Michigan Makes It Easier to Snag Best Camp Sites, Saginaw Library Recognized

For Nov. 3, 2017

1 – A new Michigan reservation policy is meant to make it easier for people to secure campsites at many of the state’s most-visited parks.

The new Department of Natural Resources policy that took effect this week encourages people to firm up their reservations further in advance of planned camping dates.

Campers still can make reservations up to six months in advance.

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Credit: Tony Failoa

The new structure retains a $10 cost to cancel or modify a camping reservation. It adds an additional incremental fee based on the length of time between the date of the initial reservation and the planned arrival date.

Rather than holding onto several blocks of campsites at a campground – or in some cases, multiple campgrounds – the new policy encourages campers to finalize their plans as soon as possible. So a reservation held for up to two months will incur a 10 percent fee to modify or cancel, and one held for longer than five months will incur a 40 percent fee to modify or cancel.

For more information, see Michigan.gov/camping.


2 – 
The Hoyt Library in Saginaw was honored by Gov. Rick Snyder for an energy project.

The Governor’s Energy Excellence Award was given to eight individuals and organizations for efforts to reduce energy waste.

The winners and finalists were announced at a ceremony in Detroit last month.

Hoyt was recognized as a finalist for the Best Public Project. Officials say the 126-year-old library was costly to operate, subject to inconsistent temperatures and unchecked humidity was creating serious mold problems.

With help from a Consumers Energy audit and grant, the library invested in a high-efficiency boiler, a more efficient chiller, automation controls for its HVAC system, and a new and improved air quality system. The improvements are expected to save on annual natural gas costs and improve the building’s environment for staff, patrons, and the books it houses.

Winning energy solutions ranged from improving existing structures with energy-efficient, state-of-the-art heating, cooling and lighting systems to constructing new buildings.Consumers Energy won for the Best Communication or Education Program.

– Via GLREA

– 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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Great Lakes Restoration, Phragmites and Insect Hotels

For Oct. 20, 2017

1- Great Lakes advocates gathered in Buffalo, New York, this week for the 13th annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference.

The event, hosted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition attracted hundreds of people from the Saginaw Bay area, other parts of Michigan, and other states. It occurred while Congress is working to finalize the federal budget.

Coalition officials say federal investments in the Great Lakes are producing results around the region, which benefit communities, the environment and the economy.

The coalition is urging Congress to maintain support for federal investments for programs to clean up toxic pollution and help fix wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums.

2 – School children are learning about the impacts of invasive plants.

Earlier this month, sixth graders from Tawas Area Schools visited a patch of phragmites that have developed on the property of the St. Joseph Health System in Tawas City.

Non-native phragmites, also know as common reed, can grow into tall stands and crowd out native plants and animals.

The hospital wanted to treat for the plants and worked with the nonprofit Huron Pines in Gaylord to turn the request into a learning experience for the students.

Student activities included calculating the density of the patch, dissecting the plant, mapping the site, and journaling ideas for future site plans.

The students and teachers plan to continue the lessons by bringing the data back to the classroom for further discussion.

3 – Hotels have been built in a nature preserve.

 

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An insect hotel. Credit: Little Forks Conservancy

Don’t worry though, these hotels are for insects.

A Boy Scout built and installed the insect hotels for the Little Forks Conservancy of Midland.

The conservancy says these hotels are great for gardens and natural areas. The insects that check in are friendly pollinators and creatures that help control harmful bugs. The hotels are stuffed with materials to attract various insects.

Ten hotels were installed along the trail at the Averill Preserve and Riverview Natural Area. They will be seeded by the Chippewa Nature Center in the spring with native wildflowers and grasses.

– 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

OktoberForest Campaign and Open Burning Information

For Oct. 13, 2017

 

1 – More than 20 breweries in Michigan have joined an OktoberForest campaign by The Nature Conservancy to raise awareness about the importance of forests to freshwater.

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An OktoberForest coaster. Credit: TNC

That includes Tri City Brewing in Bay City.

The OktoberForest campaign aims to educate beer fans about the link between the health of America’s forests and water, which is the main ingredient in beer.  

Twenty one Michigan breweries are participating out of 81 nationwide, the most of any state.

Coasters with information about OktoberForest can be found at breweries including Tri City Brewing in Bay City and Midland Brewing in Midland, along with Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling and Snowbelt Brewing Co. in Gaylord.

Forests help improve water supplies in a number of ways. Forests shade streams, lakes and snow from evaporation; the forest floor helps filter sediment; and tree roots help hold soil together so it can store water.

2 –  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has information on open burning in the state.

Open burning is the burning of unwanted materials like brush, leaves and grass. It pollutes the air and poses a forest fire hazard, state regulators say. And there are various rules that people need to follow.

For instance, you can’t burn hazardous materials, chemicals, tires, trash, plastics or electronics. If you live 1,400 feet outside of an incorporated city or village limit, you can burn brush and trees. If you want to burn grass and leaves, you need to check with your local government.

Go to Michigan.gov/burnpermit to see if you need a burn permit. State regulators say the rules are in place to protect people and the environment.

– 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

Invasive Plant Boat Tours, Fall Colors

For Sept. 22, 2017

1 – You can learn about the effects of invasive plants during free boat tours on Lake Huron.

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Bay County and a group called Saginaw Bay Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area is offering half-hour public tours to showcase phragmites treatment efforts.

The tours leave every half hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the Finn Road Boat Launch in Essexville on Sept. 29, the Quanicassee Boat Launch in Fairgrove on Sept. 30, and Eagle Bay Marina in Standish on Oct. 1.

Those who join can learn about the effects of invasive phragmites on recreation and the ecosystem of Saginaw Bay. Local naturalists will explain the issues caused by these invasive plants and showcase areas where treatment has killed a majority of the infestation.

The tours will take place aboard charter fishing boats and are family friendly.

2 – Friday, Sept. 22, is the first day of fall.

fall leaves colors michigan

Credit: MDNR

Fall color is predicted to peak throughout October in Michigan, depending on the location. The Pure Michigan website has a map to find out the best times to visit different areas of the state.

See Michigan.org/fall.

The state Department of Natural Resources also notes that fall camping is available for people traveling north to view the colors.

Reservations are reported to be much easier to find in the fall, and officials say campgrounds are less crowded.

Many state parks will host harvest festivals for campers. Events are planned at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township on Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14.

– 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

 

Lake Huron Fall, Michigan Coastal Initiatives, Energy Plans

For Sept. 8, 2017

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1 – While fall doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22, Sept. 1 was the equivalent in terms of weather and water levels.

Michigan State University Extension notes that levels on Lake Huron seem to have peaked in July and August and are now following a typical seasonal decline.

This decline usually continues into October and through December, and then the lake begins a seasonal increase in January and February.

Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically one lake that’s connected by the Straits of Mackinac. The current forecast is that Lake Huron will dip by 2 inches by around Oct 1. That 2-inch decrease amounts to about 1.5 trillion gallons of water (evaporation, precipitation and runoff.)

2 – Michigan is supporting coastal initiatives throughout the state.

Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes will use a half-million dollars in federal grants for 11 projects along the coastline.

The funding supports local governments, nonprofits, and university researchers. Projects will improve beach safety, create public access, and develop tools to protect coastal habitat, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Some funds will continue support for initiatives like the Adopt-a-Beach and Clean Marina programs. Others will explore new ground with aerial photography and geospatial technology.

The projects include a master plan for the village of Sebewaing in Huron County. The plan will be crafted with public input and is intended to help manage natural and recreational Lake Huron resources that include coastal wetlands, a marina, an inland waterway, and a campground.

sebewaing park huron county michigan

Credit: Dale Noel

3 – Clean air and health advocates are pushing for expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan.

Groups including the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Ecology Center are calling for utility companies to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of Integrated Resource Plans (IRP).

Under a new energy law that took effect in April, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy must file Integrated Resource Plans that lay out long-term plans for energy efficiency and demand response, and for building power plants and other forms of electricity generation.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding public comment sessions throughout the state on these plans.

One was held held this week in Livonia. Others are planned for Grand Rapids and Marquette.

Comments on the plans also are being taken online until Oct. 6 at michigan.gov/lara.

– 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

 

Antidepressants in Fish Brains, Beach Trash in Bags

For Sept 1, 2017

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.

The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, involving millions of people caring for local shorelines around the world.

In the Great Lakes last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up more than 40,000 pounds of litter. 87 percent of it was plastic.

To find a cleanup near you, or host your own event, go online to GreatLakesAdopt.org.

2 – Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region.

antidepressants pills

Credit: Wendy

In a new study, researchers from the University of Buffalo detected high concentrations of antidepressants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River.

The Niagara River connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls.

The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, researchers say.

The active ingredients from antidepressants are coming from wastewater treatment plants, and could affect the feeding behavior of fish and their survival instincts.

The levels of antidepressants found do not pose a danger to humans who eat the fish, but are a threat to biodiversity if they disrupt the balance between species that keep the ecosystem stable.

The study was published on Aug. 16 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

– 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

Tittabawassee River Sturgeon, Cedar River Monitoring

For Aug. 24, 2017

1- The state is stocking the Tittabawassee River with lake sturgeon for the first time.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 193 lake sturgeon were stocked in the river in Midland County on Monday (Aug. 21).

A DNR Lake Sturgeon Rehabilitation Strategy identified the Saginaw River watershed, including the Tittabawassee, as a system whose lake sturgeon population is in dire need of improvement.

The stocking was the first reintroduction of the species in the Saginaw River watershed. It’s the culmination of work aimed at rehabilitating the sturgeon in waters where they once flourished.

Lake sturgeon are a slow-growing, late-maturing fish that can live more than 100 years.

The fish stocked in the Tittabawassee River likely will not return to spawn until 2040.

Credit: Michigan DNR

2 – Volunteers will be back in the Cedar River this fall to determine the river’s water quality by looking at macroinvertebrates which live in the water.

Little Forks Conservancy is seeking volunteers for a stream sampling day on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Volunteers will meet at the Gladwin Community Building at 9 a.m. Teams will sample six sites in the Cedar River in Gladwin and Clare counties.

Little Forks Conservancy began monitoring Cedar River water quality in fall of 2015.

Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans, worms and aquatic insects.

Experienced volunteers will act as team leaders and collectors, working in the streams to ensure that quality samples are collected.

The conservancy says each successive monitoring event helps create a more complete picture of the health of the Cedar River.

For more details, see littleforks.org.

– 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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