Mich Enviro Report: Lake Huron Research, PlugInMichigan & Beach Meetings

As heard on Delta College Q-90.1 FM, Friday Edition (audio link):

1.

Is Lake Huron starving?

An alewife. Credit: Center for Great Lakes and Aquatic Sciences, David Jude

That’s the question asked in the latest edition of the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Researchers at the US EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office in Ann Arbor have been analyzing data from satellites. The idea is to find out more about the causes of a decline in zooplankton, alewife, and chinook salmon populations in Lake Huron during the last decade.

Satellite data gathered by the researchers shows that the spring phytoplankton bloom, which forms the base of Lake Huron’s food chain, has declined by about half since 2003.

It’s likely that the change is contributing to a collapse in some fish populations, the researchers say.

What’s causing the decline in the spring bloom is still unclear. But it may have a lot to do with invasive quagga mussels in the lake.

2.

You can find out more information about plug in electric vehicles at a new Michigan web site.

It’s at pluginmichigan.org. The site was developed under a grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission. The site provides information on topics like the costs and potential saving associated with electric vehicles, along with building codes to follow when installing a charging station.

The site can educate you on some plug-in trivia. For instance, BEV stands for a battery electric vehicle that uses energy stored in rechargeable battery packs as its only method of propulsion. The Nissan Leaf is one example.

EREV refers to an extended range electric vehicle, which has a high voltage battery, electric motors and an internal combustion engine. An example is the Chevy Volt.

3.

Spring can’t come soon enough for some of us. In May, there will be talk of beach grooming in Bay City, and related federal regulations.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to host several information forums throughout the Great Lakes in April, May and June.

Two forums are planned for May 16 at the Wirt Library in downtown Bay City.

The forums will provide an opportunity for people to discuss regulations with Corps officials. Those regulations have to do with work in waterways, wetlands, and along shorelines in Saginaw Bay and other parts of the Great Lakes. Some work requires a permit.

Residents, property owners, contractors, advocacy groups, and anyone else interested in the Corps regulations is invited to attend.

Other forums are planned for Traverse City, Marquette and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Beach maintenance has been an issue in recent years due to exposed shorelines brought on by low water levels. Invasive plants like phragmites also have created a hassle for shoreline property owners.

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