Beach Cleanups During COVID, Environmental Drones, Michigan Trails

For Friday, Nov, 27, 2020

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1 – Here’s something to be thankful for. 

Even though Michigan and other Great Lakes states have been in the grips of a pandemic for most of this year, people still managed to pull off 417 cleanups across all five of the Great Lakes. 

The Adopt-a-Beach cleanups were organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes, including in the Saginaw Bay area.

Credit: mikecogh

The group says 10,000 pounds worth of trash were cleared from beaches and other areas by volunteers this year. 

For the first time, there were inland neighborhood cleanups, to stop trash that might otherwise flow to the lakes via sewer drains and other paths. 

2 – Drones are an important tool to help protect Michigan’s environment and public health.

The remote-controlled devices are being used by the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to keep an eye on things such as high water levels, landfills and environmental cleanups. 

The department has 25 drones and 15 staffers who are certified to operate them. 

More than 250 drone missions have been flown since 2017

Plans call for new uses of drones including to measure radiation and air quality. 

3 – Close to 1,300 miles have been added to the National Trails System, including two water trails in Michigan.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior recently announced 30 new national recreation trails in 25 states.

In Michigan, those include the 73-mile Flint River Water Trail and the 88-mile Shiawassee River Water Trail.  

America’s National Trails System provides access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences. It spans more than 83,000 miles, making it larger than the interstate highway system. 

Nationally, the recent announcement is addition to 370 miles of national recreation trails designated in 2018.

Each of the newly designated trails will receive a certificate of designation, a set of trail markers and a letter of recognition.

4 – Funding for conservation projects is slated for areas across the state, including Bay County. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said this week it’s recommended 14 community and state parks, trails and sports facilities to share more than $5.4 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.

The money will support campground developments, park renovations and improvements, accessible playground development, accessibility improvements and more. In Bay County, $50,000 is recommended for improvements at Williams Township Park. 

The fund is supported by revenues from federal gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico.

– 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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