Mich Enviro Report: Regional Strategy, Saginaw Bay Muck & Midland Conservation

For the Jan. 14, 2011 Environment Report on Delta College Q-90.1 FM

1.

Leaders in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties are working on a regional strategy to conserve energy use and improve energy efficiency.

They’re holding a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 20, to gather input. The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Curtiss Hall on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

The strategy is intended to enable the region to meet a growing share of its energy demand with alternative sources and technologies.

That includes targeting sources and technologies produced in the region, and transportation efforts that reduce fossil fuel use.

The public input is being requested to help set priorities for achieving energy conservation and renewable energy goals.

The three counties have already worked together on other joint environmental efforts. Those include a partnership to attract new and expanded solar manufacturing to the region, and the state designation of Saginaw Bay and central Lake Huron as a favorable location for offshore wind development.

2.

Michigan Sea Grant is targeting muck and algal blooms in Saginaw Bay.

The program plans to award up to $75,000 per year for research projects that address coastal issues in Michigan. The grants are to begin in February 2012, and the projects can last up to two years.

Researchers from universities and elsewhere are being encouraged to develop proposals that focus on issues including: muck and algal blooms in Saginaw Bay, and cleaning up Great Lakes hot spots, or Areas of Concern.

Also of interest to program funders: the development of Michigan’s aquaculture industry, risks associated with climate change and creating a sustainable Great Lakes fishery.

Michigan Sea Grant is a cooperative program between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

3.

The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland is adding to the amount of protected land in the region.

The conservancy recently announced a 40-acre conservation easement, which protects 4,400 feet of the Pine River in Midland County.

The easement was donated to the conservancy by the Hubert family.

The designation means the land will remain forever natural and undeveloped.

The property was once part of a larger farm. The Hubert family has planted thousands of trees there in the last 40 years. It’s still privately owned.

The Little Forks Conservancy is an accredited land trust that works with land owners to permanently protect property with natural and cultural features.

Currently, the conservancy oversees the protection of more than 2,500 acres in Mid-Michigan. That includes more than seven miles of waterways and shoreline.

— Photo via draft of Great Lakes Bay Regional Energy Efficiency, Conservation, and Renewable Energy Strategy

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