Manure Runoff, Lake Huron Summit, and Solar Panel Glare

1A broad coalition is calling for an end to the use of manure as fertilizer in the winter.

A furry moth eye. Credit: Andrew Magill.
A furry moth eye. Credit: Andrew Magill.

The groups have called on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to end the application of manure on frozen ground, or ground covered by snow.

A general permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, is currently being revised by the DEQ.

The coalition includes the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Michigan Clean Water Action, Michigan Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.

The groups say the problem is runoff from snowmelt and thaw that pollutes lakes and streams. That runoff contains phosphorus, which feeds harmful algal blooms in waters like Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

The groups say the practice of applying manure in the winter has damaged beaches, fisheries and drinking-water supplies. They say intakes in Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron also are at risk.

2Success stories from citizens will be featured at a Lake Huron Watershed Summit.

The event is on Friday, April 25, at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. It’s being put on by Huron Pines and the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG).

The Summit will feature a series of citizen presenters, breakout sessions to share lessons learned, and a State of the Lake panel of natural resource experts.

Topics covered throughout the day will include waterfront practices, local planning, habitat projects, and invasive species removal

For more information, visit VolunteerNorthernMichigan.org.

3Glare from solar panels has been an issue in places like Midland County’s Homer Township, where residents have complained about solar fields next to the Rose Glen subdivision.

It’s also come up in places like California, which has a lot more solar panels than Michigan.

Now, researchers at the University of California in Irvine have developed a gold coating that they say dims the glare from solar panels.

They say the light-absorbing, water-repellant material was inspired by the eyeballs of moths.

Scientists found that a simple process and a tiny bit of gold can turn a transparent film black.

The new coating also could allow people to read cellphone displays in bright light.

The university has patented the work and is exploring ways to bring the product to market.

– Mr. Great Lakes, as heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

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