Mussel Management, Science & Trouble in the Great Lakes

As heard on the March 30, 2012, Environment Report, part of Friday Edition at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College radio, Q-90.1 FM.

Mussel Management photo freshwater mussel buttons nsf illinois

The state has introduced an updated plan to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species.

Public comments on a draft state management plan are being taken until May 1.

Beyond preventing the introduction and spread of invasives like Asian carp, the plan aims to limit the harmful effects of invasives in Michigan waters.

New actions and enhancements to existing actions are outlined in the document.

Top priorities of the draft plan include a continued push for federal action to physically separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. That would involve changes to the sanitary and ship canal in Chicago.

The plan also proposes cracking down on Internet and pet shop sales of nonnative species that could cause problems in the lakes.

Comments are being taken through May 1.

You can find out more at michigan.gov.

Freshwater Science

Speaking of invasives, the National Science Foundation is out with a new report on freshwater mussels and the consequences for ecosystems.

According to research by the University of Oklahoma, almost 70 percent of freshwater mussels are considered threatened in some way.

Researchers say mussels need plentiful water to thrive, and healthy fish to reproduce.

In the Great Lakes, freshwater mussel populations have been harmed by invasive zebra and quagga mussels, native to Eastern Europe.

At the moment, the human need for water is the biggest danger to freshwater mussels, researchers say.

Habitat destruction, fragmentation from dams, and an intense drought in the southern plains have all contributed to destruction of mussel beds, according to the report.

Water filtering done by freshwater mussels provides a benefit for humans.

So one future priority in research is to come up with monetary values for the services that freshwater mussels provide.

Photo: For decades, freshwater mussels were harvested and made into fancy buttons. Credit: Illinois State Museum.

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A New Beach, Events & an Earth Day Contest to WIN

As heard on the March 23, 2012, Environment Report, part of Friday Edition at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College radio, Q-90.1 FM.

photo beach sand pentwater michigan eli duke flickr cc

Photo by Eli Duke.

New Beach

Bay County plans to clean up a public beach in Pinconning.

The county has received $10,000 from ITC of Kawkawlin. The company builds transmission lines for power distribution.

County Executive Tom Hickner says the gift from the company will be used for beach improvements at Pinconning Park, a county owned campground and recreation spot in Pinconning Township.

The county plans to clean the existing beach there, and groom and prepare the surface. Then, about 900 yards of fresh sand will be brought in to replenish the shoreline.

The county also will construct a small changing booth and fresh water shower for swimmers.

Solar-powered channel markers for boats also will be installed at a nearby boat launch.

Earth Day Events

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22.

Several events are planned in Bay County and local cities and townships.

They include: a Bangor Township “Green Team” and Waste Management Used Battery Drop-Off at Bangor Township Hall, a Bay Soil Conservation District Tree Sale, and a Bay County Earth Day Electronics Recycling Drop-Off at the Bay County Fairgrounds.

In addition, there will a Mayor’s City Wide Clean Up event, and the Annual Ed Golson Earth Day Compost Giveaway in Bay City.

You can find specific information on each event at the Bay County website.

WIN It

Saginaw Bay WIN is funding one great environmental idea for Earth Day.

WIN, which stands for Watershed Initiative Network, is holding a Facebook contest (pdf).

It’s looking for nonprofits to submit ideas for environmental projects, summed up in 50 words or less.

Topics include:

  • Conservation;
  • Public Access to Natural Resources;
  • Natural Resource-based Recreation or Education; and,
  • Energy Efficiency.

Ideas will be posted to WIN’s website and Facebook page.

The idea that receives the most votes, or “likes” on Facebook, will receive a $1,000 grant.

There also will be a random drawing for gift cards. You can find out more at saginawbaywin.org.

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Beach Cleaning, River Restoring & Asian Carp Stopping

Lots of ‘ings’ on this edition of The Environment Report. Heard Fridays @ 9 AM on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College:

photo three boxes stories

Photo by z287marc

Friday, March 2, 2012 (audio):

Beach boosters are planning another wellness event for June at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

This year’s Beach Wellness event, on June 23 at the Bay City state park, will include a run and walk, volleyball tournament and classic car cruise.

The event is a fundraiser to help keep the shoreline clean at the Bay City state park.

There will be 10K and 5K runs, a 5K walk; and a kids quarter-mile run.

The tournament will feature four-person volleyball teams competing on the public beach at the Bay City state park.

The sixth annual Beach Wellness event is being organized by the Save Our Shoreline property owners group.

Registrations are now being taken by members of Save Our Shoreline.

2

Efforts to restore rivers in Northern Michigan are being highlighted by a nonprofit Grayling group.

The group, called Huron Pines, has published a new website that show a variety of river restoration accomplishments in Northern Michigan.

On the website, you can search for road and stream crossings, and streambank erosion sites by watershed and county.

The group says many accomplishments listed at the site have involved completing BMPs, or Best Management Practices, at problem sites.

These practices involve methods that reduce the movement of sediment, nutrients, chemicals and other pollutants from the land to the water.

Examples are tree and shrub plantings, and culvert or bridge replacements at road and stream crossings.

The website address is www.northernmichiganstreams.org.

3

National Geographic recently featured a familiar fish as its Freshwater Species of the week.

It was the Asian carp, which comes in varieties like silver and bighead.

So far, only a few of the carp have been found in the Great Lakes, and efforts are ongoing to keep them from an becoming established species in the lakes.

The Obama administration has committed more than $50 million to a 2012  Asian Carp Control Strategy.

That includes increased efforts to monitor and catch carp iin rivers that connect to the Great Lakes.

Officials also will be testing scent-based lures, an acoustic water gun and improved electric barriers.

The U.S. government has already spent more than $100 million on keeping the bighead and silver Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.

Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a petition by Michigan and other states to install nets in Chicago area rivers and speed up a study on a permanent separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.

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