For Friday, March 4, 2016[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/u90px1kbuvtarqo/3-4-2016-mrgreatlakes-environment-report.mp3]
1 – A Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail project is moving right along.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has awarded $200,000 toward building the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail.
The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation also has contributed $100,000 and the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation has kicked in $50,000.
The region-wide, non-motorized trail system would link existing trails in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties.
Once completed, it would be a 100-mile system, giving walkers, runners, bike riders and skaters access to destinations throughout the region, including natural areas, parks, and recreational facilities.
The first 6.2-mile section, connecting Bay to Saginaw, is on schedule to be completed this year, organizers say.
More than $3.8 million has been raised to date from state and regional sources to support the connection of the trails.
More information on the project is online at greatlakesbaytrails.com.
2 – Students can enter a contest to have their artwork appear on a stamp.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting entries for the 2016 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest, administered by the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.
Entries must be postmarked by March 15.
The contest is part of an educational program that teaches wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school.
Students may submit artwork featuring species including ducks, swans, and geese.
Judging will be open to the general public at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center in Saginaw.
During the contest, students will be judged in four groups according to grade level.
Contest judges will select a “Best of Show” from 12 first place winners, which will be entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held in April in Florida.
The winner of the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, along with his or her parent or guardian and teacher, will receive a free trip to a First Day of Sale ceremony in late June or early July.
The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year.
3 – A new series of public workshops will provide information on current efforts to control phragmites across Saginaw Bay.
The workshops also will provide information for landowners on how to treat the invasive plant on their property, and how to enroll in larger group treatment programs.
Phragmites is a tall grass that grows in wetlands, ditches, shorelines, and roadsides. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, forming dense stands, and spreads rapidly through airborne seed dispersal and underground stems.
Once it moves into an area, phragmites outcompetes native species for resources, displacing native plants and animals.
In Saginaw Bay, this has negative impacts on fisheries, waterfowl, and wetlands. Phragmites also can limit water access for hikers, boaters, and beachgoers and reduce waterfront property values by blocking views.
Over the past few years, several treatment projects have helped reclaim Saginaw Bay shoreline and wetland habitat from the invasive plant.
The workshops are planned for March 10 in Tuscola County, March 16 in Midland County and April 7 in Bay County.
For questions on the workshops or more information, call 989-891-7198.
– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.