Saginaw River Dredging, Better Birding, and a local 350 March

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart), at 9 a.m. Fridays. As heard in Bay City, Michigan, on April 26, 2013, Delta College Q-90.1 FM.

1 – A $1.7 million dredging project is due to start next month (May) on the Saginaw River and Bay.

early bird catches worm

The early bird. Credit: ellenm1

The work will be done by Luedtke Engineering of Frankfort, with funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps says the dredging will help ensure that marine commerce keeps moving in and out of the Saginaw Bay Region. The Saginaw River is used for hauling cement, coal, limestone, salt, potash and grain.

Luedtke will dredge more than 200,000 cubic yards of mud from two portions of the river, according to the Corps.

This includes more than 150,000 yards of material to be dredged along a three-mile area between the Independence Bridge in Bay City and the mouth of Saginaw River. The spoils will be taken to Channel Island, a Confined Disposal Facility located two miles out in the bay.

Luedtke will dredge another 50,000 cubic yards of material upstream in Saginaw County. Those spoils will go into a Dredged Material Disposal Facility that straddles the Bay-Saginaw county line.

The dredging is slated to start in early May and finish by late June.

(For more, see pdf of Operational Management Plan for Upper Saginaw River DMDF).

2 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is pursuing a Birding Trail project.

The conservancy, with an office in Bay City, will use a $1,000 grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

The conservancy was the winner of an Earth Day Facebook contest put on by the Network. The conservancy’s Birding Trail project garnered more than 300 votes to win the prize.

The Saginaw Bay Birding Trail runs for more than 140 miles and features 50 sites from Port Austin to East Tawas. The grant will be used to add new signs to the Trail. More than 200 species of birds can be spotted along the stretch, including warblers, plovers and waterfowl.

The conservancy is partnering on the project with Michigan Audubon. It also will include a website, a “hub” location in Bay City, and a free field guide.

3 – A Bay City-area environmental group will hold its third clean energy event on May 18.

The Lone Tree Council is planning a “350” march and walk over the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bay City and into Vets Park, featuring students and others. Electric and hybrid cars also will be on hand.

The Saginaw Valley Sustainability Society is participating, and area residents are invited to attend.

The 350 event, on May 18, is meant to oppose the burning of fossil fuels for electricity and transportation, which contributes to climate change. This is the fourth annual 350 event in Bay City. Similar events are being held in the United States and abroad.

The number 350 refers to the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The current level is above that number, and scientists say it needs to be reduced to below 350 to avoid serious consequences.

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Great Lakes Restoration Funding for 2014, Lots of Atlantic salmon, and new Michigan Green Schools

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). The Environment Report for April 12, 2013. As heard in Bay City, Michigan, on Fridays at 9 a.m. Eastern, Delta College Q-90.1 FM.

1- The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be kept alive under a 2014 budget released by President Barack Obama.

The proposed budget, out this week, maintains support for the Initiative at $300 million.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the program has spent more than $1 billion during the last three years to clean up toxic pollution, combat invasive species, restore habitat, and prevent runoff from cities and farms.

The Initiative has funded more than 20 efforts in the Saginaw Bay area, including a project to prevent E. coli bacteria from getting into the Kawkawlin River.

The 2014 federal budget also includes more than $1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund – more than $400 million of which would help communities in Michigan and other Great Lakes states to fix old sewers to prevent sewage overflows.

The Federation is part of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which consists of more than 100 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation, and other organizations.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, whose district includes Bay City, is one of those urging fellow legislators to continue funding the Initiative at $300 million.

  • Read the proposed budget on Scribd
  • Search GLRI projects at glri.us

2 – About 100,000 Atlantic salmon are coming to Lake Huron. 

atlantic salmon yearlings

Via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans to release the yearlings into the lake and two of its tributary streams this spring.

DNR officials say that after two years of working through disease problems and investing in equipment to control disease outbreaks, the production of Atlantic salmon yearlings in 2013 has been “exceptional.”

Yearling Atlantic salmon will be stocked in the Au Sable River, along with St. Marys River, Thunder Bay River, and in Lexington Harbor in southern Lake Huron.

Stocking locations were chosen based on variables like stream temperatures, public access, and the ability for the DNR to evaluate returning adults.

Officials also focused on locations that would optimize the chances of success and provide angling opportunities for the public.

3 – Four Bay County schools have officially gone green.

The schools are now part of the Michigan Green Schools program.

The four schools — Auburn Area Catholic, the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center, St. James Catholic, and Bangor John Glenn — all qualified as green schools for various environmental stewardship efforts.

To earn a Michigan Green Schools Designation, schools must conduct activities in categories that include recycling, energy, and environmental protection.

The program is open to all public and private schools.

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Get Paid for Solar Generation, and Take a Look at Michigan’s Land Management Plan

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard in Bay City, Michigan, at 9 a.m. Eastern Fridays on Delta College Q-90.1 FM … The Environment Report for April 5, 2013.

public land map bay region mich dnr

Public land map, Bay Region. Via Michigan DNR.

1- Attention Consumers Energy customers: If you’re interested in generating solar energy and selling it back to the utility, here’s your chance.

Consumers Energy is taking residential and non-residential applications until May 8 for its Experimental Advanced Renewable Program (EARP).

The contract program allows electric customers to sell the output of solar generating systems to Consumers Energy for a fixed price over a contract length of up to 15 years.

Qualified applicants will be selected by lottery (pdf).

To quality, you must own or lease the solar photovoltaic system, and install it at your billing address or on an adjacent property you own or lease.

This is the 11th and 12th phase of the program. In 2011, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved an expansion of the program in line with state energy standards.

2 – Public outdoor recreation improvements are coming to the Saginaw Bay area, courtesy of more than $23 million in Natural Resources Trust Fund grants awarded statewide.

Gov. Rick Snyder approved the grants recently, for 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions in 43 Michigan counties (pdf).

In the Saginaw Bay area, the city of Saginaw will receive $67,000 for a boulder climbing garden and multi-use pathway extension in Celebration Park. The pathway extension will connect the park to the Saginaw Riverwalk and adjacent recreation facilities.

The city of Zilwaukee also received more than $254,000 for improvements to Riverfront Park, located on the Saginaw River. The proposed development includes a playground, benches, paved parking lot and walkway, fencing and a seawall to improve bank fishing opportunities.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is made up of  oil, gas, and other mineral lease and royalty payments made to the state.


3 – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on a draft land management plan at regional open houses.

The plan outlines a strategy for DNR-managed public lands.

The regional meetings include one on April 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the Delta College Planetarium in downtown Bay City.

The draft land use strategy would, for the first time, set a standard for public access to the Great Lakes and rivers. It also calls for improved access on DNR-managed public lands, according to the agency.

The draft plan also includes a new strategy for the possible disposal of about 250,000 acres of DNR-managed public lands.

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