Invasive Plant Hunt, Green Infrastructure Contest, and a Total Eclipse of the Moon

For Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/cf1ti3198iq06rl/mr-great-lakes-9-25-15.mp3]

1 – The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland is hosting an online challenge to promote the use of a smartphone app.

The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network app allows users to track and determine areas where invasive species exist.

The Conservancy is holding free public workshops in October in Midland, Gladwin and Clare counties. The workshops will show landowners how use the app to identify invasive plants, and become more aware of invasive plants and the threats they pose.

Participants will use the app to record the locations and images of invasive plants in their towns.

The challenge will take place from Oct. 21-29.

Little Forks will award prizes to the participant who reports the most invasive plants from each county.

Register here.

2 – Registration is open until Sept. 30 for the fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The contest, being put on by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is for undergraduate and graduate students.

The EPA is inviting student teams to design a green infrastructure project for their campus. The project should show how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

As opposed to catch basins, pipes, and ponds that move stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls.

This year, EPA is asking student teams to incorporate climate resiliency into their designs.

There are two design categories: the Master Plan and the Demonstration Project.

EPA will award a total of $16,000 to first- and second-place winners for the Campus RainWorks Challenge. Winners will be notified in April 2016.

First-place winners for 2014 were from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland, College Park.

3 – Michigan has three state parks with dark sky preserves, including Port Crescent State Park in Huron County, and parks in Lenawee and Emmet counties.

super blood moon

Via US Naval Observatory/EarthSky

On the night of Sept. 27 to the early hours of Sept. 28, these parks are the perfect spot to view a total eclipse of the moon, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

The Harvest Moon eclipse begins at 9:07 p.m., but the best views will be from about 10:10 to 11:30 p.m., from anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains.

Michigan state park day use areas are closed after 10 p.m. For late-night viewing opportunities, you’ll need to book a campsite and watch the skies from the campground.

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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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Two New Invasive Species, Fall Conservation Summit and MiWaters

For Friday, Sept. 11, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/gks0ckzmrq6j0jn/mrgreatlakes-sept11-2015-environmentreport.mp3]

1 – Two new invasive species have been found in Michigan waters

Staff from the state Department of Environment Quality have confirmed a freshwater alga commonly known as didymo (di di-mo)  – or rock snot – growing in extensive mats in the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie.

Also recently discovered were New Zealand mud snails in the Pere Marquette River near Ludington.

Didymo is a nuisance algae that thrives in cold, clean water. It can grow into thick mats that cover the river bottom. The algae is not a threat to human health, but it can crowd out biologically valuable algae and important food for fish. It also can interfere with fishing and wading.



New Zealand mud snails are about an (1/8) eighth of an inch long. But they cluster together, and compete with native snails for food and space.

State agencies want to remind anglers and boaters to clean, drain and dry their equipment to help prevent the spread of didymo, New Zealand mud snails, and other types of aquatic invasive species.

new zealand mud snails key usfws

New Zealand mud snails. Credit: Dan Gustafson


2 – A Fall Conservation Summit is coming to Bay City on Monday, Sept. 21.

fall leaves conservation summit michigan bay city
Credit: Erik Przekop

The event is being put on by Heart of the Lakes at the Delta College Planetarium on Center Avenue in downtown Bay City.

Speakers include:

A walking or biking field trip to the Michigan Sugar Trails also is planned.

Heart of the Lakes is a statewide nonprofit serving conservation organizations and Michigan’s land conservancies.

For more information on Sept. 21 Fall Summit, see heartofthelakes.org/events.


3 – 
Michigan has a new Web-based system designed to streamline the process of obtaining federal environmental permits.

The MiWaters system replaces more than 25 applications and databases, some of which were more than 30 years old.

Officials say MiWaters simplifies the process for permits dealing with aquatic nuisance control and wastewater, stormwater and groundwater discharges.

It also includes electronic reporting of untreated or partially treated sanitary wastewater.

— Via AP and Michigan DEQ

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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

Net Metering Up, Solar Shingles Out, Beach Cleanups Planned

For Friday, Sept. 4, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/mi7zliq0lmpopoj/mrgreatlakes2-environment-report-9-4-15.MP3]

1 – A Solar Rally was held last month in Lansing. It was to protest a bill that would eliminate net metering.

Right now, people with rooftop solar panels can use the power they generate and sell the remainder to their electric company. The bill, now in committee, would require all the power to go to the utility.

For now, it turns out that more people are using net metering.

A 2014 annual report from the Michigan Public Service Commission shows a 25 percent increase in net metering compared to 2013.

There was an increase of more than 300 customers (from 1,527 customers to 1,840 customers), and more than 300 installations (from 1,631 installations to 1,947 installations). Some customers have multiple installations.

Michigan two largest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Electric, host 84 percent of the net metering capacity in the state.

2 – The Dow Chemical Co. will be rolling out Version 2.0 of its Powerhouse Solar System to additional U.S. markets in early 2016.

powerhouse solar shingles installed

Powerhouse Solar Shingles installed on a house in Detroit. Via Houzz.com

The Powerhouse Solar Shingle is made by Dow in Midland, and available in Michigan.

The product combines a conventional asphalt roof with an integrated solar power system. In other words, it looks like a regular roof and performs a lot like a roof full of solar panels, Dow says.

The system includes an inverter that uses collected solar energy to power a home, and monitoring that shows how much energy the system is producing.

3 – Summer is ending, but the Adopt-a-Beach program getting ready for a big cleanup.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental group, organizes beach cleanups around Michigan. Many will be taking place on Sept. 19, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, occurring throughout the month in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.

A local cleanup is planned for Sept. 19 at the Bay City Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

You can find a map of Michigan events, sign up and register at GreatLakesAdopt.org.

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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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