Mich Enviro Report: Riverview Natural Area, DTE Efficiency & Au Sable Makes the List

As heard on Q-90.1 FM, Friday Edition, Delta College, May 6, 2011:

1.

The Little Forks Conservancy is readying the Riverview Natural Area for a public opening.

The conservancy, based in Midland, recently closed on the purchase of 419 acres of natural land on the Tittabawassee River in Midland County.

The Riverview Natural Area is home to frogs, bald eagles and wildflowers, and contains mature woods and farmland.

The conservancy recently acquired the property for a total of $1.5 million. The conservancy launched a fundraising campaign back in 2008 to purchase, protect and manage the land.

Funding came from The Conservation Fund, individual donors, foundations, corporations and government sources. The conservancy’s staff and board kicked in more than $100,000.

At the beginning of this year, there was still $350,000 to be raised. The last hurdle was cleared when the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation agreed to provide the rest of the funding to complete the purchase.

The conservancy is now working to lay out trails for public use, and is offering guided visits for the public. 

A parking lot has been constructed with additional funding from the Dow Foundation. A formal dedication is planned for the fall.

2.

It pays to be energy efficient.

DTE Energy customers who participated in the company’s energy efficiency programs saved $31 million in 2010.

The utility estimates that those customers will see a lifetime savings of $520 million.

The DTE program is funded by a surcharge on bills, under energy legislation passed in Lansing in 2008.

The DTE program includes appliance recycling, in-home energy audits, low-income weatherization assistance, and rebates and discounts on energy efficient light bulbs, programmable thermostats and clothes washers.

Other highlights of 2010 participation include the recycling of almost 23,000 old refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers; and the purchase of more than 3 million, discounted compact fluorescent light bulbs

More information on DTE Energy’s energy efficiency programs is available online at YourEnergySavings.com.

3

The Au Sable River has been named to a national Waters to Watch list.

And that’s a good thing.

The 2011 list was recently unveiled by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

It’s a collection of 10 rivers and watershed systems across the country that are due to benefit from conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition over the next year.

The group says the waters represent a snapshot of voluntary habitat conservation efforts in progress throughout the U.S. The projects, including one on the North Branch of the Au Sable, are being implemented by regional partnerships under a National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

The plan, funded in part by government agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, aims to conserve freshwater and others habitats that are essential to fish and wildlife species.

Other rivers and watershed systems on the list are located in New York, Louisiana, Alaska, Utah, Texas, Idaho and Hawaii. The Manistee River in Michigan also is listed.

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