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.

lake-michigan-beach-ppj

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.

 

oak-wilt-michigan-2016

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

 

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Spotting Ducks, Treating for Ash Borer, Awarding Grants

For Friday, March 31, 2017

1 – Ducks were down in a recent survey. But state biologists say they still believe populations are stable.

aerial waterfowl survey michigan dnr ducks

Department of Natural Resources biologists counted ducks, geese and swans while flying low over Michigan’s waterways as part of an annual effort to monitor waterfowl populations. Credit: MDNR

Staffers from Michigan Department of Natural Resources took to the skies in small aircraft earlier this year to count ducks, geese and swans.

They observed more than 148,000 ducks, which was down by 5 percent from about 157,000 ducks observed in 2016.

Biologists say the decline can be attributed to cold arctic blasts in late December and early January that pushed birds southward. Some ducks bypassed Michigan altogether.

The state has conducted aerial surveys of wintering ducks and geese since 1991. The results are important for helping manage habitat for the species.

2 – Yellow dots on trees in Bay County mean they’ll be treated to fight emerald ash borer.

Officials with County Gypsy Moth Suppression Program say they are including hundreds of healthy, living ash trees in an annual Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Project.

yellow dot abstract

Credit: Pellinni

Trees scheduled to be treated this year will be marked with a yellow dot on the side facing the road. These trees were last treated in 2013.

Trees marked with a green dot were treated in the spring of 2016.

The treatments help to maintain the health of ash trees and should protect them from further emerald ash borer damage for at least two years.

3 – Spring is here, and action grants are available from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

The group has set a deadline of April 14 for proposals.

They’re looking for organizations with great ideas for projects that focus on natural resource restoration, education and promotion, or sustainability.

The funding is available to organizations working to make improvements in neighborhoods, communities, and watersheds.

The Network will award grants of up to $1,000 to successful applicants. A one-to-one match is required.

More information is available online at SaginawBayWIN.org.

– 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

Low-Energy Loons, State Forest Plans, and Woody Debris

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

1 – The Great Lakes Loons are using less energy.

robot bird loons baseball time

Credit: Steve Bowbrick

The Minor League Baseball Team has set a goal to reduce total energy use by 50 percent by 2020.

The team, along with Dow Diamond and its corporate partners, Dow Chemical and Dow Corning, also plans to cut water use and waste in half by the year 2020.

The sustainability goals were updated this week in a first-quarter report.

Highlights include a new composting program for food waste at Dow Diamond, and the installation of more efficient LED lighting.

The compost program will use the food waste to fertilize the grounds and flower beds at Dow Diamond.

The LED lighting installed in various areas of Dow Diamond is expected to cut energy by about 15,000 kilowatt hours and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 36,000 pounds.

The Great Lakes Loons are a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2- Public meetings are planned this month on regional state forest plans.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hosting the meetings to discuss feedback from an earlier round of meetings that sought comment on draft versions of the plans.

The topics to be discussed at the May sessions include aspen and timber management; wildlife habitat and recreational trails.

The meetings include one on Wednesday, May 22, in Gaylord.

Following the sessions, the DNR will revise plans for each region, including the Northern Lower Peninsula, in preparation for final review at upcoming Natural Resources Commission meetings and approval by the DNR director. Final approval of the plans is expected in November 2013.

The plans are designed to help the DNR manage 4 million acres of state forest land in Michigan. Once finalized, the plans will guide DNR decisions about timber management and other activities on state forest land for years to come.

3 – Trees are making a splash in the Pigeon River.

The first trees have gone into the river as part of an instream habitat diversity project.

Stretches of the Pigeon and Sturgeon rivers are the focus of work planned for this year by Huron Pines, a nonprofit in Gaylord.

Large woody debris – like trees and branches – are placed in the river to improve habitat for fish, protect against streambank erosion, and provide habitat for bugs, turtles, birds and other wildlife.

Sites are selected to provide conservation value without interfering in river navigation.

See also: Flying Trees

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