SC Johnson Wind Energy, Summer Teacher Institute, Canada Geese

For July 7, 2017

1 – SC Johnson’s manufacturing site in Bay County recently joined two other company-owned sites running on 100 percent wind energy.

The Bay County site is located in Bangor Township and manufactures Ziploc brand bags.

The Bangor Township facility is purchasing all of its electricity from nearby wind farms.

SC Johnson says almost one third of its global energy usage now comes from renewable sources. It’s part of a company effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Two other SC Johnson sites in the Netherlands and Poland are running completely on wind energy.

2 – Teachers can go back to school this summer.

From Aug. 14-17, a Lake Huron summer teacher institute will be held in Alpena. Applications for the event are due July 21.

It’s put on by the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, in partnership with federal and state agencies, universities, nonprofits and others.

The event provides an opportunity to network and explore Great Lakes and natural resource issues.

Participants will receive a $500 project stipend to launch a place-based education effort at their school.

For more information, see nemi glsi . org.

 

canada-geese-attack

Credit: Michael Gil

3 – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has tips for avoiding problems with Canada geese this summer.

A subspecies called the giant Canada goose is most plentiful in Michigan. These birds nearly went extinct in the 1950s because of overhunting and habitat loss.

These days, the number of giant Canada geese counted each spring in Michigan is well over 300,000 due in part to wildlife management programs.

Tips to keep geese away from your yard include using bird-scare balloons and applying repellents like grape concentrate to your lawn to keep geese from feeding on the grass.

Also, do not feed Canada geese. Be aware of your surroundings when visiting parks and areas near water. Canada geese are protective of their nests and hatchlings. Do not disturb them or get too close.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Energy Laws, Duck and Bird Advice, Power Plant Expansion

For Friday, April 7, 2017

 

1 – There are new energy laws coming to Michigan and opportunities for public involvement.

A web page from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on the laws, which take effect on April 20.

The new laws include updates relating to utility rate cases, electric choice, energy waste reduction and renewable energy. Electric providers will be required to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

You can sign up to receive email updates on topics of interest. You can find more information at michigan.gov/energylegislation.

— Via GLREA

2 – If you find a duck nesting on your property this spring, leave it alone.

Goslings are a common sight in Michigan in the spring

Goslings. Credit: MDNR

Michigan wildlife experts say ducks nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to appear just about everywhere in the spring. Female mallards often build nests in landscaping, gardens or other locations.

While finding a duck’s nest in an unexpected location may be a surprise, there is no need for concern. Leave the duck alone and try to keep dogs, cats and children away from the nest.

If the mother duck is successful and her eggs hatch, she will lead her ducklings to the nearest body of water.

Don’t worry if you do not live near water, the mother duck knows where to take her ducklings to find it.

If a bird builds a nest on your property, it’s common to find baby birds on the ground after they attempt to fly. Don’t touch them. Their parents will continue to take care of them, even when they are on the ground.

Touching a baby bird will not cause adults to abandon it. But if you move a baby bird, the parents may be unable to find and care for it. It is better to leave the baby bird alone to be raised by its parents.

3 – A Midland power plant plans a $500 million expansion.

midland cogeneration venture plant expansion artist rendering

Artist’s rendering. Credit: MCV

According to the Midland Daily News, the Midland Cogeneration Venture plans to spend the money to add two new gas turbines and a steam turbine at its 1,200-acre site.

Officials estimate 700 people will be employed during the two and a half years of construction, and 20 long-term jobs will be added at the site. The upgrades will boost electrical capacity by at least 40 percent.

Midland Cogeneration Venture is the largest plant of its kind in the United States. It uses natural gas to produce electricity and process steam for customers including nearby chemical production companies.

Construction on the expansion is to begin once the plant secures a power purchaser, which is expected to take six to 12 months.

Officials say the expansion is driven by the need for more energy following the shuttering of older power plants.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

Spotting Ducks, Treating for Ash Borer, Awarding Grants

For Friday, March 31, 2017

1 – Ducks were down in a recent survey. But state biologists say they still believe populations are stable.

aerial waterfowl survey michigan dnr ducks

Department of Natural Resources biologists counted ducks, geese and swans while flying low over Michigan’s waterways as part of an annual effort to monitor waterfowl populations. Credit: MDNR

Staffers from Michigan Department of Natural Resources took to the skies in small aircraft earlier this year to count ducks, geese and swans.

They observed more than 148,000 ducks, which was down by 5 percent from about 157,000 ducks observed in 2016.

Biologists say the decline can be attributed to cold arctic blasts in late December and early January that pushed birds southward. Some ducks bypassed Michigan altogether.

The state has conducted aerial surveys of wintering ducks and geese since 1991. The results are important for helping manage habitat for the species.

2 – Yellow dots on trees in Bay County mean they’ll be treated to fight emerald ash borer.

Officials with County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program say they are including hundreds of healthy, living ash trees in an annual Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Project.

yellow dot abstract

Credit: Pellinni

Trees scheduled to be treated this year will be marked with a yellow dot on the side facing the road. These trees were last treated in 2013.

Trees marked with a green dot were treated in the spring of 2016.

The treatments help to maintain the health of ash trees and should protect them from further emerald ash borer damage for at least two years.

3 – Spring is here, and action grants are available from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

The group has set a deadline of April 14 for proposals.

They’re looking for organizations with great ideas for projects that focus on natural resource restoration, education and promotion, or sustainability.

The funding is available to organizations working to make improvements in neighborhoods, communities, and watersheds.

The Network will award grants of up to $1,000 to successful applicants. A one-to-one match is required.

More information is available online at SaginawBayWIN.org.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Winter Stoneflies, Environmental Educator Award, Christmas Bird Count

For Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

1 – The annual Christmas Bird Count began this week across the U.S. and Canada.

Every year, thousands of volunteers identify and count birds during the count, which is put on by the National Audubon Society. The Count helps researchers, conservation biologists, and others study North American bird populations over time.

Last year more than 2,500 counts were completed and 58.8 million birds were reported.

Anyone can participate in the Christmas Bird Count until Jan. 5.

The Count takes place in geographic circles that include experienced birders. That means even beginners can participate.

In Michigan, counts are planned in locations including Huron County, Tuscola County, Bay City, Midland and Tawas.

2 – Does your child’s teacher go above and beyond?

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches and use the environment as a context for learning.

Award winners receive up to $2,500 for professional development.

The winning teacher’s local school also receives up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs.

Up to two teachers from each U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regions will receive the award.

Applications are due March 1.

3 – Some flies live through the winter.

winter stonefly stoneflies michigan

Credit: Dysmorodrepanis, Wikimedia Commons

During the coldest months, winter stoneflies hatch from rocky stream bottoms and crawl up through openings in the snow or ice that covers the water.

They have four wings, stay close to the snow and ice, and walk to find mates, according to information from Michigan Lake and Stream Associations.

Little is known about how these stoneflies survive freezing water and air temperatures.

What makes these flies particularly special is that they’re an indicator species. Because the flies are sensitive to poor water quality, monitoring the locations and numbers of these flies can help determine the health of a stream.

Several watershed organizations hold winter stonefly searches in lower Michigan to help understand winter stonefly populations and predict stream health.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkarton Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

 

State Land for Sale, Wild Turkey 101 and Big Data

For Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/6bh737kswscxjr7/ENV%20REPORT%2011-18-16.mp3]

1 – A state auction of surplus public land starts Dec. 6.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer up for sale by sealed-bid auction between Dec. 6 and Jan. 10.

The auction will feature 58 parcels located in counties including Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 77 acres.

State officials say the parcels being auctioned off are isolated from other public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public recreation benefit.

Several of the parcels are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Information on the auction is available online at www.michigan.gov/landforsale.

2 – The comeback of the wild turkey is a great wildlife conservation story.

At one time in Michigan, turkeys were plentiful. Over time, they vanished from every county in the state due to unregulated take and loss of habitat.

Efforts to re-establish the population were made from 1919 through the late 1980s. Today, there are more than 200,000 wild turkeys in Michigan. They can be found in every county in the Lower Peninsula and areas of the Upper Peninsula.

The National Wild Turkey Federation works with the state of Michigan to share conservation education opportunities with teachers and students.

One such opportunity is an annual Patch Design Contest.

K-12 students in Michigan are eligible to enter.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash awards.

The winning design will be the basis for next year’s Michigan wild turkey management cooperator patch.

The winner and his or her parents or guardians also will be invited to the Michigan National Wild Turkey Federation State Chapter banquet and the Natural Resources Commission meeting when the patch is released to the public.

Entries are due by Dec. 15.

For complete contest rules, visit mi.gov/michiganprojectwild.

Direct link: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10369_51120-265547–,00.html

Previous winners: http://www.michigan.gov/images/turkeyboard_27029_7.jpg

3 – Massive amounts of data have been collected from the Great Lakes basin. But until recently, no effort had organized this information and made it easily accessible.

There also wasn’t a tool that allowed researchers and managers to visualize and summarize habitat conditions for the entire basin, especially on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border.

layers-saginaw-bay.JPG

Layers of data for Saginaw Bay in the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

Now, researchers from the University of Michigan, working with U.S. and Canadian agencies and universities, have created the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

It’s first publicly-available database that includes harmonized habitat data and a classification of fish habitats across the basin.

The framework will allow researchers and managers to explore information on temperature, ice-cover duration, water depth, aquatic vegetation, and wave height for every location in the basin.

There also are layers for shoreline classification, wetlands, and walleye populations.

Time Change: – Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Restoring Michigan’s Largest Estuary, Improving Energy Efficiency

For Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 (Fall Pledge Drive)

1 – Part of Michigan’s largest freshwater estuary has been restored.

shiawasseesunset

Credit: Rebecca Kelly/USFWS

This is thanks to federal funding from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the work of biologists and land managers at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge, in Saginaw County, partnered with Ducks Unlimited to restore a highly-altered agricultural landscape and reconnect rivers, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is part of an area known as Shiawassee Flats, historically a 50,000-acre wetland complex. The Flats is one of the most unique wetland complexes in the Great Lakes, because it functions as a freshwater estuary even though it’s 20 miles inland.

The restoration project restored 10 percent of the refuge, or 1,000 acres of its land base, which will benefit fish and wildlife populations.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is designated as an Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.

A Ducks Unlimited biologist says waterfowl used to skip over the project area during migration. Now, they’ll look down and see a healthy and productive habitat.

2 – Michigan is among three most-improved states for energy efficiency.

The latest annual Scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks Michigan, Missouri and Maine rank as the three most-improved states.

California and Massachusetts both won the top spot.

The group says that in the past year, several states have strengthened efficiency policies and programs, which give businesses, governments, and consumers more control over how and when they use energy.

The group says a growing number of states, including Michigan, have taken major steps toward the adoption of Department of Energy-certified codes for new residential and commercial construction.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Midland Signs on to PACE, Warbler Fest Draws Visitors, Dow AgroSciences Picks up Award

For Friday, June 24, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/m2od3pocux63jkf/environment-report-mr-great-lakes-6-24-16.mp3]

1- Midland is the latest county to sign on to a renewable energy financing program.

The Lean & Green Michigan Property Assessed Clean Energy program is known as PACE for short.

The program makes businesses and nonprofits in the county eligible to add renewable energy generating items like solar panels to their buildings.

PACE deals with the high upfront costs of such projects by providing 100 percent financing at long-term, fixed rates for up to 25 years.

The money also can be used for energy efficiency and water saving improvements, and be paid back through property taxes.

juris.gif

Participating jurisdictions. Via Lean & Green Michigan

Other governments to join PACE include Bay, Saginaw and Huron counties.

This is according to Petros PACE Finance, which is sponsoring training on the program for local contractors.

2 – The Roscommon area drew people from as far away as California, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina and Florida earlier this month.

florida nasa

Florida. Credit: NASA

They attended Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend events on June 3 and 4.

A festival in Roscommon is meant to bring awareness to the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. Proceeds also go to support conservation programs for the songbird.

Populations of the warbler have made a comeback in recent years, but advocates say management is still needed to sustain the bird, which is selective about its nesting sites in places that include Northern Michigan.

Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, says the visitors delivered an economic boost to the area. Leaders say continued management for warbler habitat will have lasting impacts for the birds and Northeast Michigan, bringing birders, canoeists, hikers, bikers and others to the area.

3 – Winners of a national green chemistry award include Dow AgroSciences.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently honored recipients of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

The award recognizes landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn environmental problems into business opportunities and spur innovation and economic development.

Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Midland-based Dow Chemical Co., was honored for an additive called Instinct.

The EPA says the additive reduces runoff from fertilizers, and cuts nitrous oxide emissions.

The additive retains applied nitrogen longer in the root zones of plants like corn, which increases yields for farmers.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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