Environment

MSU wild plant expert: eat this, not that

Jun 10, 2015
http://msutoday.msu.edu/

Even the most casual cable TV viewers have, on occasion, been led to ask themselves "How long could I survive in the wild without food? What could I eat?" Peter Carrington will offer those kind of insights tomorrow at Michigan State University’s Beal Botanical Garden. He's the assistant curator of the Beal Garden, where he is the edible and toxic plant specialist. He’s also been an assistant instructor in the MSU plant biology department. His free, 40-minute session is called "Weeds you can eat, and NOT."

MI landowners partner with feds on wetland restorations

Jun 9, 2015
April Van Buren/WKAR

The state of Michigan used to be rich in wetlands. The receding glaciers that carved out the Great Lakes also left smaller depressions across the landscape which would fill in with water and become important habitats for all kinds of birds, amphibians, and other animals. But after Europeans began to colonize the region, those areas were drained for agriculture or development. Today, we learn about a program that’s helping private landowners restore some of that habitat, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

April Van Buren/WKAR

If you’re planning your summer vacation, you’re probably going to be booking a hotel or summer cottage soon. And so will some of the winged visitors to the Horticultural Demonstration Gardens here on the MSU campus. But, lucky for them, the bees at MSU’s “bee hotels” won’t be needing reservations.

Wikimedia commons

Many Michigan farmers are wrapping up their spring planting this month.  But this season, there’s a cloud hanging overhead...and it’s not bringing nourishing rain.  It is, however, all about water.   Last week, the U-S Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule on what it calls the “Waters of the United States.”  The action expands the EPA’s jurisdiction over more waterways protected by the Clean Water Act.   The agency says the action is necessary to keep the nation’s waters clean.

MI oil exec counters concerns about fracking

Jun 2, 2015
Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last week on Current State, we heard from the leader of a Michigan petition effort that's aimed at banning hydraulic fracturing in the state. Fracking, as it’s called, pumps a combination of water and chemicals into underground rock where natural gas and oil are trapped. The process crushes the rock surrounding the deposits and frees them. The growth of hydraulic fracturing is credited for making the United States the world’s leading producer of oil and gas.

Flickr - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The conversation around climate change often focuses on how it will disrupt human life. Scientists warn that food shortages, flooding in coastal cities, and deadly heatwaves are just a few of the potentially devastating consequences of a warming planet. But humans aren’t the only ones at risk. Even small changes in temperature could drastically alter the native habitats of plants and animals across the globe, including here in Michigan.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Officials say there are some 2,800 vacant, under-utilized and contaminated brownfield sites in Mid-Michigan. Some are the legacy of a wave of automotive plant and parts supplier closures spanning three decades. Others are former gas stations, garages and dry cleaning shops that contain an array of environmental pollutants. These idle sites are a threat to public health and a barrier to economic development. Now, a new federal grant will be put towards remediation.

Courtesy Harris Nature Center

From Celandine Poppy to Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Michigan wildflowers are in full bloom this time of year. Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. you can look and learn all about Michigan blossoms in a class at Meridian Township’s Harris Nature Center.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it’s found a deer in Meridian Township that’s tested positive for chronic wasting disease.  It’s the first reported case of the disease in the state since 2008, and the very first time it has occurred in a wild deer population. Chronic wasting disease is not harmful to humans, but is always fatal to deer.

MI fracking foes pursue ban through ballot proposal

May 27, 2015
http://www.letsbanfracking.org/

For the third time in recent years, opponents of hydraulic fracturing are organizing to end the practice in Michigan. The Committee to Ban Fracking, based in Charlevoix, has begun a ballot campaign hoping to put a ban before voters in next years general election.

http://www.fijiabroad.com/

Say the words “climate change,” and the first thing that might come to mind is melting polar ice caps. That’s an accurate image, but of course, climate change affects the entire planet. Scientists say the rising tides from all that melting ice have to go somewhere, and some Michigan State University students are watching one remote part of the world that’s starting to see some effects.

Satellite image of Great Lakes
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr Creative Commons

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. This month, some of the biggest environmental stories had to do with energy and how we transport it across the Great Lakes region.

Courtesy MSU Today

Earlier this week, Valerie Brader, an attorney and former senior policy adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder, assumed her role as executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy. Brader will be the top energy adviser to Snyder and state department leaders. Snyder created the agency by executive order in March after setting it as a priority in January’s State of the State address.

Flickr - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The alewife was once the scourge of the Great Lakes. The small, silver herring made its way into the basin through the St. Lawrence River in the late 19th century and proceeded to wreak havoc on the ecosystem. If you were around the region in the 1960s, you might remember the stench of thousands of dead alewives washing up on Great Lakes beaches. Now, scientists are concerned with a decline in the population of this invasive species and how the shrinking numbers of alewives could impact their main predator, the popular Chinook salmon.

Energy analyst: MI electricity debate needs re-focusing

May 12, 2015

In the coming year, nine of Michigan’s coal-fired power plants are scheduled to retire. That has environmentalists and renewable energy advocates cheering. And the state’s two major utilities, Consumer’s Energy and DTE, say they are ready to invest in a more sustainable energy future. But first, the companies say, Michigan has to return to a fully regulated electricity market.

Pages