Praising Whitmer’s Climate Plan, Gazing at Fall Colors, Studying COVID in Wastewater

Baaack following the pledge drive

For Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

Photo by Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash


1 – Environmental groups are praising Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing an executive order on climate change. 

The order calls for the state to become carbon neutral by 2050 and sets benchmarks to achieve the goal. 

According to the directive, Michigan will aim to achieve a 28 percent reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

The Michigan Environmental Council, an umbrella group that includes the Saginaw Bay area Lone Tree Council, says the need for comprehensive action to combat climate change has never been more urgent, especially as Michigan continues to experience damaging climate-related impacts like more intense storms, record-high water levels and heat waves. 

The National Wildlife Federation says Whitmer’s plan looks at climate change through the lens of mitigation and adaption, which will bring more key stakeholders to the table and allow Michigan to become a leader in climate change solutions, innovation and clean energy jobs.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the governor’s directive the most ambitious action on climate change in the Midwest, putting Michigan alongside California, New York, Hawaii and Maine in terms of states that have committed to similar levels of carbon pollution reduction. 

2 – Fall color is here. 

State officials note that more than 19 million acres of forest land in the state are turning from green to shades of yellow, orange and red. It’s starting in the U.P. and will spread south through October. 

The state Department of Natural Resources has a fall color map to help people plan trips and view the colors at their peak. 

The map says that from around Sept. 28 through Oct. 5, northern Michigan counties including the Bay City area should be in peak color. The map also offers ideas on places to go during that time, including Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling. 

3 – Saginaw Valley State University is part of a $10 million project that includes research teams monitoring wastewater for traces of COVID-19. 

The team at SVSU has secured a $300,000 grant from the state to continue searching for traces of the coronavirus in wastewater samples collected from sites in Arenac, Bay, Gladwin and Saginaw counties. 

University officials say the testing, including sampling on campus, could help alert health officials about potential outbreaks days before individuals display symptoms. The research also detects the virus in the waste of people without symptoms. 

Local researchers are collecting samples from city and township facilities in the four counties, including wastewater at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland and Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Standish. 

Information from the findings will be shared with local health departments.

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

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