Creating an Urban Park, and Keeping the Lights on in Michigan

For Friday, Feb. 3, 2017


1 – More than 334 acres along the Saginaw River will be used for urban recreation.

The site of the former General Motors Saginaw Malleable Metals foundry and Greenpoint Landfill will be managed by the Saginaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Potential uses for the proposed Riverfront Park include hiking and biking trails, wildlife viewing, and catch-and-release fishing.


The Saginaw River. Credit: Saginaw Future

Additional trails may connect the site to the Iron Belle Trail, downtown Saginaw and the nearby Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, according to The Nature Conservancy, which secured a grant for project planning.

In December, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommended that the state Legislature approve a $290,000 grant to be used for trail development and other improvements.

2 – Michigan should have enough energy to keep the lights on, even in challenging times.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says current utility projects should result in Michigan’s electric reliability remaining strong in the summer of 2018.

Officials note, however, that developing additional resources in the Lower Peninsula as a backup plan would be appropriate.


Credit: Travis Wise

The study looked at a scenario that occurred in 2012, in which electrical demand hits very high levels and two nuclear plants are unexpectedly down.

The study showed that lower Michigan should be able to keep the lights on if that happens. But it also showed that more of a cushion is needed between now and the summer of 2018 just in case things don’t go as planned.

Demand response resources, in which users agree to use less electricity when demand is spiking, on a very hot day for instance, can be put in place before the summer of 2018, according to the Commission.

– 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




Dow Solar Shingles Cost How Much, the Great Lakes Bowl, and Michigan Landfills

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

The Feb. 8, 2013, Environment Report:

1 – Solar shingles sound great, sure.

dow powerhouse shingles cost savings energy

A screenshot from the Dow Solar site.

They can save you energy, sure.

But for how much?

The Dow Chemical Co., which manufactures Powerhouse Solar Shingles in Midland, has developed a cost and savings estimator, based on your state, home size and energy savings goal.

For example, you can look at a 2,500-square-foot home in Michigan, based on an energy savings goal of 20 percent.

Asphalt shingles will cost about $9,000. Powerhouse Solar Shingles will cost you about an extra $11,000 for the same home.

But energy savings are estimated to be more than $14,000 over 25 years. The solar shingles also are estimated to increase a home’s value by another $11,000.

The estimator will point you to contacts for more specific information on your home, and authorized dealers, including Cobblestone Homes in Linwood.

2 – The Super Bowl may be over, but the Great Lakes Bowl is Saturday (Feb. 9).

The 2013 Great Lakes Bowl in Ann Arbor will bring together 16 teams from high schools and junior high schools in Michigan and Ohio to compete for a spot in National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

This year, there are 16 teams from 14 schools participating. They include Standish-Sterling Central High School in Standish.

The Saturday event is one of 25 regional competitions being held around the U.S. this month.

Each five-student team will compete through quick-answer buzzer questions and more complex team challenge questions focused on freshwater and saltwater.

Categories include physical oceanography, biology, chemistry, geography, geology, marine policy, social sciences, and technology related to the Great Lakes and oceans.

The Great Lakes Bowl will award cash, trophies, medals and other prizes to top finishers, according to a sponsor, Michigan Sea Grant.

The top team from each regional competition will advance to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals competition, to be held this year in April in Milwaukee.

3 – How much trash did you throw away last year?

In Bay County, the Whitefeather Landfill in Pinconning Township took in more than 401,000 cubic yards of waste, mostly from municipal and commercial sources, and mostly from Bay and Saginaw counties.

The information comes from Michigan’s annual report on solid waste for fiscal year 2012, ending Sept. 30.

In Michigan landfills overall, there was a 3.1 percent decrease in solid waste disposed of in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Waste imported from other states and Canada went down by almost 2 percent. Still, Canada remains as the largest source of waste imports into Michigan, representing 15.3 percent of all waste disposed of in state landfills, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

At current rates, it’s estimated that Michigan landfills will be filled in about 28 years. Whitefeather in Bay County has about 23 years of capacity left.


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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