State of the Great Lakes, Sustain Our Great Lakes

For Friday, Jan. 12, 2018

1 – A new State of the Great Lakes Report highlights Great Lakes connections to Michigan’s environment, economy and culture.

The annual report, from the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, reflects on 2017, recognizes accomplishments in protecting and restoring water resources, and identifies challenges to ensure healthy natural resources and communities.

Report highlights include the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s Coastal Program, a new Michigan Water School for elected officials, and potential applications for autonomous vessels in the Great Lakes for shipping and scientific data collection.

For Lake Huron, the report highlights results from the stocking of Atlantic salmon (page 22).

A state official says initial stockings have produced “exciting results.” Stocking has expanded to additional locations. Since 2010, levels have increased from 10,000 to more than 100,000.

Atlantic salmon. Salmo salar.

Credit: NOAA

2 – The Sustain Our Great Lakes program is seeking proposals to benefit fish, wildlife, habitat and water quality in the basin.

The program will award up to $5.4 million grants this year to improve and enhance stream and riparian habitat, coastal wetland habitat, and water quality in the Great Lakes and its tributaries.

The submission deadline for pre-proposals is Feb. 13.

Eligible applicants include nonprofits, schools and local governments.

Individual awards will range from $100,000 to $1 million.

Significant funding for Sustain Our Great Lakes comes from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

For more information, see SustainOurGreatLakes.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

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Goodbye Power Plant, Hello Arctic Grayling

For Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

1 – Consumers Energy is tearing down a coal-fired power plant.

weadock consumers energy chimney demolition power plant

Demolition of Weadock’s 500-foot chimney in progress. Credit: Consumers Energy

In April 2016, the utility retired its Weadock power plant in Bay County’s Hampton Township. The plant had been generating electricity at the mouth of the Saginaw River since 1940.

Company officials say they’re now working to return the site to “brownfield” status, making it available for potential reuse.

The process includes abatement of environmental hazards, and the dismantling and demolition of buildings on the site.

A Lapeer-based contractor is dealing with asbestos and tearing down outbuildings and a chimney.

Demolition of the main plant will follow, with completion slated for late 2019.

2 – The reintroduction of Arctic grayling in Michigan has received support from a foundation.

The Wenger Foundation has gifted $180,000 to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The funds will support a research project as part of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative.

The initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of the native fish.

The gift will support research to determine how co-existing populations of brown trout and brook trout may affect reintroduction efforts.

The work also will provide insight into potential impediments to the grayling’s successful reintroduction.

Some of the funds will support researchers traveling to Alaska to pick up Arctic grayling eggs, which will be used for the studies and to help establish Michigan’s future broodstock program.

For more information, see migrayling.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

Asian Carp Solutions from 27 Countries, Agriculture Census to 3 Million Producers

For Nov. 17, 2017

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/k8hr24j4d3epx5p/mr-great-lakes-11-17-17.mp3]

1 – A Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge has netted more than 350 entries.

The Challenge sought solutions to stop the movement of invasive carp.

Michigan officials say entries were received from 27 countries.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges, with up to eight solutions selected for awards of $25,000.

First-round awards will be announced in February.

For final awards, a select number of Stage 1 awardees will present their ideas for additional cash awards totaling up to $500,000.

A live event is planned for March 2018 in Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge during his State of the State address in January. The state pledged $1 million to seek innovative methods to prevent the movement of invasive carp into Lake Michigan.

2 – Everyone is affected by rural development.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking a 2017 Census of about 3 million producers.

They’re encouraging those who receive surveys to fill out the questionnaires.

Data collected from the survey affects how resources are directed to things such as roads and disaster relief.

Census data also is used in the development of new technologies and helps direct agriculture education in schools.

This year, the department will collect new information, including expanded questions about food marketing practices.

Census responses are due by Feb. 5, 2018.

– 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

Antidepressants in Fish Brains, Beach Trash in Bags

For Sept 1, 2017

1 – A Great Lakes-wide event is planned for Sept. 16.

Thousands of people are expected to participate in September Adopt-a-Beach on Sept. 16. The day is organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes and dedicated to volunteering and cleaning up Great Lakes beaches and shorelines.

The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, involving millions of people caring for local shorelines around the world.

In the Great Lakes last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up more than 40,000 pounds of litter. 87 percent of it was plastic.

To find a cleanup near you, or host your own event, go online to GreatLakesAdopt.org.

2 – Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region.

antidepressants pills

Credit: Wendy

In a new study, researchers from the University of Buffalo detected high concentrations of antidepressants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River.

The Niagara River connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls.

The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, researchers say.

The active ingredients from antidepressants are coming from wastewater treatment plants, and could affect the feeding behavior of fish and their survival instincts.

The levels of antidepressants found do not pose a danger to humans who eat the fish, but are a threat to biodiversity if they disrupt the balance between species that keep the ecosystem stable.

The study was published on Aug. 16 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

– 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

Tittabawassee River Sturgeon, Cedar River Monitoring

For Aug. 24, 2017

1- The state is stocking the Tittabawassee River with lake sturgeon for the first time.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 193 lake sturgeon were stocked in the river in Midland County on Monday (Aug. 21).

A DNR Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy identified the Saginaw River watershed, including the Tittabawassee, as a system whose lake sturgeon population is in dire need of improvement.

The stocking was the first reintroduction of the species in the Saginaw River watershed. It’s the culmination of work aimed at rehabilitating the sturgeon in waters where they once flourished.

Lake sturgeon are a slow-growing, late-maturing fish that can live more than 100 years.

The fish stocked in the Tittabawassee River likely will not return to spawn until 2040.

Credit: Michigan DNR

2 – Volunteers will be back in the Cedar River this fall to determine the river’s water quality by looking at macroinvertebrates which live in the water.

Little Forks Conservancy is seeking volunteers for a stream sampling day on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Volunteers will meet at the Gladwin Community Building at 9 a.m. Teams will sample six sites in the Cedar River in Gladwin and Clare counties.

Little Forks Conservancy began monitoring Cedar River water quality in fall of 2015.

Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans, worms and aquatic insects.

Experienced volunteers will act as team leaders and collectors, working in the streams to ensure that quality samples are collected.

The conservancy says each successive monitoring event helps create a more complete picture of the health of the Cedar River.

For more details, see littleforks.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

Invasive Carp Challenge, ‘How You Dune’ Survey, Frankenmuth Catfish

For Aug. 11, 2017

1 – An Invasive Carp Challenge is accepting proposals to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

In June, an eight-pound silver carp was captured nine miles from Lake Michigan, beyond an electric barrier. Michigan is working with other states and Canadian provinces to keep silver and bighead carp – two species of Asian carp – from entering the Great Lakes.

The Invasive Carp Challenge is will accept solutions in any phase of development, from concept to design to field-tested models, which are aimed at preventing invasive carp movement into the Great Lakes.

Written proposals will be accepted online through Oct. 31.

One or more solutions will share up to $700,000 in cash awards provided by the state of Michigan.

2 – The Great Lakes include the largest collection of freshwater sand dunes in the world.

There are about 275,000 acres of coastal sand dunes in Michigan, according to state officials.

Most dunes are located on Lakes Michigan and Superior and made up of wind-blown glacial sand. The diversity of plants and wildlife on these dunes attracts millions of human visitors to Michigan shorelines. And so the state is conducting a survey to gather information on the value and recreation uses of these Great Lakes coastal dunes.

The “How You Dune” survey is online, and asks questions related to the locations of coastal dunes that people visit, their most recent trip to coastal dunes, and costs related to the most recent trip.

Responses are anonymous. The survey can be found at http://HowYouDuneSurvey.com.

3 – There’s more than chicken in Frankenmuth.

fried chicken

Credit: Shelby Bell

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network reports that flathead catfish are making it past the Cass River dam thanks to a fish passage project completed in 2015 and supported in part by network funding.

Researchers have been gathering species that are navigating past the dam thanks to a rock ramp. The ramp reconnects Saginaw Bay fish to more than 73 miles of historically significant spawning areas.

And the researchers have caught what may be the first confirmed flathead catfish above Frankenmuth.

The species was common to the lower southwest area of Michigan but has increased its range over the past 25 years.

The network says flathead catfish are now showing up more commonly in the Saginaw River and have been found in the Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawasee rivers. They grow to be 25 pounds or larger, and are reported by some anglers to be the tastiest of all catfish.

– 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

 

BaySail Seeks Trainees, Refuge Considers Commercial Guides, State Surveys Fish

For June 2, 2017

 

1 – BaySail in Bay City is offering Windward Bound Voyages.

They take place on board the 65-foot Appledore V schooner.

Teenagers from 14-18 can join a professional tall ship crew to learn about navigation, sailing, and the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Windward Bound graduates are eligible to join a year-round training program and enjoy future sailing opportunities as volunteers,

The voyage schedule includes a trip from Bay City to Buffalo, New York, in June, and others through August.

A limited number of scholarships are available for teens from Bay, Midland, Saginaw and Isabella counties.

For a complete schedule and an application, see BaySailBayCity.org.

 

2 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is seeking public comment on a plan to allow commercial guides for wildlife observation and photography.

Officials say wildlife observation and photography by the public was previously determined to be compatible with a refuge conservation plan.

Officials are seeking comment on a similar plan that expands this use to include commercial guiding for wildlife observation and photography.

Comments are being taken for two weeks, ending June 14, at the refuge website and on its Facebook page.

All commercial guides would be required to apply for a Special Use Permit and steps would be taken to minimize impacts to wildlife.

3 – All four of the state’s fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning their annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations for the Department of Natural Resources.

The surveys are designed to examine and collect information on fish communities and their habitats.

The research vessels are based in Marquette, Alpena, Charlevoix and Harrison Township.

They work throughout the Great Lakes, beginning as soon as ice has cleared and continuing into November.

On Lake Huron, work is done by the research vessel Tanner, the DNR’s newest vessel which was launched in 2016. This vessel focuses on assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, and broader fisheries assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River.

 

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