For Friday, May 26, 2023
1 – If you see double red warning flags at a beach, do not go in the water.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says double red warning flags are now in place at state-designated beaches along the Great Lakes in Michigan state parks.
Officials say the change was made to increase safety and save lives.
There were 108 Great Lakes drownings in Michigan in 2022. There have been 15 so far this year and 1,170 since 2010.
Officials say many people underestimate the power of the lakes and don’t understand how quickly even experienced swimmers can get swept away.
If you see double red flags, you are not allowed to enter the water from the beach.
It’s a state law. For more info, see Michigan.gov/BeachSafety.
2 – A newly funded program in Northeast Michigan will target marine debris.
That is, stuff like cigarette butts, plastic bags, food wrappers and old fishing gear that pollute waterways.
The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan has received about $162,000 from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust to support a Marine Debris Stewards project.
The foundation, headquartered in Alpena, has partners along Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay shoreline that include BaySail in Bay City.
The Marine Debris Stewards program “will foster student learning and leadership through hands-on marine debris investigations and stewardship.”
Students will explore their local watersheds alongside natural resource community partners, analyze findings and take action by proposing and implementing system- or community-level changes that help prevent marine debris from entering the lakes.
3 – Some Great Lakes leaders have a vision that includes offshore wind turbines.
According to a story from the nonprofit States Newsroom, lawmakers in Illinois and Pennsylvania are considering bills to promote offshore wind development. In Ohio, a state Supreme Court ruling has cleared the way for the nation’s first freshwater wind farm with six turbines on Lake Erie.
But the lakes also pose challenges for wind that include ice cover, port and shipping infrastructure, and communities that don’t want to see turbines off their coasts.
A deputy director with Michigan’s environmental agency says in the report that our state hasn’t closed the door on offshore wind. But any development wouldn’t be able to compete on costs without significant state incentives.
While turbines located in Michigan’s nearshore waters could create conflicts with recreation and tourism, floating turbine technology would allow for wind farms in deeper waters, away from the coast. That may be something the state is interested in supporting down the line.
A federal assessment published earlier this year found that Michigan has more potential than any other state to produce power from Great Lakes wind.
– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Fridays at 9:30 a.m. in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (listen live). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes