The Oscars of Farming and Land for Sale

For Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

1- The Oscars of farming is coming to Saginaw Bay.

The awards program is being organized by The Nature Conservancy to ecognize Saginaw Bay area farmers, agribusinesses and conservation professionals that have made significant contributions to agricultural conservation in the watershed.

Nominations are now open for the awards, in categories from Conservation Innovation to Veteran and Newcomer. The Conservancy wants to shine a spotlight on exemplary work to improve agricultural practices for people and nature.

The organization has been working with farmers and others in the area for the past few years to test innovative conservation program aimed at reducing sediment runoff in the watershed.

The inaugural awards dinner is planned for March in Bay City, the same month as the Academy Awards.

Farm award winners will be selected by a committee that includes representatives from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Bureau, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development and Delta Institute.

To make a nomination or to learn more, go online to nature.org/sagbayawards.

 

2 – Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.

mark twain buy land

Credit: The Met

The state is auctioning off surplus land starting Dec. 12.

The sale is by sealed bid, and runs from Dec. 12 through Jan. 10. There are 80 parcels in counties including Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Gladwin, Midland, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 146 acres. Several are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources say the lands for sale are isolated from other DNR-managed public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public outdoor recreation benefits.

More Information on the auction is available at www.michigan.gov/landforsale.

– 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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‘Human-Toothed’ Pacu in Michigan Waters, Endangered Species Running Out of Time

pacu-fish-human-teeth

Pacu fish. Via Thinking Humanity

For Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j100j9ftsyzmdjz/mr-great-lakes-8-12-16-pacu-endangered-species.mp3]

Fish with human-like teeth have been caught in Michigan waters.

The South American fish, called a pacu, uses its teeth for eating nuts and seeds, rather than people.

But three recent reports from anglers who reeled in a pacu are resulting in an announcement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The message is, don’t release aquarium pets into the wild.

The non-native pacu is a popular aquarium fish.

Pacus are not considered invasive in Michigan because they are tropical fish — and not likely to survive Michigan winters.

Still, releasing a pet into the wild is almost never humane, the DNR says, because such animals are poorly equipped to fend off predators and can spread exotic diseases to native animals.

And, planting a fish of any kind in Michigan waters without a permit is illegal. A new statewide campaign offers solutions for aquarium and pond owners. More information is available from the DNR Michigan Invasive Species website.

prairie fringed orchid endangered threatened fish wildlife service

Prairie Fringed Orchid. Credit: USFWS

If you’re an endangered species, time may not be on your side.

Under the Endangered Species Act, there’s a two-year timeline for a species threatened with extinction to receive protection.

A study from the University of Missouri finds that many species are encountering much longer wait times. Scientists say such delays could lead to less global biodiversity.

There’s a Michigan-related example, of the prairie fringed orchid.

In the study, the authors document species that went extinct due to a delay in the process. The island night lizard was listed in 1.19 years, whereas the prairie fringed orchid took 14.7 years to be listed.

The lizard has since recovered and been removed from endangered status; the orchid – which grows in parts of Michigan – is still considered threatened.

– 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

 

Research Vessels, Energy Appraisal and Bad Axe Renewables

For Friday, June 3, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/md2k740gy9g9fxe/6-3-16-mr-great-lakes-fish-energy-badaxe.mp3]

1 – Four state fisheries research vessels are back on the water, beginning annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says surveys conducted by the vessels are designed to examine and collect information on all aspects of the state’s Great Lakes fish community.

The vessels work throughout the Great Lakes on a wide variety of assessments and evaluations. Operations will continue into November.

channelcat

R/V Channel Cat. Via MDNR

On Lake Huron, the work is conducted by the Research Vessel Tanner  Chinook. The vessel focuses work on specific assessments of lake trout and walleye populations, as well as broader assessments in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River that evaluate fish community changes.

The Saginaw Bay evaluations are conducted jointly with the Research Vessel Channel Cat, which is based in Lake St. Clair at the Fisheries Research Station in Harrison Township.

 

2- Michigan consumers are benefiting from an abundant production and supply of natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products.

This is resulting in decreased prices across the board, according to a new state energy appraisal.

This summer, residents should enjoy dramatically lower prices at the pump.

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Credit: Joe Ross

Gas prices are about 13 percent lower than last year, officials say, along with the price of natural gas.

Officials say successful energy waste reduction efforts are noticeable in electricity demand.

Baseline usage is expected to decrease by 0.9 percent, despite a rise in economic activity and slightly increased usage by the industrial sector.

The state energy appraisal comes from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

 

3 – An old building Bad Axe has been renewed.

The Huron Renewable Energy Center was opened recently by DTE Energy, bringing 25 jobs to the Thumb.

The facility was vacant for two years and is a former Normans Warehouse and the site of the M-53 Drive-In Theater, which opened in 1952.

The newly-renovated center includes offices, garage facilities, warehousing and a maintenance shop area.

The facility also has an unfinished 3,000 square-foot space.

DTE plans to develop the space to serve as an area for renewable energy education and the hosting wind park tours, meetings and other community activities.

Plans are expected to be finalized this year, with completion of the space in 2017.

– 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

Place-Based Education, Fishery Workshops, Coffee Talk

For Friday, March 25, 2016

1 – Northeast Michigan schools are part of a study on place-based education.

The report on the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative centers on four case studies and highlights the opinion and analysis of students.

Examples of place-based activities in Northeast Michigan schools include monitoring water quality and aquatic invasive species, adopting public beaches and promoting fisheries.

Students also have been out removing invasive plants as part of a habitat restoration effort in their schoolyard n
ature area.

The study identifies four principles that youth value as part of a place-based education experience. Those include that the education is rich with opportunities to contribute to the community and explore future career possibilities.

2 – Spring fishery workshops are being held along Lake Huron’s coastline to offer current research and information related to the status of the fishery.

One of the workshops is from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 19 in Bay City, at the Knights of Columbus Hall on South River Road.

The workshop is being put on by agencies including Michigan Sea Grant and the state Department of Natural Resources.

The event is open to the public and will include information and status updates on topics such as Saginaw Bay perch and walleye, and work underway to restore historic fish spawning reefs in Saginaw Bay.

Other workshops are April 21 in Ubly, April 26 in Cedarville and April 27 in Alpena.

Pre-registration for the events is requested.

3 – If you’re looking to talk fish with staff from the DNR Fisheries Division, there’s also a “Conversations and Coffee” public forum on April 12.

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Credit: Ben Rousch

It’s from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Visitor Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

You can attend to chat with fisheries managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities, and get specific questions answered.

The coffee talk is informal and no presentations will be made.

For more information, see Michigan.gov/fishing.

 

– 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

 

 

Conservation in Saginaw, Michigan Beaches are 7th Best, and Where Your Rec Money Goes

For Aug. 1, 2014

 

1“Taking Root in Saginaw” is the name of a new effort by the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy.

beaches, michigan, usa

A look at all the beaches examined in the 2014 Testing the Waters report, from NRDC.

The Bay City-based conservancy is partnering with The Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square, Ducks Unlimited, and Saginaw County Parks.

A grant for the project comes from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, also based in Bay City.

The idea is to connect people with nature in the city of Saginaw.

Through the project, the Conservancy and its partners will identify land use within the city limits, and determine how the Conservancy can improve access, education, and conservation in the community.

Then, Taking Root will welcome local groups to play an active role in enhancing their community through conservation.

There are hundreds of acres of vacant land in Saginaw, and the Conservancy hopes to make conservation and restoration a realistic, attainable option for some of those properties.

 

2Michigan beaches are in the Top 10 nationally when it comes to water quality.

But being No. 7 still has its challenges.

The Natural Resources Defense Council recently released a Testing the Waters report.

The report looks at the results of government-funded water quality testing at beaches throughout the Great Lakes.

Michigan ranked seventh in beach water quality out of data from 30 states.

Six percent of samples in Michigan exceeded a national Beach Action Value for E. coli bacteria in 2013.

The beaches with the highest percent exceedance rates were Singing Bridge Beach, Hammel Beach Road Access, Bessinger Road Beach, and Whites Beach, all in Arenac County.

Representatives from Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord, say they’re working with partners to see how specific projects may be able to help address the Arenac County beach problems.

 

3To enter a state park, you need to buy a recreation passport.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been using the money from those passports to make improvements at parks throughout the state.

The DNR says more than a dozen of Michigan’s 102 state parks have recently completed infrastructure upgrades to campgrounds and day-use areas.

The improvements were made with revenue from the passports, and a State Parks Endowment Fund.

The work has ranged from overhauling outdated electrical and sewer systems to the construction of new showers, along with campsites with access for the disabled.

The upgrades have included South Higgins Lake State Park in Roscommon.

That park has received new roadways, a boat launch and a boat wash.

Boaters are encouraged to use the boat wash to clean, drain and dry their boats before and after launching. This can help curb the spread of invasive species. The boat wash will be free and available to the public on a seasonal basis.

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

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