Ag Runoff, Wetland Restoration, and a Race for Nature

For Friday, May 27, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0x26d3t6gjwz0y3/05-27-16-mr-great-lakes-ag-wetlands-race.mp3]

1 – More than $4.3 million in grants will go to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution.

Officials say the Michigan Department of Environment Quality grants will help restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.

Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually deposits those contaminants into waterways.

Organizations and projects selected to receive funding include the Tuscola Conservation District in Caro.

8680854243_427a438fed_z

A example of agricultural runoff. Credit: USDA

That group is receiving about $205,000 to reduce agricultural sources of E. coli bacteria to the Cass River. The work will involve best management practices for agriculture and an outreach campaign.

The grants are funded under the federal Clean Water Act.

 

2 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is restoring 940 acres of farmland to emergent marsh.

It’s the largest wetland restoration in the history of the Saginaw County refuge, and the largest wetland restoration in the last several decades for the Great Lakes region.

During the restoration, two large holes will be cut into an auto tour road to put in culverts and water control structures.

The structures are necessary to allow water back into the restoration area. Officials say the structures will enable the refuge to manage water levels in wetlands, provide optimum habitat for wildlife and control invasive species.

As a result of this work, the opening of an auto tour route, called Wildlife Drive, will be delayed from June 1 until about June 21.

Wildlife Drive surrounds three sides of the restoration area.

 

3 – The Michigan Nature Association is hosting the Race for Michigan Nature.

The event is a statewide series of Family Fun Runs & 5Ks stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Each race will spotlight one of Michigan’s rarest species and promote the importance of protecting natural areas.

The next race in the series is the Kirtland’s Warbler Family Fun Run & 5K on June 4 in Roscommon.

Other races will take place in the summer and fall.

The runs are endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Each 5K race will be timed and there are prizes for male and female overall winners. Walkers also are welcome. 

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

 

Advertisements

Make Free Fishing Weekend Plans, Protect Inland Lakes, Spray for Gypsy Moths

For Friday, May 20, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/cxutge77zqv9l2r/5-19-16-mrgreatlakes-environmentreport-q901.mp3]

1 – Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend is June 11 and 12.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and partners will be sponsoring the 36th annual Kids Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 11, at Ojibway Island.

Holding Fish.jpg

Courtesy of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Hundreds of children and their families are expected for the event, from 8 to 10 a.m.

This year, there will be more chances for children to win prizes. Kids will receive a ticket for each fish caught. Drawings will be held after the event.

Participation prizes and free bait also will be offered while supplies last. The event also will include host games, practice casting and knot-tying stations.

Events are being held throughout the state for this summer’s Free Fishing Weekend, in which all fishing license fees are waived for two days.

 

2 – Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes.

A new Guide for Local Governments aims to help protect these water bodies.

The guide is from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership of state agencies, academia, nonprofits and private industry.

It’s designed to help local officials and concerned citizens understand the benefits of inland lakes to communities, the regulations that govern inland lakes, and opportunities for protecting inland lakes at the local level.

Chapters outline a variety of protection techniques, from simple enforcement of existing statutes to comprehensive ordinances.

The book says inland lakes are most valuable to communities when they are clean and healthy.

Clean lakes offer better recreational opportunities as well as higher tax revenue. One study estimated that inland lake properties in Michigan generate $3.4 billion in annual tax income to local governments.

 

3 – Gypsy Moth Caterpillars have begun to hatch throughout Bay County.  

14978353651_08dfdcea97_z

Gypsy moth. Credit: John Borg

After resting a few days, the caterpillars will begin searching for food, according to an official with the county’s Gypsy Moth Suppression Program.

Some caterpillars will settle on the trees where their egg masses spent the winter. Others will spin a long silk thread and “balloon” to new trees where they can find more food.

The Bay County gypsy moth spraying program is tentatively scheduled for the week of May 29, weather permitting.  

Treatments with a biological pesticide will begin shortly after sunrise and be done by low-flying helicopters.

Officials say reasonable precautions should be taken, such as avoiding direct exposure under the flight path of a helicopter. Gypsy moths are targeted because, if left uncontrolled, they can defoliate large trees in a few weeks.

Discovery Playground, Rain Barrels, and Milkweed for Monarchs

For Friday the 13th, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0onwn77huxvoyq9/05-13-16-mr-great-lakes-discovery.mp3]

1 – The Discovery Preserve is an urban, learning landscape established in 2013 and located at 1701 S. Euclid Ave. on Bay City’s West Side. 

discovery-preserve-playground-sblc

Via SBLC.

This year, the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is helping build a nature play area at the site. Children will be able to climb large boulders, build woodland shelters out of logs, and dig in the dirt.

The play area also will include interpretive signs that provide children with ideas to help explore and learn about the natural environment. The playground is due to be finished by this summer.

The Conservancy is holding a contest to name a playground mascot. Kids ages 12 and under are encouraged to submit suggestions online at sblc-mi.org.

2 – Rain barrels are a simple, efficient and low-cost method for conserving water to feed lawns and gardens.

The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland is taking orders for repurposed 55-gallon rain barrels.

Proceeds will support local conservation programs.

The barrels feature mesh screening to keep out mosquitoes and other bugs; overflow valves; a garden hose spigot; and a polyethylene surface that can be painted.

Rain barrels collect and store rainwater runoff, typically from a home or building’s rooftop. Instead of running down driveways and sidewalks to sewers, the rainwater is directed to a rain barrel where it can be stored for later use. The average home yields more than 250 gallons of water from every 1 inch of rainfall.

Orders are being taken until June 6. For more information, see littleforks.org.

3 – Throughout Michigan, people are working to help boost populations of monarch butterflies.

The numbers of monarchs have dropped sharply in recent years mostly because milkweed plants also have been decimated.

According to the Michigan Wildlife Council, virtually anyone can join the monarch conservation effort by planting milkweed in a backyard garden or flower bed.

Even a single plant makes a possible reproductive site. Milkweed is the only place where monarchs lay eggs. The plants also serve as the food source for the growth of monarch caterpillars.

A milkweed plant can support several caterpillars, and caterpillar survival is typically better if they are widely distributed over a number of plants.

Two of the best varieties for garden plantings in Michigan are orange milkweed – also commonly referred to as butterfly weed – and swamp milkweed.

6097445598_a8158d21af_z

Monarch caterpillar. Credit: John Flannery

– 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 #MrGreatLakes

 

Wind Energy Payments, Kirtland’s Ham Radio and Salmon in the Classroom

For Friday, May 6, 2016

1 – Wind energy development is providing millions of dollars to rural landowners in the form of land lease payments.

red-barn-wind-rural-landowner-awea.JPG

Credit: AWEA

According to Midwest Energy News, payments to Michigan landowners totaled $4.6 million in 2014.

Tax bases in Huron County increased by 34 percent between 2011 and 2015, or more than $559 million. In Tuscola County, tax bases increased by 26 percent, or more than $364 million.

The money provides revenue to help pay for county operating expenses, schools, roads, libraries, and other services.

Nationwide, the American Wind Energy Association reports that wind farms pay $222 million a year to rural landowners, with $70.7 million of that across 12 Midwest states.  

Some local officials in Michigan’s Thumb have complained about over-saturation and others have recently approved moratoriums on new wind development.

Clean energy advocates, meanwhile, fear wind development may slow considerably without an expanded renewable portfolio standard, which leveled off at the end of 2015.

2 – The 2016 Kirtland’s Warbler Festival is going worldwide.

This year’s festival is being held in Roscommon on Saturday, June 4.

As part of the event, ham radio operators will be hosting a Special Event Radio Station on the grounds of the festival.

2458625308_7489fd0b2b_z

An example of a Special Event Station. Credit: Dan

According to Huron Pines in Gaylord, a station call sign has been assigned to the event through the American Radio Relay League, amateur radio’s national organization.

The ham radio operators in Roscommon plan to make two-way contacts in the United States and worldwide to raise awareness of the festival and recovery efforts related to the Kirtland’s Warbler.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler nests in just a few counties in Michigan’s northern lower and upper peninsulas, along with Wisconsin and Ontario.

3 – Baby salmon are swimming in Midland, thanks to the efforts of a local elementary school.

12435393153_d57b677376_z

Credit: USFWS

Fourth graders from Saint Brigid School released hand-raised chinook salmon at the end of April from the Tridge in Midland, according to Little Forks Conservancy.

The release was the culmination of a Department of Natural Resources Salmon in the Classroom Program.

A local chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsored the equipment and other resources for the effort.

Salmon in the Classroom is a year-long natural resources education program in which teachers and students receive fertilized salmon eggs from a state fish hatchery in the fall, hatch them out, feed and raise the fry through spring, and then release the young salmon into a local river.

Participation in the program has grown annually for more than 10 years, and now boasts more than 200 schools that will raise salmon next year.

You can find out more at Michigan.gov/SIC.

 

%d bloggers like this: