Seeing Colors, Connecting Scientists, Saving Warblers

For Friday, Oct. 18, 2019

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1 – Keep an eye out for fall colors this weekend. Or take a trip and find some.  

The folks at Pure Michigan say the state is bathed in fall colors right now, with bright yellows, brilliant golds and bold oranges.

fall colors michigan water great lakes
Credit: 7 Lakes HDR

The Upper Peninsula is reporting 76 to 100 percent color saturation and most counties are at or within one week of peak conditions. 

In Northern Lower Michigan, color is emerging quickly. 

This weekend, the forecast calls for good color along interior routes near Gaylord and Cadillac. 

In the Northeast Lower Peninsula, you’ll find fire red maples during a drive to the Presque Isle lighthouses. 

The Alpena area also is dotted with lighthouses along the shore. 

In the West Central and East Central Lower peninsula, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, the Mount Pleasant area, White Lake area, Holland and Frankenmuth are reporting color saturation at 26-50 percent, with peak conditions anticipated in one or two weeks.

Pure Michigan is asking people to share their autumn experiences by using the hashtag #FallFilter on Instagram and Twitter. 

2 – The Kirtland’s warbler, a small songbird once poised on the brink of extinction, is now thriving. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the warbler no longer warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Officials are calling the announcement a conservation success story, thanks to a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and conservation groups.

kirtlands warbler bird endangered recovery michigan
A Kirtland’s Warbler. Credit: USFWS

The Kirtland’s Warbler was one of the first species in the U.S. to be put on the federal list of endangered and threatened species.

Wildfires used to naturally replenish the historic breeding habitat of young jack pine forests, but modern wildfire suppression techniques broke that cycle. Today, land managers use timber harvesting and replanting to mimic natural processes. And partners have worked to trap and euthanize cowbirds that lay their eggs in warbler nests. 

The warbler nests only in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario. It was listed as endangered in 1967 and populations dipped to a low of 167 pairs in 1974. The current population is estimated at around 2,000 pairs, exceeding recovery goals. 

A Kirtland’s Warbler Breeding Range Conservation Plan developed in 2015 is now the guiding management strategy for the species. Officials say funding and other commitments are in place to ensure continued conservation actions.

3 – Two groups are working together to improve environmental protection efforts and sustainable development. Their new partnership was announced last week at the State of Lake Huron Conference held at Saginaw Valley State University. 

It’s between the International Association for Great Lakes Research and the Council of the Great Lakes Region.

Leaders say the economy and environments of the Great Lakes are vitally important to the US and Canada, yet conversations about the region’s development and protection are often disconnected. 

The partnership between the association and nonprofit council will serve as a platform for connecting people who work in the fields of science, policy, law, business, conservation and other areas, with the goal of finding solutions to challenges in the region. 

One hope is to help better inform policy decisions pertaining to the many problems facing the Great Lakes.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR (now streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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