Fishing Seasons, Repealing Regulations, Targeting E. Coli

For April 28, 2017

1 – Two fishing seasons start this weekend.

The statewide trout season and the Lower Peninsula seasons for inland walleye, northern pike and muskellunge all open on Saturday, April 29.

Fishing is a major economic driver in many parts of Michigan. The state says anglers typically generate $4.4 billion in economic activity, which generates $623 million in local, state and federal tax revenue. Sportfishing in Michigan is estimated to support nearly 38,000 jobs.

The new fishing license season began April 1, so anglers need to be sure they’ve purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season.

This is the second year of the two-year Michigan Fishing Guide. The guide is available online at michigan.gov/fishingguide.

2 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on the repeal of regulations.

An executive order from President Donald Trump requires government agencies like the EPA to create a Task Force to identify existing regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome on the American people.

For example, the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management is seeking feedback on its regulations. The office deals with the land disposal of hazardous waste and underground storage tanks; state and local governments in redeveloping and reusing potentially contaminated sites through a Brownfields program; and addressing contaminated soil and groundwater.

The EPA is accepting comments through May 15, 2017 at docket EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190.

3 – Statewide targets for E. coli bacteria in impaired water bodies are under review by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Public comments are being taken a draft statewide total maximum daily load framework for E. coli.

The framework is being developed to identify the pathogen reductions necessary to meet water quality standards.

The state says routine testing has shown E. coli levels in many areas are above the standard. These levels increase the risk of illness upon contact or ingestion of the water. High levels of E. coli can close result in beach closures.

Comments are being taken through May 19.

– 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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Counting Birds and Bacteria

For Friday, Dec. 18, 2015

1 – The Christmas Bird Count is underway.

The Audubon event happens every year, when thousands of volunteers identify and count birds throughout the United States and Canada.

The Count, now in its 116th year, helps helps researchers, conservation biologists and others study North American bird populations.

Last year, more than 2,400 counts were completed, with more than 68 million birds reported.

christmas bird count winter snow audubon

Credit: USFWS

Anyone can participate in the Christmas Bird Count, which takes place from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. The event takes place in “count circles” that focus on specific geographic areas. Every circle has a leader, so even beginners can help contribute data.

There are count circles in Bay City, Midland and throughout the state. Last year’s count in Bay City – sponsored by the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and Saginaw Valley Audubon Society –  recorded 52 species.

For more information, see birds.audubon.org.

– via NEEF

2 – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is taking steps to address E. coli bacteria contamination throughout the state.

The state is developing a Total Maximum Daily Load document for surface waters in impaired waters throughout the state.

The DEQ estimates that about half of river miles in Michigan are impaired by E. coli.

About 22 percent of beaches had closures due to E. coli contamination in 2014, including some in Bay County.

E. coli is used as an indicator for fecal contamination and a water quality standard is designed to protect human health during swimming and other recreation.

When the standard is exceeded, the Federal Clean Water Act requires that Michigan develop a Total Maximum Daily Load to provide a framework for restoration of water quality.

The DEQ says that due to the extent of this problem and the multitude of potential sources, a statewide approach will be most effective. A webinar on the process in planned for Jan. 19.

– Fact Sheet

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2016.

michigan winter river platte honor

Credit: Jim Sorbie

– 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

Mystery Genes in Great Lakes Beach Sand & Fixing Fishing Guides

As heard at 9 a.m. Eastern, Fridays on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College …

Speak Up on DNR Fishing and Hunting Guides

photo e coli bacteria petri dish great lakes beach sand

Photo by Anthony D'Onofrio

The state Department of Natural Resources is working on improved fishing guides and hunting digests for 2013.

But first, they’re asking for public input in an effort to make the guides more useful.

So if you’ve ever struggled to understand or make sense of a fishing or hunting guide from the DNR, here’s your chance to speak up.

Feedback is being gathered over the next several months from focus groups and surveys, according to Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

The surveys must be completed by Feb. 3.

The results will help identify discussion topics for focus groups to be held in late February and March.

For more information, see the Hunting and Trapping Digest survey, and the Fishing Guide survey.

This E. Coli Attaches to Your Intestines

Central Michigan University researchers have found mysterious genes in the sands of Great Lakes beaches.

The genes are from disease-causing E. coli bacteria, which can make people sick and lead to beach closings.

E. coli is a common indicator bacteria used by health departments to test beach waters.

But here’s something more uncommon: The E. coli pathogens found at seven beaches contained genes that can attach to a person’s intestinal wall and secrete toxins.

Those were found in sand at public beaches along Lake St. Clair, and Lake Huron. Researchers speculate that the bacteria could be using these “attachment genes” to survive in the sand.

The scientists say more study is needed to assess the health implications of these findings.

You can read more in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

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