Mich Enviro Report: Saginaw Bay Beach Closures, SBCI & Solar Farms

As heard on the March 25, 2011, Friday Edition report on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

Saginaw Bay muck yuck. Via http://www.baycounty-mi.gov.
1. 

A public meeting to discuss beach closures in the Saginaw Bay area is set for March 31.

The meeting, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will be held at the Bay City State Recreation Area, located in Bangor Township.

A public beach at the state park has suffered from problems with muck, or dead algae, piling up along the shoreline.

The beach has been closed five times since 2008 due to high bacteria levels.

The March 31 meeting is sponsored by the Partnership for the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

The Partnership is working with Public Sector Consultants of Lansing to evaluate beach monitoring efforts throughout the Saginaw Bay watershed.

The state funded project aims to identify strategies to reduce beach closings and swimming restrictions due to microbial contamination.

2.

The Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative has been recognized for helping increase environmental awareness in the region.

The SBCI is a multi-county collaboration that was formed years ago in response to the beach muck issue.

The group, along with state and federal officials, has been working to develop a comprehensive approach to promoting environmentally sound economic development and resource restoration in the Saginaw Bay coastal area.

Earlier this year, the SBCI was recognized for its role as a sponsor of the MiGreatBay website.

The website offers details about amenities in the Saginaw Bay and River area. The information focuses on agricultural, cultural, historic and natural resources in the coastal region.

MiGreatBay was made possible with funding from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, the Bay Area Community Foundation and Saginaw Bay Resource, Convention & Development.

3.

An agribusiness has gone green in Michigan’s Thumb.

Mark and Keith Gentner, have installed two 19.4-kilowatt solar power systems at their farm in Minden City, in Sanilac County.

The installation was announced by Great Lakes Bay Renewable Energy, a Bay City business.

Major funding for the installation came through rebates from the customer-funded DTE Solar Currents program, a federal tax credit, and a net metering agreement providing discounts from DTE.

The Gentners expect to save about $5,550 per year on electrical expenses by using the solar panels. Based on this, they plan to recoup their investment in about eight years.

A leader with Great Lake Bay Renewable Energy, an arm of Accent Building, says he sees area farms as a growth opportunity for the solar industry.

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