New Book Tells Story of Average Joe and Michigan’s Last-Known Wild Wolverine (Interview)

photo lone wolverine book shaw ford michigan

'The Lone Wolverine' is published by University of Michigan Press

A new book tells the story of Michigan’s last known wild wolverine, which died in the Thumb in early 2010.

The book is by Liz Shaw, a former reporter for the Flint Journal; and Jeff Ford, a former Deckerville high school science teacher.

The book, titled “The Lone Wolverine: Tracking Michigan’s Most Elusive Animal,” was released this month.

(This interview with Shaw aired April 27, 2012, on Friday Edition, Q-90.1 FM, Delta College.)

The wolverine, a female, was found dead by hikers in a Sanilac County marsh in March 2010. The death was attributed to natural causes. The wolverine was about 9 years old.

She is now on display at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township.

(Below is a longer interview with Shaw and Scott Seeberger, which also aired on 90.1 FM)

Researchers Breed Arctic Cod, for the First Time, As Sea Ice Melts

This one’s a little beyond the Great Lakes, but interesting nonetheless …

photo arctic cod vancouver aquarium

Photos and video courtesy Vancouver Aquarium.

Biologists at the Vancouver Aquarium have announced a milestone: They’ve successfully hatched and reared Arctic cod, in a lab. It’s the first time in North America, and probably the world.

This one is important for many reasons, the Canadian researchers say:

Not only are Arctic cod a keystone species, playing a big part in the food chain, but sea ice is melting faster in the Arctic than scientists had predicted (and those predictions were pretty grim).

Arctic cod, termed as “at risk” by Environment Canada, live nine months of the year under the ice. Less ice, possibly less time to live, so it’s important to study how climate changes will impact these creatures.

But since these cod live most of their lives under the ice, they’re not the easiest species to study, from the cost of accessing their remote natural habitats to the challenging weather conditions under which they have to be studied. See some b-roll below.

How many hatchlings? The biologists say they’ve reared several hundred cod to the juvenile stage, working over six months. The process has all been documented and promises to have beneficial research implications.

“Rearing Arctic cod is a delicate and intensive process, and the early development stages are critical to the livelihood of the cod,” says Danny Kent, curator at the Vancouver Aquarium.“The Arctic cod larvae and eggs are extremely fragile and require meticulous and constant expert care to thrive. Successfully bringing the larvae to the juvenile stage could be a stepping stone to future research on this very important species.”

Arctic cod live in parts of Northern Canada, including the Beaufort Sea, the Arctic Archipelago, Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, and along the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland. They’re called a key species because they’re a primary food source for narwhals, belugas and ringed seals — which polar bears, and Inuit communities, depend upon for sustenance.

Arctic cod are kind of a “canary in the cold mine” for the Arctic ecosystem, you might say.

“Scientists are seeing increasing ocean temperatures, even in the Arctic,” according to John Nightingale, president and CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium.

“What we don’t know today is how this change will impact key species like the Arctic cod. Successfully rearing Arctic cod at the Aquarium means scientists can study aspects of their lives that previously were difficult, if not, impossible to study.”

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Be Aware of Michigan Fishing Proposals, and a Poll on Littering

photo queen snake western lesser siren michigan

A queen snake (large) and western lesser siren (inset). Via Michigan DNR/Jim Harding.

As heard on the April 13, 2012, Environment Report,

part of Friday Edition at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College radio, Q-90.1 FM

Trout, Pike and Queen Snakes

What do you think of fishing regulation proposals?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to know. The DNR is planning a public meeting and comment session on Monday, April 23.

The meeting is from 7-9 p.m., at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

DNR officials plan to discuss several statewide fishing regulation proposals.

Those include:

More specific information on the proposals will be available at the meeting, to be held in the park’s Visitor Center.

You also can study up at the DNR web site at michigan.gov/fishing.

The meeting, again, is from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at the Bay City state park in Bangor Township.

Green Becoming the ‘New Normal’ photo no littering sign

Earth Day is coming up, on April 22, and people are finally starting to get the drift of sustainability.

A new survey by the Shelton Group says being eco-friendly is becoming more common among Americans.

Those surveyed say getting caught throwing trash out of the car window is more embarrassing to them than getting caught cheating on their taxes.

The national poll also found that unfriendly behaviors, like driving a gas guzzler, are becoming socially unacceptable these days.

Other things that people surveyed said they would more embarrassed to be caught doing than littering include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Not using a seatbelt
  • Not recycling plastic bottles
  • and, letting the water run while brushing their teeth.

The researchers say they think being green will eventually become the new normal, because the percentages have reached a tipping point.

One more item worth mentioning: Those surveyed were asked what would encourage them adopt eco-friendly behaviors.

The top responses included penalties, fees, rewards, incentives, and education.

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Adopt-a-Beach along Saginaw Bay, and a Gust of Great Lakes Offshore Wind Support

As heard on the April 6, 2012, Environment Report, part of Friday Edition at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College radio, Q-90.1 FM.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

A statewide Adopt-A-Beach program is looking for help in the Saginaw Bay area.

photo map wind energy michigan nrel

Via windpoweringamerica.gov

Statewide coordinators for the volunteer program are holding informational sessions throughout the state.

One will be held on April 21 at the Bay City State Recreation Area, during the park’s Wetland Wake-Up Day events.

The Adopt-a-Beach program uses volunteers to collect data on beach conditions. That data is shared with local, state and regional health officials, and used by the Alliance for the Great Lakes to help set standards for coastal areas.

The session planned for Bay City is an introductory training session by the Alliance. It will be held on April 21, 10 a.m. to noon, inside the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center, located at the Bay City state park.

For more information, see the Alliance website at greatlakes.org.

Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium

Plans for offshore wind projects have received a gust of support in the Great Lakes.

The governor of Michigan recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 10 federal agencies to enhance the coordination of offshore wind projects in the lakes. Gov. Snyder was joined by the governors of Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania.

The aim is to promote the efficient, orderly and responsible evaluation of offshore wind proposals for the lakes, according to the Great Lakes Commission.

The agreement (pdf) is modeled after similar ones signed between 10 states on the East Coast and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The agencies in the Great Lakes agreement include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies that have regulatory roles or federal interests related to permitting offshore turbines in the lakes.

The Memorandum of Understanding will establish a Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to coordinate and expedite the review of proposals for offshore wind projects.

According to the Obama administration, offshore wind energy resources in the Great Lakes could yield tremendous economic and environmental benefits. Offshore wind in the lakes has the potential to produce more than 700 gigawatts of energy. That’s about one fifth of the total offshore wind potential in the United States.

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