National Spotlight for Saginaw Bay Restoration, National Ban for 11 Invasives

For Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 –


1 – Wetland restoration in Saginaw Bay is highlighted in a national report.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points to seven partnerships in the U.S. that have helped safeguard natural resources.

The agency says the partnerships demonstrate the benefits of using conservation approaches to address climate change and other issues.

Saginaw Bay is listed alongside areas in California, the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii.

 

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Lake Huron shoreline, Tawas Point, Michigan. Credit: NOAA

 

Our area is singled out for development of a coastal wetland decision support tool.

The tool helps identify and prioritize restoration activities for existing and historical coastal wetlands.

The national project is called the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative. It supports a U.S. strategy to build and maintain an ecologically connected network of coastal and other conservation areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change and support a broad range of fish, wildlife and plants.

2 – Eleven freshwater species have been added to a federal ban list.

The Nature Conservancy says the move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bans trade or import into the United States, and was determined by examining damage caused in other waters.

The list includes 10 fish species such as the Crucian carp and Eurasian minnow along with the the Yabby crayfish.

The Conservancy says these nonnative invasives aren’t currently part of trade or import, but have been determined through a risk assessment process to have a high climate match. That means, if they’re released here, they could thrive within the Great Lakes basin.

Conservancy officials say past practice has been to prohibit a species only after it’s been established in the U.S. and is causing damage. The group says this proactive assessment and restriction by the Fish and Wildlife Service is an important step forward.

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

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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.

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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

Restoring Michigan’s Largest Estuary, Improving Energy Efficiency

For Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 (Fall Pledge Drive)

1 – Part of Michigan’s largest freshwater estuary has been restored.

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Credit: Rebecca Kelly/USFWS

This is thanks to federal funding from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the work of biologists and land managers at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge, in Saginaw County, partnered with Ducks Unlimited to restore a highly-altered agricultural landscape and reconnect rivers, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is part of an area known as Shiawassee Flats, historically a 50,000-acre wetland complex. The Flats is one of the most unique wetland complexes in the Great Lakes, because it functions as a freshwater estuary even though it’s 20 miles inland.

The restoration project restored 10 percent of the refuge, or 1,000 acres of its land base, which will benefit fish and wildlife populations.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is designated as an Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy.

A Ducks Unlimited biologist says waterfowl used to skip over the project area during migration. Now, they’ll look down and see a healthy and productive habitat.

2 – Michigan is among three most-improved states for energy efficiency.

The latest annual Scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks Michigan, Missouri and Maine rank as the three most-improved states.

California and Massachusetts both won the top spot.

The group says that in the past year, several states have strengthened efficiency policies and programs, which give businesses, governments, and consumers more control over how and when they use energy.

The group says a growing number of states, including Michigan, have taken major steps toward the adoption of Department of Energy-certified codes for new residential and commercial construction.

– 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

Lake Guardian Survey, Phragmites Treatment, Electric Vehicles

For Friday, Aug. 5, 2016

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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

 

 

 

 

Proposing New Cleanup Criteria, Using Turtles to Monitor Wetlands

For June 10, 2016 –

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1 – The state is proposing new cleanup criteria rules for contaminated sites.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a series of informational meetings throughout the state on the newly proposed generic cleanup criteria rules.

Such rules are used to evaluate risks to public health, safety, welfare and the environment from regulated hazardous substances at sites of environmental contamination.

The update of the cleanup criteria includes 304 regulated hazardous substances. The criteria is used to evaluate exposure pathways such as drinking water and direct contact.

Meetings are planned for June 16 in Gaylord and June 28 in Bay City.

A formal public comment period runs from June 17-July 26.

Pre-registration for the meetings is requested.

 

2 – You’ve heard of the canary in the coal mine. How about the turtle in the wetland?

Just like canaries were once used to test the safety of air in coal mines, turtles can be used to measure pollution in wetlands.

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Credit: Don Henlse

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.

A paper describing the research was published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

– 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

Ag Runoff, Wetland Restoration, and a Race for Nature

For Friday, May 27, 2016 –

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1 – More than $4.3 million in grants will go to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution.

Officials say the Michigan Department of Environment Quality grants will help restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.

Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually deposits those contaminants into waterways.

Organizations and projects selected to receive funding include the Tuscola Conservation District in Caro.

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A example of agricultural runoff. Credit: USDA

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.

Wildlife Drive surrounds three sides of the restoration area.

 

3 – The Michigan Nature Association is hosting the Race for Michigan Nature.

The event is a statewide series of Family Fun Runs & 5Ks stretching from Belle Isle in Detroit to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.

Each race will spotlight one of Michigan’s rarest species and promote the importance of protecting natural areas.

The next race in the series is the Kirtland’s Warbler Family Fun Run & 5K on June 4 in Roscommon.

Other races will take place in the summer and fall.

The runs are endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Each 5K race will be timed and there are prizes for male and female overall winners. Walkers also are welcome. 

– 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

 

GIS in Bay County, Nature Films in Midland, Clean Communities in the Great Lakes

For Friday, April 1, 2016. No Foolin’.


1 – A new Geographic Information System is online for Bay County.

Bay County and Bay City government have spent almost a year on the project.

The new Geographic Information System, or GIS, Web viewer is a computerized mapping system. 

It contains a large database of information on items like water well locations, flood plain boundaries, soils, and wetlands.

The new online resource is a valuable tool, says Bay County Executive Tom Hickner.

It can be used by citizens as well as government agencies like the Bay County Road Commission, and businesses.

 

 

2 – The Chippewa Nature Center of Midland is hosting a stop on the world tour of the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

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Via the Chippewa Nature Center

The festival will be stopping at the Bullock Creek Auditorium in Midland on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9. The tour features a series of nature-themed films from around the globe.

Screenings include a special edit of “Chasing Niagara,” about a pro kayaker who decides to paddle over Niagara Falls.

Festival sponsors include the Little Forks Conservancy and the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.

The festival is named after The Banff Centre, an arts and cultural organization in Alberta, Canada.

 

3 – Applications are due by May 4 for funding from the Great Lakes Clean Communities Network.

The Network’s Community Partnership Program funds small projects to assist communities with various practices to improve water quality in their watershed. Funding is made possible through the Great Lakes Protection Fund.

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via the Great Lakes Clean Communities Nework

The Network offers an Ecological Scorecard service where communities can evaluate and track their ecological improvements over time. 

Communities, municipalities, and watershed organizations within the Great Lakes region that have initiated or completed an evaluation are eligible to participate in the program.

Applicants may apply for up to $4,000 in funding.

Applications are due by May 4 for projects that directly improve water quality or support ecological indicators such as planting trees or installing green infrastructure.

– 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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