Mich Enviro Report: Earth Day Beach Cleanups, a Festival & Thumb Wind Farms

As heard on Delta College public radio Q-90.1 FM, Friday Edition, April 22, 2011:

Junk from a Grand Haven beach cleanup in 2010. Via the Alliance for the Great Lakes

1.

Today is Earth Day (April 22), and beaches around Michigan are being cleaned up by volunteers.

The Adopt-a-Beach program is in its ninth season, and runs through May 4. This year, volunteers will target spots around the Great Lakes that have seen beach closings or been designated as federal Areas of Concern because of past pollution.

That includes the public beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area, where a cleanup is planned for April 23. It’s the first Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at the state park in recent memory.

Other cleanups are planned throughout Michigan, including in Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren and Wayne Counties.

Adopt-a-Beach is organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. During the events, volunteers clear trash and sample water quality. Additional work also is being done this year with funding from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers removed more than 31,000 pounds of trash from Great Lakes shorelines.

2.

More wind farms are coming to Michigan’s Thumb.

DTE Energy plans to build its first three wind farms in Huron and Sanilac counties, to be completed in 2012.

The development is part of efforts to expand the generation of renewable energy in Michigan. Utilities in the state are working to meet at 10 percent by 2015 standard.

The three DTE wind projects will generate about 110 megawatts, according to company officials.

The estimated cost of the project is $225 million. About 50 turbines are to be installed along 15,000 acres in the two counties. The project is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs.

DTE still needs to select a turbine manufacturer, a construction company, and secure permits for the three wind farms.

But the company says it hopes to begin construction next year.

3.

The big Earth Day celebration is planned for Saturday, April 30, in Huron County.

School officials are planning for a seventh annual Embracing Our Earth event, which typically attracts thousands of visitors.

This year’s festival is to take place at Bad Axe Junior High School, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Attractions this year include a Marking Art from the Earth display by the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, a rainforest and alligator display, and pedal powered cookies.

The Detroit Science Center also will put on a  “Green Machine” stage show, and there will be live music, face painting and a kayak tank.

Wind farm tours also will be offered, along with mechanical surfboard rides, Segway demonstrations, and more.

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