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

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Getting “Lost” in Hawaii (Waikiki Isn’t My Cup of Tea)

So I’m finally back in the Great Lakes state after a week in Hawaii. I can’t complain. Hawaii was great. The weather is perfect (85), the humidity is (mostly) low, and there are few if any bugs to swat away. But I didn’t like Waikiki, where I stayed. The (man-made) beach and the shopping and entertainment district there is just too busy. Too many people. Too much traffic. Too much noise. Good thing I got “Lost” while I was there.

One of a few excursions my wife and I took while on the island of Oahu was a Hummer tour of the “island of Lost,” where the TV show was filmed. Most of the filming locations, including where the VW bus was rolled down the hill (see the iPhone forced perspective pic above), are located on Kualoa Ranch. Yes, I know Hummers are bad. But this one was used to its full 4×4 potential.

Here’s a sample of what we saw. The tour driver played the creepy “Lost” theme music during our ride. This is the kind of “environment” I like. Natural. Quiet. Pure Hawaii, I guess.

See some of my other observations on TreeHugger:

Huge Banyan Tree Shades Historic Hawaiian Market

and

Wearable Dirt, on a Shirt, Helped Save a Company.

Hawaii’s Version of the Asian Carp Story

photo hawaii snorkel ecotourism fish

Snorkeling in Oahu.

Hawaii is a part of the United States. That’s what my AT&T rep quipped when I asked about iPhone coverage. So I’m covered here for phone and Internet access. And I’m more than covered when it comes to the problem of invasive species. If you think we have it bad in the Great Lakes with the Asian carp situation, think again. We have it easy compared to Hawaii, where invasive species threaten to blot out the eco-tourism economy like a dinosaur-scrubbing asteroid.

On the long flight here, my wife and I had to fill out an agricultural declaration form promising we wouldn’t bring in or take out plants, animals or any agricultural materials. Immediately, I was reminded of trips I’ve taken to foreign countries where similar forms had to be filled out. And I thought of my snide AT&T rep.

It turns out that Hawaii has a huge issue with invasive species, dwarfing our Asian carp problem by comparison (I suppose it depends on your perspective).

As noted by About.com:

“Despite the efforts of more than 20 state, federal, and private agencies, unwanted alien pests are entering Hawai’i at an alarming rate – about 2 million times more rapid than the natural rate. In 1993, the federal Office of Technology Assessment declared Hawaii’s alien pest species problem the worst in the nation.

“Hawaii’s evolutionary isolation from the continents, and its modern role as the commercial hub of the Pacific make these islands particularly vulnerable to destruction by alien pests. Gaps in current pest prevention systems and a lack of public awareness add further to this serious problem.”

Public awareness is right. Among tourists, and apparently some of the folks who live here. Hawaii is a beautiful place, but its isolation makes me wonder about a lot of things:

  • Why isn’t there more recycling here? I haven’t seen a recycling container since I arrived. I can’t imagine they have a lot of extra room for landfilling trash.
  • How much attention is being paid to the importance of maintaining the delicate ecology here and making sure visitors — and residents — don’t screw it up?

The wife and I went snorkeling on Tuesday. We saw dolphins and fish and one sea turtle and had a great time. But they fed hamburger buns to the fish. That’s a no-no, according to the Hawaii Ecotourism Association:

“Avoid feeding fish or other wildlife,” the HEA says in a Green Travel Tips guide.

“Feeding wildlife alters their natural behaviors and can upset the natural balance of the reef or the ocean environment.”

At least the folks aboard the boat we took out for snorkeling used a pre-installed anchor, so as not to damage the reef.

On the invasive species front, stinging Little Fire Ants from South America and birds known as Japanese White-Eyes are two poster children for the islands.

One more thing: I found out this morning that the Alliance for the Great Lakes is teaming up with musician Jack Johnson (who has a solar-powered studio in Hawaii) to raise funds to protect our freshwater seas.

The Alliance will get $1 for everyone who watches this video to the end. The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation also is matching dollar donations up to $2,500 until Oct. 15. See www.greatlakes.org/allatonce for details.

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