Bears, Bay Alerts and Wind

For Friday, Nov. 20, 2015

1 – There’s a bear hunt going on in northern Michigan.

This is a hunt for black bear dens. Hunters and trappers are being asked to report bear dens that they come across this season. The state Department of Natural Resources is looking for the locations of bear dens for an ongoing research program.

After locating a denned bear, DNR biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for the project. Bears that are selected will be sedated and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags.

The bear will then be returned to its den, where it will sleep through the winter.

Information gathered from bears will assist in managing the population, according to a DNR biologist in Roscommon.

Currently, three female bears are being monitored from the air and ground using radio tracking equipment.

2 – Bay Alerts are back in Bay County.

The county’s 911 department recently relaunched a new and improved Bay Alerts Emergency Management Notification system. The system includes new features that allow residents to manage the type, frequency, and method of emergency alerts that they receive.

Residents who sign-up for Bay Alerts receive text or email notices advising them of emergency information on severe thunderstorms, tornado, and winter storm warnings.

Bay Alerts also can notify residents via land-line telephones.

Residents can choose to receive additional alerts on traffic, road closures, preparedness tips and more.

To sign up or for more information, see the Bay County website or call 895-4112.

3 – Wind farms can bring a windfall to Michigan.

The American Wind Energy Association and Wind Energy Foundation recently looked at calculations made by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The analysis says further expansion of wind energy in Michigan could supply the electricity for more than 710,000 homes by 2030, and add more than $17 million in annual property tax revenue. More wind energy also could bring in $7.6 million in annual lease payments to Michigan landowners.

Wind farms provide about 3.7 percent of the electricity generated in Michigan; the report envisions 6.8% by 2030.

Wind energy has attracted almost $3 billion in investment to Michigan, and rural landowners receive a total of about $4.6 million a year in land lease payments for hosting wind turbines.

Currently, about 4,000 jobs are supported by wind power in Michigan, including at 33 factories that produce parts and supplies. The state has about 900 wind turbines installed, powering the equivalent of about 355,000 homes.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

– 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

 

 

Alternatives to Microbeads, Frankenmuth Fish Passage, Michigan’s Recycling Rate

For Friday, Nov. 6, 2015

1 – Microbeads continue to threaten the health of the Great Lakes. They’re used in products like facial scrubs, body washes and toothpaste.

Credit: Maxence

Credit: Maxence

But they’re ending up in the Great Lakes because they’re too tiny to be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants.

There’s concern that fish and other creatures are eating the beads, and that the beads are absorbing pollutants.

What’s a consumer to do? Michigan State University Extension suggests that consumers look for products that contain natural ingredients instead of plastic.

That means stop buying products that contain ‘polypropylene’ and ‘polyethylene’ and look for products that contain pumice, oatmeal, apricot pits and walnut husks.

A Michigan House bill would halt the manufacture and sale of products containing plastic microbeads by 2018.

2 – A Frankenmuth project has opened up spawning habitat to fish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced the completion of the Frankenmuth fish passage project, located in Saginaw County.

The project restores fishery access to more than 73 miles of river and spawning habitat. Previously, the Cass River Dam prevented walleye, lake sturgeon and other native species from accessing the areas.

A rock ramp was constructed downstream from the dam to allow fish to pass. The rock ramp will allow fish to access spawning habitat that had been unreachable for more than 150 years.

The improvements are intended to restore the walleye population in the Cass River, so it can be largely self-sustained through natural reproduction. The river has been identified as one of six in the Saginaw Bay watershed that are key to increasing the natural reproduction of walleye.

3 – Michigan leaders want to double the state’s recycling rate.

They’re planning a challenge called Recycle by Design that will launch early next year.

Michigan’s overall recycling rate is 15 percent, lower than every other Great Lakes state, and below the national average of 34 percent, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Recycle by Design is due to kick off on Feb. 15.

The challenge aims to foster public and private partnerships that result in successful strategies to increase recycling in Michigan.

For more information, see michiganrecycles.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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