For Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
1 – You don’t need to rake those leaves.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the easiest way to deal with fallen leaves is to leave them alone.
They’ll benefit wildlife and save you time and energy. If your neighbors say anything, you can assure them that the leaf layer is a critical part of the ecosystem.
Salamanders, chipmunks, frogs, turtles, toads, insects and other wildlife live in the leaf layer of the forest.
Important pollinators like moths and butterflies spend the winter in fallen leaves.
If you want to rake the leaves, you can rake them into garden beds to insulate perennials and keep soil in place during storms.
Or, shred the leaves with a lawn mower and let them become natural fertilizer for your yard.
2 – If you’re concerned about the impacts of invasive species or interested in the techniques used to control them, you may want to check out a NotMISpecies Webinar Series.
The webinars include information on innovations in research and technology, and programs designed to help communities prevent and manage harmful invasive species. A question and answer period follows each presentation.
The next webinar is Thursday, Oct. 21, from 9-10 a.m., on how to identify and manage invasive plants.
Previous webinars on topics like protecting wetlands from invasives and Asian carp were recorded and can be found online.
See Michigan.gov/EGLEevents for more on the NotMISpecies Webinar Series.
3 – Michigan’s skyline will be changing as electric utilities work to meet clean energy regulations and transition to renewables.
A new guide is available to help communities plan for solar energy systems that may include everything from rooftop installations to 1,000-acre solar farms.
The majority of zoning ordinances in Michigan are silent about the siting of solar energy systems, says a project manager at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute who co-authored the report.
The guide, “Planning and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Michigan Local Governments,” illustrates how various scales and configurations of solar energy systems fit into landscape patterns ranging from rural to suburban to urban.
U of M experts say there’s been a rapid decline in the cost of solar energy over the past decade, and solar is now the most quickly growing renewable.