Rebecca Williams http://michiganradio.org en Restaurants and markets running low on a popular Great Lakes fish http://michiganradio.org/post/restaurants-and-markets-running-low-popular-great-lakes-fish <p></p><p>Monahan’s Seafood Market in Ann Arbor carries soft-shell crabs from Maryland, Alaskan salmon, and Florida red snapper.</p><p>But at the moment, they’re fresh out of Great Lakes whitefish.</p><p>Bernie Fritzsch manages the fish market.</p><p></p><p>“We’re hoping to see it today, but we haven’t seen it for the last week,” he says.</p><p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:19:48 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17267 at http://michiganradio.org Restaurants and markets running low on a popular Great Lakes fish Biologists expect the worst for Michigan's bat population http://michiganradio.org/post/biologists-expect-worst-michigans-bat-population <p></p><p>Bats with <a href="http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/">white-nose syndrome</a> have been found in Mackinac and Dickinson counties in the Upper Peninsula and Alpena County in northern lower Michigan.</p><p>The fungal disease has killed more than six million bats in 27 states and five Canadian provinces since 2006.</p><p>Allen Kurta is a biology professor at Eastern Michigan University. He’s one of the researchers who found the infected bats. I spoke with him for today's Environment Report (you can hear him talk about white-nose syndrome above).</p><p>Kurta compares the discovery of white-nose syndrome in Michigan bats to "every member of your extended family receiving a terminal diagnosis."</p><p>“I think that this is one of the worst wildlife calamities ever in the history of North America. You’re looking at potential extinction of multiple species of bats.”</p><p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:05:35 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17242 at http://michiganradio.org Biologists expect the worst for Michigan's bat population There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most http://michiganradio.org/post/there-could-be-bad-news-michigan-fruit-crops-grapevines-might-have-suffered-most <p></p><p></p><p>Farmers are finally able to head out into their fields, orchards and vineyards to see how everything fared over the winter.&nbsp;</p><p>Ken Nye is a commodities specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau.&nbsp;</p><p>He's expecting a lot of damage to Michigan fruits.&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:13:42 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17182 at http://michiganradio.org There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most The extensive ice cover could delay fish migrations in the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/extensive-ice-cover-could-delay-fish-migrations-great-lakes <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The prolonged winter and the ice cover on the Great Lakes could lead to some lasting effects on wildlife.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For one thing, scientists expect that a lot of the fish that people like to catch will be showing up late to the places they usually spawn.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Solomon David is a research scientist at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">David basically chases fish around for a living.</span></p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:40:47 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17088 at http://michiganradio.org The extensive ice cover could delay fish migrations in the Great Lakes Flu season hangs on in northern and central Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/flu-season-hangs-northern-and-central-michigan <p><a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/">Flu season</a> is usually wrapping up at this time of year, but experts say it’s not quite over yet.</p><p>The H1N1 flu virus reared its nasty little head again this year, and made some people very sick.</p><p>Dr. Matthew Davis is the Chief Medical Executive with the <a href="https://www.michigan.gov/mdch">Michigan Department of Community Health</a>.</p><p>“We saw back in December and early January that some relatively healthy younger patients were getting very severe cases of flu which in some cases were requiring life-saving treatment and in some cases caused death,” he says.</p><p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:50:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17086 at http://michiganradio.org Flu season hangs on in northern and central Michigan Environmental groups split over proposed tax break for oil recovery http://michiganradio.org/post/environmental-groups-split-over-proposed-tax-break-oil-recovery <p>The Michigan Legislature recently approved a <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28b1rd15u2fkn3evbpk2y3wl2l%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&amp;objectname=2013-HB-4885">package of bills</a> that’s causing a split between environmental groups.</p><p>The legislation would lower a tax on a certain kind of oil recovery.</p><p>Jake Neher is the capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network and he’s been following this story. I spoke with him about these bills for today's Environment Report.</p><p>“The main bill in the package would cut the state severance tax from 6.6% to 4% for companies using what’s called enhanced production or enhanced recovery methods to essentially clean out low-producing oil wells. So basically, they pump a bunch of carbon dioxide into the wells to help get relatively little amounts of oil out of them. In other words, companies would pay a lower tax rate on the oil they take out of the ground using that process.”</p><p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:43:44 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16955 at http://michiganradio.org Environmental groups split over proposed tax break for oil recovery Neighbors express concerns about proposed sand and gravel mine near Chelsea http://michiganradio.org/post/neighbors-express-concerns-about-proposed-sand-and-gravel-mine-near-chelsea <p>A Ready-Mix concrete company, <a href="http://www.mccoigmaterials.com/">McCoig Materials</a>, wants to open up a mine on a site north of Chelsea. The two parcels of land they want to mine are in between the Waterloo and Pinckney Recreation areas. This part of southeast Michigan has a lot of little lakes and unique natural areas.</p><p>McCoig Materials wants to operate the mine for 22 to 30 years and remove 11 million tons of sand and gravel.</p><p>People who live on the lakes nearby have been raising concerns about that.</p><p>Mary Mandeville spends summers in her cottage at Island Lake.</p><p>“Just to the west of us is where the proposed gravel mine would be putting in their operations. We’re very concerned about the impact on the environment, on the water table level. We’re concerned about air quality with all the dust from the dumping of the gravel into the trucks.”</p><p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:50:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16804 at http://michiganradio.org Neighbors express concerns about proposed sand and gravel mine near Chelsea President's budget cuts Great Lakes programs http://michiganradio.org/post/presidents-budget-cuts-great-lakes-programs <p>President Obama’s 2015 budget includes some cuts to Great Lakes programs.</p><p>Obama is asking for $275 million for the<a href="http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/glri/"> Great Lakes Restoration Initiative</a>. That would be $25 million less than the current funding level.</p><p>Todd Ambs is the campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. He says if the cuts go through, you'd see projects slow down.</p><p>“Whether it’s a contaminated cleanup project that’s underway but not completed, or a habitat restoration effort or dealing with the problems of keeping aquatic invasive species out of the Great Lakes.”</p><p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:55:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16740 at http://michiganradio.org President's budget cuts Great Lakes programs Invasive lampreys getting too comfortable in Michigan's Inland Waterway? http://michiganradio.org/post/invasive-lampreys-getting-too-comfortable-michigans-inland-waterway <p>We spend about $21 million a year keeping invasive sea lampreys in check in the Great Lakes.</p><p>But they’re resilient creatures. Even after we spend all that money, we still can’t get rid of them.</p><p>Scientists now suspect lampreys are getting a little too comfortable up north.</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:55:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16697 at http://michiganradio.org Invasive lampreys getting too comfortable in Michigan's Inland Waterway? What all the snow and ice will mean for Great Lakes water levels http://michiganradio.org/post/what-all-snow-and-ice-will-mean-great-lakes-water-levels <p>It might seem a little counterintuitive, but right now, a bunch of scientists are thinking about how high the water at Great Lakes beaches will be this summer.</p><p>Early last year, the Lake Michigan-Lake Huron system hit record low water levels.</p><p>It made life tougher for the shipping industry, and it’s hard on people who run Great Lakes ports.</p><p>Russell Dzuba is the harbor master in Leland.</p><p>“For us, it’s shallow. When we went to dredge this year we had to go a foot deeper and the world was a foot shorter, if you will,” he says.</p><p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:52:19 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16636 at http://michiganradio.org What all the snow and ice will mean for Great Lakes water levels Enbridge has a new plan for dredging parts of the Kalamazoo River http://michiganradio.org/post/enbridge-has-new-plan-dredging-parts-kalamazoo-river <p>Enbridge Energy is still cleaning up oil left over from its pipeline spill in the Kalamazoo River. &nbsp;</p><p>The company has already recovered most of the oil, but it's still working to comply with an order from the federal regulators, who say they need to clean up another 180,000 gallons.&nbsp;</p><p>According to Enbridge's new plan, they can start that cleanup March 15. But that's all dependent on this crazy weather. Right now, everything is frozen. But, if spring warms things up and there's flooding, that can also be problematic for the dredging process.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 17:43:27 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16525 at http://michiganradio.org Enbridge has a new plan for dredging parts of the Kalamazoo River New farm bill shakes up the way we pay for land conservation http://michiganradio.org/post/new-farm-bill-shakes-way-we-pay-land-conservation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The farm bill has about $57 billion for conservation.</span></p><p>Director of the <a href="http://healthylakes.org/">Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition</a>&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Todd&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ambs</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;says a lot of people don't realize the farm bill is where we find the largest source of conservation money from the federal government.</span></p><p>"That’s because there are so many activities that happen on the land that bring us our food, that if done improperly can have a very adverse impact on the soil and also to surrounding waterways," he says.</p><p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 16:10:53 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16488 at http://michiganradio.org New farm bill shakes up the way we pay for land conservation Ira Glass wishes you a happy Valentine's Day http://michiganradio.org/post/ira-glass-wishes-you-happy-valentines-day <p>If you haven't seen it yet, the Google Doodle is all about love today. <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/">This American Life</a>'s Ira Glass narrates a candy heart collection of bite-size love stories.</p><p>Middle school love. Married love. Love and loss.</p><p>The stories are short and sweet and might make you have a little Story Corps moment right at your desk.</p><p>And if you haven't gotten a Valentine's card yet, there's always the <a href="http://www.npr.org/valentine/">NPR valentine</a> option:</p><p></p><p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:46:45 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16451 at http://michiganradio.org Ira Glass wishes you a happy Valentine's Day Backyard farmers to lose Right to Farm protection? http://michiganradio.org/post/backyard-farmers-lose-right-farm-protection <p>Life could soon get a little harder for backyard farmers.</p><p>A law passed in 1981 protects Michigan farmers from nuisance lawsuits. It’s called the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125-1599_1605---,00.html">Right to Farm Act</a>.&nbsp; It was created to protect farmers from angry neighbors who were moving out into rural areas from cities.</p><p>At the moment, the law also protects people who raise chickens and other animals in their backyards.</p><p>Wendy Banka lives in Ann Arbor.&nbsp; She has seven chickens with orange feathers living in a coop in her backyard.</p><p> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:52:02 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16428 at http://michiganradio.org Backyard farmers to lose Right to Farm protection? Study finds liver tumors in mice exposed to low levels of BPA http://michiganradio.org/post/study-finds-liver-tumors-mice-exposed-low-levels-bpa <p>We’re all regularly exposed to the chemical <a href="http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm">Bisphenol A</a> or BPA. Companies have <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-17/html/2012-17366.htm">taken it out of baby bottles</a>, and many kinds of those hard plastic water bottles no longer have BPA in them.</p><p>But it’s still used on paper receipts and to line most food and drink cans.</p><p>Dana Dolinoy is<span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;"> a Searle Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. </span></p><p>“There is mounting evidence that BPA has negative health effects in both animal models and humans,” says Dolinoy.</p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:33:12 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16403 at http://michiganradio.org Study finds liver tumors in mice exposed to low levels of BPA How bad (or wonderful) is this winter? http://michiganradio.org/post/how-bad-or-wonderful-winter <p>Maybe you think this is the best winter ever. &nbsp;Or maybe you’ve had some choice words for Punxsatawney Phil.</p><p>So, just how bad - or how fabulous - is this winter? There’s a scientist in Nebraska who has put a number on it.</p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 13:55:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16386 at http://michiganradio.org How bad (or wonderful) is this winter? Researcher hunts for new medicines in the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/researcher-hunts-new-medicines-great-lakes <p>Let's call today Throwback Tuesday, and go way, way back to the 1920s.</p><p>That's when <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1945/fleming-bio.html">Sir Alexander Fleming</a> stumbled on a mold that stopped bacteria from growing in a petri dish. He called it penicillin.</p><p>Ever since that huge discovery, people have been looking all over the Earth for more organisms that can fight disease.</p><p>Brian Murphy has been searching at the bottom of the Great Lakes.</p><p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 18:42:38 +0000 Rebecca Williams 16295 at http://michiganradio.org Researcher hunts for new medicines in the Great Lakes Tracking Asian carp by what they leave behind http://michiganradio.org/post/tracking-asian-carp-what-they-leave-behind <p>There’s a lot of time, money and effort being spent to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To keep them out, we first have to know where the carp are.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Biologists often go out and sample water from rivers and lakes to look for carp. They test the water for genetic material, and some of those tests have turned up positive for Asian carp.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last year, </span><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/crews-find-20-new-positive-edna-hits-asian-carp-lake-erie" style="line-height: 1.5;">20 samples turned up positive</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> hits in Lake Erie. The positive DNA hits raise alarm bells that an invasive carp species might be establishing a population in the Great Lakes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But the presence of carp DNA does not mean an actual fish was swimming in that area.</span></p><p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 21:27:25 +0000 Rebecca Williams & Mark Brush 14986 at http://michiganradio.org Tracking Asian carp by what they leave behind It's getting colder, but hummingbirds haven't left the state yet http://michiganradio.org/post/its-getting-colder-hummingbirds-havent-left-state-yet <p>With the chill in the air now, you might guess that most hummingbirds would have ditched Michigan for a more tropical place.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the bird you’re most likely to see in Michigan, and it has flown south, for the most part.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But Allen </span>Chartier<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> still wants you to keep an eye out on your backyard feeders.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He studies hummingbirds and he’s the project director for </span><a href="http://www.amazilia.net/MIHummerNet/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Great Lakes&nbsp;Hummernet</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“The chances that what you’re looking at is a Ruby-throat is about 50/50, because there are western species that start showing up.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He says you might get a chance to see a </span>Rufous<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> hummingbird.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“I kind of think of these little birds as each one has certain superpowers, and the Ruby-throat’s superpower is that it’s the smallest bird that can fly across the Gulf of Mexico nonstop. Now the </span>Rufous<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> hummingbird’s superpower is that it’s very cold tolerant. So there are many of these birds that have stayed around in Michigan and Ohio until January and then they move on.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He says the males are a reddish-brown color with a glowing orange throat and a white breast. But the females look a lot like Ruby-throats.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">So if you see one, take a picture of it and e-mail to </span>Chartier<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. He says he’ll identify the bird and use your sighting in his research.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Here’s his e-mail address:&nbsp;</span><a href="mailto:amazilia3@gmail.com" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.333333969116211px; line-height: normal;" target="_blank">amazilia3 at gmail.com</a></p><p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 13:02:14 +0000 Rebecca Williams 14976 at http://michiganradio.org It's getting colder, but hummingbirds haven't left the state yet Warmer waters fuel toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/warmer-waters-fuel-toxic-algal-blooms-great-lakes <p>Big, ugly algal blooms are reappearing in the western basin (and sometimes the central basin) of Lake Erie.</p><p>The blooms happen when excess nutrients – mostly phosphorus – run off into the lake from farms and sewage treatment plants.</p><p>Some of these kinds of algae produce toxins that are among the most powerful natural poisons on Earth.</p><p>Over the past decade, these algal blooms have been common in Lake Erie. And scientists predict climate change could make the problem worse.</p><p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 13:03:16 +0000 Rebecca Williams 14710 at http://michiganradio.org Warmer waters fuel toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes