For Friday, May 6, 2016
1 – Wind energy development is providing millions of dollars to rural landowners in the form of land lease payments.
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.
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.
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.