Mich Enviro Report: Coal in your Life, Heat Wave Tips & Lake Management Plans

As heard on Delta College Q-90.1 FM, July 22, 2011:


How much coal is in your life? photo coal plant emissions mr. great lakes q 90.1 fm delta college

If you live in Bay County, you may be at a greater risk for respiratory illness or mercury exposure due to emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The information comes from the Sierra Club, which has designed a tool to localize the impact of coal in people’s lives.

Most electricity in the Saginaw Bay area, and nationwide, is generated by coal-fired power plants.

The tool uses information on your ZIP code and fish consumption habits, along with data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The tool gives each user a 1 out of 10 score. The higher the score, the higher the potential threat to your health from coal pollution.

For more information, see coalinyourlife.org.


You’ve probably noticed that it’s been hot outside.

Here are a number of ways to cut your air conditioning and electric bill, or cool off your house if you don’t have air conditioning. The tips come from Earth 911, an environmental services company.

No. 1: Use two fans, one to pull outside air into your home, and another at an opposite window to blow interior air outside.

Other tips: Cook outside on the grill to keep the heat from a stove or oven outside of your house.

You also can pull the shades, and consider getting insulated blinds that can help keep out the summer heat.

According to Energy Star, up to half of the energy used in a home goes to heating and cooling.


Lakewide Management Plan reports have been released for the five Great Lakes.

The annual reports highlight accomplishments in restoring and protecting the lakes, and current management challenges that U.S. and Canadian agencies say they are trying to address.

According to the report for Lake Huron, the lake’s biodiversity is in “fair” condition.

Critical threats include non-native species; incompatible housing development and shoreline alteration; climate change; dams;
and pollution from non-point sources due to agriculture,
forestry and urban land uses.

Another concern: A Type E botulism outbreak in Southern Georgian Bay.

The latest occurred in the fall of 2010, and killed lake sturgeon, gulls and loons.

Photo by Señor Codo

Mich Enviro Report: First Time Campers Program, Fish Advisory & Beetles

A mostly critter contribution to Friday Edition, Delta College Q-90.1 FM, for July 15, 2011 …


Here’s a deal that’s hard to resist.

Travel Michigan, the state Department of Natural Resources and Gander Mountain have launched a “First Time Campers” program.

For $20, you get to use all the gear, guides and good times you can handle for a two-night stay. Show up at a state park, and a park representative will walk you through the process of setting up camp.

The gear provided includes a tent, tarp, two camp chairs, flashlight, lantern, stove, four hot dog or marshmellow cookers and two fishing poles.

Almost 20 state parks are participating in the program. Those include the Bay City Recreation Area, Hartwick Pines, Port Crescent State Park, Sleeper State Park.

To sign up for the First Time Campers program, you need to contact each park directly.


If you catch any fish as a First Time Camper, make sure to follow the state’s latest fish advisory guide.

The 2011-2012 guide (pdf) has been released by the Michigan Department of Community Health. The update includes nine changes to advisories, two that were relaxed and seven that were expanded.

Advisories in the guides are based on toxic chemicals found in fish. Some types of fish from some locations can be harmful to eat if eaten too often, due to levels of mercury, dioxin, and PCBs..

The guide is available online at michigan.gov/eatsafefish and includes information on fish from Michigan rivers and lakes. The state website also includes tips for choosing fish at the supermarket and restaurants.


The Khapra (cap-ra) beetle, from India, may be the next invasive pest to wreak havoc in Michigan.

A few of the beetles were found recently by U.S. Customs agents at border crossings in Detroit and Port Huron, according to The Detroit News.

The beetle is a threat to the state’s agricultural industry, officials say. It feeds on any dried plant or animal matter, but prefers grains like wheat, barley, corn and rice.

Much like the emerald ash borer has wiped out million of trees throughout the state, the Khapra beetle could wipe out soybean, wheat and corp crops, officials say.

For now, border agents are keeping an eye out for the bugs, and no infestations have been reported.

— Photo by Larry Page

Mich Enviro Report: Pinconning Park, a Camping App & 39 others like Asian Carp

As heard on the July 8, 2011, Friday Edition, Q-90.1 FM, Delta College. Channeling Mel Torme’ …



Pinconning Park is expanding. 

Bay County, which owns the park in Pinconning Township, has been awarded a $464,000 federal grant to acquire 54 acres of coastal property next to the park.

In addition to the grant, the county plans to spend about $10,000 for demolition and scrap metal removal on the land, known as the Prindle Property.

The county also has applied for $350,000 Michigan Land Trust Fund grant in connection with the expansion project.

Pinconning Park is open year round. The park features 50 modern campsites and six log cabins.

It’s located along Saginaw Bay, and is known as a good spot for walleye fishing.


Speaking of camping, there’s a new mobile app for Michigan campers.

It’s called the MI Camping and Recreation Locator app and is available for free. There are versions for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

The app allows users to find information on places to camp, boat, hike and swim.

State parks are listed, along with state forest campgrounds and boat launches. You can search by proximity, region, and city. Activities for various locations also are included.

Find more information online at michigan.gov.


As reported earlier, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a feasibility study of options and technologies to prevent the transfer of Asian carp between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

A public comment period has ended, and more than 900 comments were received, the agency reports.

Comments were taken online and at a dozen public meetings through the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.

This month, project managers plan to release a white paper with a list of 40 high-risk aquatic species.

These species, including Asian carp, are poised to potentially transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through the Chicago Area Waterway System.

Officials say risks from each of the species, and their potential to disperse and become invasive, will be discussed.

For more on this issue, see http://glmris.anl.gov/.

– Photo by Alan Light

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