Group Restoring Au Sable, Windows Killing Birds

For Friday, Nov. 7, 2014


1A nonprofit is making progress on restoring the Au Sable River watershed in Northern Michigan.

au sable river restoration
Via Huron Pines

Huron Pines in Gaylord reports that it’s still trying to raise an additional $140,000 for the work, but much has been accomplished this year.

The group has received more than $1.1 million in funding from government and private sources, and has removed 11 barriers to fish passage to reconnect 35 upstream miles.

Large woody material also was installed along one and a quarter miles of the river to provide more diverse habitat.

To fight invasive species and restore native plants, 150 acres were treated, including 5,000 feet of riverbank.

Nine streambank sites were stabilized, and are expected prevent the erosion of 300 tons of sediment per year.

The Au Sable River watershed covers more than 1,900 square miles.

2Thud. That’s the sound of a bird hitting a window.

Windows kill hundreds of millions birds a year in the United States, according to a recent national study.

A student chapter of The Wildlife Society at Michigan Technological University in Houghton is participating in an international research project on the issue.

The project involves 41 college and university campuses from Mexico to Canada.

Ten buildings are being studied on Michigan Tech’s campus, including the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building.

Seventeen students, faculty and staff have observed the buildings and recorded the number of dead birds, according to Michigan Tech.

Some of the same windows are hit most frequently. So far, the local study has found that how much a window reflects surrounding trees or how transparent it is makes a difference.

Two buildings have suffered the vast majority of the collisions, with the Dow building accounting for at least 75 percent of them, Michigan Tech says. Most of the dead birds found at Michigan Tech were migrating species.

The Wildlife Society chapter plans to work with the school’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts to design window treatments that help reduce the collisions.

A 2014 study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and others say the most bird deaths by windows occur at low-rise buildings that are four to 11 stories tall. Skyscrapers make up less than 1 percent.


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

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