State of the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay

For June 23, 2017

1 – A new report from the U.S. and Canada accesses the condition of the Great Lakes as “fair and unchanging.”

In other words, progress to restore and protect the lakes has been made, including the reduction of toxic chemicals. But there are challenges with issues such as invasive species and nutrients. Also, the ecosystem is large and complex and it can take years to respond to restoration activities and policy changes.

For Lake Huron, the report says chemical pollutants have declined significantly since the 1970s, but there are still fish and wildlife consumption advisories to protect human health. Most nearshore waters are high-quality, but areas including Saginaw Bay experience periodic harmful or nuisance algal blooms.

To read the full report, see binational.net.

beach saginaw bay recreation state park

Saginaw Bay at the Bay City State Recreation Area, Bangor Township, Michigan

2 – Registration is now open for the State of the Bay 2017 Conference to be held Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Bay City.

The one-day conference is a chance to learn about activities related to the restoration, conservation and protection of Saginaw Bay. In addition, there will be presentations on what communities around the bay and throughout the watershed are doing to encourage public access, economic development, environmental education and watershed management.

The latest agenda includes a keynote on “Water Quality in Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie” by Dr. Jeff Reutter from Ohio Sea Grant.

The Sept. 27 conference is sponsored by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and its partners.

Go to stateofthebay2017.org to register for the event and review a preliminary agenda.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

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Off-Road Proposal, Frog-Bit Challenge

For June 16, 2017

1 – There’s a proposal to open up thousands of miles of state forest roads to off-road vehicles in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The expanded access is to take effect in January 2018.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting public input.

Officials have spent the past several months mapping the region’s state forest roads. State forest roads, managed by the DNR, provide access for activities such as habitat improvement, timber management, and fire control, as well as public access for hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor recreation. Historically, these roads have been closed to off-road vehicle use unless designated as part of an off-road vehicle route.  

A 2016 state law encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing off-road opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula. Beginning in 2018, all state forest roads in the region will be open to off-road vehicle use unless designated closed by the DNR. Reasons for closures include ensuring user safety, preventing user conflicts and protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

The DNR is holding meetings to allow people to review the proposed changes, ask questions and provide input. Meetings are set for Monday, June 19, in West Branch; Tuesday, June 20 in Cadillac; and Wednesday, June 21 in Gaylord.

For more information and to comment online, see michigan.gov/forestroads. The comment period closes July 15.

 

2 – Huron Pines wants people to take the Frog-bit Challenge.

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Credit: Audrey

It does not involve a bucket of frogs.

The nonprofit is running a Frog-bit Challenge until Sept. 1. The goal is to pull a combined total of 20,000 pounds of the invasive plant. The focus is on the Thunder Bay River watershed.

About 300 pounds of the plans were pulled recently from the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary by students from Besser Elementary, along with volunteers and staff from Huron Pines.

To participate in the challenge or to start a similar effort in your area, contact Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member Wendy Lemon at wendylemon.americorps@gmail.com or call (989) 448-2293 ext. 32. Visit huronpines.org to learn more.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

 

Paris in Michigan, PACE in Saginaw, Training in Midland

For June 9, 2017

1 – More than 200 U.S. mayors, including a number in Michigan, have signed on commit to goals of the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the climate accord, which was signed by nearly 200 other countries and aims to reduce polluting emissions by 2025.

The more than 200 mayors have signed on to an agreement from a national group called Climate Mayors.

Michigan cities that have committed to honor the Paris agreement include: Ann Arbor, Buchanan, Detroit, East Lansing, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Lapeer, Pleasant Ridge, Rockwood, Royal Oak, Traverse City, and Ypsilanti.

Other cities are being encouraged to join the coalition.

 

2 – School may be out for some, but summer offers training opportunities on forestry, trails and invasive species.

The Little Forks Conservancy of Midland is hosting three workshops for volunteers interested in learning from experts about managing natural lands.

The first is 6 p.m. June 27 and will focus on tree care and forest management.

The second is 6 p.m. July 18 and will discuss how to create and maintain a trail network.

The final workshop is 6 p.m. Aug. 22 and will focus on identifying and removing non-native invasive plant species.

Each workshop will meet at Little Forks Conservancy office at 105 Post St. in Midland. Participants who attend all three workshops will be designated as Certified Stewards for Little Forks.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required by contacting Sara Huetteman at 989.835.4886 or shuetteman@littleforks.org.

For more details, call 989.835.4886 or visit www.littleforks.org.

 

3 – Saginaw is celebrating the transformation of a classic, 88-year-old apartment building in a downtown neighborhood.

The project involved installing all new windows, cutting $610,000 from the building’s 20 year-operating cost, and reducing the apartments’ carbon footprint.  

The work was accomplished through Property Assessed Clean Energy financing. The state-adopted program, also known as PACE, allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through a special assessment on their property taxes.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc. hosted a ceremony this week (June 7) at the New Amadore Apartments in Saginaw.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

BaySail Seeks Trainees, Refuge Considers Commercial Guides, State Surveys Fish

For June 2, 2017

 

1 – BaySail in Bay City is offering Windward Bound Voyages.

They take place on board the 65-foot Appledore V schooner.

Teenagers from 14-18 can join a professional tall ship crew to learn about navigation, sailing, and the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Windward Bound graduates are eligible to join a year-round training program and enjoy future sailing opportunities as volunteers,

The voyage schedule includes a trip from Bay City to Buffalo, New York, in June, and others through August.

A limited number of scholarships are available for teens from Bay, Midland, Saginaw and Isabella counties.

For a complete schedule and an application, see BaySailBayCity.org.

 

2 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is seeking public comment on a plan to allow commercial guides for wildlife observation and photography.

Officials say wildlife observation and photography by the public was previously determined to be compatible with a refuge conservation plan.

Officials are seeking comment on a similar plan that expands this use to include commercial guiding for wildlife observation and photography.

Comments are being taken for two weeks, ending June 14, at the refuge website and on its Facebook page.

All commercial guides would be required to apply for a Special Use Permit and steps would be taken to minimize impacts to wildlife.

3 – All four of the state’s fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning their annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations for the Department of Natural Resources.

The surveys are designed to examine and collect information on fish communities and their habitats.

The research vessels are based in Marquette, Alpena, Charlevoix and Harrison Township.

They work throughout the Great Lakes, beginning as soon as ice has cleared and continuing into November.

On Lake Huron, work is done by the research vessel Tanner, the DNR’s newest vessel which was launched in 2016. This vessel focuses on assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, and broader fisheries assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River.

 

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