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.
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.
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.