Lake Guardian Survey, Phragmites Treatment, Electric Vehicles

For Friday, Aug. 5, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/u9g1dlgyd6xomj2/mr-great-lakes-environment-report-8-5-16.mp3]

1 – Consumers Energy wants to install electric vehicle charging stations across the state.

The Michigan utility hopes to install more than 800 charging stations as part of a $15 million statewide electric vehicle infrastructure program.

The request is under consideration by the Michigan Public Service Commission as part of a broader rate increase.

The utility is looking to install 60 direct current fast-charge stations and 750 alternating current stations across the state, according to Midwest Energy News.

The fast-charging stations would be located along highways and allow drivers to recharge up to 80 percent of their battery in about 20 minutes.

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An example of an electric vehicle charging station in Virginia. Credit: alexanderromero

2 – The public is invited to a Phragmites Treatment Information Meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Phragmites is a perennial wetland grass. An invasive variety of the plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and degrade wetlands and coastal areas by crowding out native plants and animals.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Akron Township Hall in Unionville. It’s intended to help private landowners through the phragmites treatment process.

Those who attend can find out about how to control phragmites, along with the permits that are required and contractors who are available to do the work.

There is no cost for the meeting.

More information is available from the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp.

3 – This month, the Lake Guardian begins its summer survey of the five Great Lakes.

The Lake Guardian is a research vessel operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Chicago.

The ship is used to gather environmental data to gauge the health of the lakes. Its crew samples water, air, sediments and aquatic organisms like plankton.

Month-long surveys are done each year in the spring and summer.

You can track the ship’s location during this summer’s survey at lakeguardian.org.

The vessel started its survey on Lake Michigan and was near Milwaukee on Thursday.

– 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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Great Lakes Syringes, Again (and Again)

This wouldn’t be so damn annoying if it weren’t so damn common. Great Lakes beach-goers are being warned to avoid … muck? No. E. coli bacteria? No, not this time. Syringes? Yes, syringes, from Milwaukee.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has received recent
reports of syringes washing up on Lake Michigan-area beaches from Shelby to Arcadia,” officials said in a news release issued today. “It is suspected that the syringes are from a major combined sewer overflow that occurred in the Milwaukee area on July 25.”

July 25? Today is Aug. 12. Thanks for the quick notice.

“Wind and lake currents are suspected to have carried the syringes and other waste across the lake, resulting in the waste washing up on the Michigan shoreline. The U.S. Coast Guard has also been made aware of the incident and is investigating its source.”

Awesome. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across such a warning.

Check out this news release from April 2006, issued by then-Michigan Department of Environmental Quality:

“The return of warm weather means that people across Michigan will be headed back to our beaches and parks, and enjoying time on the water. With this increased outdoor activity, there are also increased hazards that can be encountered including finding used syringes in the water or on the shore.”

What? Who was investigating back then? The DEQ. More than four years ago.

“Improper disposal of multiple syringes may be related to illegal management of medical waste by a doctor or veterinarian’s office, a clinic, or a tattoo facility,” the release said.

Milwaukee also sent us some syringes in 2008, notes the Lansing State Journal.

So, here we are in August 2010, still warning people about syringes on Great Lakes beaches. I look forward to a release detailing penalties for depositing this garbage on our beaches, Milwaukee. Which is, according to Alice Cooper, Algonquin for “the good land.”

— Photo via LegalJuice

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