The Environment Report http://michiganradio.org en Students celebrate Earth Day by planting sequoia clones http://michiganradio.org/post/students-celebrate-earth-day-planting-sequoia-clones <p></p><p>Students in northern Michigan are planting clones of ancient sequoias today.</p><p>There's a grove of sequoias along the shores of Lake Michigan on the site of a former Morton Salt factory.</p><p>Sequoia trees are not native to Michigan, but this grove has grown in Manistee for more than 65 years when they were brought here from the West Coast. Now, those trees are going to take another trip, or their clones will.</p><p>Students who attend Interlochen Arts Academy are planting them on campus along Green Lake. The clones are from Archangel Ancient Tree Archive.</p><p>David Milarch is the group's co-founder. He says they’re planting clones of redwoods around the world today.</p><p>“Ninety-six percent of all of our redwoods have been cut down, butchered and sold,” Milarch says.</p><p>Here's a look at how the group collects genetic material from these old growth trees:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/54411074" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Both the Interlochen Center for the Arts and nearby Interlochen State Park have lost many trees recently due to disease and bug infestation.</p><p>Head park ranger Chris Stark has mixed feelings about the planting. He'd prefer to plant native varieties, such as the white pine.</p><p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:16:32 +0000 Sara Hoover 17311 at http://michiganradio.org Students celebrate Earth Day by planting sequoia clones Explore a century-old freighter, "dive" on a shipwreck at new Great Lakes museum http://michiganradio.org/post/explore-century-old-freighter-dive-shipwreck-new-great-lakes-museum <p></p><p>I thought I knew a lot about the Great Lakes,&nbsp;until I met Chris Gillcrist. He’s the kind of guy you want on your Trivial Pursuit team.</p><p>This is the kind of fact I learned from him every few minutes:</p><p>“The first millionaire in American history is John Jacob Astor. It’s a guy trading beaver pelts from the Great Lakes and sending them to Europe.”</p><p>Gillcrist is the executive director of the new <a href="http://www.inlandseas.org/museum/">National Museum of the Great Lakes</a>. It opens this Saturday, April 26, in Toledo.</p><p>There are&nbsp;a lot about shipwrecks here, sure,&nbsp;&nbsp;but Gillcrist wants you to know it’s much more than that.</p><p>“We look at it as retrofitting American history to more accurately depict how the Great Lakes impacted the nation as a whole over the past 300 years,” he says.</p><p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:50:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 17306 at http://michiganradio.org Explore a century-old freighter, "dive" on a shipwreck at new Great Lakes museum 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 You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? http://michiganradio.org/post/you-pay-about-penny-gallon-gas-clean-pollution-money-spent-well <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every time you fill up, you pay seven-eighths of a cent per gallon of gas for a “regulatory fee” that was originally set up to help clean up the thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan.</span></p><p>Those pennies you pay at the pump add up to a $50 million pot of money each year.</p><p>It’s called the Refined Petroleum Fund. The fund worked initially. The money helped remove tens of thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan. When those old tanks leak, they can pollute the soil and ruin nearby water sources.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:57:21 +0000 Mark Brush 17193 at http://michiganradio.org You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? 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 Michigan beekeepers breeding hardier "survivor bees" http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-beekeepers-breeding-hardier-survivor-bees <p>It’s been a tough winter for honeybees. Bees already face several obstacles, including parasitic mites, habitat loss, and pesticides.</p><h3>Those factors and others are believed to contribute to <a href="http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/about/intheworks/honeybee.htm">Colony Collapse Disorder</a>, a phenomenon where bees disappear from the hive in large numbers.&nbsp;</h3><p>In the face of all these things, beekeepers in Michigan are trying to breed a hardier bee.</p><p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:50:00 +0000 Sara Hoover 17141 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan beekeepers breeding hardier "survivor bees" 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 Zebra mussel-killing bacteria could help native species in the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/zebra-mussel-killing-bacteria-could-help-native-species-great-lakes <p>A treatment that kills zebra and quagga mussels could soon be available for use in lakes and rivers. It’s very effective and safe.</p><p>But it is not likely to undo much of the ecological damage done to Michigan waters by invasive mussels.</p><p>It could be good news, though, if you’re a clam.</p><p></p><p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:04:06 +0000 Peter Payette 17055 at http://michiganradio.org Zebra mussel-killing bacteria could help native species in the Great Lakes Wilderness Proposals Increasingly Divisive On Capitol Hill http://michiganradio.org/post/wilderness-proposals-increasingly-divisive-capitol-hill Fifty years ago, Congress set out to guarantee future generations would always have access to America’s great outdoors in its most natural state. But several recent requests for wilderness protections have been languishing on Capitol Hill.<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&#160;&#160;</span><a href="http://cpa.ds.npr.org/wiaa/audio/2014/03/TERforThursdayMarch27thforLinda.mp3" class="asset-audio"></a><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the past five years, just one new wilderness bill made it to law. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:05:55 +0000 Linda Stephan 16994 at http://michiganradio.org Wilderness Proposals Increasingly Divisive On Capitol Hill 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 Archeologists Diverge On Discovery In Lake Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/archeologists-diverge-discovery-lake-michigan Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:50:57 +0000 Peter Payette 16593 at http://michiganradio.org Archeologists Diverge On Discovery In Lake Michigan 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 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