State of the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay

For June 23, 2017

1 – A new report from the U.S. and Canada accesses the condition of the Great Lakes as “fair and unchanging.”

In other words, progress to restore and protect the lakes has been made, including the reduction of toxic chemicals. But there are challenges with issues such as invasive species and nutrients. Also, the ecosystem is large and complex and it can take years to respond to restoration activities and policy changes.

For Lake Huron, the report says chemical pollutants have declined significantly since the 1970s, but there are still fish and wildlife consumption advisories to protect human health. Most nearshore waters are high-quality, but areas including Saginaw Bay experience periodic harmful or nuisance algal blooms.

To read the full report, see binational.net.

beach saginaw bay recreation state park

Saginaw Bay at the Bay City State Recreation Area, Bangor Township, Michigan

2 – Registration is now open for the State of the Bay 2017 Conference to be held Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Bay City.

The one-day conference is a chance to learn about activities related to the restoration, conservation and protection of Saginaw Bay. In addition, there will be presentations on what communities around the bay and throughout the watershed are doing to encourage public access, economic development, environmental education and watershed management.

The latest agenda includes a keynote on “Water Quality in Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie” by Dr. Jeff Reutter from Ohio Sea Grant.

The Sept. 27 conference is sponsored by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and its partners.

Go to stateofthebay2017.org to register for the event and review a preliminary agenda.

– 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

 

Getting Warmer on Climate Predictions, Surface Temperatures

For Friday, Dec. 2, 2016

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1  – The Great Lakes are part of one climate system, although they differ greatly from one another.

great lakes model nayuki

Credit: Nayuki

A new integrated computer model brings together climate and water information for the Great Lakes region. It will be useful for climate predictions, dealing with invasive species and other environmental research.

Michigan Technological University helped develop the model, along with the federal Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor, and other organizations.

A researcher says knowing the warming trend is an important concept in climate change modeling, along with understanding that extreme events become more severe.

The new model will help researchers better understand the connection between air and water in the Great Lakes.

The model’s accuracy was vetted by comparing its simulations to historical records and satellite data.

2 – The temperatures of the Great Lakes were the warmest in six years for late November.

Surface temperatures in November 2016 were several degrees warmer than at the same time two years ago.

Data for Saginaw Bay shows temperatures in the 40s and 50s for Nov. 30.

With winter on its way, warm lake waters and cold winds blowing across them will be a perfect combination for lake-effect snow, according to officials with the federal Coastwatch program.

The last time the lakes were this warm, in November of 2010, lake surfaces remained mostly ice free for the entire winter.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkarton Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

State Land for Sale, Wild Turkey 101 and Big Data

For Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

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1 – A state auction of surplus public land starts Dec. 6.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer up for sale by sealed-bid auction between Dec. 6 and Jan. 10.

The auction will feature 58 parcels located in counties including Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 77 acres.

State officials say the parcels being auctioned off are isolated from other public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public recreation benefit.

Several of the parcels are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Information on the auction is available online at www.michigan.gov/landforsale.

2 – The comeback of the wild turkey is a great wildlife conservation story.

At one time in Michigan, turkeys were plentiful. Over time, they vanished from every county in the state due to unregulated take and loss of habitat.

Efforts to re-establish the population were made from 1919 through the late 1980s. Today, there are more than 200,000 wild turkeys in Michigan. They can be found in every county in the Lower Peninsula and areas of the Upper Peninsula.

The National Wild Turkey Federation works with the state of Michigan to share conservation education opportunities with teachers and students.

One such opportunity is an annual Patch Design Contest.

K-12 students in Michigan are eligible to enter.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash awards.

The winning design will be the basis for next year’s Michigan wild turkey management cooperator patch.

The winner and his or her parents or guardians also will be invited to the Michigan National Wild Turkey Federation State Chapter banquet and the Natural Resources Commission meeting when the patch is released to the public.

Entries are due by Dec. 15.

For complete contest rules, visit mi.gov/michiganprojectwild.

Direct link: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10369_51120-265547–,00.html

Previous winners: http://www.michigan.gov/images/turkeyboard_27029_7.jpg

3 – Massive amounts of data have been collected from the Great Lakes basin. But until recently, no effort had organized this information and made it easily accessible.

There also wasn’t a tool that allowed researchers and managers to visualize and summarize habitat conditions for the entire basin, especially on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border.

layers-saginaw-bay.JPG

Layers of data for Saginaw Bay in the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

Now, researchers from the University of Michigan, working with U.S. and Canadian agencies and universities, have created the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

It’s first publicly-available database that includes harmonized habitat data and a classification of fish habitats across the basin.

The framework will allow researchers and managers to explore information on temperature, ice-cover duration, water depth, aquatic vegetation, and wave height for every location in the basin.

There also are layers for shoreline classification, wetlands, and walleye populations.

Time Change: – 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

Share Your Stories at The Great Flood of 1986 Website (Interview)

For Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 –

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1 – Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University and the Bay County Historical Society have launched a new website, 30 years later.

The website at 1986Flood.com was developed as part of a project to collect and preserve stories from Michigan’s Great Flood of 1986.

great-flood-1986-website-michigan

Residents who lived through the storm can submit stories, memories, and photographs to be featured on the site and entered into the permanent archives at the Historical Museum of Bay County.

The project is hosting events for people to share their memories in person with historians and get their photos scanned for preservation.

The first event was Thursday, Sept. 15, in Bay City.

The second event is Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland.

The 30th anniversary of storm occurred this past weekend. Project organizers say it should remind us of the importance of preparing for extreme storm events at the individual and community level.

Two simple actions you can take to prepare for future floods include having a plan, and building an emergency kit.

You can find more information on preparing for future floods and links to local and national flood preparedness resources at 1986Flood.com.

2 – Remembering the 30th anniversary of the flood of 1986 is part of a larger project for Michigan State University Extension.

Katy Hintzen, with the Bay County Extension office, says an $80,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is being used to improve resilency in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

Research Vessels, Energy Appraisal and Bad Axe Renewables

For Friday, June 3, 2016 –

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1 – Four state fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says surveys conducted by the vessels are designed to examine and collect information on all aspects of the state’s Great Lakes fish community.

The vessels work throughout the Great Lakes on a wide variety of assessments and evaluations. Operations will continue into November.

channelcat

R/V Channel Cat. Via MDNR

On Lake Huron, the work is conducted by the Research Vessel Tanner  Chinook. The vessel focuses work on specific assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, as well as broader assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River that evaluate fish community changes.

The Saginaw Bay evaluations are conducted jointly with the Research Vessel Channel Cat, which is based in Lake St. Clair at the Fisheries Research Station in Harrison Township.

 

2- Michigan consumers are benefiting from an abundant production and supply of natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products.

This is resulting in decreased prices across the board, according to a new state energy appraisal.

This summer, residents should enjoy dramatically lower prices at the pump.

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Credit: Joe Ross

Gas prices are about 13 percent lower than last year, officials say, along with the price of natural gas.

Officials say successful energy waste reduction efforts are noticeable in electricity demand.

Baseline usage is expected to decrease by 0.9 percent, despite a rise in economic activity and slightly increased usage by the industrial sector.

The state energy appraisal comes from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

 

3 – An old building Bad Axe has been renewed.

The Huron Renewable Energy Center was opened recently by DTE Energy, bringing 25 jobs to the Thumb.

The facility was vacant for two years and is a former Normans Warehouse and the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952.

The newly-renovated center includes offices, garage facilities, warehousing and a maintenance shop area.

The facility also has an unfinished 3,000 square-foot space.

DTE plans to develop the space to serve as an area for renewable energy education and the hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities.

Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.

– 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

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.

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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

 

 

Extreme Storm Survey, Saginaw Bay Fishing Regs and Solar Design

For Friday, Oct. 23, 2015

q901falldrive

1 – Bay County is surveying residents on extreme storm impacts.

County officials say extreme storm events present a serious threat to community health, safety, and economic stability.

Credit: Erik Drost

Credit: Erik Drost

The survey was developed by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and other local collaborators in the Saginaw Bay region.

The results of the survey will inform future projects to improve community preparedness and reduce extreme storm impacts in the 22 counties that make up the Saginaw Bay watershed.

According to Michigan Sea Grant, the watershed is particularly vulnerable to storm hazards because of the region’s unique topography and land-use patterns. The Saginaw Bay watershed drains about 15 percent of the state of Michigan.

The survey is online and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It will close on Nov. 16.

2 – The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved changes to walleye and yellow perch recreational fishing regulations for Saginaw Bay.

For walleye, the daily possession limit is increased from five to eight fish. The minimum size limit is reduced from 15 to 13 inches. For yellow perch, the daily possession limit is reduced from 50 to 25 fish.

Officials say walleye have recovered and are abundant in Saginaw Bay. This is good news, but walleye are now depressing the available prey base and the population of adult yellow perch has been greatly reduced.

The Department of Natural Resources says the changes are the start of a new management process where future fish possession and size limits will be tied to the status of the walleye population.

3 – A Student Solar Design Competition will award $10,000 in total prize money. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students from any Michigan college.  

solar map us

Via NREL

Registration for the competition closes on Oct. 31. Submissions are due on Nov. 25.

The competition is put being on by Michigan State University.

The challenge is design a solar panel array that can be integrated into a campus landscape.

The competition will award three cash prizes for first, second and third place. The winning team also may receive assistance to strengthen the design concept and bring the idea to life.

-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

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