Debating Ag Land Windfall, Finding Trout Trails

For April 14, 2017

1 – Agricultural land is the only type of property in Michigan that’s increased in overall value since 2008.

According to Midwest Energy News and Bridge Magazine, that may be in part due to wind energy development. Areas that have seen significant development — such as the Thumb region — also had some of the greatest property value increases.

One analysis says commodity prices of corn, sugar beets and soybeans are the primary reason for the increased agricultural property values.

But a Lansing-based consulting firm says that analysis focused on a property’s value, not including other taxable features like wind turbines.

5 Lakes Energy says counties that host the largest number of turbines, including Huron County,  have seen the largest increase in the total taxable value of property in their areas.

2 – Those who love to fish for trout will want to check out a new online Trout Trails tool.

michigan-trout-trails

Credit: MDNR

The application pinpoints quality trout streams and lakes throughout the state.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the tool features lesser-known waters that are considered to be outstanding places to fish for trout, and they’ve verified by biologists.

Almost 100 new sites were recently added to the application, which includes about 300 locations in the Great Lakes basin.

Each entry features extensive information, including the trout species available, regulations, the presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish, driving directions, area lodging, restaurants and more.

Visit michigan.gov/trouttrails to access the information.

– 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

 

 

April Showers Bring Grants, Fisheries Workshops, Youth Opportunities

For March 17, 2017

1 – A grant program to reduce bacteria in the Cass River watershed is available to farmers and landowners in Tuscola and Saginaw counties.

Funds of up to $10,000 are available to pay for structures to reduce E. coli bacteria that makes its way from local creeks into the Lower Cass River. Tributaries highlighted for improvement include Cole Creek, Dead Creek, Perry Creek and Millington Creek.

Grants can be used to build livestock crossings, fences, animal watering systems and manure management structures. The goal is to manage animal and agricultural runoff from small farms.

The landowner commitment is a 25 percent match, which includes in-kind goods and services.

Anyone who is interested should contact the Tuscola Conservation District (Mike Boike, technician at the TCD, at mike.boike@mi.nacdnet.net or 989-673-8174 ext. 103).

 

2 – Michigan Sea Grant is hosting spring fisheries workshops along Lake Huron’s coastline.

The events are open to the public, and held in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, the state Department of Natural Resources, the federal Great Lakes Science Center and local fishery organizations.

The workshops will include information and status updates on topics such as: fish populations and angler catch data, forage or prey fish surveys, the status of Saginaw Bay yellow perch and walleye, and citizen science opportunities for anglers.

Workshops are planned for Wednesday, April 12, from 6-9 p.m., at Bangor Township Hall; and Wednesday, April 26, from 6-9 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Oscoda.

Other evening Lake Huron workshops are planned for April 4 in Port Huron and April 27 in Cedarville. Registration is requested.

 

3 – If you’re 14 to 18 years old, or know someone who is, consider a spot on the Natural Resource Commission Youth Conservation Council.

The state is accepting nominations from youth who are interested in a position on the council.

It’s an opportunity to gain leadership experience, explore outdoor recreation issues and participate in activities under the guidance of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

You can apply until Friday, April 28.

The appointment is for two years, and members will be expected to participate in four meetings each year.

At least two of the meetings will be offered as weekend training sessions at a conference facility.

State officials say they hope members will help develop recommendations on policy, programs and legislative changes that can boost young people’s interest and involvement in the outdoors, including hunting and fishing.

– 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

Bringing Back the Arctic Grayling, Looking for Frogs

For March 3, 2017

1 – The Arctic grayling hasn’t been seen in Michigan waters since the 1930s.

But reintroduction of the fish has edged a step closer.

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Arctic grayling. Credit: Michigan DNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Michigan Technological University have received a grant to support efforts to bring back the extirpated fish to Michigan waters.

Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative consists of 32 organizations that are working reintroduce the species.

The $117,175 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation will fund work this year to address two immediate needs for a successful reintroduction.

The first is the collection of habitat and fish community data in the upper Big Manistee River, where the fish used to live

The second is to create an outreach plan to engage Michigan citizens in the reintroduction efforts.

Members of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative have met twice to identify knowledge gaps and discuss management and stocking strategies and public outreach.

State officials say the information collected through the grant will help guide management agencies in selecting appropriate reintroduction sites.

2 – Volunteers are needed to help with a frog and toad survey.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers throughout the state.

Declining populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have been documented worldwide since the 1980s. Studies suggest amphibians are disappearing due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and collection.

Michigan’s annual frog and toad survey helps biologists monitor frog and toad abundance and distribution in the state. Michigan has the second-longest-running such survey in the country, after Wisconsin.

Michigan’s surveys are conducted along a system of permanent survey routes, each consisting of 10 wetland sites. The sites are visited three times during spring, when frogs and toads are actively breeding. Observers listen for calling frogs and toads at each site, identify the species present, and make an estimate of abundance.

Those interested in volunteering may contact Lori Sargent at 517-284-6216 or SargentL@michigan.gov.


– 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

National Spotlight for Saginaw Bay Restoration, National Ban for 11 Invasives

For Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 –


1 – Wetland restoration in Saginaw Bay is highlighted in a national report.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points to seven partnerships in the U.S. that have helped safeguard natural resources.

The agency says the partnerships demonstrate the benefits of using conservation approaches to address climate change and other issues.

Saginaw Bay is listed alongside areas in California, the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii.

 

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Lake Huron shoreline, Tawas Point, Michigan. Credit: NOAA

 

Our area is singled out for development of a coastal wetland decision support tool.

The tool helps identify and prioritize restoration activities for existing and historical coastal wetlands.

The national project is called the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative. It supports a U.S. strategy to build and maintain an ecologically connected network of coastal and other conservation areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change and support a broad range of fish, wildlife and plants.

2 – Eleven freshwater species have been added to a federal ban list.

The Nature Conservancy says the move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bans trade or import into the United States, and was determined by examining damage caused in other waters.

The list includes 10 fish species such as the Crucian carp and Eurasian minnow along with the the Yabby crayfish.

The Conservancy says these nonnative invasives aren’t currently part of trade or import, but have been determined through a risk assessment process to have a high climate match. That means, if they’re released here, they could thrive within the Great Lakes basin.

Conservancy officials say past practice has been to prohibit a species only after it’s been established in the U.S. and is causing damage. The group says this proactive assessment and restriction by the Fish and Wildlife Service is an important step forward.

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 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

‘Human-Toothed’ Pacu in Michigan Waters, Endangered Species Running Out of Time

pacu-fish-human-teeth

Pacu fish. Via Thinking Humanity

For Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j100j9ftsyzmdjz/mr-great-lakes-8-12-16-pacu-endangered-species.mp3]

Fish with human-like teeth have been caught in Michigan waters.

The South American fish, called a pacu, uses its teeth for eating nuts and seeds, rather than people.

But three recent reports from anglers who reeled in a pacu are resulting in an announcement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The message is, don’t release aquarium pets into the wild.

The non-native pacu is a popular aquarium fish.

Pacus are not considered invasive in Michigan because they are tropical fish — and not likely to survive Michigan winters.

Still, releasing a pet into the wild is almost never humane, the DNR says, because such animals are poorly equipped to fend off predators and can spread exotic diseases to native animals.

And, planting a fish of any kind in Michigan waters without a permit is illegal. A new statewide campaign offers solutions for aquarium and pond owners. More information is available from the DNR Michigan Invasive Species website.

prairie fringed orchid endangered threatened fish wildlife service

Prairie Fringed Orchid. Credit: USFWS

If you’re an endangered species, time may not be on your side.

Under the Endangered Species Act, there’s a two-year timeline for a species threatened with extinction to receive protection.

A study from the University of Missouri finds that many species are encountering much longer wait times. Scientists say such delays could lead to less global biodiversity.

There’s a Michigan-related example, of the prairie fringed orchid.

In the study, the authors document species that went extinct due to a delay in the process. The island night lizard was listed in 1.19 years, whereas the prairie fringed orchid took 14.7 years to be listed.

The lizard has since recovered and been removed from endangered status; the orchid – which grows in parts of Michigan – is still considered threatened.

– 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

 

Research Vessels, Energy Appraisal and Bad Axe Renewables

For Friday, June 3, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/md2k740gy9g9fxe/6-3-16-mr-great-lakes-fish-energy-badaxe.mp3]

1 – Four state fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says surveys conducted by the vessels are designed to examine and collect information on all aspects of the state’s Great Lakes fish community.

The vessels work throughout the Great Lakes on a wide variety of assessments and evaluations. Operations will continue into November.

channelcat

R/V Channel Cat. Via MDNR

On Lake Huron, the work is conducted by the Research Vessel Tanner  Chinook. The vessel focuses work on specific assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, as well as broader assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River that evaluate fish community changes.

The Saginaw Bay evaluations are conducted jointly with the Research Vessel Channel Cat, which is based in Lake St. Clair at the Fisheries Research Station in Harrison Township.

 

2- Michigan consumers are benefiting from an abundant production and supply of natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products.

This is resulting in decreased prices across the board, according to a new state energy appraisal.

This summer, residents should enjoy dramatically lower prices at the pump.

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Credit: Joe Ross

Gas prices are about 13 percent lower than last year, officials say, along with the price of natural gas.

Officials say successful energy waste reduction efforts are noticeable in electricity demand.

Baseline usage is expected to decrease by 0.9 percent, despite a rise in economic activity and slightly increased usage by the industrial sector.

The state energy appraisal comes from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

 

3 – An old building Bad Axe has been renewed.

The Huron Renewable Energy Center was opened recently by DTE Energy, bringing 25 jobs to the Thumb.

The facility was vacant for two years and is a former Normans Warehouse and the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952.

The newly-renovated center includes offices, garage facilities, warehousing and a maintenance shop area.

The facility also has an unfinished 3,000 square-foot space.

DTE plans to develop the space to serve as an area for renewable energy education and the hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities.

Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.

– 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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