Cleaning up the Rifle, Asian Carp Salesmen, and 1 Million Michigan Campers

As heard 9 a.m. Eastern, Oct. 26, 2012, on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College NPR … 

Photo by Willie Lunchmeat (really)


1 – The nonprofit Huron Pines group in Gaylord is expanding its Rifle River Watershed Project. 

The group recently received a grant of nearly $700,000 for the work.

The broader program will cover the entire northern Saginaw Bay, according to the group, adding in the AuGres and Tawas watersheds.

The aim is to improve the water quality of the bay, increase and improve stream habitat for fish, and reduce runoff that negatively impacts rivers. Goals of the project include reducing sediment pollution by 850 tons a year and phosphorus inputs by 200 pounds a year.

With the most recent grant, from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain Our Great Lakes program, Huron Pines has added a fulltime watershed project manager.

The Rifle is one of 16 Designated Natural Rivers in Michigan and is a tributary to Saginaw Bay.


2 – Hey, wanna buy some Asian carp?  

The Great Lakes Commission is helping crack down on people who sell aquatic invasive species online.

The Commission is developing web-crawling software to troll the Internet for the sellers of plants and animals for use in aquariums, nurseries, water gardens, aquaculture, and as live bait.

Accidental or intentional releases of live organisms sold online can adversely impact the Great Lakes.

But officials say little is being done to prevent potentially invasive species from being imported, traded, or released into the lakes via the Internet.

Sellers identified by the software will be contacted about relevant regulations and potential risks associated with the species they’re selling. The tool also will be available to regulators who may take further action.

3 – Camping season is pretty much over for the year, and Michigan state parks are celebrating a milestone.  

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently marked the 1 millionth camp night of the 2012 season at a state park in St. Clair County.

There haven’t been that many campers in one season since 2005, officials say.

Michigan state parks have seen a 7 percent increase in advance reservations this year, compared to 2011.

Officials attribute the rise, in part, to travelers with strained vacation budgets, and a lower-cost Recreation Passport for entrance to state parks.

For the record, some Michigan state parks offer year-round camping and cabin rentals, so you can camp this winter if you’re up for it.


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Great Lakes Futures Project, Student Opportunities and Bay County Green Initiatives

As heard Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, 9 a.m. Eastern on Delta College Q-90.1 FM, NPR …

photo swirling water

Photo by virtually_supine

1. The Great Lakes Futures Project is taking shape, and there are opportunities for students to become involved.

The University of Michigan and 20 other research institutions in the U.S. and Canada are joining forces for the project. Those include Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and Michigan Sea Grant.

The goal is to propose a set of long-term research and policy priorities to help protect and restore the Great Lakes. The project also aims to train the next generation of scientists, attorneys, planners and policy specialists.

The Great Lakes Futures Project was assembled by the Transborder Research University Network.

Researchers say this is a critical time for the project, with the recent release of an amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada.

Organizers say the collaboration of U.S. and Canadian academics, governments, nongovernment organizations, industry and private citizens for this project is unprecedented.

Project officials plans to recruit graduate students for analysis this fall.

(To learn how your institution can be involved, contact the Great Lakes Futures Project at kiglic2@uwo.ca.)

2. Bay County is showing off Green Initiatives as part of a online dashboard.

photo green dashboard car

Photo by M. Stjerna

 

The Bay County Dashboard is a compilation of information about Bay County government activities like public safety, health and education, shared services, and budget and finance.

Under Green Initiatives, the county lists extensive information on recycling.

That includes information on recycling locations for various items, from antifreeze to vinyl siding, in and around Bay County.

There also are links to curbside recycling programs in various townships.

See baycounty-mi.gov for more information.

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Wicked Problems, Delta’s Green Award, and Michigan Energy Efficiency

Photo by thirteenthbat

As heard Oct 12, 2012, on Friday Edition, 9 a.m. on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

Sea Grant Seeks ‘Wicked Problems’

Just in time for Halloween, Michigan Sea Grant is looking for “wicked problems” in the Great Lakes.

What makes a problem “wicked”? It has to be a complex environmental issue that’s challenging to address because the cause isn’t clear.

After all, you can’t figure out how to best solve a problem without a clear understanding of what factors are causing it.

So the Michigan Sea Grant research program is looking for public input on a coastal resource issue that needs a solution.

Michigan Sea Grant is seeking ideas for projects in four focus areas:

1)      Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

2)      Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

3)      Resilient Communities and Economies, and

4)      Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development.

The ideas are requested by the day before Halloween.

Michigan Sea Grant is a collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

(If you have an idea for Michigan Sea Grant, provide a synopsis and contact information for an agency or organization with decision-making authority related to the issue. Send the information by Oct. 30 to Jennifer Read, Research Program Coordinator: jenread@umich.edu).

Green Genome Award

Delta College has received a national environmental award.

The Green Genome Award comes from the American Association of Community Colleges.

The award was presented this month as part of an effort to honor community colleges that “have taken a strategic leadership role in sustainability and green economic and workforce development.”

Delta College won for achievements in Community Engagement. Other awards went to colleges in California, North Carolina, Florida, and West Virginia.

Winners of the awards each received $8,000 to support the college’s enhancement, expansion, or creation of a practice or program related to green workforce development and sustainability.

According to a Green Genome report from the association, Delta was recognized for efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the campus and the surrounding community.

Those efforts, over several years, have included the creation of a campus sustainability office to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Delta also has been spearheaded numerous alternative transportation activities, including the creation of a non-motorized greenway and a park-and-ride, hybrid-conversion bus route called the Green Line.

In addition, Delta was recognized for providing alternative energy training in automotive, wind, and chemical process technology, and work by students to build sustainable Habitat for Humanity homes in the community.

We’re No. 12!

Michigan is becoming more energy efficient, but didn’t break the Top Ten in a recent 2012 state scorecard report.

The report, from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, ranks Michigan as 12th in the nation. That’s up from a rank of 17 last year.

MIchigan was cited as most improved after Oklahoma, Montana and South Carolina, according to Great Lakes Echo.  The state advanced in the rankings in part  through a law requiring electricity and natural gas providers to file energy optimization plans. The plans are meant to help reduce long-term costs to ratepayers and delay the need for additional power plants.

The scorecard report gives top honors to Massachusetts for the second year in a row. The report looks at six policy areas in which states pursue energy efficiency goals.

This is the sixth year for the Council’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard report.

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From gas to oil: Michigan governor joins protest to block pipeline switch | Midwest Energy News

Michigan’s governor is speaking out against a plan by operators of a major natural gas pipeline to use it to move bottlenecked crude oil to the Gulf.

Gov. Rick Snyder and others have filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to “intervene and protest” the move by Trunkline Gas Co., arguing that abandoning a natural gas pipeline that supplies nearly a third of Michigan’s natural gas would not serve citizens’ energy needs as furnaces are firing up for the winter.

MORE: From gas to oil: Michigan governor joins protest to block pipeline switch | Midwest Energy News.

CMU Invasives Project, Saginaw Solar Energy, and Michigan Fall Color

As heard Oct. 5, 2012, 9 a.m. Eastern, Friday Edition, Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

Photo by ellenm1

 

1 – The battle against invasive species in the Great Lakes basin just received an $8 million bump.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced 21 grants totaling nearly $8 million for projects to combat invasive species in Michigan and other states in the basin.

The money, from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, includes funding for work by Central Michigan University researchers.

CMU will receive about $356,000 to assess the risks that aquatic invasive species pose to the Erie Canal Corridor.

The project will catalogue non-native species in the Mohawk-Hudson River and Lake Champlain basins.

The idea is to identify aquatic invasive species that have the potential to spread into the canal.

The work will use environmental DNA surveys, like those done to track of presence of Asian carp in the Great Lakes basin. The range of invasives, potential pathways and future survelliance needs will be explored.

The CMU work falls under the Prevention category of grants award. Money also is going to Early Detection and Control efforts.


2 – The city of Saginaw is powering up with solar energy. 

And the equipment comes from the Saginaw Bay region.

The city has installed a 20-kilowatt solar array on the roof of its Public Services Building, according to Saginaw Future.

A total of 96 panels on the array will provide about 10 percent of the building’s power.

Consumers Energy will purchase power from the panels for up to 15 years.

The panels were made using polycrystalline silicon from Hemlock Semiconductor in Saginaw County.

Saginaw City Hall also is getting a smaller, 4-kilowatt unit, which will use the Sunsteer tracking system, developed by Nexteer Automotive in Saginaw.

3 – The colors of fall are coming about a week early this year. 

High fall color has been reported in higher elevations in the Western Upper Peninsula of MIchigan.

In Northern Michigan, fall color is reported to be moderate, including for Bay City and the Thumb.

In Southern Michigan, most of the leaves aren’t changing just yet.

For much of the Midwest, color change is running about a week early, according to The Foliage Network.

The early color change is attributed in part to dry weather earlier this year.

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