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.
1 – A grant program to reduce bacteria in the Cass River watershed is available to farmers and landowners in Tuscola and Saginaw counties.
Funds of up to $10,000 are available to pay for structures to reduce E. coli bacteria that makes its way from local creeks into the Lower Cass River. Tributaries highlighted for improvement include Cole Creek, Dead Creek, Perry Creek and Millington Creek.
Grants can be used to build livestock crossings, fences, animal watering systems and manure management structures. The goal is to manage animal and agricultural runoff from small farms.
The landowner commitment is a 25 percent match, which includes in-kind goods and services.
Anyone who is interested should contact the Tuscola Conservation District (Mike Boike, technician at the TCD, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-673-8174 ext. 103).
2 – Michigan Sea Grant is hosting spring fisheries workshops along Lake Huron’s coastline.
The events are open to the public, and held in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, the state Department of Natural Resources, the federal Great Lakes Science Center and local fishery organizations.
The workshops will include information and status updates on topics such as: fish populations and angler catch data, forage or prey fish surveys, the status of Saginaw Bay yellow perch and walleye, and citizen science opportunities for anglers.
Workshops are planned for Wednesday, April 12, from 6-9 p.m., at Bangor Township Hall; and Wednesday, April 26, from 6-9 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Oscoda.
Other evening Lake Huron workshops are planned for April 4 in Port Huron and April 27 in Cedarville. Registration is requested.
3 – If you’re 14 to 18 years old, or know someone who is, consider a spot on the Natural Resource Commission Youth Conservation Council.
The state is accepting nominations from youth who are interested in a position on the council.
It’s an opportunity to gain leadership experience, explore outdoor recreation issues and participate in activities under the guidance of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The appointment is for two years, and members will be expected to participate in four meetings each year.
At least two of the meetings will be offered as weekend training sessions at a conference facility.
State officials say they hope members will help develop recommendations on policy, programs and legislative changes that can boost young people’s interest and involvement in the outdoors, including hunting and fishing.
1 – Contaminants of emerging concern are in everyday products from soap to pharmaceuticals.
But their environmental impact is largely unknown. A Central Michigan University biologist is studying how these contaminants in the water and sediment affect the ecosystems and life cycles of freshwater mussels.
Biologist Daelyn Woolnough is looking at freshwater mussels and largemouth bass, which act as hosts for mussel larvae.
Of the more than 40 freshwater mussel species in the Great Lakes, more than 70 percent are endangered or threatened. Their populations have been impacted by invasive species like the zebra mussel, and may be impacted by contaminants of emerging concern, which also include agricultural products.
Freshwater mussels filter water from the basins in which they reside, and they don’t move around like fish. So testing mussel tissue or contaminants will tell researchers what’s happening at the bottom of rivers.
The results may help inform management and conservation decisions.
2 – Michigan gained 1,339 solar industry jobs in 2016, representing a 48 percent increase in the state’s solar workforce.
These invasive plants look like water lilies but are listed as a prohibited noxious weed by the state. They occur in shallow, slow-moving water on the edges of lakes and other places.
Earlier in July, the Saginaw Bay group spent time removing European frog-bit at the Bay City State Recreation Area.
They worked with the state Department of Natural Resources and reportedly spent 10 hours removing the weed, gathering about 1,000 pounds of plant material.
Officials say frog-bit is a newer invasive species that is quickly spreading along Saginaw Bay.
2 – Huron Pines staff are out conducting Floristic Quality Assessments along the Mason Tract, a special management area along the South Branch of the AuSable River that takes in about 4,500 acres.
The Gaylord nonprofit is working with local partners to push back invasive Japanese barberry. Japanese barberry is a spiny shrub that forms dense stands and competes with native trees and herbaceous plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Data from the work will help researchers understand the recovery and resiliency of the area’s special native plant communities.
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame report that painted and snapping turtles could be a useful source for measuring pollution in the Great Lakes from the historical dumping of industrial waste.
During work on a federal project to monitor coastal wetlands, researchers tested painted turtles, which can live up to 20 years, and snapping turtles, which live up to 50 years.
They analyzed the muscle, liver, shell and claws of captured turtles in four wetland locations in Lake Michigan for various metals.
They found that concentrations broadly correlated with assessments of metals in the soil of the wetlands.
Because turtles live longer than fish and are relatively high on the food chain, they can be a useful source for measuring wetland pollution.
That group is receiving about $205,000 to reduce agricultural sources of E. coli bacteria to the Cass River. The work will involve best management practices for agriculture and an outreach campaign.
The grants are funded under the federal Clean Water Act.
2 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is restoring 940 acres of farmland to emergent marsh.
It’s the largest wetland restoration in the history of the Saginaw County refuge, and the largest wetland restoration in the last several decades for the Great Lakes region.
During the restoration, two large holes will be cut into an auto tour road to put in culverts and water control structures.
The structures are necessary to allow water back into the restoration area. Officials say the structures will enable the refuge to manage water levels in wetlands, provide optimum habitat for wildlife and control invasive species.
As a result of this work, the opening of an auto tour route, called Wildlife Drive, will be delayed from June 1 until about June 21.
The report also shows national water withdrawals were reduced by 830 billion gallons and consumption was cut by 27 billion gallons.
Although the study takes a national view, the authors say many of the associated benefits and impacts were highly regional.
For example, the economic benefits from air pollution reductions were associated mostly with reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and were concentrated primarily in areas including the Great Lakes.
The program will award grants for on-the-ground habitat improvements.
The focus in this round is on improving the quality and connectivity of streams, riparian zones and coastal wetlands.
Preference will be given to projects designed to improve populations of species of conservation concern, including … native migratory fish such as brook trout and lake sturgeon, and marsh-spawning fish such as northern pike.