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.
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.
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.
Pipelines have been a hot topic in Michigan in the last few years. Very recent developments suggest the issue is intensifying. Canada’s Enbridge is part of a proposal to install about 600 miles of new, interstate natural gas pipelines, about 150 miles of which would run through Michigan. Besides arousing environmental concerns over a possible pipeline rupture, the proposal affects homeowners whose properties were not long ago disrupted by another Enbridge project.
Fishing in Michigan is big business. The state DNR estimates that anglers spent $2.4 billion in trip-related expenses and equipment in 2011. Besides Michigan’s Great Lakes and rivers, our inland lakes attract considerable fishing as well. In fact, six Michigan lakes were recently included in a national fishing magazine’s “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2014” list.
Bill Schneider has operated Wildtype Native Plant Nursery in Mason for the past 17 years. As a true native Michigander, Schneider has degrees from both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He moved to northern California in the 1980’s where he further developed in his growing interest in native plants.
Last Thursday, an oil spill was discovered in the Grand River near Old Town in Lansing. As crews continue to clean it up, city officials are planning their next moves. Yesterday, Lansing mayor Virg Bernero held a news conference to give an update on the spill.
Throughout the Great Lakes region there are many wonderful biking, hiking and kayaking trails. Imagine if all these pathways were connected into a giant international trekking system, a Great Lakes Coastal Trail.
This weekend, the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association will hold its 10th annual Michigan Energy Fair at the Ingham County Fairgrounds. There will be exhibitions and workshops on energy efficiency, alternative energy, and sustainable living practices.
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 focus on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The group includes 114 mayors of cities throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
It was inevitable that Current State caught the buzz about Beepalooza. The free bee education event is this Sunday at Michigan State University’s Horticulture Demonstration Gardens. The main question is, why do we need to be educated about bees?
Most people are aware of the “sexy” greenhouse gas CO-2. Fewer know of its co-culprit nitrous oxide. The third-largest greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide is released in soil during a natural process. However, the increased use of nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture has resulted in a rise of nitrous oxide emissions.
Coal ash is the byproduct generated by coal-fired electric power plants. It's commonly mixed with concrete as a road construction filler, and it's also sometimes spread on farm fields. Some studied have linked coal ash exposure to lung cancer.
One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants.
Pat Lindemann has served as the Drain Commissioner of Ingham County for 21 years. He's a Lansing native who’s spent his entire life in the area. As Drain Commissioner, Lindemann’s responsible for the operation of Ingham County storm drains and related issues including lake levels and soil erosion.
About a decade ago, Lake Huron’s fishing game was not very abundant because of a steep decline in overall fish numbers. To see how the lake is doing now, Current State’s Melissa Benmark spoke with David Fielder, Fisheries Research Biologist for the Department of Natural Resources and a doctoral student at Michigan State University.
There are many expecting parents around Mid-Michigan, but few will produce offspring as rare as Eckert and Viper’s. The peregrine falcons are waiting for three little ones to hatch, after nesting at the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s Eckert electric generating plant.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality proposed new rules in late April to regulate hydraulic fracking in Michigan. The new regulations focus on monitoring high-volume fracking operations for water quality and supplying more information to the public.
It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Red Cedar chapter of Wild Ones, a national organization that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices and environmental education.
From now through early June, some volunteers will be standing guard over the Black River in Northern Michigan. They’ll be on the banks of the river making sure that the lake sturgeon, a rare and threatened species in the state, are able to leave their homes in Black Lake and successfully spawn in the Black River. Why do the fish need guarding?
Since 2006, a deadly bat fungus called white nose syndrome has spread its way throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, decimating bat populations. This April, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed that the disease has been detected in Michigan.
MSU Engineering students (L to R) Grant Golasa, Scott Oldham, and Shenli Pei with their recently developed water purification device. The mechanism includes a small, battery powered mercury bulb and switch. Its light neutralizes impurities.
Earlier this year, Current State welcomed John Barrie from the Appropriate Technology Collaborative to Studio S. He explained that the collaborative creates new technologies to improve the quality of life in developing countries worldwide. The organization also collaborates with universities. This year, a team of Michigan State Engineering students worked to build a water purification system for low income countries.