Earth Day: CREP Reinstated, STEM Bus Returns, Climate Change Still Here

For Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 2022 🌎🎉


1 – Michigan’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, also known as CREP, has been reinstated. 

CREP is a partnership between state, federal and other agencies to implement voluntary conservation practices in places including the Saginaw Bay watershed.

The state plans to leverage $5 million for a $40 million federal investment. 

After six years without CREP, officials say this is a huge win for water quality in Michigan and will help the state reduce phosphorus that enters waterways from farmland and contributes to algal blooms. 

Under the program, landowners agree to install and maintain one or more conservation practices, such as filter strips or wetland restoration, for up to 15 years. In return, they’re reimbursed for the costs. Sign-up for CREP is ongoing until funds are depleted. 

Landowners interested in applying for CREP should contact their local conservation district or the USDA’s Service Center.

For more information about CREP, visit USDA’s CREP webpage

2 – The Delta College STEM Explorer is back on the road.

The 38-foot mobile science library was created in 2014 via a $4 million grant from the Dow Foundation. 

Delta developed the program to connect with middle and high schoolers to provide info about opportunities available in the fields of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math. 

The bus was on hiatus due to the pandemic, but is now back on the road visiting schools throughout the region. 

Credit: Delta College

At the helm is Megan Birdwell, who taught seventh-grade science at Bridgeport-Spaulding Community Schools and middle school computer science, STEM, mathematics and science for St. Charles Community Schools before joining Delta in December.

3 – A University of Michigan climate scientist says there are challenges and opportunities when it comes to addressing climate change in Michigan. 

Jonathan Overpeck. Credit: University of Michigan

U of M’s Jonathan Overpeck says the state is being seen as a potential climate refuge. That is, as a place less at risk to harmful climate change impacts than many other states around the country.

The climate crisis is becoming a drought and water crisis in some parts of the U.S., while the Great Lakes hold more than 80 percent of North America’s surface freshwater. 

What do we have to do to halt climate change in Michigan? Overpeck says we have most of the technologies and plans needed. We just have to move faster to implement them.

How does this create an opportunity for the state? Affordable rapid climate action saves our state from becoming a climate disaster, and positions Michigan to become a big economic winner in rapidly expanding clean energy sustainable solutions markets growing around the globe. 

Further, Michigan’s mobility industry is well-positioned to benefit as the planet transitions to electric cars and other vehicles. 

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


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