Spring Beach Cleaning, Oak Wilt, Earth Day

For April 21, 2017

1- April marks the unofficial start of beach cleanups around the state.

The volunteer events are part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program. Many groups are holding their first events of the year, with Earth Day being celebrated on Saturday, April 22.

Last year, more than 15,000 Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up more than 40,000 pounds of debris from locations including the Saginaw Bay area.

lake-michigan-beach-ppj

Credit: PPJ

In addition to picking up trash, the volunteers collect data that’s shared with beach managers and scientists.

In 2016, 87 percent of the trash picked up by volunteers was plastic. Over time, plastic litter breaks down into small pieces which can be eaten by birds, fish, and other wildlife.

Volunteers interested in participating in Adopt-a-Beach can find more information online at greatlakesadopt.org.

 

2 – April also marks the start of oak wilt season.

 

oak-wilt-michigan-2016

Credit: MDNR

Oak wilt is a disease that mainly affects red oak trees. Red oaks often die within a few weeks after becoming infected.

 

The spread of oak wilt occurs during this time of year as beetles move to wounds on healthy oaks. Because of this, state officials advise people not to prune oaks from April 15 to July 15.

Although oak wilt hasn’t been detected in every Michigan county, officials say there’s a need for vigilance statewide. That means you also shouldn’t move firewood from wilt-affected oak trees.

For more information see michigan.gov/invasives

 

3 – An Earth Day cleanup is planned for Saturday at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County.

Officials say managing wetlands in the refuge presents many challenges, and one of those is dealing with trash and water pollution. Wetlands act as a natural filtration system for contaminants in the water.

The cleanup is from Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the refuge. The event is open to all ages, individuals and groups. Snacks will be provided.

Long sleeves and pants are suggested. Avoid open-toe shoes or sandals.

Bring gloves, and be prepared to get dirty. Trash bags will be provided.

 

– 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

 

On Curbing Beach and Back-to-School Trash

For Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

1 – Beach cleanup season starts next month.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is celebrating 25 years of volunteer beach cleanup efforts.

This season’s kickoff is Sept. 17.

The annual September Adopt-a-Beach Event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

Throughout the month, beach and shoreline cleanups involving thousands of volunteers will be held to remove trash and collect data on the findings.

Cleanups will take place in Michigan along with Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Along Saginaw Bay, volunteers will be out at the Bay City State Recreation Area and the Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area.

You  can register online at greatlakesadopt.org to take part in a cleanup.

2 – A local waste hauler has some back to school tips.

Republic Services, which collects trash and recyclables in locations including Bay County, is encouraging parents to think sustainably when planning for the end of summer vacation.

The tips include:

  • Before starting the new school year, sort through old supplies. Many from last year can be reused, repurposed or donated.
  • Make a list before you shop for school supplies to limit impulse buying.
  • Purchase and use supplies made from recycled or reused products.
  • Bring drinks in a thermos or reusable water bottle and be sure to recycle milk cartons, bottles or other recyclable containers.
  • And, if your child brings their lunch to school, send reusable containers and carry them in a reusable bag or lunch box.

TRASHed Coachella 2015 Collection
– 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

Salmon Suffering, Beach Cleaning, Happy Spring

For Friday, March 18, 2016 …

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/2g7addlta23nfgt/3-18-16-mrgreatlakes-environmentreport.mp3]

1 – There’s bad news for salmon in Lake Huron.

A University of Michigan-led study says the lake’s chinook salmon fishery is unlikely to recover due to an ongoing food shortage.

The study says the lake can no longer support the alewife, which is the salmon’s main food source.

A co-author says the study should serve as a reality check when it comes to stocking Chinook salmon in Lake Huron.

Pacific salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes 50 years ago to establish a new recreational fishery and help control alewives, a non-native species.

Computer simulations in the study show that the collapse of the alewife population was caused by a combination of predation by salmon and native lake trout and food limitation tied to invasive mussels.

Lake Huron resource managers are being advised to focus efforts on restoration of native fish species like lake trout, walleye, lake whitefish and lake herring.

2 – April is beach season. At least when it comes to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The environmental group is kicking off Adopt-a-Beach program this spring with events throughout the state.

A cleanup is planned for Saturday, April 9, at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township.

It starts at 10 a.m. at the state park Visitor Center. You can register online at GreatLakesAdopt.org.

An estimated 25 volunteers will collect trash from the beach.

At the last cleanup in October, items collected from the beach included cigarette butts, food wrappers and beverage bottles and cans, and grocery bags.

beach-trash-erv.jpg

Credit: ERV

– 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

 

Net Metering Up, Solar Shingles Out, Beach Cleanups Planned

For Friday, Sept. 4, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/mi7zliq0lmpopoj/mrgreatlakes2-environment-report-9-4-15.MP3]

1 – A Solar Rally was held last month in Lansing. It was to protest a bill that would eliminate net metering.

Right now, people with rooftop solar panels can use the power they generate and sell the remainder to their electric company. The bill, now in committee, would require all the power to go to the utility.

For now, it turns out that more people are using net metering.

A 2014 annual report from the Michigan Public Service Commission shows a 25 percent increase in net metering compared to 2013.

There was an increase of more than 300 customers (from 1,527 customers to 1,840 customers), and more than 300 installations (from 1,631 installations to 1,947 installations). Some customers have multiple installations.

Michigan two largest utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Electric, host 84 percent of the net metering capacity in the state.

2 – The Dow Chemical Co. will be rolling out Version 2.0 of its Powerhouse Solar System to additional U.S. markets in early 2016.

powerhouse solar shingles installed

Powerhouse Solar Shingles installed on a house in Detroit. Via Houzz.com

The Powerhouse Solar Shingle is made by Dow in Midland, and available in Michigan.

The product combines a conventional asphalt roof with an integrated solar power system. In other words, it looks like a regular roof and performs a lot like a roof full of solar panels, Dow says.

The system includes an inverter that uses collected solar energy to power a home, and monitoring that shows how much energy the system is producing.

3 – Summer is ending, but the Adopt-a-Beach program getting ready for a big cleanup.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes, an environmental group, organizes beach cleanups around Michigan. Many will be taking place on Sept. 19, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, occurring throughout the month in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.

A local cleanup is planned for Sept. 19 at the Bay City Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

You can find a map of Michigan events, sign up and register at GreatLakesAdopt.org.

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– 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

A Tally of Renewable Energy in Michigan, and Beach Trash in the Great Lakes

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

The Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, broadcast:

1 – More than $1.8 billion has been invested since Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard was signed into law in 2008.

toxic butts beaches cigarette butts trash

Photo by ToxicButts

 

The figures come from a third annual report (pdf) by the Michigan Public Service Commission on a public act that established a standard of 10 percent renewables by 2015.

For 2011, Michigan’s estimated renewable energy percentage was 4.4 percent, up from 3.6 percent in 2010.

For 2012, renewables are expected to have reached 4.7 percent, according to the Commission. During 2012, more renewable energy came online in Michigan that ever before, officials say.

Michigan added 815 megawatts of new wind capacity last year, and now has a total of 978 megawatts from 14 operating wind farms, located in spots including Michigan’s Thumb.

The report says that compared to building a new, conventional coal-fired facility, most renewable energy contracts have been significantly lower in price. The cost of renewable energy contracts also has come in below previous estimates.

Voters in November rejected a ballot proposal to raise Michigan’s renewable standard.

Gov. Rick Snyder has planned public meetings across the state this year to discuss Michigan’s energy future.  One is planned for Delta College’s Lecture Theater from 1-5 p.m. on March. 4.

An agenda for that Delta meeting includes presentations by Dow, Clean Water Action, and Consumers Energy, and time for public comment.

2 – The totals are in from the Adopt-a-Beach program.

In 2012, hundreds of teams and thousands of volunteers spread out on the five Great Lakes to clean up litter and conduct environmental monitoring as part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ program.

Those teams included one from Saginaw Valley State University. That team worked on the public beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County’s Bangor Township.

By the numbers, 327 coastal areas were visited in 2012.

A total of 42,351 pounds of trash was removed by 12,618 volunteers on 372 Adopt-a-Beach teams.

Litter removed from beaches in 2012 was made up mostly of food-related items, at 43 percent.

Cigarette filters came in second, at 34 percent. Cigar tips made up 6 percent. Plastic bags made up 5 percent.

This year’s Adopt-a-Beach events kick off in the spring.

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Mich Enviro Report: Earth Day Beach Cleanups, a Festival & Thumb Wind Farms

As heard on Delta College public radio Q-90.1 FM, Friday Edition, April 22, 2011:

Junk from a Grand Haven beach cleanup in 2010. Via the Alliance for the Great Lakes

1.

Today is Earth Day (April 22), and beaches around Michigan are being cleaned up by volunteers.

The Adopt-a-Beach program is in its ninth season, and runs through May 4. This year, volunteers will target spots around the Great Lakes that have seen beach closings or been designated as federal Areas of Concern because of past pollution.

That includes the public beach at the Bay City State Recreation Area, where a cleanup is planned for April 23. It’s the first Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at the state park in recent memory.

Other cleanups are planned throughout Michigan, including in Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren and Wayne Counties.

Adopt-a-Beach is organized by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. During the events, volunteers clear trash and sample water quality. Additional work also is being done this year with funding from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Last year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers removed more than 31,000 pounds of trash from Great Lakes shorelines.

2.

More wind farms are coming to Michigan’s Thumb.

DTE Energy plans to build its first three wind farms in Huron and Sanilac counties, to be completed in 2012.

The development is part of efforts to expand the generation of renewable energy in Michigan. Utilities in the state are working to meet at 10 percent by 2015 standard.

The three DTE wind projects will generate about 110 megawatts, according to company officials.

The estimated cost of the project is $225 million. About 50 turbines are to be installed along 15,000 acres in the two counties. The project is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs.

DTE still needs to select a turbine manufacturer, a construction company, and secure permits for the three wind farms.

But the company says it hopes to begin construction next year.

3.

The big Earth Day celebration is planned for Saturday, April 30, in Huron County.

School officials are planning for a seventh annual Embracing Our Earth event, which typically attracts thousands of visitors.

This year’s festival is to take place at Bad Axe Junior High School, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Attractions this year include a Marking Art from the Earth display by the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, a rainforest and alligator display, and pedal powered cookies.

The Detroit Science Center also will put on a  “Green Machine” stage show, and there will be live music, face painting and a kayak tank.

Wind farm tours also will be offered, along with mechanical surfboard rides, Segway demonstrations, and more.

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