Report Winter Fish Kills, Enter Duck Stamp Contest

For Feb. 9, 2018


1 – If you see more than 25 dead fish, the state wants to know about it.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has created new online form for reporting mass fish kills.

fish-235085_640

Credit: Pixabay

The agency says winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.

The new online form allows people to report fish kills in quantities of 25 or more.

Officials say a fish kill of that size could have more factors involved that require further investigation.

The Sick or Dead Aquatic Species form can be found in the DNR’s Eyes in the Field application at michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.

2 – A Federal Junior Duck Stamp program uses art and science to teach students in grades K through 12 about the value of wetlands and waterfowl.

By entering the Junior Duck Stamp art contest, students can show off what they’ve learned visually.

Each year, thousands of students across the US enter the contest. In 2017, 230 students in grades K through 12 participated in Michigan.

A total of 100 winners are chosen with one top winner named as the “Best of Show.” The Best of Show’s then compete in a national competition. One image is selected to become the Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

Entries for the Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest are due by March 15. Artwork must be of a North American duck, goose or swan.

A special awards ceremony is held each spring at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw for first through third place winners. Prizes in past years have included gift certificates, art supplies, backpacks and more.

Registration information can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge’s Junior Duck Stamp Program webpage.

– 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

Michigan - Common Eider

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Major Conservancy Award, Sewer Planning Bucks, Solar School Contest

For Friday, Jan. 5, 2018

1 – Eighty communities have received funding for sewer planning.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality awarded nearly $64 million to the local governments to help with planning for sewer system maintenance needs.

Communities and funding amounts include: $1.6 million to Hampton Township and $350,000 to Kawkawlin Township.

This the fifth ground of state grants for sewer planning. The DEQ says municipalities applied for the grants in 2013, and approved applications have been awarded in a lottery process starting in March 2014.

2 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy has received a major award.

The Conservancy has received the Park Design Award for 2017 from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

The honor is for the Conservancy’s O.U.R. Saginaw Project.

The O.U.R. Saginaw effort includes a Pollinator Project to convert more than 1,500 vacant, overgrown lots into low-growing, low-maintenance pollinator plots.

There’s also the Janet H. Nash Riverfront Preserve, a 2-plus acre new riverfront natural area, developed out of a under-used parking lot; and nature trails at the Children’s Zoo in Saginaw and at Saginaw Valley State University.

3 – Michigan students can find ways to use solar energy in their schools as part of a statewide contest.

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Credit: Pixabay

My Solar School Contest” is put on by the Ecology Center, U.S. Green Building Council, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and others.

Student teams in grades 6-12 will compete by conducting a solar feasibility study at their school and creating a short video to showcase their vision.

Prizes include cash and technical support.

Pre-registration is open until Jan. 19, with a contest deadline of March 30.

See ecocenter.org for more details.

– 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

Great Lakes Restoration, Phragmites and Insect Hotels

For Oct. 20, 2017

1- Great Lakes advocates gathered in Buffalo, New York, this week for the 13th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference.

The event, hosted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition attracted hundreds of people from the Saginaw Bay area, other parts of Michigan, and other states. It occurred while Congress is working to finalize the federal budget.

Coalition officials say federal investments in the Great Lakes are producing results around the region, which benefit communities, the environment and the economy.

The coalition is urging Congress to maintain support for federal investments for programs to clean up toxic pollution and help fix wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums.

2 – School children are learning about the impacts of invasive plants.

Earlier this month, sixth graders from Tawas Area Schools visited a patch of phragmites that have developed on the property of the St. Joseph Health System in Tawas City.

Non-native phragmites, also know as common reed, can grow into tall stands and crowd out native plants and animals.

The hospital wanted to treat for the plants and worked with the nonprofit Huron Pines in Gaylord to turn the request into a learning experience for the students.

Student activities included calculating the density of the patch, dissecting the plant, mapping the site, and journaling ideas for future site plans.

The students and teachers plan to continue the lessons by bringing the data back to the classroom for further discussion.

3 – Hotels have been built in a nature preserve.

 

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An insect hotel. Credit: Little Forks Conservancy

Don’t worry though, these hotels are for insects.

A Boy Scout built and installed the insect hotels for the Little Forks Conservancy of Midland.

The conservancy says these hotels are great for gardens and natural areas. The insects that check in are friendly pollinators and creatures that help control harmful bugs. The hotels are stuffed with materials to attract various insects.

Ten hotels were installed along the trail at the Averill Preserve and Riverview Natural Area. They will be seeded by the Chippewa Nature Center in the spring with native wildflowers and grasses.

– 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

OktoberForest Campaign and Open Burning Information

For Oct. 13, 2017

 

1 – More than 20 breweries in Michigan have joined an OktoberForest campaign by The Nature Conservancy to raise awareness about the importance of forests to freshwater.

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An OktoberForest coaster. Credit: TNC

That includes Tri City Brewing in Bay City.

The OktoberForest campaign aims to educate beer fans about the link between the health of America’s forests and water, which is the main ingredient in beer.  

Twenty one Michigan breweries are participating out of 81 nationwide, the most of any state.

Coasters with information about OktoberForest can be found at breweries including Tri City Brewing in Bay City and Midland Brewing in Midland, along with Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling and Snowbelt Brewing Co. in Gaylord.

Forests help improve water supplies in a number of ways. Forests shade streams, lakes and snow from evaporation; the forest floor helps filter sediment; and tree roots help hold soil together so it can store water.

2 –  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has information on open burning in the state.

Open burning is the burning of unwanted materials like brush, leaves and grass. It pollutes the air and poses a forest fire hazard, state regulators say. And there are various rules that people need to follow.

For instance, you can’t burn hazardous materials, chemicals, tires, trash, plastics or electronics. If you live 1,400 feet outside of an incorporated city or village limit, you can burn brush and trees. If you want to burn grass and leaves, you need to check with your local government.

Go to Michigan.gov/burnpermit to see if you need a burn permit. State regulators say the rules are in place to protect people and the environment.

– 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

Invasive Plant Boat Tours, Fall Colors

For Sept. 22, 2017

1 – You can learn about the effects of invasive plants during free boat tours on Lake Huron.

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Bay County and a group called Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is offering half-hour public tours to showcase phragmites treatment efforts.

The tours leave every half hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the Finn Road Boat Launch in Essexville on Sept. 29, the Quanicassee Boat Launch in Fairgrove on Sept. 30, and Eagle Bay Marina in Standish on Oct. 1.

Those who join can learn about the effects of invasive phragmites on recreation and the ecosystem of Saginaw Bay. Local naturalists will explain the issues caused by these invasive plants and showcase areas where treatment has killed a majority of the infestation.

The tours will take place aboard charter fishing boats and are family friendly.

2 – Friday, Sept. 22, is the first day of fall.

fall leaves colors michigan

Credit: MDNR

Fall color is predicted to peak throughout October in Michigan, depending on the location. The Pure Michigan website has a map to find out the best times to visit different areas of the state.

See Michigan.org/fall.

The state Department of Natural Resources also notes that fall camping is available for people traveling north to view the colors.

Reservations are reported to be much easier to find in the fall, and officials say campgrounds are less crowded.

Many state parks will host harvest festivals for campers. Events are planned at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township on Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14.

– 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

 

On Following a Black Bear and Germania Restoration

For Aug. 18, 2017

1 – Michigan educators can register for classroom wildlife programs.

black bear michigan crossing

Credit: Tony Faiola

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers free educational opportunities for K through 12 educators.

The resources meet required educational standards and include “Elk University,” which touches on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology and wildlife disease.

There’s also “A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear,” which includes following a bear through its seasonal movements by using actual data points from a radio-collared Michigan black bear.

Educators are asked to register for these classroom programs by Sept. 30.

To register, visit mi.gov/dnrteachers and click on “Wildlife Education and Outreach.”

2 – Two community meetings are planned for Sept. 13 at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center in Saginaw.

The meetings are to discuss the future use and restoration of the former Germania country club, which recently became part of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

The public is invited to provide input about their needs for wildlife, outdoor recreation and environmental education along with any concerns they may have on future management of the area.

The Sept. 13 meetings will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Two future meetings are being planned in the Saginaw area.

– 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

 

State of the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay

For June 23, 2017

1 – A new report from the U.S. and Canada accesses the condition of the Great Lakes as “fair and unchanging.”

In other words, progress to restore and protect the lakes has been made, including the reduction of toxic chemicals. But there are challenges with issues such as invasive species and nutrients. Also, the ecosystem is large and complex and it can take years to respond to restoration activities and policy changes.

For Lake Huron, the report says chemical pollutants have declined significantly since the 1970s, but there are still fish and wildlife consumption advisories to protect human health. Most nearshore waters are high-quality, but areas including Saginaw Bay experience periodic harmful or nuisance algal blooms.

To read the full report, see binational.net.

beach saginaw bay recreation state park

Saginaw Bay at the Bay City State Recreation Area, Bangor Township, Michigan

2 – Registration is now open for the State of the Bay 2017 Conference to be held Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Bay City.

The one-day conference is a chance to learn about activities related to the restoration, conservation and protection of Saginaw Bay. In addition, there will be presentations on what communities around the bay and throughout the watershed are doing to encourage public access, economic development, environmental education and watershed management.

The latest agenda includes a keynote on “Water Quality in Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie” by Dr. Jeff Reutter from Ohio Sea Grant.

The Sept. 27 conference is sponsored by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and its partners.

Go to stateofthebay2017.org to register for the event and review a preliminary agenda.

– 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

 

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