Energy Laws, Duck and Bird Advice, Power Plant Expansion

For Friday, April 7, 2017

 

1 – There are new energy laws coming to Michigan and opportunities for public involvement.

A web page from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on the laws, which take effect on April 20.

The new laws include updates relating to utility rate cases, electric choice, energy waste reduction and renewable energy. Electric providers will be required to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

You can sign up to receive email updates on topics of interest. You can find more information at michigan.gov/energylegislation.

— Via GLREA

2 – If you find a duck nesting on your property this spring, leave it alone.

Goslings are a common sight in Michigan in the spring

Goslings. Credit: MDNR

Michigan wildlife experts say ducks nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to appear just about everywhere in the spring. Female mallards often build nests in landscaping, gardens or other locations.

While finding a duck’s nest in an unexpected location may be a surprise, there is no need for concern. Leave the duck alone and try to keep dogs, cats and children away from the nest.

If the mother duck is successful and her eggs hatch, she will lead her ducklings to the nearest body of water.

Don’t worry if you do not live near water, the mother duck knows where to take her ducklings to find it.

If a bird builds a nest on your property, it’s common to find baby birds on the ground after they attempt to fly. Don’t touch them. Their parents will continue to take care of them, even when they are on the ground.

Touching a baby bird will not cause adults to abandon it. But if you move a baby bird, the parents may be unable to find and care for it. It is better to leave the baby bird alone to be raised by its parents.

3 – A Midland power plant plans a $500 million expansion.

midland cogeneration venture plant expansion artist rendering

Artist’s rendering. Credit: MCV

According to the Midland Daily News, the Midland Cogeneration Venture plans to spend the money to add two new gas turbines and a steam turbine at its 1,200-acre site.

Officials estimate 700 people will be employed during the two and a half years of construction, and 20 long-term jobs will be added at the site. The upgrades will boost electrical capacity by at least 40 percent.

Midland Cogeneration Venture is the largest plant of its kind in the United States. It uses natural gas to produce electricity and process steam for customers including nearby chemical production companies.

Construction on the expansion is to begin once the plant secures a power purchaser, which is expected to take six to 12 months.

Officials say the expansion is driven by the need for more energy following the shuttering of older power plants.

– 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

 

Spotting Ducks, Treating for Ash Borer, Awarding Grants

For Friday, March 31, 2017

1 – Ducks were down in a recent survey. But state biologists say they still believe populations are stable.

aerial waterfowl survey michigan dnr ducks

Department of Natural Resources biologists counted ducks, geese and swans while flying low over Michigan’s waterways as part of an annual effort to monitor waterfowl populations. Credit: MDNR

Staffers from Michigan Department of Natural Resources took to the skies in small aircraft earlier this year to count ducks, geese and swans.

They observed more than 148,000 ducks, which was down by 5 percent from about 157,000 ducks observed in 2016.

Biologists say the decline can be attributed to cold arctic blasts in late December and early January that pushed birds southward. Some ducks bypassed Michigan altogether.

The state has conducted aerial surveys of wintering ducks and geese since 1991. The results are important for helping manage habitat for the species.

2 – Yellow dots on trees in Bay County mean they’ll be treated to fight emerald ash borer.

Officials with County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program say they are including hundreds of healthy, living ash trees in an annual Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Project.

yellow dot abstract

Credit: Pellinni

Trees scheduled to be treated this year will be marked with a yellow dot on the side facing the road. These trees were last treated in 2013.

Trees marked with a green dot were treated in the spring of 2016.

The treatments help to maintain the health of ash trees and should protect them from further emerald ash borer damage for at least two years.

3 – Spring is here, and action grants are available from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

The group has set a deadline of April 14 for proposals.

They’re looking for organizations with great ideas for projects that focus on natural resource restoration, education and promotion, or sustainability.

The funding is available to organizations working to make improvements in neighborhoods, communities, and watersheds.

The Network will award grants of up to $1,000 to successful applicants. A one-to-one match is required.

More information is available online at SaginawBayWIN.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

Michigan Waterfowl Legacy adds Saginaw Bay, Midland wants a bioreactor, and Climate Change is already here

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

michigan midwest climate change temperatures rising

From Chapter 18 of the National Climate Assessment draft.

Text and info from the Feb. 1, 2013, broadcast:

1- The Michigan Waterfowl Legacy program now includes Saginaw Bay.

Michigan Waterfowl Legacy is a recently launched statewide initiative that seeks to bring hunters and non-hunters together to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl, wetlands and waterfowl hunting community.

The Legacy is a 10-year, cooperative partnership between various government agencies and non-government conservation organizations — including the Bay City-based Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

The Saginaw Bay watershed is the largest in Michigan, draining about 15 percent of the state’s waterways.

Goals of the Legacy program here include increasing the number of citizens in the region who are using and enjoying wetlands, and building on successful partnerships that have resulted in increased wetland and waterfowl habitat.

Plans include the promotion of Saginaw Bay tourism opportunities related to waterfowl and wetlands, and the development of Saginaw Bay-specific Michigan Waterfowl Legacy events, such as waterfowl hunting, birding, and trapping workshops.

Many of the new Saginaw Bay events will occur on waterfowl areas managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and tie into a new DNR campaign called “Explore Michigan’s Wetland Wonders.”

The project has been funded by a $27,500 grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, supported by area foundations.

2 – A bioreactor project is planned for a Midland landfill.

The city of Midland is requesting a construction permit from the state for a research, development, and demonstration project at an existing solid waste landfill.

According to a permit application, on file with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Bay City, the project is designed to study the effect of adding sludge from the wastewater treatment process to solid waste at the landfill.

Adding sludge to the landfill is expected to optimize conditions for the biological decomposition of solid waste.

The landfill is 340 acres, and located on East Ashman Street in Midland.

The project also could increase the life of the landfill, and the amount of electricity generated from existing landfill gas extraction equipment.

A decision from the DEQ is expected by late April.

3 – Climate change is already impacting wildlife in Michigan.

Case studies from across the country show that global warming is altering wildlife habitats, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, covering eight regions of the U.S.

Highlights from the Great Lakes and Midwest include: More heavy rainfall events are increasing runoff of nutrients from agricultural lands, contributing to harmful algal blooms and causing oxygen-depleted dead zones in the lakes.

The report recommends action to reduce the amount of toxic pollution from coal-fired energy, and support for more wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects.

Meanwhile, a recently released draft National Climate Assessment from the federal government concludes that climate change will lead to more frequent and intense Midwest heat waves, while degrading air and water quality and threatening public health.

Intense rainstorms and floods also will become more common, and existing risks to the Great Lakes will be exacerbated.

The National Climate Assessment’s Midwest chapter (pdf) was authored by three University of Michigan researchers.

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Solar Shingles Expand Home Market, BaySail Nears Milestone, and New Life for Coastal Wetland

Mr. Great Lakes. As heard Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM Friday Edition, at 9 a.m. Eastern …

Photo by Eric Dobis

Photo by Eric Dobis

1 .
Dow Solar has announced a major expansion in the availability of its Powerhouse Solar Shingles.

Homeowners can now purchase the shingles through Kearns Bros., based in Dearborn, and Cobblestone Homes, based in Linwood, according to the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.

Powerhouse shingles protect like a standard shingle, but also have embedded solar cells to help power a home. They are made in Midland by Dow Solar, a business unit of the Dow Chemical Co.

Cobblestone is featuring the shingles on new model homes in the mid-Michigan region.

According to Dow, Kearns Bros. in Dearborn will service the re-roof market.

Homeowners who need a new roof can upgrade to a Powerhouse roof. The system costs more than a standard asphalt roof, but pays for itself over time through energy savings, and adds to the value of a home.

2.

BaySail in Bay City is nearing a milestone.

The nonprofit, which offers sailing and environmental education aboard to two Appledore schooners, has hosted nearly 40,000 students in 15 years of operation.

BaySail launched its Science Under Sail program in 1998, and since then has educated 37,969 students, according to leaders.

That amounts to 1,186 classes from elementary through high school that have come aboard two tall ships operated by program staff and volunteers.

The ships are docked on the Saginaw River and journey to Saginaw Bay and other parts of the Great Lakes.

A goal of BaySail is to activate the passion of the next generation by helping young people make direct connections to the natural world.

Students who come aboard the ships for science-based programs are often experiencing the Great Lakes for the first time.

BaySail also offers a regular schedule of public sails.

You can find out more at BaySailBayCity.org.

3 .

A new pump is giving new life to a large coastal wetland in Pinconning.

The pump replaces a failed pump structure at the Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area in northern Bay County.

The new equipment can be used to manipulate water levels in a 298-acre marsh at the site.

Nayanquing Point consists of about 1,400 acres of coastal marsh and associated upland habitats along Saginaw Bay.

It provides habitat for thousands of migratory birds in the spring and fall. The 298-acre marsh area is managed to provide waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Ducks Unlimited received a nearly $200,000 federal grant for the project from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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