Saginaw Bay Algal Blooms, UP Monarchs, River Cleanups

For July 14, 2017

1 – Phosphorous pollution has been responsible for toxic algae blooms in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced a plan to fight phosphorous in Lake Erie.

The plan targets phosphorous pollution from farms – a large contributor to toxic blooms.

The focus is on reducing the amount of phosphorous that makes it into the water – by creating individual plans for riverside farms.

A state official says the same methods could be used to help the Saginaw Bay, which also sees heavy agricultural runoff.

 

2 – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is an important stopover site for monarch butterflies on their annual migration from Canada to Mexico.

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via Giphy

A nonprofit called the Superior Watershed Partnership has engaged communities across the UP to help.

Monarch butterfly populations have declined more than 80 percent in recent decades due to habitat loss, pesticides and other factors. Partnership programs are restoring habitat on public and private lands throughout the UP in an effort to counter this trend. The common milkweed plant is the monarch’s preferred food. They also rely on milkweed plants to deposit their eggs and feed their larvae.

The city of Marquette recently worked with the Partnership to mail out more than 6,000 packets of milkweed seeds in utility bills to city residents and businesses.

The group also distributed more than 10,000 seed packets to other UP communities, schools, churches and community groups on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

 

3 – Friends of the Shiawassee River are celebrating 20 years of cleanup events.

The Friends and the Shiawassee County Health Department have removed hundreds of cubic yards of debris and more than 650 tires from the river since the first cleanup in 1997.

Funding comes from the Great Lakes Commission and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

This year, volunteers will meet at the Oakwood Avenue Bridge in Owosso or McCurdy Park in Corunna at 9 a.m. on July 29. For more information, see shiawasseeriver.org.

The Shiawassee River drains an area of more than 1,200 square miles and is a major tributary to the Saginaw River.

– 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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Proposing New Cleanup Criteria, Using Turtles to Monitor Wetlands

For June 10, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j5nvyaecp37es6w/6-9-16-mr-great-lakes-cleanup-criteria-turtles-wetlands.mp3]

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

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