Extreme Storm Survey, Saginaw Bay Fishing Regs and Solar Design

For Friday, Oct. 23, 2015

q901falldrive

1 – Bay County is surveying residents on extreme storm impacts.

County officials say extreme storm events present a serious threat to community health, safety, and economic stability.

Credit: Erik Drost

Credit: Erik Drost

The survey was developed by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and other local collaborators in the Saginaw Bay region.

The results of the survey will inform future projects to improve community preparedness and reduce extreme storm impacts in the 22 counties that make up the Saginaw Bay watershed.

According to Michigan Sea Grant, the watershed is particularly vulnerable to storm hazards because of the region’s unique topography and land-use patterns. The Saginaw Bay watershed drains about 15 percent of the state of Michigan.

The survey is online and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It will close on Nov. 16.

2 – The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved changes to walleye and yellow perch recreational fishing regulations for Saginaw Bay.

For walleye, the daily possession limit is increased from five to eight fish. The minimum size limit is reduced from 15 to 13 inches. For yellow perch, the daily possession limit is reduced from 50 to 25 fish.

Officials say walleye have recovered and are abundant in Saginaw Bay. This is good news, but walleye are now depressing the available prey base and the population of adult yellow perch has been greatly reduced.

The Department of Natural Resources says the changes are the start of a new management process where future fish possession and size limits will be tied to the status of the walleye population.

3 – A Student Solar Design Competition will award $10,000 in total prize money. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students from any Michigan college.  

solar map us

Via NREL

Registration for the competition closes on Oct. 31. Submissions are due on Nov. 25.

The competition is put being on by Michigan State University.

The challenge is design a solar panel array that can be integrated into a campus landscape.

The competition will award three cash prizes for first, second and third place. The winning team also may receive assistance to strengthen the design concept and bring the idea to life.

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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

More Conservation Volunteers, First on PACE, Stressed Out Saginaw Bay

For Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

1 – More volunteers are working on conservation in Michigan.

Credit: Steven Depolo

Credit: Steven Depolo

Next year will be the biggest yet for the Huron Pines Americorps program.

Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, has 23 Americorps members signed up. They’ll be placed around Michigan with host sites in Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Alpena, Marquette, Gladwin, Oscoda, Petoskey, Lake City and Midland.

AmeriCorps members are college graduates who apply to be placed with grassroots nonprofits and agencies.

For the past eight years, Huron Pines AmeriCorps members have stabilized eroding streambanks, replanted trees, helped control invasive plants, improved wildlife habitat and expanded access to recreation.

Applications are still being accepted through Oct. 26, to begin serving in January 2016.

(You can find more information online at huronpinesamericorps.org)

2 – Michigan Agency for Energy is the first energy agency in the nation to make improvements using Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, also known as PACE.

Credit: Michigan Energy Agency

Credit: Michigan Energy Agency

Taxpayers are expected to save $800,000 due to energy efficiency improvements including solar panels at the agency’s Lansing offices.

The improvements, which cost about $437,000 to install, include LED lights, occupancy light sensors, roof insulation, electric vehicle charging stations, and variable speed motors for heating and cooling.

Under PACE, energy efficiency projects are financed through property tax payments rather than regular bank loan payments.

(More on PACE from Midwest Energy News)

3 – Saginaw Bay is stressed out.

Parts of the bay are looking stressed in updated maps from the GLEAM project, which stands for Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping.

University of Michigan researchers and colleagues have created detailed maps of five recreational activities in the Great Lakes: sport fishing, recreational boating, birding, beach use and park visits. They say the information can be used to help prioritize restoration projects.

map saginaw bay stressors

Via University of Michigan – GLEAM

A map of recreational use and stress shows high recreation and high stress on parts of inner Saginaw Bay. The Thumb area shows high recreation and low stress.

A paper summarizing the study’s findings was published this month in a journal of the Ecological Society of America.

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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

Top 10 Eco-Schools and Lake Trout in Lake Huron

For Friday, Oct. 2, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/dpsyuk4noy65zz2/10-02-15-mrgrealakes.mp3]

1 – The National Wildlife Federation is honoring the Top 10 eco-schools in the U.S.map-nwf-eco-schools-michigan

The schools are being recognized for “their commitment to wildlife protection, sustainability and environmental education” as part of the Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program.

The top schools are in Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, California, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Maryland and Florida.

According to the NWF, the Top 10 schools in total saved more than $207,000 in energy, water and waste that was diverted or saved.

There are already 67 eco-schools registered in Michigan. They include St. James Elementary in Bay City, Vassar High School, Frankenmuth High School and Marshall Greene Middle School in Birch Run.

2 – Successes of the federally funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are being highlighted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lake trout stocking in the Great Lakes. Credit: USFWS

Lake trout stocking in the Great Lakes. Credit: USFWS

The Service has received more than $41 million this year to support new and ongoing Great Lakes projects, and more than $271 million over the past six years.

A “Restoring the Great Lakes” report from the agency says the conservation investments are starting to show tangible returns.

Lake trout, for instance, have been a central focus of Great Lakes stocking efforts for decades.

Now they are starting to make a resurgence, and reproduce naturally.

In Lake Huron, annual lake trout surveys recently revealed that more than 60 percent of the fish collected were of wild origin, the agency says.

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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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