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.


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.



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



Lake Huron Fisheries Workshops, Earth Day, and Refuge Fire

For Friday, April 17, 2015

(No audio today – Pledge Drive)

1 – Bay City is the site of an upcoming Lake Huron Regional Fisheries Workshop.

The local workshop is from 6-9 p.m. on April 30 at Knights of Columbus Hall on South River Road, north of the James Clements Airport.

The workshop is being held by Michigan Sea Grant and others. It will include information on research findings, management updates, and fishing trends.

The workshops are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.

Two other evening workshops will be held in Oscoda on April 23 and Cedarville on April 28.

The agenda for Bay City includes discussion of a Saginaw Bay reef habitat assessment, and walleye movement in Lake Huron.

2 – Delta College is celebrating Earth Day, on April 22, with a guest speaker and other events.


Delta College Earth Day poster, 2015.

Brent Lofgren, an atmospheric scientist from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor, will talk about “‘The Impact of Climate Change on Michigan’s Water Balance.”

The talk is from 10-11 a.m. in room E112.

Also on tap for the day is a screening of the “Growing Cities” film, free white pine and blue spruce seedlings, and a presentation on urban farming.

For more information, search for “Delta Sustainability” on Facebook.

3 – The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge caught fire this week.

Rx fire Bremer Marsh 4-13-2006 e

Credit: SNWR

It was intentional, for what’s known as a prescribed burn.

The fire was set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday at the refuge, located in Saginaw County. Prescribed burns were conducted in grasslands and marshes to improve wildlife habitat on the land.

Region 3 of the Fish and Wildlife Service uses fire to treat about 70,000 acres of refuge lands each year in the Midwest. Burn times are based on weather, and local governments and fire departments are given a heads up first.

The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge manages about 10,000 acres in Saginaw County for fish and wildlife habitat.

– 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

White-Nose Syndrome in Michigan, Birds in Tawas, and Earth Day in Bay City

1 – White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Michigan bats. 

Credit: USFWS.

Little brown bat; close-up of nose with fungus, New York, October 2008. Credit: USFWS.

The Department of Natural Resources says the serious disease has been detected for the first time within state borders.

White-nose syndrome has been found in three Michigan counties: Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac. The fungus is known to cause significant rates of illness and death in North American bats.

The DNR and partner organizations are now shifting gears from surveillance to working to stop the spread.

Five little brown bats showing disease characteristics were collected in February and March by researchers from Eastern Michigan University.

The disease was first documented in 2006 in a cave in upstate New York. Eleven species of bats have been infected and more than 6 million have died.

There are no known harmful effects to humans from White-nose syndrome.

But the DNR says the loss of bats due to the disease could be economically significant for agriculture and commercial forestry, leading to an increase in pests that are harmful to crops and trees.

Bat die-offs can be reported through an observation report on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/wildlife or by calling the DNR at 517-336-5030.

2 – The Tawas Point Birding Festival is May 15-18 in Iosco County.

The ninth annual festival will be based at the Tawas Bay Beach Resort in East Tawas. The Michigan Audubon Annual Conference will be held at the same time.

The Tawas Point festival will feature guided birding walks at area hotspots, along with programs and talks by some of Michigan’s leading wildlife experts. Some events are already sold out.

Tawas Point is a spring destination for birders from around the country and the world.

The “Point” is well known for high concentrations of migrating warblers during the month of May. More than 200 species of birds were recorded during the festival weekend in 2013.


3 – The city of Bay City has plans for Earth Day.

The 20th annual Ed Golson compost event is Saturday, April 26, at Veterans Memorial Park. It starts at 8 a.m., and ends when the compost is gone.

Little League teams will be collecting donations to offset their utility expenses. The compost can be shoveled, and it’s known as “black gold” for the benefits it brings to gardens.

There’s also a “Clean Up Bay City” event on April 26, sponsored by the mayor and city neighborhood groups. That’s from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with opportunities for residents to recycle and reduce their excess bulk trash.

ReLeaf Michigan also will have a pick-up location at Bay City Electric Light & Power for people who that have purchased trees for planting.

More information is available on the city’s website, at baycitymi.org.

Bay City-Midland Earth Day Events, and More Solar for Michigan

1 – The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is hosting an Arbor Day party.

winterberries flickr

Via Flickr


The event is at Discovery Preserve, across from Monitor Lanes in Bay City.

They’re calling it the Arbor Day Winterberry Blitz.

The conservancy will be planting 50-75 American Winterberries for Arbor Day, on Friday, April 25, from 3-6 p.m.

The shrubs are great for bird and other wildlife because they provide shelter and a food source during the winter months.

People of all ages are welcome to come out and help.

The Blitz is sponsored by ITC Holdings. There will be snacks, refreshments and work gear available.

Discovery Preserve was formerly known as Euclid Linear Park.

The Conservancy took votes from the public earlier this year to decide on a new nickname.

2 – Earth Day is April 22, and Chippewa Nature Center in Midland is hosting a bunch of activities to celebrate.

The Experience Earth Day event is from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.

Children and adults will be able to plant a young tree or bush to help enrich the biodiversity at the center, as well as learn about invasive exotic plants, and help pull invasive garlic mustard.

There also will be tours of the center’s LEED-certified Nature Preschool Building.

You can take home native wildflower seeds and also learn about native Michigan plants, recycling programs, and ways your family can live a “green” lifestyle.

Chippewa Nature Center is on Badour Road in Midland.

3 – DTE Energy has expanded its SolarCurrents program for the third time.

The pilot program allows DTE Energy electric customers to purchase and install solar photovoltaic systems at their home or business by offering financial incentives to help offset out-of-pocket costs. In return, DTE Energy receives renewable energy credits to help it meet the state’s renewable energy standard.

The utility recently selected a third round of projects for SolarCurrents.

The expansion will add 2 megawatts by the end of 2015. DTE had to hold a random drawing for the program because customers submitted 219 applications.

A total of 122 projects were chosen. There were 103 residential awards and 19 small business projects.

A fourth offering is planned for later this year. The deadline is July 23.

You can find out more at DTEEnergy.com/solar.



Saginaw Bay Algae Events, WIN Earth Day Contest, and Warblers in Ogemaw

1Two upcoming events will focus on environmental issues in the Saginaw Bay Watershed.


The first is a speaker series being hosted by the Partnership for the Saginaw Bay Watershed, to discuss nutrient levels and nuisance algae in the bay. The event is from 1-3 p.m. on April 24 at the Wirt Public Library in downtown Bay City. It also will discuss ongoing projects by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey to better understand and manage the bay’s algae problems.

And, a Wayne State University researcher will present “An Integrated Assessment of Beach Muck and  Public Perception at the Bay City State Recreation Area.”

The second event is a Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference, being coordinated by the Michigan State Land Policy Institute and groups throughout the watershed. That event is on June 12 at Saginaw Valley State University’s Curtiss Hall.

The day-long conference will focus on “tools and strategies for protecting water quality, the critical need for action and the development of local policies to protect and restore the Saginaw Bay.”

2Fifty words or less could be worth $1,000 to a local nonprofit.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network is looking for short descriptions of projects for an Earth Day Contest.

The ideas need to be related to conservation, public access to natural resources, natural resource-based recreation and education, or energy efficiency.

If you can describe the project in 50 words or less, your favorite nonprofit can win a grant to help support it.

Ideas will be posted to the Saginaw Watershed Initiative Network’s Facebook page, and the one with most votes will receive the grant.

The deadline is April 9. The award is to be announced on Earth Day, April 22.

3Which Michigan county is home to the largest number of nesting Kirtland’s warblers?

The answer: Ogemaw County. The endangered birds nest in 12 counties in Northern Michigan. Out of more than 2,000 singing males counted in a 2013 census, 26 percent were found in Ogemaw.

Why Ogemaw? Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, notes that conservation programs which help the warbler also also help protect other natural resources in the region.

Ogemaw contains the headwaters of the Rifle River, which flows for 60 miles and empties into Saginaw Bay.

The group is looking for volunteers to help keep the river clean. You can find out more at Huron Pine’s website.

– Mr. Great Lakes, as heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.


Funding Great Lakes Restoration, Adding Up Wind, and Embracing Our Earth

Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart), as heard 9 a.m. Eastern on Fridays on Delta College Q-90.1 FM.

The Environment Report for March 8, 2013:

1 – Great Lakes restoration was the theme of two days of lobbying this week in Washington, D.C. 

us capitol building turned blue for great lakes days

Credit: Ron Cogswell

More than 125 Great Lakes advocates were in D.C. to urge public officials to maintain Great Lakes restoration and protection as a national priority.

The Obama administration and Congress are working to negotiate a federal budget. The administration and lawmakers are being urged to maintain funding at $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program that has funded work on environmental hot spots in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.

Advocates warn that automatic spending cuts are set to take effect unless a budget agreement is reached.

The sequestration, as it’s called, would reduce investments in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by about $25 million.

The annual Washington, D.C.. gathering is known as Great Lakes Days.

2 – The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, the record installations amounted to 13,124 megawatts of electric generating capacity. Those installations leveraged $25 billion in private investment, and achieved more than 60,000 megawatts of cumulative wind capacity in the U.S.

The top state for new capacity last year was Texas, at 1,826 megawatts. Michigan came in eighth, at 611 megawatts of new capacity.

The 60,000 megawatts of capacity now in the U.S. is enough to power about 15 million homes, or the combined number of homes in Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, and Ohio.

The record installations of wind in 2012 surpassed a previous record in 2010 by about 3,000 megawatts.

Currently installed wind power in the U.S. will avoid almost 96 million metric tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions, according to AWEA. Still, that’s less than 2 percent of U.S. emissions of carbon, which come from sources including coal-fired power plants.

– via Great Lakes Energy News/GLREA

3- The Huron Intermediate School District, in Michigan’s Thumb, is planning for a ninth annual Embracing Our Earth event.

The event, one of the largest Earth Day festivals in Michigan, is to be held Saturday, April 13.

The festival will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Laker High School, in Pigeon.

Embracing our Earth is family-friendly, and will feature a wide variety of vendors, informational booths and displays, interactive games, a children’s energy fair, live animal shows, bands, and entertainment.

Local schools also will be involved, with various student competitions and presentations.

The event usually draws about 3,000 or more people to Pigeon, with has a population of about 1,200. Huron County was the site of Michigan’s first commercial wind farm, and now hosts dozens of commercial turbines.


– – –

Be Aware of Michigan Fishing Proposals, and a Poll on Littering

photo queen snake western lesser siren michigan

A queen snake (large) and western lesser siren (inset). Via Michigan DNR/Jim Harding.

As heard on the April 13, 2012, Environment Report,

part of Friday Edition at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College radio, Q-90.1 FM

Trout, Pike and Queen Snakes

What do you think of fishing regulation proposals?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to know. The DNR is planning a public meeting and comment session on Monday, April 23.

The meeting is from 7-9 p.m., at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

DNR officials plan to discuss several statewide fishing regulation proposals.

Those include:

More specific information on the proposals will be available at the meeting, to be held in the park’s Visitor Center.

You also can study up at the DNR web site at michigan.gov/fishing.

The meeting, again, is from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at the Bay City state park in Bangor Township.

Green Becoming the ‘New Normal’ photo no littering sign

Earth Day is coming up, on April 22, and people are finally starting to get the drift of sustainability.

A new survey by the Shelton Group says being eco-friendly is becoming more common among Americans.

Those surveyed say getting caught throwing trash out of the car window is more embarrassing to them than getting caught cheating on their taxes.

The national poll also found that unfriendly behaviors, like driving a gas guzzler, are becoming socially unacceptable these days.

Other things that people surveyed said they would more embarrassed to be caught doing than littering include:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Not using a seatbelt
  • Not recycling plastic bottles
  • and, letting the water run while brushing their teeth.

The researchers say they think being green will eventually become the new normal, because the percentages have reached a tipping point.

One more item worth mentioning: Those surveyed were asked what would encourage them adopt eco-friendly behaviors.

The top responses included penalties, fees, rewards, incentives, and education.


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