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




Plans for Saginaw Riverfront Park, Michigan Water Strategy

For Friday, June 17, 2016


1 – Planning for a proposed Riverfront Park is progressing in Saginaw.

The Saginaw Community Foundation has awarded a grant to The Nature Conservancy.

The Conservancy is working on a project to develop and implement a community vision for a former General Motors property.

The Conservancy is working with community partners including Saginaw County and Saginaw Future on an open space, recreation and conservation vision for the proposed Riverfront Park.

The conceptual plan includes public access to the river and lake for fishing, multiple trails, and a link to a larger regional vision for trails, open space and recreation lands.

Grant funds will be used for the initial stages of the project and to begin the proposed improvements to Riverfront Park.

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2 – Michigan officials have released a 30-year vision for stewardship of the state’s water resources.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has published the first part of Michigan’s Water Strategy, a plan to protect, manage and enhance Michigan’s water resources.

Part I of the Strategy is centered on promoting stewardship through improving water literacy and community engagement, and protecting and preserving Michigan’s water resources.

The final Strategy will focus on five priorities:

  • Safe drinking water
  • A 40 percent phosphorous reduction in the Western Lake Erie basin
  • Preventing the introduction of new invasive species
  • Supporting investments in commercial and recreational harbors
  • Developing and implementing a Michigan water trails system.

The state is to form a Water Team to involve governments, nongovernmental organizations, industry, academia, local communities and individuals.



Nexteer goes SunSteer and Bill to Block Asian Carp

photo sunsteer nexteer solar saginaw

Courtesy photo

As heard July 6, 2012, on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College public broadcasting …

1 –

Automotive supplier Nexteer is turning to the sun. 

The company has announced a new product, called SunSteer. The product is a solar tracking actuator that will be built at the company’s world headquarters in Saginaw.

The product uses electronic steering and driveline technologies to allow solar panels to track the movement of the sun. This can increase the efficiency of photovoltaic generation.

According to Nexteer, the Sunsteer product uses a precision built, high-efficiency ball screw – ball nut combination that provides operating efficiencies of up to 95 percent.

Under normal operating conditions, SunSteer will accurately track the sun’s position, while consuming less than $2 worth of energy per year.

The company says the product uses high-performance coatings developed under extreme vehicle testing environments. These coatings are said to reduce corrosion and provide performance of greater than 20 years in the field.

Nexteer officials say the product offers levels of reliability and efficiency that in many cases are unprecedented in the alternative energy market.

2 –

photo asian carp great lakes

Photo by author

U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, a Midland Republican, says the final version of a Highway Bill Conference Report will include a study and plan to prevent Asian carp, and other invasive species, from entering the Great Lakes.

The measure is called the Stop Invasive Species Act.

In announcing the latest development, Camp mentioned a live Asian carp found two years ago near Lake Michigan. He said the act would lay the groundwork for a permanent solution to the Asian carp threat.

Camp introduced the act earlier this year with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Lansing Democrat.

The legislation requires the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study ahead of schedule, in about 18 months rather than three years.

That study is to include a plan to hydrologically separate the two basins.

Camp says hydrological separation is the only sure way to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and prevent the invasive fish from destroying the ecosystem and devastating a $7 billion fishing industry.


Great Lakes Endangered Species Doing Well, Including a Record-Breaking Snake

photo fox snake eggs record

Radiograph showing eggs in line and implanted radio transmitter. – Photo Credit: Kile Kucher

As heard Friday, May 25, 2012, on Q-90.1 FM, Delta College, Friday Edition, Environment Report …

Plovers a Plenty

There’s some good news when it comes to endangered species in the Great Lakes region.

According to new analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity, 90 percent of endangered species are on track to meet recovery goals set by federal scientists.

A total of 110 species were part of the research, and those in recovery include the piping plover, Kirtland’s warbler, Lake Erie water snake, and gray wolves.

The center, a nonprofit headquartered in Arizona, looked at population trends of plants and animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The analysis found many species on a path toward recovery, and some that are exceeding expectations.

On average, species have been protected for 32 years and have a typical expected recovery period of 46 years, according to the report.

In the Great Lakes region, the piping plover is a shorebird that was listed as endangered in 1985. At the time, only 19 nesting pairs remained in Michigan.

Most recently, MIchigan has maintained 50 percent of its 100-pair breeding goal for four years in a row.

Like other species, the plover recovery was due to management programs and other measures undertaken as part of the Endangered Species Act.

Eggs a Plenty

In other animal news, an eastern fox snake at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County has broken a record.

Refuge manager Steven Kahl says a recent article published in a scientific journal describes a new documented record for an eastern fox snake egg clutch size.

A radiograph of one of the refuge’s female snakes showed she was carrying 34 eggs.

That’s beyond the previous known record of 29 eggs.

And the 34 eggs is more than twice the mean clutch size of about 14 eggs for an eastern fox snake.

This particular snake also was 5 feet 9 inches long, just an inch under the longest-measured eastern fox snake.

The Shiawassee Refuge is one of only three in the nation in which the fox snake is known to live.

Refuge officials are working with Central Michigan University researchers to conduct a study of the eastern fox snake.

The species is listed as threatened in Michigan. Its global range is confined to the coastal plains of Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario.


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