Michigan environment

Current State #190 | October 29, 2013

Oct 29, 2013

Today on Current State: possible decriminalization of marijuana in Lansing; Great Lakes Month in Review; MEA on recent RTW complaints; Public Poetry Announcement and local food innovation district.  


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 fracking, ballast water and petcoke.  

In July, Michigan residents watched as petcoke piled up along the Detroit River. Now residents in Chicago are scrutinizing rising piles of the waste product.

Isle Royale ecosystem tested by environmental changes

Oct 24, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

The moose is one of the largest and most elusive land animals in North America. Moose were once found in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula, and now they’re concentrated in a few isolated areas of the state.

Current State #165 | September 24, 2013

Sep 24, 2013

Today on Current State: Canada and Michigan seek to strengthen economic ties; the anniversary of the last execution in Michigan; our first Great Lakes Month in Review segment; our Detroit’s Water Renaissance series: The Rouge River part two; and a book about family secrets is the next "Great Michigan Read".

Karen Schaefer

Water attracted early settlers to Detroit and water fueled its growth. Now it’s an important asset to the city’s recovery.

So far we’ve looked at lucrative walleye fishing on the Detroit River, daylighting streams, rebuilding shorelines and the destruction of the Rouge River. Today we explore efforts to clean up the Rouge.

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This week we start our segment Great Lakes Month in Review. We'll take time each month to recap environmental news from around the Great Lakes Basin with Chicago-based commentator and journalist Gary Wilson.

Karen Schaefer


Water attracted early settlers to Detroit and water fueled its growth. Now it’s an important asset to the city’s recovery. Today we continue to explore Detroit’s waterfront: Challenges and opportunities  in our series Detroit’s Water Renaissance.

So far, we’ve looked at lucrative walleye fishing on the Detroit River,  daylighting streams and rebuilding shorelines. Today we explore the Rouge River. The Rouge River in Detroit is one of Michigan's—and the Great Lakes—most polluted waterways.  Generations of air and water pollution from heavy industry near the mouth of the river contaminated its sediments and made it unsafe for fishing.  Upstream, dense urban populations have overwhelmed sewer and storm water systems, sometimes dumping raw sewage into the Rouge.  The result is a river in trouble. 

imma / morgueFile


Michigan's energy policy will become a hotter topic in the final months of 2013. Officials have held a series of energy public forums around the state this year. This Friday, Governor Rick Snyder will begin sharing the results with the public and the legislature. The legislature is expected to spend 2014 addressing state energy policy.


Current State #146 | August 27, 2013

Aug 27, 2013

Today on Current State: new proposal to evaluate Michigan teachers effectiveness; book about living with Muscular Dystrophy; Detroit's Water Renaissance series; Detroit's current environmental initiatives; and MSU student on "Americas Got Talent."

Emanuele Berry WKAR

Water attracted the early settlers of Detroit and water fueled its growth. Now it’s an important asset to the city’s recovery.

Join us over these next five weeks, as our regular Tuesday Knight segment will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with Detroit’s waterfront through our series "Detroit's Water Renaissance."

Our first story goes back to the days before industrialization, when the city of Detroit was a maze of fresh waterways.

Wikimedia Commons

This summer a coalition of Detroit based organization released the Detroit Environmental Agenda. The two-year project addresses improving quality of life through improving the environment. Guy Williams, President of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice joins Current State to discuss the report his organization helped compile. 

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At 20 percent, Michigan's recycling rate is 10 percent lower than the regional average.  Many people around the state are hoping to change that.  In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder identified increasing Michigan's recycling rates as a priority for his administration.  Michigan Recycling Coalition executive director Kerrin O'Brien discusses what a comprehensive recycling plan might include. 

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This past spring the Michigan Senate passed Bill 78, which prohibits state agencies from setting aside land to maintain biodiversity.  The bill has drawn strong criticism from various environmental groups.

The regulatory issues unearthed by fracking

Jul 30, 2013

The hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking" is the process of releasing natural gas trapped deep within underground rock formations by pumping large amounts of high pressured water combined with chemicals and sand. Though many politicians and industry leaders say the process is safe and a means for energy independence, there are critics who claim that this type of drilling can threaten air, soil and water quality.

Great Lakes has rare species of sturgeon

Jul 8, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

If you go boating on the Great Lakes this summer, it might it surprise you to know that deep below you lives a rare species of fish that’s been around since the dinosaurs.

Emanuele Berry WKAR

Cheryl English's yard in Detroit's East English Village stands out from the city's urban landscape like a green thumb. A gardening masterpiece, English uses many native plants, not only because of their beauty but because of their environmental benefits and crucial connection to Michigan's ecosystem.

Clean energy’s future on an international level

Jun 25, 2013

According to the Pew Clean Energy Program, global energy consumption is expected to increase 35% over the next 25 years, with much of that from growing electricity use and expanding vehicle fleets.

Current State #110 | June 18, 2013

Jun 18, 2013

Today on Current State: Ingham County Land Bank; a tour of the Greater Lansing Hall of Fame; stocking fish in the Great Lakes; and Lord Huron, an indie rock band with local roots.

The history of fish stocking in the Great Lakes

Jun 18, 2013
Wikamedia commons

Brown trout, Chinook and coho salmon  are all currently stocked in one or more of the Great Lakes, however none of these prized catches are native to the basin. These fish were stocked to help manage invasive species and to build a sport fishery.  

Garlic mustard, an edible invasive species

Jun 4, 2013
Wikimedia commons

Garlic mustard is a Michigan non-native plant that turns up all over the state.  It out-competes native plants with its prolific number of seeds, blocking nutrients for surrounding species.  While edible for humans, the weed is not eaten by other mammals or insects.

Prioritizing issues in the Great Lakes region

May 28, 2013
Courtsey of Wikimedia commons

This weekend Gov. Snyder will welcome Governors from across the Great Lakes region to the 2013 leadership summit on Mackinac Island. Great Lakes journalist and commentator Gary Wilson previews the summit and reflects on the Great Lakes Advisory Board's meeting in Chicago.

Wilson is the former co-editor of the Great Lakes Town Hall. He’s a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and currently writes for Great Lakes Echo.

Lead poisoning in children down in Detroit

Apr 9, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

A story from Environmental Health News reports that lead poisoning in children in Detroit has decreased 70 percent since 2004. However, the number of children with exposure to excessive lead levels in Detroit still exceeds the national average, and funding for cleanup is dwindling.

Brian Bienkowski is a senior editor and staff writer at Environmental Health News. He discusses the decrease of lead poisoning and the motor city's environmental future.

Current State #43 | March 13, 2013

Mar 13, 2013

Today on Current State:  A debate on biodiversity and commerce in Michigan; the Lansing Jaycees features in Neighbors in ActionLansing City Pulse reporters on the LPD's missing cold case list; a Jackson ice cream institution reopens; and an Ann Arbor high school orchestra wins national acclaim. 

Biodiversity and commerce in Michigan

Mar 13, 2013

A proposed bill making its way through the Michigan legislature aims to put tighter limits on the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission.

EPA may end SS Badger's long run on coal

Mar 7, 2013

The iconic Michigan steamship, the SS Badger, may lose its permit to dump  spent coal into Lake Michigan.  The Ludington company that owns and operates the Badger, Lake Michigan Carferry, expects to hear soon from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about its request to continue the practice.  

Hugh McDiarmid, communications director  for the Michigan Environmental Council, discusses the impact of the SS Badger on the environment.

Current State #37 | March 5, 2013

Mar 5, 2013

Today on Current State: The local impact of federal budget cuts; climate change in Michigan; Michigan farmers markets; the new dynamics of the Michigan Supreme Court; and Lansing's new city attorney designate. 

The potential effects of climate change in Michigan

Mar 5, 2013

Climate change is continuing to influence Michigan’s environment. Last March a sudden thaw and freeze devastated the state’s berry crops. While recently, record low water levels have forced the government to spend millions on dredging.

Jeff Andresen,  Michigan Climatologist and assistant professor of geography at Michigan State University, discusses Michigan's climate future.

Current State #32 | February 26, 2013

Feb 26, 2013
Gabby Saldivia

Today on Current State: Climate change in Michigan, a tour of the MSU Surplus and Recycling Center; Michigan and the Civil War; Civil Rights era jazz; Spartan basketball in 1979 and now; and the creative process of magazine information graphics.