Plastic Pollution, Tawas Point Lighthouse

For Friday, Dec. 8, 2017

plastic-beach

Credit: David J

1 – What do all the Great Lakes have in common? Plastic pollution.

As 2017 comes to an end, the Alliance for the Great Lakes has released details from its ongoing beach cleanup program.

This year, 89 percent of all the litter picked up from Great Lakes beaches was plastic. And plastic has been the most common type of litter found for years.

Plastic never goes away. Once it’s in the water or on the beach, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. These microplastics, as they’re called, can then absorb toxic chemicals and be mistaken for food by fish and wildlife.

The Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach program helped remove plastic and other pollution during more than 500 cleanups in 2017, including along Saginaw Bay.

Throughout the lakes, volunteers picked up 36,128 pounds of trash in 2017.

2 – The application period is now open for next year’s Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program.

In 2018, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program will offer combined vacation and service opportunities for adults from May 16 to Oct. 16.

Those selected to be volunteer lighthouse keepers receive lodging in a restored keepers’ quarters next to the 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse in Tawas Point State Park.

In exchange, participants provide about 35 hours of services each week in and around the lighthouse, which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance.

Keepers stay in the second story of the keepers’ quarters attached to the lighthouse.

Accommodations include two bedrooms, which sleep up to four adults, and kitchen, bath and laundry facilities. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse.

The application and additional information about the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse.

The application period is open through Feb. 2, 2018.

– 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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Saginaw Bay Lighthouse for Sale, Land Conservation Stats and Community Solar

For July 17, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/w1819xw1mqiz348/mrgreatlakes-7-17-2015-environment-report.MP3]

1- Three Michigan lighthouses are for sale, including the Gravelly Shoal Light Station in Saginaw Bay.

gravelly shoal lighthouse station light saginaw bay

Gravelly Shoal Light Station, Saginaw Bay. Via gsaauctions.gov

The federal government is taking bids on the lighthouses. The new owners would have to maintain the lights. Bidding is open to nonprofit organizations.

The starting bid for the Gravelly Shoal light is $5,000.

The Gravelly Shoal station features a 65-foot tower and is located on the west side of Saginaw Bay, about 5 miles offshore from Au Gres.

It was constructed in 1939 to mark the shoals around Big Charity Island.

2 – Michigan land conservancies have helped protect almost 600,000 acres in the state.

Heart of the Lakes, a statewide nonprofit based in Bay City, says a survey of member land conservancies shows 597,516 acres of natural, scenic and working farms and forest lands have been protected in Michigan.

That’s an increase of about 10,000 acres since last year, based on data from 27 organizations.

By the way, 600,000 acres is about 938 square miles. Bay County is about 631 square miles.

Conserved land supports a variety of conservation purposes, including improved water quality, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and local foods, according to Heart of the Lakes.

3 – Consumers Energy has a new community solar program, and customers can express interest at the company’s Web site.

solar garden flower

Credit: Nahid V

The company is looking for people interested in subscribing to the Solar Gardens Program.

The subscription program is offered in half-kilowatt increments, called “blocks,” and is limited to a home’s annual electric usage.

Consumers announced the program earlier this year. It’s the first of its kind offered by a regulated electric utility in Michigan.

Consumers says it will determine sites for Solar Gardens projects, and construction will begin after sites are fully subscribed.

Once Solar Gardens are operational, subscribed customers will make a payment with their monthly bill and receive a credit based on the amount of solar energy produced and electric market rates for up to 25 years.

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– 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

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