As heard Aug. 10, 2012, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM, Friday Edition, Environment Report … (I’ve been on vacation) …
The Least-Studied Great Lake
Lake Huron is home to a new long-term research program by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Researchers from NOAA, and the agency’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor, have set up a base in Alpena, at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
According to Great Lakes Echo, scientists at the Alpena station are studying water quality, invasive species, nutrient levels and physical properties of the lake.
The program’s lead researcher says Lake Huron is the least-studied of the Great Lakes, although previous work has been done in Saginaw Bay.
The latest research is to focus mainly on significant changes in the Lake Huron ecosystem, including increases in algal blooms and shoreline muck.
The research is being done, in part, to help develop more effective methods for managing fish production and water quality in the lake.
The work also is being done with equipment including the Research Vessel Lake Guardian, which used to dock in downtown Bay City.
Watershed Management Gets Money
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has announced $4 million in grant funding for water quality improvement projects.
The money, from the state Clean Michigan Initiative and federal Clean Water Act, will go to restore and protect state wetlands, lakes and streams.
Those eligible to apply include local governments, nonprofits, and universities.
The Clean Michigan Initiative money totals about $1 million and is available for watershed management plans
The Clean Water Act funding totals about $3 million and is available to develop watershed management plans or implement key parts of previously approved watershed management plans.
Areas in the Saginaw Bay District with approved watershed management plans include the Kawkawlin River, Pigeon River, Pinnebog River and Rifle River.
Matching funds of 15-25 percent are required for the pools of grant money. For more information, see the DEQ website.
Watershed management plans considers all uses, pollutant sources, and impacts within a drainage area, according to DEQ. The plan serve as guides for communities to protect and improve their water quality.
Sustain Our Great Lakes
Meanwhile, a public-private group called Sustain Our Great Lakes has announced more than $8 million in grants to fund restoration projects throughout the Great Lakes basin.
The funding from Sustain Our Great Lakes is intended to improve “the quality and connectivity of tributary, wetland and coastal habitats.”
The money includes almost $700,000 to improve 150 acres of wetlands, and improve water quality in the northern Saginaw Bay watershed. That work will be overseen by the Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development Area Council.
The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy also is receiving $150,000 to control invasive phragmites and restore 101 acres, 11,700 linear feet of stream bank, and 10,100 linear feet of coastal habitat along Saginaw Bay.