A Bay County Recreation Survey, Great Lakes Restoration Database, and Educational Tools

The Environment Report, with Jeff Kart (Mr. Great Lakes). As heard in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM. For Oct. 25, 2013.

1 – How should Bay County manage its parks and recreation facilities in the next five years? 

Communities in the county are drafting a master recreation plan.

The public is being asked to take a survey and submit comments.

The plan will cover recreation for the county as well as participating cities and townships (Auburn, Bangor Township, Beaver Township, Essexville, Frankenlust Township, Fraser Township, Garfield Township, Gibson Township, Hampton Township, Kawkawlin Township, Merritt Township, Monitor Township, Mount Forest Township, Portsmouth Township, and Williams Township).

Having an updated plan will allow the county and associated communities to seek grants in the future.

You can take the survey via a link at BayCounty-mi.gov.

2 – How are your tax dollars being put to work for Great Lakes restoration?

The federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has awarded more than $220 million since it began in 2010.

The money has gone for habitat and wildlife restoration and protection projects across Michigan and other states in the Great Lakes region.

A new database aims to showcase the work. The database was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and created by the Great Lakes Commission.

The database includes an interactive map of habitat and wildlife projects. It can be searched by keyword, and generate a fact sheet for each project, with information on goals and objectives.

A search for Saginaw Bay brings up three projects, totaling almost $600,000, that focused on controlling invasive phragmites and improving fish passage.

3 – There are new ways for students to learn about the Great Lakes. 

michigan sea grant fieldscope

Via Michigan Sea Grant.

The educational tools come from Michigan Sea Grant, a joint effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

The resources are called “Teaching Great Lakes Science” and the “Great Lakes FieldScope.”

The first is a website that offers lessons, related activities and data sets. The resources explore issues like climate and weather; lake effect snow and ice cover; harmful algal blooms, beach health and water quality, according to a news release.

The second is a web-based mapping, analysis and visualization tool, hosted by the National Geographic Society. The Fieldscope can be used to investigate things like water quality or fish spawning grounds.

Relaxing Michigan Air Quality Rules, and Breathing in Saginaw Bay

The Environment Report, with Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard in Bay City, Michigan, at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College Q-90.1 FM. The report for Oct. 11, 2013 —

1 – Michigan regulates more chemicals in its air than most other states.

snyder chamber mackinac

Gov. Snyder speaks at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. Via Detroit Regional Chamber.

But that may change, under recommendations from an air quality committee. The proposal is being considered by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration.

The move could save money, lure businesses, and has the support of industry groups. But some environmental groups are concerned about potential health impacts, according to The Detroit News.

The Final Report of the Michigan Air Toxics Workgroup recommends cutting the number of toxic air contaminants covered by emission rules by 37 percent, from more than 1,200 to 756.

Right now, Michigan air quality standards are stricter than federal standards, and those of nearby states.

The nine-person Workgroup included people from the Michigan Environmental Council, along with the Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. and DTE Energy.

Some members of the Workgroup say they don’t agree with all the recommendations.

The proposal wouldn’t remove any cancer-causing chemicals from the state regulatory list. But chemicals considered to be in the bottom quarter of toxicity levels would no longer be regulated.

— Read more at the DEQ website.

2 – What’s the quality of air in the Saginaw Bay region?

On Thursday morning, it was Moderate, or 74 on an Air Quality Index scale of 50-100.

A Moderate condition means that the air quality is “acceptable.”

But, “for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.”

Air quality in the Saginaw Bay region is negatively affected by fine particulates in the air, which can be inhaled deeply into people’s lungs and cause a variety of serious health problems.

These particles are produced when fuels such as coal, oil, diesel or wood are burned, in power plants, wood stoves and motor vehicles.

You can find air quality readings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at AirNow.gov.

Via AirNow, for Saginaw, Michigan.

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