Michigan Beach Closures, and Obama’s Climate Plan for the Great Lakes

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). The Environment Report, for June 28, 2013. Part of Friday Edition, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM.

1 – Michigan beaches were closed for hundreds of days in 2012.


The beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County.

That’s according to an annual (2012) beach monitoring report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

In Michigan, beaches are monitored by local health departments, who test for E. coli bacteria in swimming areas during the summer months.

Monitoring was conducted last year at 423 public beaches in 56 Michigan counties.

There were a total of 166 postings for advisories or closures, which lasted a total of 755 days.

The number and percentage of public beaches with high bacteria levels was slightly lower than in 2011. The total number of days with advisories or closures also fell from 913 in 2011 to 755 in 2012.

In Bay County, a boat launch on the Kawkawlin River was under an advisory or closure for a total of 79 days in 2012.

Brissette Beach on Saginaw Bay was closed for four days.

Pinconning Park’s beach was closed for five days.

South Linwood Beach was closed for three days.

Wenona Beach was closed for two days.

A Portsmouth Township beach was closed for seven days.

2 – A new plan announced by President Obama to fight climate change is “welcome news for the Great Lakes.”

The Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental group, says climate change is already affecting the lakes, and the trend is expected to continue.

The group points to warmer Lake Michigan temperatures, warmer winter air temperatures, and reduced ice cover.

The Obama plan is aimed at reducing carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.

Key points include directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work with states, industry and other stakeholders to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants, and directing the Department of the Interior to permit more wind and solar projects on public lands.



Saginaw Bay Research on Nutrients, Algae, Asian Carp, and a Delta College LEED Project

The Environment Report. With Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College. The June 21, 2013 report:

1 –

A recent international conference featured several studies related to Saginaw Bay. 

saginaw bay aerial searls michigan

Bay City, Michigan, and Saginaw Bay. Credit: Doc Searls.

The 56th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, held at Purdue University in Indiana, brought together numerous Great Lakes scientists to share findings.

One study, by researchers at the University of Michigan, looked at changes in the Saginaw Bay food web and nutrient tipping points.

Scientists say results suggest that current nutrient load targets for the bay should be revised to sustain existing walleye harvests. That’s due to changes caused by invasive species.

Another study examined algae as a contributing source of shoreline bacterial contamination.

Researchers from Wayne State University looked at concentrations of E. coli and other bacteria from near-shore water, wet and dry algal deposits, and sand collected from a Saginaw Bay beach.

Overall results suggest that the shoreline algae provides a suitable environment for bacteria to persist, proliferate, and impact near-shore water quality.

There was even a study on the potential impacts of Asian carp on Saginaw Bay. U of M researchers used modeling to assess the potential for Asian carp establishment in the bay and the impact on the bay ecosystem.

Information gathered from the model will be used to inform management action plans to control Asian carp in the Great Lakes.

The conference was organized by the International Association for Great Lakes Research.

2 –

Delta College is seeking LEED certification for renovations to its Health Professionals Building.

LEED is a green building standard that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

The $20 million renovation project is updating a facility built in the late 1970s.

Delta officials are looking at several elements to achieve certification, including the categories of: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy Use, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.

There are less than a dozen LEED-certified buildings in the Saginaw Bay region.

A highlight of the green renovations is a new rainwater harvesting system, another relatively unique feature for commercial buildings in Michigan.

Officials estimate the system will save almost 170,000 gallons of water each year by using filtered rainwater to flush toilets in the building. That also will save money because city water won’t need to be purchased.

The renovations project is being funded by state and private sector dollars.


Beach Wellness, Birding Trail, and Great Lakes Success Stories

As heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM. The Environment Report for June 14, 2013. Jeff Kart (Mr. Great Lakes).

1 – This year’s Beach Wellness Volleyball Tournament and Run By the Bay is Saturday, June 22, at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

The event starts at 9 a.m. at the park, in Bay County’s Bangor Township.

Volleyball teams will compete on the shores of Saginaw Bay.

There also will be a classic car cruise, along with a 5k and 10k walk and run, and a quarter-mile “kids fun run.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the State Recreation Area, and maintenance of a public beach at the park.

Sponsors include the YMCA and Save Our Shoreline.

* See Beach Wellness 2013 Flyers

Courtesy photo from the 2012 Beach Wellness event.

2 – Speaking of walking, and running, you may want to check out the new Saginaw Bay Birding Trail.

The trail is a joint project between the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and Michigan Audubon.

It runs for 142 miles along the Saginaw Bay, from Tawas Point State Park to Port Crescent State Park.

Along the way, you can find nature preserves protected by the conservancy, and more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife.

The trail is a work in progress, supported by the Bay Area Community Foundation, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and Vanguard Optics.

You can find out more by contacting the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy in Bay City.

3 – A new, interactive map highlights “success stories” on Great Lakes restoration.

What does it say about Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron?

The map comes from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, and shows how money spent under the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been used to clean up toxic hot spots, restore wetlands, reduce runoff from cities and farms, and combat invasive species.

 Among 60 dots on the map is a Nayanquing Point Coastal Wetland Project in northern Bay County. About $200,000 was used to replace a failed pump structure, restore a large wetland, and improve hunting opportunities at the site.

The project resulted in increased and improved habitat for waterfowl and wetland species at the site, according to the map.

Another project highlighted is the Chesaning Dam removal, which modified a failing dam. About $1.4 million was spent, and the project gave walleye and lake sturgeon in the Saginaw River and Lake Huron access to 37 miles of spawning habitat in the Shiawassee River.


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