For more information and a list of events, see michigan.gov/freefishing.

– 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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Report Winter Fish Kills, Enter Duck Stamp Contest

For Feb. 9, 2018


1 – If you see more than 25 dead fish, the state wants to know about it.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has created new online form for reporting mass fish kills.

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Credit: Pixabay

The agency says winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.

The new online form allows people to report fish kills in quantities of 25 or more.

Officials say a fish kill of that size could have more factors involved that require further investigation.

The Sick or Dead Aquatic Species form can be found in the DNR’s Eyes in the Field application at michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.

2 – A Federal Junior Duck Stamp program uses art and science to teach students in grades K through 12 about the value of wetlands and waterfowl.

By entering the Junior Duck Stamp art contest, students can show off what they’ve learned visually.

Each year, thousands of students across the US enter the contest. In 2017, 230 students in grades K through 12 participated in Michigan.

A total of 100 winners are chosen with one top winner named as the “Best of Show.” The Best of Show’s then compete in a national competition. One image is selected to become the Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

Entries for the Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest are due by March 15. Artwork must be of a North American duck, goose or swan.

A special awards ceremony is held each spring at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw for first through third place winners. Prizes in past years have included gift certificates, art supplies, backpacks and more.

Registration information can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge’s Junior Duck Stamp Program webpage.

– 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 - Common Eider

Recycling Cart Bucks, First Oscar for Farming

For Friday, Jan. 26, 2018

1 – Rolling a cart is easier than carrying bins to the curb. Up to $500,000 is available to local governments in Michigan for grants to fund curbside recycling carts.

deqrecyclingbin

Credit: MDEQ

The state Department of Environmental Quality notes that the Michigan is trying to double its recycling rate from 15 to 30 percent.

A proven method for increasing recycling is making sure that it’s convenient for residents.

Too often, it’s not convenient in communities and recyclable materials don’t make it from the curb and into new products that can be made in Michigan.

Applications for recycling cart funding for fiscal year 2018 are due by March 9.

For more information, see michigan.gov/MIrecycles.

2 – A Linwood man is the first recipient of an Oscar for farming.

jj-metz-and-mary-fales-tnc

Mary Fales presents JJ Metz of Crop Production Services in Linwood with a special advance award. Credit: TNC

The awards program is being put on by The Nature Conservancy.

JJ Metz of Crop Production Services in Linwood received a special advance award at the Michigan Agri-Business Association’s Winter Conference and Trade Show.

It’s the first in a series of awards from the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy that will be presented on March 1 in Bay City, the same month as the Academy Awards. The local awards will recognize Saginaw Bay area farmers, agribusinesses and conservation professionals.

The Nature Conservancy, which took nominations for the awards, says Metz was instrumental in helping landowners in the Kawkawlin River watershed enroll in conservation program to implement more than 3,800 new acres of cover crops.

These new practices will reduce soil loss by more than 580 tons and help protect and improve water quality in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

– 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

Recreation Passports Fund Improvements, Salt is Damaging Rivers and Streams

For Jan. 19, 2018

1 – Money from recreation passports is helping communities complete outdoor recreation improvements.

recreation passport logo

Credit: Michigan DNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 22 communities will share more than $1.4 million in grants this year. 

The funding comes from $11 annual passports that give residents vehicle entry to state parks, recreation areas and boating access sites.

The money will go to playground development and renovations, sports and fitness facility development and improvements, trail and walkway development, ski-run development, park and picnic area improvements and improved accessibility.

Townships in Oscoda and Tuscola are among those to receive funding.

In Oscoda County, $55,000 to go toward rustic campsites, a fitness trail and other renovations at Clinton Township Park.

In Tuscola County, $75,000 will go to develop a pavilion and walkway in Vassar Township.

2 – Salt from winter road maintenance, irrigation and other human activities is damaging US rivers and streams, with consequences for infrastructure and drinking water supplies.

This is according to a nationwide study by the Cary Institute of New York.

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Credit: MTA New York

Researchers found 37 percent of the drainage area of the contiguous United States experienced a significant increase in salinity over the last 50 years. Water also is becoming more alkaline, affecting its ability to neutralize acid.

These changes in water chemistry can damage the pipes that deliver water to homes. This happened when Flint switched its primary water source to the Flint River in 2014, and the river’s high salt load caused lead to leach from water pipes.

A study co-author says long-term monitoring is vital to understanding the pressures facing the nation’s freshwaters from increased salt loading, and for guiding strategies that protect drinking water.

Strategies for managing road salt pollution include pre-wetting salt to allow it to stick to roads and using brine to prevent ice from forming on road surfaces.

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State of the Great Lakes, Sustain Our Great Lakes

For Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

1 – A new State of the Great Lakes Report highlights Great Lakes connections to Michigan’s environment, economy and culture.

The annual report, from the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, reflects on 2017, recognizes accomplishments in protecting and restoring water resources, and identifies challenges to ensure healthy natural resources and communities.

Report highlights include the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s Coastal Program, a new Michigan Water School for elected officials, and potential applications for autonomous vessels in the Great Lakes for shipping and scientific data collection.

For Lake Huron, the report highlights results from the stocking of Atlantic salmon (page 22).

A state official says initial stockings have produced “exciting results.” Stocking has expanded to additional locations. Since 2010, levels have increased from 10,000 to more than 100,000.

Atlantic salmon. Salmo salar.

Credit: NOAA

2 – The Sustain Our Great Lakes program is seeking proposals to benefit fish, wildlife, habitat and water quality in the basin.

The program will award up to $5.4 million grants this year to improve and enhance stream and riparian habitat, coastal wetland habitat, and water quality in the Great Lakes and its tributaries.

The submission deadline for pre-proposals is Feb. 13.

Eligible applicants include nonprofits, schools and local governments.

Individual awards will range from $100,000 to $1 million.

Significant funding for Sustain Our Great Lakes comes from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

For more information, see SustainOurGreatLakes.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

Major Conservancy Award, Sewer Planning Bucks, Solar School Contest

For Friday, Jan. 5, 2018

1 – Eighty communities have received funding for sewer planning.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality awarded nearly $64 million to the local governments to help with planning for sewer system maintenance needs.

Communities and funding amounts include: $1.6 million to Hampton Township and $350,000 to Kawkawlin Township.

This the fifth ground of state grants for sewer planning. The DEQ says municipalities applied for the grants in 2013, and approved applications have been awarded in a lottery process starting in March 2014.

2 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy has received a major award.

The Conservancy has received the Park Design Award for 2017 from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

The honor is for the Conservancy’s O.U.R. Saginaw Project.

The O.U.R. Saginaw effort includes a Pollinator Project to convert more than 1,500 vacant, overgrown lots into low-growing, low-maintenance pollinator plots.

There’s also the Janet H. Nash Riverfront Preserve, a 2-plus acre new riverfront natural area, developed out of a under-used parking lot; and nature trails at the Children’s Zoo in Saginaw and at Saginaw Valley State University.

3 – Michigan students can find ways to use solar energy in their schools as part of a statewide contest.

apple-1702316_640

Credit: Pixabay

My Solar School Contest” is put on by the Ecology Center, U.S. Green Building Council, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and others.

Student teams in grades 6-12 will compete by conducting a solar feasibility study at their school and creating a short video to showcase their vision.

Prizes include cash and technical support.

Pre-registration is open until Jan. 19, with a contest deadline of March 30.

See ecocenter.org for more details.

– 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

Goodbye Power Plant, Hello Arctic Grayling

For Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

1 – Consumers Energy is tearing down a coal-fired power plant.

weadock consumers energy chimney demolition power plant

Demolition of Weadock’s 500-foot chimney in progress. Credit: Consumers Energy

In April 2016, the utility retired its Weadock power plant in Bay County’s Hampton Township. The plant had been generating electricity at the mouth of the Saginaw River since 1940.

Company officials say they’re now working to return the site to “brownfield” status, making it available for potential reuse.

The process includes abatement of environmental hazards, and the dismantling and demolition of buildings on the site.

A Lapeer-based contractor is dealing with asbestos and tearing down outbuildings and a chimney.

Demolition of the main plant will follow, with completion slated for late 2019.

2 – The reintroduction of Arctic grayling in Michigan has received support from a foundation.

The Wenger Foundation has gifted $180,000 to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The funds will support a research project as part of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative.

The initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of the native fish.

The gift will support research to determine how co-existing populations of brown trout and brook trout may affect reintroduction efforts.

The work also will provide insight into potential impediments to the grayling’s successful reintroduction.

Some of the funds will support researchers traveling to Alaska to pick up Arctic grayling eggs, which will be used for the studies and to help establish Michigan’s future broodstock program.

For more information, see migrayling.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

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