State Land for Sale, Wild Turkey 101 and Big Data

For Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/6bh737kswscxjr7/ENV%20REPORT%2011-18-16.mp3]

1 – A state auction of surplus public land starts Dec. 6.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer up for sale by sealed-bid auction between Dec. 6 and Jan. 10.

The auction will feature 58 parcels located in counties including Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon.

Properties range in size from less than an acre to 77 acres.

State officials say the parcels being auctioned off are isolated from other public land, difficult to manage and provide limited public recreation benefit.

Several of the parcels are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

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

2 – The comeback of the wild turkey is a great wildlife conservation story.

At one time in Michigan, turkeys were plentiful. Over time, they vanished from every county in the state due to unregulated take and loss of habitat.

Efforts to re-establish the population were made from 1919 through the late 1980s. Today, there are more than 200,000 wild turkeys in Michigan. They can be found in every county in the Lower Peninsula and areas of the Upper Peninsula.

The National Wild Turkey Federation works with the state of Michigan to share conservation education opportunities with teachers and students.

One such opportunity is an annual Patch Design Contest.

K-12 students in Michigan are eligible to enter.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive cash awards.

The winning design will be the basis for next year’s Michigan wild turkey management cooperator patch.

The winner and his or her parents or guardians also will be invited to the Michigan National Wild Turkey Federation State Chapter banquet and the Natural Resources Commission meeting when the patch is released to the public.

Entries are due by Dec. 15.

For complete contest rules, visit mi.gov/michiganprojectwild.

Direct link: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10369_51120-265547–,00.html

Previous winners: http://www.michigan.gov/images/turkeyboard_27029_7.jpg

3 – Massive amounts of data have been collected from the Great Lakes basin. But until recently, no effort had organized this information and made it easily accessible.

There also wasn’t a tool that allowed researchers and managers to visualize and summarize habitat conditions for the entire basin, especially on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border.

layers-saginaw-bay.JPG

Layers of data for Saginaw Bay in the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

Now, researchers from the University of Michigan, working with U.S. and Canadian agencies and universities, have created the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework.

It’s first publicly-available database that includes harmonized habitat data and a classification of fish habitats across the basin.

The framework will allow researchers and managers to explore information on temperature, ice-cover duration, water depth, aquatic vegetation, and wave height for every location in the basin.

There also are layers for shoreline classification, wetlands, and walleye populations.

Time Change: – 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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Consumers Energy Cuts Pollution, Huron Pines Reconnects Rivers, and Saginaw Bay Charters Hook More Walleye

For Sept. 19, 2014

 

1 – Consumers Energy has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Credit: Jerry 'Woody'

Credit: Jerry ‘Woody’

The agreement will reduce emissions at coal-fired power plants in Bay County and other parts of Michigan, and fund projects to benefit the environment and communities.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Consumers has agreed to install pollution control technology to reduce harmful air pollution from the company’s five coal-fired power plants, including the Karn-Weadock complex in Bay County’s Hampton Township.

The settlement with EPA resolves claims that the company violated the Clean Air Act by modifying their facilities and releasing excess sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

EPA expects the actions required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by more than 46,500 tons per year. The company estimates that it will spend more than $1 billion to implement the required measures.

The settlement requires the company to pay a civil penalty of $2.75 million and at least $7.7 million on environmental efforts to help mitigate the harmful effects of air pollution and benefit local communities. The new spending will include up to $4 million on the development or installation of renewable energy projects.

Consumers officials say the agreement does not include any admission of wrongdoing.

Consumers says its operation and those of many U.S. energy providers were reviewed as part of an EPA enforcement initiative that began in 1999. That initiative has resulted in more than 25 settlements nationwide.

2Several areas in Michigan will benefit from $12 million in grants for Great Lakes restoration.

The money comes from Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership that includes the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and ArcelorMittal, a steel and mining company.

The grants cover 31 projects to restore and enhanced wetlands in the basin, restore fish passage and improve habitat, and control invasive species.

Ten of those projects are in Michigan.

Huron Pines in Gaylord received money to replace three culverts and reconnect nine miles of the Black River with Lake Huron and provide stream access for coaster brook trout and other fish. The nonprofit also will conduct work in the Cheyboygan River watershed to reconnect 20 upstream miles, reduce sediment inputs, and improve fish habitat.

3Lake Huron is back, especially when it comes to fishing.

A recent report from the state Department of Natural Resources says the number of charter fishing trips taken on the lake in 2013 was the second-highest in the past five years.

There has been continued improvement in the lake’s walleye fishery.

The average Lake Huron charter fishing party targeting walleye could expect to come home with nine walleye in the cooler in 2010 and release another three. In 2013, the average walleye charter trip produced 14 fish for the table and another eight that were released.

Most of the lake’s walleye fishing is concentrated in Saginaw Bay.

According to calculations by Michigan State University and other partners, more than $671,000 in personal income was generated by Michigan’s charter fishing industry at Lake Huron ports in 2013; with a total economic output of $1.82 million.

 

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

Saginaw Bay Scavenger Hunt, Goodbye Winter, and Lake Huron Fish

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

1 – Calling all photographers. 

Ducks at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Ducks at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is holding a Saginaw Bay Photo Scavenger Hunt at Fish Point State Wildlife Area in Tuscola County, Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area in Bay County, and the Shiawassee River State Game Area in Saginaw County.

Successful hunters in the Wetland Wonders Challenge are eligible for prizes, and there will be nature walks scheduled at each area to help people find items to shoot — with a camera.

To participate, sign up your team online by midnight on Wednesday, May 8.

The hunt list includes 90 items, and you have to find at least 65 to win.

You can find more information at the Facebook page for Michigan Waterfowl Legacy and via the Michigan DNR.

The Waterfowl Legacy program is sponsored in part by the Bay City-based Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

– Wetland Wonders Challenge II Saginaw Bay Photo Scavenger Hunt Rules

2 – Goodbye winter.

The U.S. Coast Guard and its Canadian counterpart recently concluded ice-breaking operations on the Great Lakes, including Lake Huron.

The efforts were dubbed as Operation Taconite and Operation Coal Shovel.

Operation Taconite began in December was carried out in Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, and northern Lake Huron.

Operation Coal Shovel began in January was carried out in southern Lake Huron, the Detroit and St. Clair River systems, Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

A group of cutters spent more than 3,000 hours breaking ice, assisting with hundreds of vessel transits, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ice-breaking enables commercial shippers on both sides of U.S.-Canada border to transport an average of $2 billion worth of cargo each winter, including heating fuel and food supplies.

3 – A follow-up on those Lake Huron fishery workshops held last month (April) in Ubly, Oscoda and Cedarville.

According to a summary from Michigan Sea Grant, this year researchers had mostly positive news to share regarding the status and trends of fish populations and fishing on the lake.

The overall message was that Lake Huron is proving to be resilient and still offers a diverse and valuable fishing experience, despite drastic ecosystem changes driven by invasive species.

Fisheries researchers and managers have gained a better understanding of how invasive species have re-designed Lake Huron’s food web, and explored new research and management strategies over the past several years.

Findings presented at the workshops include a healthier population of naturally reproducing Chinook salmon, and an expanding number of native species including lake trout and walleye.

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Saginaw Bay Watershed Confab, Bucks for Dredging & Flaming Fish

From the Feb. 10, 2012, edition of the Environment Report, as heard at 9 a.m. Fridays on Delta College public radio, Q 90.1 FM …

Great Lakes Czar and More

photo of fish on fire on grill

Photo by the great 8

Environmental leaders from across the Saginaw Bay watershed are meeting next month at Saginaw Valley State University.

The event is the Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference, to be held Friday, March 16, at Curtiss Hall on the campus of SVSU.

Leaders will meet to hear about and discuss current and future projects planned to address water quality in the basin. That includes the delisting of the Saginaw River and Bay as a federal Area of Concern.

A keynote address is to be given by Great Lakes czar Cameron Davis, who serves as senior advisor to U.S. EPA chief Lisa Jackson.

State climatologist Jeff Andresen, a geography professor at Michigan State University, also is to discuss projected impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes.

The latest research information regarding beach muck in Saginaw Bay will be presented by federal scientist Craig Stow.

The conference is receiving government funding support through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The cost to attend is $25, which includes lunch.

Dig It: More Money

The Saginaw River is due to receive almost $2.7 million for dredging projects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing additional funds for navigational dredging projects.

The extra funds total $9 million, and will pay for projects in the Saginaw River, Holland Harbor, St. Joseph Harbor, Manistee Harbor and the St. Marys River.

The additional money is for projects throughout the Great Lakes basin that support economic development and job creation.

According to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, the funding also will help sustain Michigan harbors that were threatened with closure.

Fish Won’t Catch Fire

A federal study to be published by the Journal of Great Lakes Research found male walleye contain three times more flame retardant chemicals than females in the Saginaw River and Bay.

According to Great Lakes Echo, the flame retardant chemicals have been used in plastics, foams and fabrics since the 1970s. Animal tests suggest they can damage the liver, thyroid and brain.

The Echo report says male walleye use the Saginaw River for feeding and habitat, while females mostly stay out in the bay.

The river was found to have much higher levels of flame retardants than the bay. In the river, the chemicals are ingested by small fish eaten by walleye.

Researchers believe the chemicals are draining from landfills and other waste sites and sticking in the river sediment.

See also: New Flame Retardants as Bad as Old Flame Retardants

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