Suggest Water Monitoring Sites, Beware of Toxic Halloween Stuff

For Friday, Oct, 31, 2014


1 – Where should water quality be monitored in Michigan?

Credit: Lee Cannon

Credit: Lee Cannon

The state Department of Environmental Quality is seeking suggestions for water quality monitoring locations.

The effort is in support of a Strategic Environmental Quality Monitoring Program for Michigan’s Surface Waters.

The DEQ is soliciting the recommendations from municipalities, nonprofits and citizens for fiscal year 2015.

Primary goals of the strategy including detecting new and emerging water quality problems.

The DEQ is welcoming suggestions for monitoring water or sediment chemistry, fish contamination, nuisance aquatic plant or algae growth, and E. coli bacteria.

Monitoring for Fiscal Year 2015 is planned for locations including the Kawkawlin River in Bay County.

A monitoring request form is online.

2Trick or treat. There may be toxic substances lurking in your halloween candy bag, or your store-bought Halloween costume.



A study released by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor has found elevated levels of toxic chemicals in some popular Halloween costumes, accessories and party supplies.

The nonprofit tested 106 Halloween products for substances linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. The products were purchased from top national retailers.

Halloween products were tested for chemicals based on their toxicity or tendency to build up in people and the environment.

The results of the study are available online at

In conjunction with the release of the study, advocates have launched a national online petition calling on major retailers to eliminate hazardous chemicals in consumer products such as Halloween costumes and accessories.

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



Wicked Problems, Delta’s Green Award, and Michigan Energy Efficiency

Photo by thirteenthbat

As heard Oct 12, 2012, on Friday Edition, 9 a.m. on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

Sea Grant Seeks ‘Wicked Problems’

Just in time for Halloween, Michigan Sea Grant is looking for “wicked problems” in the Great Lakes.

What makes a problem “wicked”? It has to be a complex environmental issue that’s challenging to address because the cause isn’t clear.

After all, you can’t figure out how to best solve a problem without a clear understanding of what factors are causing it.

So the Michigan Sea Grant research program is looking for public input on a coastal resource issue that needs a solution.

Michigan Sea Grant is seeking ideas for projects in four focus areas:

1)      Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

2)      Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

3)      Resilient Communities and Economies, and

4)      Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development.

The ideas are requested by the day before Halloween.

Michigan Sea Grant is a collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

(If you have an idea for Michigan Sea Grant, provide a synopsis and contact information for an agency or organization with decision-making authority related to the issue. Send the information by Oct. 30 to Jennifer Read, Research Program Coordinator:

Green Genome Award

Delta College has received a national environmental award.

The Green Genome Award comes from the American Association of Community Colleges.

The award was presented this month as part of an effort to honor community colleges that “have taken a strategic leadership role in sustainability and green economic and workforce development.”

Delta College won for achievements in Community Engagement. Other awards went to colleges in California, North Carolina, Florida, and West Virginia.

Winners of the awards each received $8,000 to support the college’s enhancement, expansion, or creation of a practice or program related to green workforce development and sustainability.

According to a Green Genome report from the association, Delta was recognized for efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the campus and the surrounding community.

Those efforts, over several years, have included the creation of a campus sustainability office to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Delta also has been spearheaded numerous alternative transportation activities, including the creation of a non-motorized greenway and a park-and-ride, hybrid-conversion bus route called the Green Line.

In addition, Delta was recognized for providing alternative energy training in automotive, wind, and chemical process technology, and work by students to build sustainable Habitat for Humanity homes in the community.

We’re No. 12!

Michigan is becoming more energy efficient, but didn’t break the Top Ten in a recent 2012 state scorecard report.

The report, from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, ranks Michigan as 12th in the nation. That’s up from a rank of 17 last year.

MIchigan was cited as most improved after Oklahoma, Montana and South Carolina, according to Great Lakes Echo.  The state advanced in the rankings in part  through a law requiring electricity and natural gas providers to file energy optimization plans. The plans are meant to help reduce long-term costs to ratepayers and delay the need for additional power plants.

The scorecard report gives top honors to Massachusetts for the second year in a row. The report looks at six policy areas in which states pursue energy efficiency goals.

This is the sixth year for the Council’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard report.


The Great Lakes Are Haunted By Polyester

Trash is still haunting us in the Great Lakes State. And Saturday is the first-annual Halloween Costume Swap Day.

No need to get a card for this one. The Oct. 9 “holiday” is being organized by Green Halloween, KIWI magazine, and There’s an online directory to look for swaps in your community. If you don’t find one, feel free to organize your own costume trade party.
Sierra Club, which is promoting Halloween Swap Day on its blog, says that 25 million kids celebrate Halloween in the U.S. If half of them exchanged costumes, they’d cut landfill waste by more than 6,000 tons.

You can do it on Saturday, or any day, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you re-use a costume rather than throwing one out and buying a new polyester outfit for the kids.

I guess costume swapping isn’t a new idea. I remember letting my brother use my Frankenstein mask the year after I did. And my Dracula cape also was passed on down.

There aren’t any Halloween swaps near me in Michigan, but the elementary school down the road is holding a Halloween costume fundraiser.

There’s another idea: Donate your old costumes to a nonprofit that can sell them to raise funds. And stop over and buy a new (to you) costume for the kids.

— Photo: peasap via Flickr.


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