Place-Based Education, Fishery Workshops, Coffee Talk

For Friday, March 25, 2016

1 – Northeast Michigan schools are part of a study on place-based education.

The report on the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative centers on four case studies and highlights the opinion and analysis of students.

Examples of place-based activities in Northeast Michigan schools include monitoring water quality and aquatic invasive species, adopting public beaches and promoting fisheries.

Students also have been out removing invasive plants as part of a habitat restoration effort in their schoolyard n
ature area.

The study identifies four principles that youth value as part of a place-based education experience. Those include that the education is rich with opportunities to contribute to the community and explore future career possibilities.

2 – Spring fishery workshops are being held along Lake Huron’s coastline to offer current research and information related to the status of the fishery.

One of the workshops is from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 19 in Bay City, at the Knights of Columbus Hall on South River Road.

The workshop is being put on by agencies including Michigan Sea Grant and the state Department of Natural Resources.

The event is open to the public and will include information and status updates on topics such as Saginaw Bay perch and walleye, and work underway to restore historic fish spawning reefs in Saginaw Bay.

Other workshops are April 21 in Ubly, April 26 in Cedarville and April 27 in Alpena.

Pre-registration for the events is requested.

3 – If you’re looking to talk fish with staff from the DNR Fisheries Division, there’s also a “Conversations and Coffee” public forum on April 12.

6079976530_3798d8944a_z

Credit: Ben Rousch

It’s from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Visitor Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

You can attend to chat with fisheries managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities, and get specific questions answered.

The coffee talk is informal and no presentations will be made.

For more information, see Michigan.gov/fishing.

 

– 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

 

 

Great Lakes Bay Trail, Duck Stamp Contest, Phragmites Workshops

For Friday, March 4, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/u90px1kbuvtarqo/3-4-2016-mrgreatlakes-environment-report.mp3]

1 – A Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail project is moving right along.

The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has awarded $200,000 toward building the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail.

The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation also has contributed $100,000 and the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation has kicked in $50,000.

The region-wide, non-motorized trail system would link existing trails in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties.

great-lakes-bay-regional-trail.jpg

Screenshot of promotional video. Via YouTube

Once completed, it would be a 100-mile system, giving walkers, runners, bike riders and skaters access to destinations throughout the region, including natural areas, parks, and recreational facilities.

The first 6.2-mile section, connecting Bay to Saginaw, is on schedule to be completed this year, organizers say.

More than $3.8 million has been raised to date from state and regional sources to support the connection of the trails.

More information on the project is online at greatlakesbaytrails.com.

 

2 – Students can enter a contest to have their artwork appear on a stamp.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting entries for the 2016 Michigan Junior Duck Stamp Contest, administered by the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15.

The contest is part of an educational program that teaches wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school.

Students may submit artwork featuring species including ducks, swans, and geese.

duck-stamp-michigan

2015 Michigan Best of Show Winner. Via USFWS

Judging will be open to the general public at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center in Saginaw.

During the contest, students will be judged in four groups according to grade level.

Contest judges will select a “Best of Show” from 12 first place winners, which will be entered into the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held in April in Florida.

The winner of the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, along with his or her parent or guardian and teacher, will receive a free trip to a First Day of Sale ceremony in late June or early July.

The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year.

3 – A new series of public workshops will provide information on current efforts to control phragmites across Saginaw Bay.

The workshops also will provide information for landowners on how to treat the invasive plant on their property, and how to enroll in larger group treatment programs.

Phragmites is a tall grass that grows in wetlands, ditches, shorelines, and roadsides. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, forming dense stands, and spreads rapidly through airborne seed dispersal and underground stems.

phragmites-michigan-sea-grant

Phragmites. Via Michigan Sea Grant

Once it moves into an area, phragmites outcompetes native species for resources, displacing native plants and animals.

In Saginaw Bay, this has negative impacts on fisheries, waterfowl, and wetlands. Phragmites also can limit water access for hikers, boaters, and beachgoers and reduce waterfront property values by blocking views.

Over the past few years, several treatment projects have helped reclaim Saginaw Bay shoreline and wetland habitat from the invasive plant.

The workshops are planned for March 10 in Tuscola County, March 16 in Midland County and April 7 in Bay County.  

For questions on the workshops or more information, call 989-891-7198.

– 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

 

 

Two New Invasive Species, Fall Conservation Summit and MiWaters

For Friday, Sept. 11, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/gks0ckzmrq6j0jn/mrgreatlakes-sept11-2015-environmentreport.mp3]

1 – Two new invasive species have been found in Michigan waters

Staff from the state Department of Environment Quality have confirmed a freshwater alga commonly known as didymo (di di-mo)  – or rock snot – growing in extensive mats in the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie.

Also recently discovered were New Zealand mud snails in the Pere Marquette River near Ludington.

Didymo is a nuisance algae that thrives in cold, clean water. It can grow into thick mats that cover the river bottom. The algae is not a threat to human health, but it can crowd out biologically valuable algae and important food for fish. It also can interfere with fishing and wading.



New Zealand mud snails are about an (1/8) eighth of an inch long. But they cluster together, and compete with native snails for food and space.

State agencies want to remind anglers and boaters to clean, drain and dry their equipment to help prevent the spread of didymo, New Zealand mud snails, and other types of aquatic invasive species.

new zealand mud snails key usfws

New Zealand mud snails. Credit: Dan Gustafson


2 – A Fall Conservation Summit is coming to Bay City on Monday, Sept. 21.

fall leaves conservation summit michigan bay city
Credit: Erik Przekop

The event is being put on by Heart of the Lakes at the Delta College Planetarium on Center Avenue in downtown Bay City.

Speakers include:

A walking or biking field trip to the Michigan Sugar Trails also is planned.

Heart of the Lakes is a statewide nonprofit serving conservation organizations and Michigan’s land conservancies.

For more information on Sept. 21 Fall Summit, see heartofthelakes.org/events.


3 – 
Michigan has a new Web-based system designed to streamline the process of obtaining federal environmental permits.

The MiWaters system replaces more than 25 applications and databases, some of which were more than 30 years old.

Officials say MiWaters simplifies the process for permits dealing with aquatic nuisance control and wastewater, stormwater and groundwater discharges.

It also includes electronic reporting of untreated or partially treated sanitary wastewater.

— Via AP and Michigan DEQ

-30-

– 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

Battleground: Smartphone App Fights Invasive Species, Groups Fight for Rivers and Lakes

For Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

1If you see a crime, call 911. If you see an invasive critter, use the app.

A smartphone application developed by a scientist at Michigan State University lets folks snap a photo, log a few quick notes, and send an alert to the invasive species police.

These critter cops are a growing network of scientists and state officials who can use the information to respond to threats from invasives.

The free app is part of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, a regional effort to enhance early detection, rapid response, and better manage invasive species.

Developers of the app say reports logged by smartphone users will help map the spread of invasives, and help state agencies deploy more effective management plans.

Invasives to look out for in Michigan include the killer shrimp, sea lamprey, Japanese knotweed, and the emerald ash borer.

Teachers in the Chicago area are already using the app, teaming up with local foresters.


2Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, has a story to tell about its accomplishments in 2014.

The organization is holding its annual meeting on Saturday, where it will be sharing its annual report.

According to a copy of the report, Northeast Michigan’s environment saw many improvement last year as a result of Huron Pine projects.

That includes the Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative.

That intiative aims to improve water quality in the Rifle, Au Gres and Tawas river watersheds. In 2014, Huron Pines improved five road and stream crossings to reconnect more than 17 upstream miles of aquatic habitat.

The nonprofit also worked with private landowners and agricultural producers to reduce streambank erosion and runoff from farms.

An additional 20 acres were treated for invasive phragmites along the Lake Huron coast.

 

3Advocates have been busy this week, urging members of Congress to protect the Great Lakes.

The effort is known as Great Lakes Day. Members of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition were among those involved. Programs on the radar include the federally funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

This is a special year for Great Lakes Day. The Joyce Foundation this week launched a new website called Great Lakes Great Impact.

The coalition spent time showing videos from the site to members of Congress about the impact of Great Lakes restoration around the region.

You can view the videos online at GreatLakesGreatImpact.org.

#GreatLakesDay

 

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

 

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