The Oscars of Farming and Land for Sale

For Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

1- The Oscars of farming is coming to Saginaw Bay.

The awards program is being organized by The Nature Conservancy to ecognize Saginaw Bay area farmers, agribusinesses and conservation professionals that have made significant contributions to agricultural conservation in the watershed.

Nominations are now open for the awards, in categories from Conservation Innovation to Veteran and Newcomer. The Conservancy wants to shine a spotlight on exemplary work to improve agricultural practices for people and nature.

The organization has been working with farmers and others in the area for the past few years to test innovative conservation program aimed at reducing sediment runoff in the watershed.

The inaugural awards dinner is planned for March in Bay City, the same month as the Academy Awards.

Farm award winners will be selected by a committee that includes representatives from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Bureau, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development and Delta Institute.

To make a nomination or to learn more, go online to nature.org/sagbayawards.

 

2 – Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.

mark twain buy land

Credit: The Met

The state is auctioning off surplus land starting Dec. 12.

The sale is by sealed bid, and runs from Dec. 12 through Jan. 10. There are 80 parcels in counties including Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Gladwin, Midland, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 146 acres. Several are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources say the lands for sale are isolated from other DNR-managed public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public outdoor recreation benefits.

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

– 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

 

Advertisements

Asian Carp Solutions from 27 Countries, Agriculture Census to 3 Million Producers

For Nov. 17, 2017

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/k8hr24j4d3epx5p/mr-great-lakes-11-17-17.mp3]

1 – A Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge has netted more than 350 entries.

The Challenge sought solutions to stop the movement of invasive carp.

Michigan officials say entries were received from 27 countries.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges, with up to eight solutions selected for awards of $25,000.

First-round awards will be announced in February.

For final awards, a select number of Stage 1 awardees will present their ideas for additional cash awards totaling up to $500,000.

A live event is planned for March 2018 in Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge during his State of the State address in January. The state pledged $1 million to seek innovative methods to prevent the movement of invasive carp into Lake Michigan.

2 – Everyone is affected by rural development.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking a 2017 Census of about 3 million producers.

They’re encouraging those who receive surveys to fill out the questionnaires.

Data collected from the survey affects how resources are directed to things such as roads and disaster relief.

Census data also is used in the development of new technologies and helps direct agriculture education in schools.

This year, the department will collect new information, including expanded questions about food marketing practices.

Census responses are due by Feb. 5, 2018.

– 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

Debating Ag Land Windfall, Finding Trout Trails

For April 14, 2017

1 – Agricultural land is the only type of property in Michigan that’s increased in overall value since 2008.

According to Midwest Energy News and Bridge Magazine, that may be in part due to wind energy development. Areas that have seen significant development — such as the Thumb region — also had some of the greatest property value increases.

One analysis says commodity prices of corn, sugar beets and soybeans are the primary reason for the increased agricultural property values.

But a Lansing-based consulting firm says that analysis focused on a property’s value, not including other taxable features like wind turbines.

5 Lakes Energy says counties that host the largest number of turbines, including Huron County,  have seen the largest increase in the total taxable value of property in their areas.

2 – Those who love to fish for trout will want to check out a new online Trout Trails tool.

michigan-trout-trails

Credit: MDNR

The application pinpoints quality trout streams and lakes throughout the state.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the tool features lesser-known waters that are considered to be outstanding places to fish for trout, and they’ve verified by biologists.

Almost 100 new sites were recently added to the application, which includes about 300 locations in the Great Lakes basin.

Each entry features extensive information, including the trout species available, regulations, the presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish, driving directions, area lodging, restaurants and more.

Visit michigan.gov/trouttrails to access the information.

– 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

 

 

Septic Tanks Don’t Work, Restoration Does

For Friday, Aug, 7, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/ng90urix4mxpayo/8-7-15-environment-report-mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1 – Great Lakes restoration projects are coming to Northeast Michigan.

Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership, is funding 20 projects at a total cost of more than $5.7 million.

That money includes $350,000 to Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord.

Huron Pines will use $115,000 to restore more than 350 acres of wetland and shoreline habitat by controlling invasive species, planting native buffers, and reconnecting upland and wetland habitat.

Another $235,000 will be used in the Au Gres River Watershed, to replace five road–stream crossings, install in-stream habitat structures, and implement agricultural conservation practices.

Other grants went to conservation organizations and public agencies in Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

2 – Researchers at Michigan State University say, bluntly, that “septic tanks aren’t keeping poo out of rivers and lakes.”

poo sign michigan msu septic tanks

Credit: Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

The researchers sampled 64 river systems in Michigan for E. coli and human fecal bacteria as part of largest watershed study of its kind to date.

Sample after sample, bacterial concentrations were highest where there were higher numbers of septic systems in the watershed area.

It has been assumed that soil can filter human sewage, working as a natural treatment system. Unfortunately, such systems do not keep E. coli and other pathogens from water supplies, the researchers say.

The MSU study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers say information from the study is vital for improving management decisions for locating, constructing, and maintaining on-site wastewater treatment systems.

3 – Old habitat is being reopened to Saginaw Bay fish.

A Frankenmuth fish passage project began last week. The work will reconnect fish of the Saginaw Bay to more than 70 miles of historically significant spawning areas.

Construction crews are assembling a “rock rapids” system along the Cass River, which will allow passage of walleye, sturgeon and other fish beyond the a dam to areas that have not been accessible for more than 150 years.

Early work on the project was supported by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, headquartered in Bay City.

The project should be mostly complete by mid-September.

-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

Nature Preserve in Midland County, Conservation Funding for Saginaw Bay Farmers

For July 11 (on a summer schedule)

 

1 – A new nature preserve in Midland County will be dedicated this weekend. 

Szok preserve midland county

Via Little Forks Conservancy.

The Little Forks Conservancy will officially open the Albert and Virginia Szok Preserve to the public at a ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12. Following the dedication, guests are invited to explore the property.

The 8-acre property was donated to Conservancy by the children of Albert and Virginia Szok in memory of their parents. The new preserve is located within the Pine Haven Recreation Area at the end of Maynard Road, along 1,200 feet of the Salt River.

A short hiking trail and bench will be added to the property for users to enjoy the beauty along the river’s edge.

Albert Szok was a long-time Midland Public Schools teacher, who helped develop environmental education programs for the Chippewa Nature Center and environmental education standards for the state of Michigan.

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy will help permanently protect the preserve through a conservation easement donated to them by the Szok family.

2 – Conservation funding is available for agricultural producers in the Saginaw Bay area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $6.3 million in conservation financial assistance available to private landowners in Michigan to help improve water quality and wildlife habitat around the Great Lakes.

The financial assistance is available to farmers and agricultural producers in selected Michigan watersheds through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Farmers and landowners interested in obtaining assistance to implement conservation improvements on their land must apply before Aug. 1. The financial assistance is available to agricultural producers in the Saginaw Bay area, the Western Lake Erie Basin, and areas of Northern Michigan near the Great Lakes.

Conservation activities like planting cover crops and installing buffer strips can help improve water quality in the Great Lakes. A portion of the funding is targeted to reducing the amount of phosphorus runoff that contributes to algal blooms that damage aquatic habitat and water quality.

More information is available online from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

— Mr. Great Lakes is (usually) heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

 

%d bloggers like this: