Lake Huron Fall, Michigan Coastal Initiatives, Energy Plans

For Sept. 8, 2017

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/m5qrqpwxg55vg9x/mr-great-lakes-sept-8-2017-environment-report.mp3]

1 – While fall doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22, Sept. 1 was the equivalent in terms of weather and water levels.

Michigan State University Extension notes that levels on Lake Huron seem to have peaked in July and August and are now following a typical seasonal decline.

This decline usually continues into October and through December, and then the lake begins a seasonal increase in January and February.

Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically one lake that’s connected by the Straits of Mackinac. The current forecast is that Lake Huron will dip by 2 inches by around Oct 1. That 2-inch decrease amounts to about 1.5 trillion gallons of water (evaporation, precipitation and runoff.)

2 – Michigan is supporting coastal initiatives throughout the state.

Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes will use a half-million dollars in federal grants for 11 projects along the coastline.

The funding supports local governments, nonprofits, and university researchers. Projects will improve beach safety, create public access, and develop tools to protect coastal habitat, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Some funds will continue support for initiatives like the Adopt-a-Beach and Clean Marina programs. Others will explore new ground with aerial photography and geospatial technology.

The projects include a master plan for the village of Sebewaing in Huron County. The plan will be crafted with public input and is intended to help manage natural and recreational Lake Huron resources that include coastal wetlands, a marina, an inland waterway, and a campground.

sebewaing park huron county michigan

Credit: Dale Noel

3 – Clean air and health advocates are pushing for expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan.

Groups including the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Ecology Center are calling for utility companies to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of Integrated Resource Plans (IRP).

Under a new energy law that took effect in April, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy must file Integrated Resource Plans that lay out long-term plans for energy efficiency and demand response, and for building power plants and other forms of electricity generation.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding public comment sessions throughout the state on these plans.

One was held held this week in Livonia. Others are planned for Grand Rapids and Marquette.

Comments on the plans also are being taken online until Oct. 6 at michigan.gov/lara.

– 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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The Detroit Lions Won’t Win the Great Lakes Bowl, But Water Levels Will Flood Beaches

For Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/xvn0qcgss4o9ezp/11-28-2014-mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1 – Registration is open for Great Lakes Bowl.

The Great Lakes Bowl is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, an academic competition where teams of high school students compete for the regional and national title.

The matches feature quiz-bowl style rounds and challenge questions that test a team’s ocean and Great Lakes knowledge.

The questions focus on math and science related to biology, chemistry, geology, physics, technology, history and economics.

Regional competitions are held throughout the nation in February and March.

The next Great Lakes Bowl is set for Feb. 7 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The national competition is in April in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The Great Lakes Bowl will award cash, trophies, medals and other prizes to top finishers.

There’s a limit of 16 teams, approved on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline is Dec. 19.

The last bowl featured schools from around the state, including Standish-Sterling Central High School in Standish. The first-place trophy went to a team from Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, which placed sixth nationally. The national champions were from Boise High School in Idaho.


2 – How will lake level changes affect a shoreline? You can see visualizations for the Saginaw Bay area and other parts of Michigan using a Lake Level Viewer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

pinconning great lakes water levels noaa viewer

High water levels in Pinconning, Michigan. Via the Lake Level Viewer.

The tool is intended to help communities along the U.S. Great Lakes plan for, and adapt to, climate change and changes in lake water levels.

You can use it to zoom in on places like Pinconning, and see how the area would be affected by changes in water levels.

You can compare the levels ranging from zero to six feet above and below average lake level.

The amount of  beach and other land under water quickly changes depending on the levels you choose.

More than 4,900 miles of U.S. shoreline ring the Great Lakes, of which 3,800 miles are currently mapped on the Lake Level Viewer.

The tool also covers areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

— 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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The CGT on Low Water Levels, and Name the Nature Preserve

1- What causes low water levels on the Great Lakes?

In recent decades, Lake Huron and other waters in the basin followed a 10-year trend of lows and highs, researchers say.

cgt-paper-graphic

From the paper, “Decadal oscillation of lakes and aquifers in the upper Great Lakes region of North America: Hydroclimatic implications.”

But, current low water levels have broken from that pattern.

Why? The continued lows are being driven by something called circumglobal teleconnection.

That’s according to new research by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Circumglobal teleconnection, or CGT for short, is like the jet stream, the paper says.

It’s an atmospheric pattern that can drag warm, moist air in to the Great Lakes basin, or keep it out.

For the last 12 years, this CGT pattern hasn’t changed much, meaning less rainfall to replenish lake levels.

Unfortunately, the research doesn’t allow researchers to predict if the oscillations will change anytime soon.

But, the findings will help scientists better monitor present conditions.


2 – A urban nature preserve in Bay City is called Euclid Linear Park.

It’s not exactly an exciting name.

The Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy is partnering with Bay County officials to revitalize the park, located next to the Region VII Area Agency on Aging.

The Conservancy is looking to give the park a new nickname, and has narrowed it down to 10 finalists. They’re taking votes for what people think is the best name.

The Conservancy plans to add more native plants and fun educational programs to the preserve, and removing invasive species at the site.

Some of the names being considered: Secret Sanctuary, Woodpecker Pond, Learning Landscape, and Indigo Trail.

You can take the survey online, and see which nicknames are proving to be most popular.

The Conservancy plans to announce the results in coming weeks.

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

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