Make Free Fishing Weekend Plans, Protect Inland Lakes, Spray for Gypsy Moths

For Friday, May 20, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/cxutge77zqv9l2r/5-19-16-mrgreatlakes-environmentreport-q901.mp3]

1 – Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend is June 11 and 12.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and partners will be sponsoring the 36th annual Kids Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 11, at Ojibway Island.

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Courtesy of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Hundreds of children and their families are expected for the event, from 8 to 10 a.m.

This year, there will be more chances for children to win prizes. Kids will receive a ticket for each fish caught. Drawings will be held after the event.

Participation prizes and free bait also will be offered while supplies last. The event also will include host games, practice casting and knot-tying stations.

Events are being held throughout the state for this summer’s Free Fishing Weekend, in which all fishing license fees are waived for two days.

 

2 – Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes.

A new Guide for Local Governments aims to help protect these water bodies.

The guide is from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership of state agencies, academia, nonprofits and private industry.

It’s designed to help local officials and concerned citizens understand the benefits of inland lakes to communities, the regulations that govern inland lakes, and opportunities for protecting inland lakes at the local level.

Chapters outline a variety of protection techniques, from simple enforcement of existing statutes to comprehensive ordinances.

The book says inland lakes are most valuable to communities when they are clean and healthy.

Clean lakes offer better recreational opportunities as well as higher tax revenue. One study estimated that inland lake properties in Michigan generate $3.4 billion in annual tax income to local governments.

 

3 – Gypsy Moth Caterpillars have begun to hatch throughout Bay County.  

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Gypsy moth. Credit: John Borg

After resting a few days, the caterpillars will begin searching for food, according to an official with the county’s Gypsy Moth Suppression Program.

Some caterpillars will settle on the trees where their egg masses spent the winter. Others will spin a long silk thread and “balloon” to new trees where they can find more food.

The Bay County gypsy moth spraying program is tentatively scheduled for the week of May 29, weather permitting.  

Treatments with a biological pesticide will begin shortly after sunrise and be done by low-flying helicopters.

Officials say reasonable precautions should be taken, such as avoiding direct exposure under the flight path of a helicopter. Gypsy moths are targeted because, if left uncontrolled, they can defoliate large trees in a few weeks.

Discovery Playground, Rain Barrels, and Milkweed for Monarchs

For Friday the 13th, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/0onwn77huxvoyq9/05-13-16-mr-great-lakes-discovery.mp3]

1 – The Discovery Preserve is an urban, learning landscape established in 2013 and located at 1701 S. Euclid Ave. on Bay City’s West Side. 

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Via SBLC.

This year, the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is helping build a nature play area at the site. Children will be able to climb large boulders, build woodland shelters out of logs, and dig in the dirt.

The play area also will include interpretive signs that provide children with ideas to help explore and learn about the natural environment. The playground is due to be finished by this summer.

The Conservancy is holding a contest to name a playground mascot. Kids ages 12 and under are encouraged to submit suggestions online at sblc-mi.org.

2 – Rain barrels are a simple, efficient and low-cost method for conserving water to feed lawns and gardens.

The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland is taking orders for repurposed 55-gallon rain barrels.

Proceeds will support local conservation programs.

The barrels feature mesh screening to keep out mosquitoes and other bugs; overflow valves; a garden hose spigot; and a polyethylene surface that can be painted.

Rain barrels collect and store rainwater runoff, typically from a home or building’s rooftop. Instead of running down driveways and sidewalks to sewers, the rainwater is directed to a rain barrel where it can be stored for later use. The average home yields more than 250 gallons of water from every 1 inch of rainfall.

Orders are being taken until June 6. For more information, see littleforks.org.

3 – Throughout Michigan, people are working to help boost populations of monarch butterflies.

The numbers of monarchs have dropped sharply in recent years mostly because milkweed plants also have been decimated.

According to the Michigan Wildlife Council, virtually anyone can join the monarch conservation effort by planting milkweed in a backyard garden or flower bed.

Even a single plant makes a possible reproductive site. Milkweed is the only place where monarchs lay eggs. The plants also serve as the food source for the growth of monarch caterpillars.

A milkweed plant can support several caterpillars, and caterpillar survival is typically better if they are widely distributed over a number of plants.

Two of the best varieties for garden plantings in Michigan are orange milkweed – also commonly referred to as butterfly weed – and swamp milkweed.

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Monarch caterpillar. Credit: John Flannery

– 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

 

Mich Enviro Report: Gypsy Moth Eggs, Water Power & Student Scientists

As heard Nov. 4, 2011, on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

1.

Don’t scrape that tree. The Bay County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program is conducting egg mass surveys for the fall.

The surveys are used to determine the size of the Gypsy Moth population in wooded areas of the county.

If the egg mass surveys indicate that the population may be growing, the area will be included in spray operations next spring. The county program works to control the bugs, which feed on the leaves of hundreds of species of trees and other plants, commonly oak and aspen.

For that reason, residents are advised not to scrape egg masses off their trees until after the survey and count in increasing. A low count can disqualify a property from being sprayed next spring.

2.

A new study evaluates the impacts of power plants on Great Lakes water resources.

According to the Great Lakes Commission, about 90 percent of the electrical power in the Great Lakes basin is produced by thermoelectric plants, which use 26 billion gallons of water a day for cooling.

A commission report based on 18 months of research says that about 25 percent of water used for power generation in the basin comes from groundwater and tributaries.

The report also says about a quarter of all watersheds in the basin may be ecologically vulnerable to water withdrawals under certain “low-flow” conditions. Such conditions are likely to be more frequent in the future as the impacts of climate change become more severe.

The research is called the Great Lakes Energy-Water Nexus project.

The analysis also identified ways for public utilities to evaluate environmental impacts and use those results in decision-making, including requiring periodic water resource impact studies.

The Great Lakes Commission is an interstate compact agency established under state and federal law. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from eight member states. Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor.

3.

Three Bay area elementary schools were “Wired for Wind” in October.

Washington, Hampton and MacGregor schools received 4-H funding from Michigan State University to enhance their science education programs.

Students worked in teams to design light-weight, fast-moving wind turbine blades. The blades were then tested to see how much electricity they could potentially generate. The student scientists made changes to their designs based on the results.

The same program was conducted nationwide, as part of a Wired for Wind national science experiment.

The idea is to get young people involved in implementing alternatives to traditional energy production.

According to Bay County officials, there is a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and occupations. The 4-H organization is working on a goal to engage 1 million new young people in science, engineering, technology and applied math programs by the year 2013.

— Photo by John B.

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Were government flies released to combat caterpillars?

My bug bites have bug bites. After four days in northwest Michigan near Traverse City, I’m home, inside, and enjoying the air conditioning. One thing is still bugging me, though. The story that my brother, Scott, told me about black flies. Word in the woods is that the flies, which land on you every 3 seconds this time of year, were released by the Michigan DNR (now DNRE) to control tent caterpillars.

Sounds like a rumor. But usually rumors start out as truths, if you get my drift. According to a posting on UpNorthLive, with a Traverse City dateline, there’s an increase in black flies this year due to an increase in caterpillars. Black flies eat caterpillar larvae.

Which makes you wonder, what’s causing the caterpillar population to grow? And would the DNRE admit to releasing black flies for caterpillar control if the project went haywire (as in, annoying the hell out of people)?

David Lemmien, a DNRE unit manager, says his Traverse City office has been getting lots of calls about the fly-caterpillar scandal, but the DNRE hasn’t released flies to manage the outbreak of forest tent caterpillars.

Let’s take David at his word. Other words in this story aren’t as believable, such as “In fact, the DNRE doesn’t even have the means to raise flies.” Really? That’s laughable. Anyone with a checkbook has a means.  The story also circulated in New York in 2007, though, so it seems pretty mythical.

And there is a way to control black flies — a tip that comes courtesy of the nice cashier at the Village Market in Alden. Rub a dryer sheet on your skin and they’ll stop landing on you. It works. Too bad you can’t rub sheets on trees.

— Image via  Fat Man of the Mountains.

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