Environment

Environment
11:13 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Limited energy infrastructure curtails rural development

Credit Flickr - Seth Sawyers

Shortly before Thanksgiving, some rural businesses in Michigan’s Thumb region faced a difficult request. At the peak of the fall harvest, Consumers Energy asked several customers to voluntarily curtail their natural gas usage for 10 hours a day. The shutoff didn’t last long, but agri-business leaders say it highlighted an ongoing concern for the future of Michigan’s energy infrastructure.

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Environment
11:11 am
Wed December 3, 2014

MSU Herbarium catalogues Michigan plant life

Alan Prather with a Michigan monkeyflower sample from the MSU Herbarium
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s a special kind of library in the basement of the Plant Biology Labs at Michigan State University. Here, instead of taking a book off of a shelf, you can open a folder and find a dried plant that’s 150 years old and still green. The MSU Herbarium is an important resource for research biologists on campus.

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Environment
11:40 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Emerald Ash borer moving on to new target in Ohio

Emerald ash borers have killed millions of trees.
Credit Flickr - U.S. Department of Agriculture

Emerald ash borers are tiny creatures, smaller than a penny, with  metallic green shells and big, black eyes. They’d almost be cute if they weren’t so destructive. This tiny beetle’s big appetite has had a devastating impact on forests in the U.S.

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Environment
11:37 am
Tue December 2, 2014

New tool simulates climate change impact on MI shorelines

This simulation shows high water levels at the Harbor Bay Power Plant in Michigan's thumb region.
http://coast.noaa.gov/llv/

A new computer tool is helping official planners and even just people who are interested in the Great Lakes actually see what varying water levels do to the shoreline.

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Environment
11:28 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: Midterm elections may have implications

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we’ll be talking about what impact the recent midterm elections could have on environmental policies, both in Washington and in Michigan.

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Environment
1:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

MI adds killer shrimp, others to banned species list

Killer shrimp have been added to Michigan's banned species list.
Credit http://www.michigan.gov/dnr

Killer shrimp might sound like the name of a B-grade horror film you’d see on the Syfy channel. But unlike Sharknadoes, the tiny crustacean poses a real threat, especially in the Great Lakes. Its voracious appetite has earned it a spot on the state’s recently updated banned species list, which identifies potential invasive aquatic pests.

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Environment
11:38 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Helping Michigan landowners improve deer habitat

Credit Flickr - Ray Dumas

Many Michigan deer hunters consider the opening day of firearms season a state holiday. Thousands of sports-people joined the hunt starting this past Saturday. Last year 43-percent of Michigan hunters were successful, for a total of about 385,000 deer harvested.

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Environment
11:32 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Canadian First Nations take lead on clean energy

Chris Henderson, author of 'Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy and the Future of Canada’s First Peoples'.
Credit www.aboriginalpower.ca

In recent years, Canada has included its First Peoples populations in its efforts to expand renewable, clean energy projects. Lumos Energy president Chris Henderson has spent the last two-and-a-half decades working, as his website states, “at the intersection of clean energy, sustainable development, environmental action, economic development, and Aboriginal communities”.

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Environment
11:47 am
Wed November 12, 2014

How do the media shape perceptions of climate change?

Bruno Takahashi
Credit http://cas.msu.edu

Warnings about the climate change have gotten increasingly dire over the past decade. In its latest report, released earlier this month, the International Panel on Climate Change says mitigating the effects of global warming will require immediate action. But while a majority of Americans believe climate change is happening, most don’t think it will have an impact during their lifetime, and some think that’s why belief hasn’t necessarily translated into political will. The scientific community continues to push for action.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Farmers, environmentalists at odds over proposed EPA water rule

Credit Flickr - Jeffrey Smith

In middle of the 20th century, America’s rivers were in rough shape. Decades of urban growth and industrial pollution had turned many of them into dumping grounds for everything from hazardous chemicals to human waste. A burgeoning environmental movement and high profile events like the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River finally pushed Congress to take action. In 1972, it passed the Clean Water Act, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate water pollution. But which waterways the agency can regulate has been a source of conflict and confusion. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule it says clarifies its jurisdiction.

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Environment
11:02 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Michigan communities grapple with upgrading water infrastructure

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant
Credit http://www.michigan.gov/deq

Michigan has its share of infrastructure issues. You probably notice it most when you’re dodging potholes in your car. But while road funding has been a hot topic lately, the state has plenty of other pressing infrastructure needs. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that Michigan will need to invest around $15-billion in its drinking and waste water systems over the next 20 years.

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Environment
11:13 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Fifty years of salmon in Michigan

MSU Project FISH coordinator Mark Stephens
Credit http://msutoday.msu.edu/

Fall on Michigan’s waterways means it’s time for the salmon to spawn. Salmon can be found in many places, including the Red Cedar River and the Grand River.

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Environment
12:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

MSU alum instrumental in Fukushima cleanup

Joe Sopko is working on a project to freeze the area around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. His company, Mortrench, hopes to contain water contaminated with nuclear material.
Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Engineering

In March of 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan resulted in a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Three of the plants six reactors melted down, and substantial amounts of radioactive material was released. That includes contaminated water that escaped from the three units. Containing that water has proven to be an ongoing problem confronting those who are working to clean up Fukushima.

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Environment
12:18 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

DNR official explains recent Asian carp DNA find

Officials hope to keep the Asian Carp out of Michigan waters.
Credit Flickr - LouisvilleUSACE

Stopping new invasive species from taking hold in the basin has become a top priority for Michigan and other Great Lakes states. At the top of their hit list: Asian carp. The non-native fish have already infiltrated the Mississippi River system, crowding out native species and creating a nuisance for boaters.

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Environment
10:55 am
Wed October 1, 2014

New report: oil transportation poses risks to Great Lakes Region

Great Lakes Commission executive director Tim Eder
Credit http://glc.org/

The boom in oil production in North Dakota and Western Canada has turned the Great Lakes region into a transportation corridor for crude oil. The domestic production of oil has become a cornerstone of energy policy in both the U.S. and Canada. But several high-profile spills, including the one into the Kalamazoo River in 2010, have raised questions about the safety of how we transport oil.

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Environment
11:19 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: regional mayor's conference, GLRI update

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we talk about a summit on water resources led by the region’s mayors and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s update to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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Environment
10:58 am
Tue September 23, 2014

DNR: Wolf management plan can include responsible hunting

Credit Flickr - dallieedee

The gray wolf was declared an endangered species in 1975 after overhunting decimated their population. After a decades long recovery, their numbers rebounded and they were taken off the Endangered Species List in 2012. Now some states, including Michigan, are considering using hunting as a way to control potential wolf human conflicts.

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Environment
11:23 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Michigan officials fight proposed Lake Huron nuke waste storage

Sen. Phil Pavlov
Credit senatorphilpavlov.com/

Residents of Michigan’s Thumb region are looking across Lake Huron with some concern these days. The Canadian utility provider, Ontario Power Generation, is seeking approval to build an underground nuclear waste disposal site near the town of Kincardine, Ontario.

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Environment
11:41 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Keeping drugs out of Michigan's water supply

Credit michiganpharmacists.org

Today, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Pharmacists Association will accept unwanted, unused or outdated prescription medications for safe disposal. The event is at the state capital in Lansing from 10:30 a-m to 1 p-m. The idea is to keep these medications out of the state’s water supply.

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Environment
11:38 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Bats play crucial role in Michigan ecology

Credit batconservation.org/

Which of the following is true about bats? They’re blind; they get tangled in your hair; they’ll drink your blood as you sleep; or none of the above?

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Environment
1:23 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Cleaning up the Grand River, one tire at a time

A willow tree lies in the Grand River near Reed Road in Jackson County.
Credit http://www.great-mi.org/

Here on Current State we do lots of reporting on environmental programs and policies in the Great Lakes region, but it’s always good to remember that taking care of our waters often happens because someone decides to fight pollution one empty bottle at a time. That’s happening in Jackson this coming weekend.

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Environment
12:22 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

MSU breakthrough opens new window on solar energy

MSU researcher Richard Lunt
Credit www.egr.msu.edu/

When we think of capturing solar energy, we often think of the large, clunky panels on rooftops that are expensive and inefficient. But what if your windows could capture the energy of the sunlight as it passes through them to help run your coffee maker or heat your house in the winter?

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Environment
12:48 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: What's next for Big Ag in fight against algae blooms?

In the wake of another massive algae bloom in Lake Erie, farmers in the Great Lakes Basin are trying to convey message that they will regulate their own use of fertilizers in order to avoid more government regulation.
Credit Flickr/Ohio DNR

    

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review we’re focusing on the Toledo water crisis, which was in the news for several weeks this month, and could be again.

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Health
12:17 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Questionable additive okay for toothpaste but not hand soap?

Triclosan has been taken out of many antibacterial soaps but continues to be used in products such as Colgate Total toothpaste.
Credit Flickr - Brooke Singer

Starting in 2017, the state of Minnesota will ban the use of an antibacterial chemical in consumer products. Triclosan has been found in the waters and fish of the Great Lakes, and a number of health organizations in Canada are urging their government to ban the chemical as well.

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Environment
1:29 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

New NWF chief to focus on education, outreach

Collin O'Mara, President and CEO of National Wildlife Federation.
Credit www.nwf.org

The National Wildlife Federation has a new president and CEO. Collin O’Mara was recently in Michigan for an environmental tour of the Detroit Area, and stopped by Current State. For a CEO, he’s fairly young at 30 years old. Current State’s Melissa Benmark asked him what environmental values he brings to this position that might be different than someone in their fifties or sixties.

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Environment
1:01 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Algae blooms on Lake Erie could worsen

Schaefer says the algae forms from farm pollution runoff from farms near the Maumee River.
Credit Flickr - NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Residents of Toledo and northwest Ohio got the go-ahead to resume drinking city water yesterday. Since Saturday, more than 400,000 residents of the area had been warned not to consume or use the water after health officials determined unsafe levels of microcystin. The potentially deadly bacteria, which was likely created by an algae bloom in Maumee Bay on the west end of Lake Erie, can cause serious liver and nerve damage.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Michigan farmers adjusting to climate change

Opinions vary on whether changes in agriculture driven by climate change are positive or negative.
Credit Flickr - Parker Knight

If you’ve found yourself putting on a sweater or light jacket on cool evenings this summer, you’ve probably wondered what’s going on with the weather. The polar vortex that visited us so harshly last winter made a return visit a few weeks ago, dropping temperatures below normal. It turns out that there’s at least one upside to climate change; one that could help our farm economy.

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Environment
3:17 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Michigan farms turn waste to wattage

Green Meadow Farms milks 3,200 dairy cows. Their waste could eventually generate up to 800 kilowatts of energy.
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Few sights on the American landscape are as iconic as an old-fashioned farm windmill. From the era of Civil War through today, they harnessed the wind to pump water and run machinery. Today, farmers have other means of generating power.

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Environment
12:55 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: Detroit water shut-offs and Asian carp litigation

People standing before one of the largest bodies of water in the world in solidarity with the people of Detroit as they shut off water to some citizens and businesses in the city.
Credit Flickr- Light Brigading

At the end of each month we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. 

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Environment
11:27 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Native plants promote state's environmental health

Credit www.wildtypeplants.com

MSU Grad Bill Schneider operates Wildtype Native Plant Nursury in Mason, Michigan. Current State’s Peter Whorf has been taking us there this summer to hear about Schneider’s work and expertise in the field.

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