Mich Enviro Report: GREEN River Testing, Steudle in Charge & Offshore Wind

As heard Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 on Delta College Q-90.1 FM …
1.
Students from Bay City Central High School were out this week helping with water quality testing on the Saginaw River.

About 90 students were involved. They worked with volunteers from General Motors, the Bay City School District, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit BaySail organization.

The students visited the Saginaw River to assess its water quality as part of the Earth Force GREEN program, funded by GM.

They waded in with sampling nets and chemical testing equipment. Water testing and environmental education stations were set up in the Visitor Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

The GM GREEN program aims to inspire youth to be active in their communities and learn more about the complexities of environmental issues. The automaker has been sponsoring the program for about 20 years.

2.

A former Essexville official will lead the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Kirk Steudle, a former member of the Essexville City Council, has been appointed to the presidency of the association. Michigan environmental groups say the post will allow Steudle to have a positive influence on national transportation policy.

According to the Michigan Environmental Council, Steudle has previously supported important initiatives in the areas of passenger rail service and making towns and cities safer and more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and others.

One of Steudle’s immediate priorities will be working with Congress on the Highway Trust Fund, which maintains highways and other federal transportation infrastructure through a per-gallon tax on gasoline.

Steudle has been director of the Michigan Department of Transportation since 2006.

Prior to that, he was MDOT’s Bay Region Engineer, and responsible for state transportation programs and services for a 13-county region surrounding the Saginaw Bay area. He served on the Essexville City Council in the late 1990s.

3.

The University of Michigan is studying the impact of ice on power-generating turbines operating offshore in the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded more than $1 million to the school for two studies that will explore the effect of winter ice on the collection and distribution of power by offshore wind turbine in the lakes.

According to university officials, the work will include a $400,000 grant to develop computerized modeling tools that will simulate surface water ice and the impact of ice-loading or pressure on offshore structures.

The analysis will inform the design of turbines that could be deployed at varying depths in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

A second, $690,000 award will go to analyze seasonal trends and conduct field measurements related to ice, wind and wave loads on fixed offshore structures.

The studies are tied to another project on the feasibility of offshore wind power on Lake Michigan.

— Photo by Randen Pederson

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