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

For Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 –


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

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


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

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.


After 1986 Storm, Green Infrastructure Grew (Photos, Public Event)

For Sept. 9, 2016


1 – This month marks the 30th anniversary of the storm of 1986 — one of the most devastating in Michigan’s history.

Throughout the month, Michigan State University Extension is sharing stories of extreme storms in the Saginaw Bay region, how they impact communities and the natural environment, and what you can do to be better prepared.

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In the years since the 1986 flood devastated 22 counties across the Saginaw Bay and Thumb regions, Michigan has made significant progress in adopting new policies and practices to reduce flood damage. One key area of improvement has been an expansion of green infrastructure projects across the state.

Green infrastructure is an approach to stormwater management that mimics the way rainwater is stored and filtered in nature. Green infrastructure methods slow down, store and filter rain water before it reaches the storm drain or local waterways, resulting in improved flood protection.

Upcoming Public Event – Sept. 15 in Bay City:


2 – Green infrastructure comes in all different shapes and sizes, from large networks of parks and wetlands to smaller projects like bioswales, rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs.

Michigan State University Extension says millions of dollars have been invested in green infrastructure across the state, and hundreds of communities have participated in planning efforts.

In the Saginaw Bay area, the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network established a group to bring together local, state, and federal agencies, nonprofits, and concerned citizens to identify and map important green infrastructure elements across the tri-counties.

The 1986 flood had a direct impact on land use planning and the prevalence of greenspace around the region. Some of the hardest hit cities, such as Midland and Vassar, responded by changing their development practices. Over the past 30 years, these communities have converted river adjacent land from residential and business districts into parks and green space that can more easily withstand and absorb flood waters.

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See also: Remembering the 30th Anniversary of Michigan’s Flood of 1986

– 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


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


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.


– 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

Superstorm Research May Save Your Life, New Sugar Trails For Your Bike

For Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

1 – Wow. Central Michigan University meteorologist Leigh Orf has created a spectacular 3-D simulation of a tornado and the supercell thunderstorm that spawned it.

The monster storm visualization was presented recently at the 27th Conference on Severe Local Storms in Madison, Wisconsin.

Determining which storms will generate monster tornadoes remains a challenge for weather forecasters. The goal of the research is to help meteorologists better understand the mechanics of devastating storms, and provide earlier warnings to people in the storm’s path. The current average lead time for tornado warnings is 13 minutes.

The simulated storm features winds exceeding 300 mph, remains on the ground for 65 miles, was “grown” in the same environment as an actual storm that produced a long-track EF5 tornado in Oklahoma on May 24, 2011.

When CMU researchers examined the inner structure of the simulated thunderstorm, they discovered storm-generated cooled air that had never been seen in previous simulations.

As far as CMU researchers know, this is first time a supercell producing a long-track EF5 tornado has ever been simulated.

2Some sweet mountain bike trails are being created in Bay City.

Michigan Sugar Trails is transforming 26 acres of vacant land into the community’s first trails for mountain bikes and outdoor activity, according to the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.

The Conservancy has partnered with the Michigan Sugar Co., who owns this property, to make the project a reality. The trails will be located on the Middlegrounds Island in the Saginaw River. These will be natural surface, single-track trails.

Michigan Sugar Trails is a part of the Conservancy’s Outdoor Urban Recreation Bay City Project.

The Conservancy will be hosting a volunteer event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, in cooperation with Ray’s Bike Shop, to clean trash and debris from the site.

You can find out more on Facebook by searching for the Michigan Sugar Trails Clean-Up event.

A Larger Shiawassee Refuge and new Great Lakes Boating Forecasts

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta Q-90.1 FM.

1 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge just grew in size.

shiawassee refuge 180 acres

Wetlands and grasslands at the refuge’s 180-acre addition. Credit: Steven F. Kahl/USFWS.

The refuge, located in Saginaw County, is now 180 acres larger, due to funding from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The new tract is located on the east side of Miller Road, from Hart Road to Swan Creek.

The area is made up of large, open grassland mixed with small wetlands and river-edge marsh.

Refuge managers will work to restore the habitat to a historic mix of emergent marsh and wet prairie.

The new land makes for a good location for observing wildlife, including grasshopper sparrows, short-eared owls, rough-legged hawks, sandhill cranes and white-tailed deer.

A parking lot is located at the south end of Miller Road on the Shiawassee River State Game Area.

See also: Dragons in Saginaw

2 -Boaters looking for lake-specific forecasts are in luck. 

The Great Lakes Observing System has launched an expanded, online Boaters’ Forecast Tool that covers the entire Great Lakes.

The tool provides information on water currents and depth, along with marina and boat launch locations.

The tool was developed by partners including the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab and Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research, both located in Ann Arbor.

lake huron boating glosFor Lake Huron, the forecast also show data on waves, surface temperature and winds.

The Great Lakes Observing System, also known as GLOS, is one of 11 regional associations of the Integrated Ocean Observing System.

See also: Saginaw Bay Walleye Migrating Further, Earlier, & a Great Lakes Beach App


Voters to Decide on More Renewable Energy, CMU Lightens Footprint, and Michigan Disaster Areas

As heard on Friday Edition, 9 a.m. Eastern, Aug. 31, 2012, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM …


Michigan voters will be able to vote for more renewable energy in November.

photo wind solar 25 by 2025


This week, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved ballot language to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025. The current standard is 10 percent by 2015.

Supporters, with a group called Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, say the measure will help rein in energy costs, provide incentives for using Michigan equipment, and create jobs in the state.

The proposal also will help protect public health and allow Michigan to catch up with other states, which already have higher standards for generating percentages of their energy with renewable sources like wind and solar.

A recent study by Michigan State University economics says the upcoming ballot proposal would create at least 74,000 Michigan jobs in construction, operations and maintenance.

The 25 by 2025 measure would “require electric utilities to provide at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, by 2025.”

The proposal also would limit rate increases to achieve compliance to 1 percent.

2. Central Michigan University says conservation measures to reduce energy use are paying off.

The university, located in Mount Pleasant, has had positive results in the last fours with reducing its carbon footprint, officials say.

In fiscal year 2008, CMU generated about 87,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

In fiscal year 2011, the university generated about 82,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a reduction of about 6,000 tons, or 7 percent.

During the same period, the campus grew by about 91,000 square feet, or 1.6 percent.

The conservation measures have included adding temperature control valves to residence halls and other academic buildings, and installing energy efficient lighting.

Also, CMU has increased the amount of electricity it purchases annually that is generated by renewable sources.

The university also is using natural gas for more its generation, in place of coal-fired sources.

CMU has adopted energy efficient building design standards for all renovations and construction on campus.

3. Bay County has been designated as a primary natural disaster area for drought and excessive heat conditions.

So has Saginaw County, Midland County and every other county in the state.

Gov. Rick Synder says the designation comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is based on conditions that began in March and are ongoing.

Synder says the designation will provide aid to Michigan farmers for crop losses due to the hot and dry conditions.

Qualified farm operators are now eligible for low interest emergency loans from the federal government to cover some or all of their losses.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, crop losses from this year’s extreme weather have been significant.

Hay production also has been impacted, which could hurt the lifestock industry.


Mich Enviro Report: Collapsing Roofs, Recyclemania & Post-Coal Jobs

From the Feb. 11, 2011, Environment Report, heard on Delta College Q-90.1 FM … 


Proposed new federal air pollution rules could bring about 62,000 construction jobs to Michigan during the next five years.

That’s according to a University of Massachusetts study released at a national green jobs conference in Washington, D.C.

The study says $200 billion worth of investments to clean up and modernize power plants in the U.S. would create about 1.5 million jobs through 2015.

The report says those investments would create 62,346 construction, installation and professional jobs in Michigan.

On the flip side, about 137 operation and maintenance jobs would be lost in the state, if coal-fired power plants are closed after the new power plants go online.


From now through April 2, universities across the country are competing in Recyclemania 2011.

In Michigan, participating schools include Central Michigan University and Saginaw Valley State University.

Campuses are competing to see which school can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, and produce the least amount of trash per capita.

SVSU is participating in the Waste Minimization category. Organizers plan to educate employees and students about ways to minimize waste, and work to recycle paper cups and pizza boxes used and sold in the food court.

At CMU, there are programs to sell or donate campus surplus property, work with vendors to reduce transportation packaging and offer reusable dinnerware and utensils in all sit-down dining facilities.


Watch your head. Roofs are collapsing across the Midwest under the weight of all this snow.

The Saginaw Valley received about 10 inches of snow earlier this month.

A report by The Weather Channel cites roof collapses in Port Huron, Michigan, along with Indiana and other states.

A structural engineering professor at the University of New Hampshire recommends that homeowners who can safely remove snow from the ground with a roof rake do so regularly, and not let the snow build up.

Ice dams on your roof can be temporarily addressed by melting the ice with road salt or hot water, the professor says.

If ice damming is a recurring problem, you should have your roof inspected and modified to allow for better ventiliation.

— Photo of roof collapse from 2009. Credit Ryan McFarland, Flickr.

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