Mich Enviro Report: Great Lakes Cleanup to Help Unemployed, Saginaw Bay Meeting Coming Up

As heard on Friday. Aug. 26, 2011, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM …

1.

If you’re unemployed, you may be able to get a job cleaning up the Great Lakes.

The federally funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is setting aside about $6 million for federal agencies that propose restoration work in federally-protected areas, on tribal lands and in Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes basin.

A key requirement for projects is that they must put at least 20 unemployed people to work, according to EPA officials.

The Saginaw River and Bay is a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Funded projects must be aimed at advancing the goals and objectives of the initiative. That is, they must provide immediate, direct ecological benefits; be located in areas identified as federal priorities such as national lakeshores or Areas of Concern; include a detailed budget, and produce measurable results, according to EPA.

The agency plans to award funding for selected projects by the end of September. EPA will fund individual projects up to $1 million.

For more information, see www.glri.us.

2.

Speaking of Saginaw Bay, a public meeting is planned for Thursday, Sept. 1, on the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative.

The SBCI, as it’s called, was started by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality a number of years ago, partially in response to complaints about shoreline muck. The meeting is from 1-3 p.m. on Sept. 1 at the Pere Marquette Depot at 100 Adams St. in downtown Bay City.

On the agenda are appearances by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and David White, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

They are due to speak on ‘Agriculture, Conservation and Great Lakes.’

Bay County officials are encouraging interested residents to attend the Sept. 1 meeting and express their support for bay improvements.

Local government officials involved with SBCI have been coordinating with interested people, businesses and other organizations in Arenac, Bay, Huron, Iosco, Midland, Saginaw and Tuscola counties to advocate for Saginaw Bay and inform state and federal agencies on needs, priorities, and concerns for the region.

– Photo via vespar avenue.
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Mich Enviro Report: Saginaw Bay Muck & a Spray Park Supplied with Treated Water

As heard on Delta College Q-90.1 FM on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011 … photo saginaw bay michigan great lakes satellite

1.

Saginaw Bay is being called a “hot spot.” Unfortunately, the title refers to shoreline muck, or dead algae.

The Detroit News recently featured the Bay City state park, highlighting the smelly muck that gathers at the shoreline of a mile-long public beach there. Algal blooms related to the muck also have made tap water taste bad, or worse, in the Bay City area this summer.

Residents have been complaining about the muck for years. Experts say it’s partly to blame on invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have filtered and cleared the water in the bay and other parts of the Great Lakes.

That has allowed more sunlight to penetrate the water and spur algal growth. The mussels also feed on phosphorus in the water and secrete it in a more concentrated form.

The bay is picking up excess phosphorus applied to lawns and other land in 22 counties that drain to the Saginaw Bay watershed. Bay County has had a ban on most residential phosphorus applications since 2009. A statewide ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Experts say that may help control algal growth in the bay in coming years.

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In the meantime, people who don’t enjoy the mucky beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area will be able to cool off in a spray park.

The park is due to open today (Friday, Aug. 18) next to a playscape at the state park. The playscape is located near an old public beach at the park, which is no longer accessible due to lower water levels, phragmites and other factors.

The spray park is due to expand next year. It’s the first spray park to be built in a Michigan state park. The park was constructed with more than $300,000 in donations raised by a Friends group, and other funds from state park vehicle entry permits.

And if you have any wonders about the water quality of Saginaw Bay, consider this: The spray park will be supplied with bay water that’s been treated and piped to the location.

— Photo Credit: NOAA

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