For Friday, April 10, 2020
1 – Cuts to the state budget to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. They include funding to prevent invasive Asian carp from spreading into the Great Lakes.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs notes that the governor signed a supplemental budget last week that cuts $8 million set aside to help pay for the preconstruction phase of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam project near Joliet, Illinois.
The project would use sound, air bubbles, electricity and other measures in an attempt to stop the invasive fish from reaching the Great Lakes.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs says it plans to continue to seek out “creative funding opportunities” to move the project forward in the weeks and months ahead.
2 – A new general permit for so-called “factory farms” is improved, but still flawed.
That’s according to a group of national environmental organizations including Sierra Club.
The new permit governs about 260 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Michigan.
The group says improvements include a ban on the land application of animal waste from January through March. But they believe the permit would be mostly ineffective in controlling water pollution related to large-scale farms.
Michigan environmental regulators say the updated requirements aim to reduce the impact that animal waste has on the health of the Great Lakes, and were developed with extensive public input.
3 – Most state parks, trail and boating facilities remain open during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but officials say “social distancing” must be maintained.
That means requirements of a “stay home” order by the governor are being monitored by staff from the Department of Natural Resources.
Recently, Tippy Dam Recreation Area in Manistee County was closed until further notice due to high numbers of visitors, groups of people that were congregating and people traveling long distances to reach the park.
If similar problems continue, officials say the DNR will have to look at closing or further limiting access to other outdoor locations.