Peter Payette

Peter Payette is the News Director at Interlochen Public Radio, the broadcast service owned and operated by the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He manages the news department, has hosted its weekly program Points North, and reports on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR and Michigan Radio and in Traverse Magazine. He teaches radio storytelling to students at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.


Peter loves telling stories about northern Michigan and hopes he never has to move away. He has vacationed in Benzie County his entire life. His wife Sarah is his biggest fan. They have three children, Isabelle, Amelia and Emmet, and live happily in Traverse City's Kid's Creek Neighborhood. 

Some of his favorite stories have been about the ongoing search for the wreck of the first schooner to sail the upper Great Lakes, http://ipr.interlochen.org/ipr-news-features/episode/search-wreck-griffon-resumes/2012-10-08

the prospects for obscure fish in the lakes, http://ipr.interlochen.org/ipr-news-features/episode/scientists-surprised-native-fish-great-lakes/2013-04-10

and any story that requires some knowledge of the past to understand what is happening today.

http://ipr.interlochen.org/arts-and-culture/episode/landmarks-cobbs-mitchell-building/2012-05-18


The Environment Report
12:59 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Debate ongoing over fish farming in the Great Lakes

Harietta Hills Trout Farms co-owner Dan Vogler is in favor of fish farming in the Great Lakes.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Environment Report for Tuesday, August 26, 2014- Fish Farms in the Great Lakes?

Michigan took a big step forward this summer in the business of fish farming. The state issued a permit to expand the Grayling Fish Hatchery more than tenfold.The hatchery raises trout for restaurants and grocery stores.

The expansion comes as interest in fish farming is growing nationwide and there is now talk of going offshore into the open waters of the Great Lakes.

The Grayling Fish Hatchery could soon be the largest aquaculture operation in Michigan by far.

Dan Vogler is one of the owners of Harrietta Hills Trout Farm based near Cadillac. He hopes the expansion is a sign of a growing fish-producing industry in Michigan.

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The Environment Report
11:35 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Michigan township seeks "franchise agreements" with oil and gas drillers

A drilling operation. The state doesn't allow townships to regulate oil and gas drilling. Edwards Township doesn't have any active drilling at the moment, but township officials hope to use a sort of franchise agreement to work around state rules for future drilling.
Credit Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

One Michigan township wants to make special deals with oil and gas drillers. 

State law does not allow townships to regulate oil and gas drilling. But with all the controversy around fracking, some wish they could.  One township in northern lower Michigan is trying to work around that rule and have a voice.  

There are no active oil or gas wells in Edwards Township, a farming community near West Branch. However, there are some old wells that are capped off.

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The Environment Report
11:18 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Bass getting fat on invasive fish

A goby in Lake Michigan. Bass are getting bigger gorging on this invasive species.
Joi Ito Flickr

The Environment Report for Thursday, July 10, 2014- A bigger bass

The bass are getting fat.

Lake Michigan was recently recognized as one of the best places in America to fish for bass. The booming fishery is one sign of what might be a major shift of the lake’s food web.

But that change is being driven by an increase in goby, an invasive species. And it could spell trouble for salmon— the most popular sport fish in Lake Michigan.  

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The Environment Report
11:22 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Michigan entrepreneurs want the saskatoon to be the next big fruit

Saskatoons look like purple blueberries, but taste like apples.
User: waledro Flickr

An unusual berry should be widely available at farmers markets in northern Michigan this summer. In fact, the region has become the center of saskatoon growing in the United States.

Most people who grow saskatoons around Traverse City were not farmers until a few years ago, but the berry could have a bright future in northern Michigan.

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The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Watchdog groups wary of proposed fracking rules

Credit Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

This story has been updated. 5/9/2014

New rules proposed for oil and gas drilling in Michigan are getting a mixed response, at best, from watchdog groups. The rules would apply to a type of drilling often referred to as “fracking.” Critics say the proposed changes continue to favor the oil and gas industry over neighbors and the public.

The official line in Michigan has long been that drilling for oil and gas is well-regulated and done safely. But many people are not convinced.

Hal Fitch is the head of the Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals. He says they are responding to those concerns.

"We saw some need to make some changes, some improvements, partly because of changing technology, partly because of public concern out there over hydraulic fracturing," he says.

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The Environment Report
11:04 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Zebra mussel-killing bacteria could help native species in the Great Lakes

Zebra mussels on a Higgins eye mussel
Credit USFWS

You can hear Peter's story above.

A treatment that kills zebra and quagga mussels could soon be available for use in lakes and rivers. It’s very effective and safe.

But it is not likely to undo much of the ecological damage done to Michigan waters by invasive mussels.

It could be good news, though, if you’re a clam.

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The Environment Report
9:50 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Archeologists Diverge On Discovery In Lake Michigan

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 9:18 am

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. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.

Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.

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