Saginaw Bay in Report to Congress, Waterfowl Festival

For Friday, July 31, 2015

1 – The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is making lakes healthier and local economies stronger.

epa great lakes initiative report to congress saginaw bay map

– a map from the EPA report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that, since 2010, the federally funded Initiative has implemented more than 2,500 projects to improve water quality, clean up contaminated shoreline, protect and restore native habitat and species, and prevent and control invasive species.

The work is summarized in a new Report to Congress and the President.

From Fiscal Year 2010 to Fiscal Year 2014, the EPA received about $1.6 billion in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds.

The funding has been a catalyst for unprecedented federal agency coordination, EPA officials say. This has produced “unparalleled results.”

That includes work with the agricultural community to reduce phosphorus runoff, which contributes to algal blooms in areas including Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

Federal agencies also used funding to increase the number of acres of farmland enrolled in agricultural conservation programs in Saginaw Bay and other priority watersheds by more than 70 percent.

More information about the Initiative, including an interactive project map, is available at glri.us.

2 – The Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival is this weekend at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

ducks on the go michigan saginaw bay waterfowl festival 2015

Credit: Ducks Unlimited

The state park in Bangor Township will host the festival on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 1 and 2.

This is said to be the park’s most popular special event weekend. This is the 20th anniversary.

Features this year include a State Championship Duck & Goose Calling Tournament, Waterfowl Stamp Competition, Wildlife Arts & Craft Show, Waterfowl Calling Clinic and Waterfowl Carving Contest. New this year is a chainsaw carving contest and live auction.

The festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, and headquartered at the park’s Saginaw Bay Visitor Center.

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

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

Saginaw Bay Lighthouse for Sale, Land Conservation Stats and Community Solar

For July 17, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/w1819xw1mqiz348/mrgreatlakes-7-17-2015-environment-report.MP3]

1- Three Michigan lighthouses are for sale, including the Gravelly Shoal Light Station in Saginaw Bay.

gravelly shoal lighthouse station light saginaw bay

Gravelly Shoal Light Station, Saginaw Bay. Via gsaauctions.gov

The federal government is taking bids on the lighthouses. The new owners would have to maintain the lights. Bidding is open to nonprofit organizations.

The starting bid for the Gravelly Shoal light is $5,000.

The Gravelly Shoal station features a 65-foot tower and is located on the west side of Saginaw Bay, about 5 miles offshore from Au Gres.

It was constructed in 1939 to mark the shoals around Big Charity Island.

2 – Michigan land conservancies have helped protect almost 600,000 acres in the state.

Heart of the Lakes, a statewide nonprofit based in Bay City, says a survey of member land conservancies shows 597,516 acres of natural, scenic and working farms and forest lands have been protected in Michigan.

That’s an increase of about 10,000 acres since last year, based on data from 27 organizations.

By the way, 600,000 acres is about 938 square miles. Bay County is about 631 square miles.

Conserved land supports a variety of conservation purposes, including improved water quality, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and local foods, according to Heart of the Lakes.

3 – Consumers Energy has a new community solar program, and customers can express interest at the company’s Web site.

solar garden flower

Credit: Nahid V

The company is looking for people interested in subscribing to the Solar Gardens Program.

The subscription program is offered in half-kilowatt increments, called “blocks,” and is limited to a home’s annual electric usage.

Consumers announced the program earlier this year. It’s the first of its kind offered by a regulated electric utility in Michigan.

Consumers says it will determine sites for Solar Gardens projects, and construction will begin after sites are fully subscribed.

Once Solar Gardens are operational, subscribed customers will make a payment with their monthly bill and receive a credit based on the amount of solar energy produced and electric market rates for up to 25 years.

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

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

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