Battleground: Smartphone App Fights Invasive Species, Groups Fight for Rivers and Lakes

For Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

1If you see a crime, call 911. If you see an invasive critter, use the app.

A smartphone application developed by a scientist at Michigan State University lets folks snap a photo, log a few quick notes, and send an alert to the invasive species police.

These critter cops are a growing network of scientists and state officials who can use the information to respond to threats from invasives.

The free app is part of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, a regional effort to enhance early detection, rapid response, and better manage invasive species.

Developers of the app say reports logged by smartphone users will help map the spread of invasives, and help state agencies deploy more effective management plans.

Invasives to look out for in Michigan include the killer shrimp, sea lamprey, Japanese knotweed, and the emerald ash borer.

Teachers in the Chicago area are already using the app, teaming up with local foresters.


2Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, has a story to tell about its accomplishments in 2014.

The organization is holding its annual meeting on Saturday, where it will be sharing its annual report.

According to a copy of the report, Northeast Michigan’s environment saw many improvement last year as a result of Huron Pine projects.

That includes the Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative.

That intiative aims to improve water quality in the Rifle, Au Gres and Tawas river watersheds. In 2014, Huron Pines improved five road and stream crossings to reconnect more than 17 upstream miles of aquatic habitat.

The nonprofit also worked with private landowners and agricultural producers to reduce streambank erosion and runoff from farms.

An additional 20 acres were treated for invasive phragmites along the Lake Huron coast.

 

3Advocates have been busy this week, urging members of Congress to protect the Great Lakes.

The effort is known as Great Lakes Day. Members of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition were among those involved. Programs on the radar include the federally funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

This is a special year for Great Lakes Day. The Joyce Foundation this week launched a new website called Great Lakes Great Impact.

The coalition spent time showing videos from the site to members of Congress about the impact of Great Lakes restoration around the region.

You can view the videos online at GreatLakesGreatImpact.org.

#GreatLakesDay

 

— 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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More Waste Landfilled, Clean Energy Obstacles, and a New Statewide Trail

For Friday, Feb. 13, 2015

1 – Michiganders sent more waste to landfills last year.

That’s according to the Department of Environmental Quality’s 19th annual solid waste report for fiscal year 2014.

Residents increased waste sent to landfills by more than 2 million cubic yards, or 5.6 percent.

Officials say the jump can be seen as a sign of the state’s economic resurgence. It also underscores the importance of efforts to increase residential recycling.

Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to double Michigan’s residential recycling rate in the next two years.

Plans include developing new markets for recyclable metals, plastics and wood.

The DEQ also is working with cities and townships to increase access to recycling, measure progress, and provide technical assistance and education.

At this time, Michigan landfills have about 26 years left of remaining disposal capacity.

– Report of Solid Waste Landfilled in Michigan: Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014

 

2 – The Great Lakes state faces obstacles when it comes to getting more of its energy from cleaner sources.

A new report, produced by 5 Lakes Energy and funded by the Mott Foundation, includes 40 recommendations to enable Michigan to accelerate its progress.

The recommendations include reducing energy waste by expanding financing options for energy upgrades.

We also could modernize our electric generation and delivery, such as increasing our 10 percent renewable standard for regulated utilities, due to expire this year.

Another recommendation is to electrify our transportation sector, including incentives to get more electric vehicles on the road.

Credit: Incase

Credit: Incase

 3 – Iron Belle Trail is the newly picked name for Michigan’s planned, statewide hiking and bicycling trail.

The trail is due to stretch from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources recently announced the name, after sifting through almost 9,000 suggestions.

Iron Belle Trail is a work in progress, but portions of the trail already exist, and are open for public recreation.

The Iron Belle Trail will stretch across Michigan and link numerous existing trails to provide hiking and bicycling routes. A map of the plans shows proposed bicycle trails running through Northeast Michigan.

The DNR is seeking private and public funding to secure and develop trail corridors for the cross-state trail. The agency says temporary connectors are in place along much of the trail and will be made permanent as resources become available.

— 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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