Michigan environment

Environment
11:10 am
Tue March 17, 2015

MSU study finds artificial fertilizers throw off the nitrogen cycle

Credit WKAR file photo

Nitrogen plays an essential role in plant growth, but it’s a scarce resource in nature. Farmers used to have to use beans or legumes to fix the nutrient into their fields. But with the advent of artificial fertilizers, agriculture has been able to bypass that step and put the nitrogen directly into the soil. While this has allowed farmers to increase production of nutrient intensive crops like corn, it’s had some other, not so great, side effects.

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Environment
11:53 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Volunteers lend an ear to track Michigan toads and frogs

In the natural world, it’s fair to say that if amphibians aren’t happy, then nobody’s happy. Frogs and toads are incredibly sensitive to water quality, and an upcoming volunteer survey in Michigan aims to check on amphibian well-being in the state.

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Environment
12:25 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

UM researcher says microplastics could threaten Great Lakes fish

University of Michigan researcher Melissa Duhaime
Credit http://www-personal.umich.edu/

Take a look in your medicine cabinet or your shower and you’re likely to find microbeads. Those are the small plastic spheres used as exfoliants in products like face wash or toothpaste. The tiny beads have been big news since scientists found them showing up in the Great Lakes several years ago. Last week, Michigan became the latest state to introduce legislation that would ban products containing microbeads.

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Politics & Government
11:42 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Ingham official: 'Renaissance' development is "marriage made in heaven"

Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Developers are about to become the owners of 30 acres of city land straddling Lansing and East Lansing. Monday evening, the Lansing City Council approved the sale of the former Red Cedar Golf Course property to Ferguson/Continental Lansing LLC. Developer Joel Ferguson and his partner Frank Kass want to build a $276-million complex at the site that could include a ten-story hotel, restaurant and housing. Part of the site would remain green space.

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Environment
11:17 am
Tue February 10, 2015

New Lansing enviro leader focuses on environmental justice

Jeremy Orr is the new executive director of the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council.
Credit http://www.midmeac.org/

Have you ever been strolling along the Red Cedar River and noticed a group of people in waders hunting for bugs? If you have, there’s a good chance they were volunteers with the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council. The grassroots group has been around for over 20 years and focuses on environmental issues in the mid-Michigan area, including river protection, green transportation, land use and sustainability. The organization recently hired a new executive director. Jeremy Orr is a Spartan alum and is returning to Lansing to take the reins of MMEAC.

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Environment
11:29 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Report finds obstacles to advanced energy in Michigan

Credit Flickr - Jeff Kubina

Barriers have developed that are standing in the way of advanced energy use in Michigan. That’s according to a report released recently by Michigan’s Institute for Energy Innovation. The institute says its report is the first serious effort to identify those barriers.

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Environment
11:10 am
Tue January 6, 2015

MI environmentalist criticizes new federal coal ash standards

Credit Flickr - UCL Engineering

For years, environmentalists have been calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal ash. That’s the byproduct of coal that’s produced when it’s burned for electricity. In December, the agency did just that, issuing the first ever federal guidelines about its storage and disposal.

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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
10:58 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: rising lake levels, Asian carp DNA

Credit Flickr - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

At the end of each month, Current State checks 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 the dramatic rise in lake levels this fall, the latest legal updates on Asian carp, and the U-N’s stance on the Detroit water shut-offs.

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Environment
12:12 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

UP consumers seek replacement for aging power plant

The Presque Isle Power Plant
Credit Flickr - Tom

Where you live in Michigan makes a big difference when it comes to the price you pay for electricity, especially if you’re living in the Upper Peninsula. Turning on a light bulb there could cost you more than double than it would in the Lower Peninsula, and energy bills in the UP are expected to grow even bigger now that the power plant supplying most of the region’s electricity could be retired.

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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
10:44 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Expert: Drone technology a game-changer in agriculture

Bruno Basso
Credit https://glg.natsci.msu.edu/

We were first introduced to drones by the United States military, which has been using them, controversially, it must be pointed out, for years in places like Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and Yemen. But like many other technologies that have been pioneered by the military, such as computers, duct tape and GPS, drones have numerous commercial applications. And one of the biggest sectors where drones could become a game-changer is in agriculture.

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Environment
11:18 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Grand Haven considers climate change in master plan

Grand Haven is one of several Michigan communities taking part in the 'Resilient Michigan' planning process.
Credit www.resilientmichigan.org

In several Michigan communities, planning for a future affected by climate change is beginning. Monroe, East Jordan, Ludington, St. Joseph and Grand Haven are all taking part in a new program called “Resilient Michigan”.

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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
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
12:48 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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Politics & Government
12:25 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Environmental group gives MI legislature an 'incomplete' grade

Credit www.michiganlcv.org

An established Michigan environmental organization recently graded the state legislature on its performance in the 2013-2014 session. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters gave legislators an "Incomplete" for Michigan’s environmental score.

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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
12:32 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Snake bite incident rekindles awareness of Michigan rattlesnake

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake: Sistrurus Catenatus is the only rattlesnake native to Michigan.
Credit Flickr- Petroglyph

We recently reported on a snakebite incident in Lower Michigan. A young, barefoot visitor to an Ann Arbor botanical garden was bitten by an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, the only rattlesnake native to our state. The young girl was hospitalized and recovered. The incident has triggered an advisory from a group of Michigan naturalists of the risk of an encounter with this species of snake in our state.

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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
12:48 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Magazine highlights the best of Lake Superior

Lake Superior Magazine’s September issue will includes its annual Best of the Lake list. The article highlights reader favorites in dozens of categories, from best spectacular views to best boat ride to best fish sandwich.

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Environment
1:33 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Lengthy clean up of former GM sites could start next year

Lansing Township Planning and Development Director Steven Hayward stands at the site of the former General Motors metal forge along West Saginaw. GM used the solvent 1,4 dioxane in its manufacturing process before the plant was shut down a decade ago. The contamination will be cleaned up by RACER Trust, the company charged with managing some 90 former General Motors properties across the country.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

This week, Lansing area residents had an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening at the large vacant tracts of land along West Saginaw where General Motors factory buildings once stood. The three sites were torn down in 2005 and in the last 18 months, officials have found chemical contamination on the grounds including 1,4 Dioxane.  

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Environment
5:29 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Michigan lures anglers for bass

Michigan's environment contributes to a strong supply of healthy bass, says Mary Tate Bremigan.
Credit Flickr - Patrick Lewis

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.

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Environment
5:23 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Beyond beauty, Michigan plants offer environmental edge

Peter Whorf/WKAR

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.

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Economy
12:34 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Report alleges disinvestment is costing Michigan

The new report opposes the images of "Pure Michigan," drawing attention to some of the harsh realities faced by many.
Credit Flickr - Mike

“We still have miles to go to rebuild Michigan after years of neglect.” That sentence reflects the findings of a new report from the Michigan Economic Center at the Prima Civitas Foundation.

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Environment
12:40 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: Mayors take on Great Lakes issues

Wilson says Great Lakes oil transport is one of the many issues being discussed at the meeting.
Credit Flickr - Dennis Jarvis

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.

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