Mich Enviro Report: Check BeachGuard & That Water Compact Deadline

As heard July 1, 2011, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM


Before you go to the beach, check the internet.

The sun may be shining, but not all Michigan beaches may be ready, or safe, for swimming this summer.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality reminds beachgoers to check an online database to ensure that their favorite beach will be open for swimming.

The DEQ works with local health departments to monitor water quality at 1,210 of Michigan’s public beaches. Water quality at certain beaches can be impacted by runoff and sewer overflows during extended rain events.

As of Thursday morning, contamination advisories were posted for eight beaches in Michigan, including two in Roscommon County and one in Arenac County.

Beach results are reported on a daily basis on the DEQ’s BeachGuard Web site.

Michigan’s 2010 annual beach monitoring report also is available online.

Beach monitoring work is paid for with federal and state funds.


December is the deadline for Great Lakes states to fully implement conservation and efficiency programs and measures under an international Compact.

According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Great Lakes states have some catching up to do after missing deadlines from last year.

Great Lakes Echo reports that Wisconsin came close, and states like New York have recently passed legislation. But no states are in full compliance with the compact timeline.

It’s not too late to come into compliance. The NRDC report suggests ways states can meet requirements of the agreement, such as setting conservation water rates, requiring meters on homes and apartments and fixing leaks or breaks in water systems.

Michigan has developed an online screening tool for water use, according to the report, but the state didn’t follow recommendations from its own advisory committee while drafting goals and objectives.



Mich Enviro Report: Rifle River Update & New Science Summer Camp at SVSU

As heard on Friday Edition, June 24, 2011, Delta College Q-90.1 FM …
A project to restore the Rifle River watershed is making waves.

In the last month, the project has received $30,000 from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network. According to Huron Pines, the funding will go to improve stormwater management in West Branch.

The money will help to install rain gardens in the city, along with other stormwater management upgrades, during the next two years.

Local volunteers from Trout Unlimited recently took to the river to find and document streambanks that are suffering from erosion. More than 40 erosion sites were documented, along with new areas of concern, according to the Huron Pines group.

Other funding to the project has come from the Americana Foundation of Novi and the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The watershed project aims to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient pollution that enters the Rifle.


Need something to keep the kids busy this summer? Send them to college.

Saginaw Valley State University is offering a new half-day summer camp. The STEM camp, for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, will offer hands-on activities for children in grades three through eight.

Students in STEM will work on various projects in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The camp is being taught by teachers and scientists from throughout the region. A junior camp, for students entering grades three through five runs from July 11-14. A senior camp for upcoming sixth through eighth graders is July 18-21.

Both camps run from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The cost of the STEM camp is $100. For more information, call 964-4114 or log on to svsu.edu.

— Photo via Huron Pines

Mich Enviro Report: Hazardous Materials & the Backyard Campout

As heard on Delta College Q-90.1 FM, June 17, 2011 (recorded in my home studio this time, with a little too much echo) …


June 25 is the day to properly dispose of unwanted household hazardous materials in Bay County.

Some household hazardous materials can contaminate of groundwater, well water, or other water sources when spilled on the ground, poured down the drain, or placed in trash containers.

The county is holding a Household Hazardous Material Collection and Disposal Program on June 25. The program is free, and sponsored by the Dow Chemical Co. Foundation and the Bay County Health Department.

The collections will be held in Bay City and Pinconning. But you must call ahead first to schedule a drop-off. The number is 895-4006.

Acceptable items include battery acid, drain cleaner, weed killer and oil-based paint.

Some materials are not accepted. To schedule a time to drop off your materials, or for more information, call 895-4006.


June 25 also is time for the Great American Backyard Campout.

The National Wildlife Federation event encourages parents and kids to skip the TV or computer and spend a night under the stars.

Studies show that the Average American child spends more than seven hours per day in front of electronic media.

Studies also show that outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances creativity and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance, according to NWF.

For the event, you can camp in your backyard, organize a campout, or join other organized campouts.

You can log on to backyardcampout.org for more information. The site includes recipes, nocturnal wildlife guides, campfire songs and games, nature activities and more.

— Photo by Kristin Johnson


Mich Enviro Report: Smog, Free Trees and Wild Hogs


Record-breaking temperatures have created smog problems in Michigan this week. 

Smog, or ground-level ozone, is created when chemicals from sources like vehicle exhaust react in the presence of sunlight.

Many cities in Michigan and other Great Lakes states have experienced elevated levels of ground-level ozone this week, according to Great Lakes Echo.

Such elevated levels of ozone are unhealthy for children, older adults and people who existing lung or asthma conditions.

Ozone Action Days were declared for several areas in Michigan this week, including Ann Arbor, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Ludington.

When it’s hot outside, you should avoid driving if you can, and car pool. You also can put off mowing the lawn for a while. As well, people should avoid prolonged, strenuous work or exercise when air pollution is elevated.

Problems with ozone are due to subside this weekend, with more moderate temperature in the 70s.

You can find local air quality data and forecasts online at Michigan.gov/deq.


You also can stay cool under the shade of a tree.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking funding for trees to replace those damaged by invasive species.

A juice company called Odwalla is sponsoring a Plant a Tree program across the country. Michigan is vying for up to $100,000 to plant new trees at state parks.

To help, all you have to do is vote at the Odwalla website. Every vote equals $1 for planting trees in state parks.

The address is odwalla.com/plantatree. So far this year, votes have supported the planting of more than 12,000 trees in Michigan.

Last year, state employees helped to push Michigan into the top spot for the second year in a row, capturing more than $45,000 worth of free trees.

As of Thursday (June 9), Michigan is the top spot in the country for free tree money.


Federal money is available to Michigan landowners and agricultural producers in the Saginaw Bay watershed as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

According to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the funding will be available to Michigan landowners and agricultural producers through existing conservation programs. A sign-up for financial assistance runs until July 1. Up to $5.6 million is available.

Landowners can receive technical and financial assistance to implement conservation activities on their land that conserve soil, water, air and wildlife resources.

Assistance in the Saginaw Bay watershed will be targeted to address non-point source pollution and grassland bird habitat.

A four-county area in the Saginaw Bay region also will have funding available to address feral swine, or wild hogs.

Photo via Duncan Harris

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