Environment & Science

Environment & Science
10:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Michigan braces for blast of cold temperatures

The cold air creeps into the lower 48.
NWS

IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Cold temperatures are expected across Michigan after an arctic blast swept across the Northern Plains and made its way east.

In Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, temperatures in the teens were reported Thursday morning in Ironwood. In much of the rest of the state, temperatures were in the 30s to 50s, but they were expected to be in the 30s or below by Thursday evening.

A mix of snow and freezing rain is expected in places, making travel difficult. Cold weather is to continue through the weekend.

Gale warnings are in effect Thursday for Lake Superior and parts of northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, with high waves expected. In Lake Superior, the National Weather Service says waves of 18 feet are likely with maximum heights of up to 26 feet.

The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Women making healthier decisions at seafood counter

Women are asking which fish contain more of the toxin mercury and choosing those fish. Mercury levels in women's blood have decreased 34% during the last decade.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Over the last decade, women have switched to making much healthier choices at the seafood counter.

First, let's make it clear: fish is healthful food.

But, fish can contain traces of mercury, some fish more than others. And to make sure you don’t consume too much of that toxin, you need to know which fish have heavier loads of mercury.

Why?

Because mercury is a toxic contaminant that can cause neurological damage. For women who could have children or who are pregnant, too much mercury could mean developmental problems for their babies.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Lake Superior is heating up faster than any other lake on Earth

Lake Superior
Flickr user Arthur Chapman Flickr

Lake Superior is warming up.

Scientists say the largest of the Great Lakes is heating up faster than any other lake on Earth.

What's behind the warming? And could this be good news for those who enjoy Great Lakes fishing?

Tim Cline is a PhD student at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. He has studied the effect of temperature on fish in Lake Superior, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Environment Report
9:00 am
Tue December 3, 2013

What will be fueling your car in the future?

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Listen to the Environment Report.

Hydrogen fuel cells, compressed natural gas, all-electric… what kind of cars are we going to be driving in a few years?

The LA Auto Show wrapped up… and the next big show is the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit in January.

There, of course, is a lot of well-orchestrated hype at these big auto shows. If you’re looking for a clear direction on what we’ll be driving in the future, it’s still a mixed bag. But, new advances are dominated by efficiency improvements in the internal combustion engine.

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Environment & Science
3:14 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Federal regulators won’t grant Enbridge more time to dredge oil from Kalamazoo River

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency will not extend the December 31 deadline it gave Enbridge Energy to finish dredging oil from portions of the Kalamazoo River.  In March the EPA ordered Enbridge to remove up to 18,000 gallons of submerged oil by the end of the year.

The oil is left over from the 2010 pipeline rupture. More than 800,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Enbridge pipeline. The spill affected almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

Enbridge says it cannot meet the deadline, but could complete the work by October of 2014. This month the company asked the EPA to extend that deadline.

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Environment & Science
11:40 am
Mon December 2, 2013

New wolf hunt petitions will start circulating this week

howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

Beginning Wednesday, Michigan hunting groups will start collecting signatures on a petition to allow wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula.     Today, the Board of State Canvassers approved wording for the petition.

The pro-hunt petition is intended to counter two petition drives by groups trying to protect the gray wolf.   

Since November 15th, at least 17 wolves have been killed in the state’s first ever wolf hunt.

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Environment & Science
10:07 am
Sat November 30, 2013

U of M researchers say sex-starved flies live shorter lives

Drosophila melanogaster, mating couple. Male is the smaller one on top.
Sarefo/WikipediaCommons

There’s new research out of the University of Michigan that suggests that being sexually frustrated can shorten lifespans. The lifespans of male fruit flies, that is.

U of M researchers toyed with the affections of male fruit flies for their study of sex and health.

The researchers immersed male fruit flies in an environment thick with female pheromones, but with no female fruit flies to mate with.

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Environment & Science
10:39 am
Fri November 29, 2013

DNR develops video to help spot young Asian carp

Asian carp
DNR

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has developed a video to help anglers identify young Asian carp and prevent them from getting into the Great Lakes.

Asian carp are large, voracious fish that have been migrating toward the lakes from Southern rivers. The two most feared varieties are bighead and silver carp.

Officials fear that juvenile Asian carp will find their way into the bait supply if anglers confuse them with common baitfish such as gizzard shad and emerald shiners.

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Environment & Science
4:31 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Non-profit buys an island in Lake Michigan – ‘a wild, beautiful spot’ for migrating birds

St. Martin Island is part of a chain of islands that connects Michigan's Garden Peninsula to Wisconsin's Dorr Peninsula.
Mark Godfrey The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has purchased an uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan that provides a crucial stopover spot for migratory birds.

St. Martin Island is part of a chain that runs between Wisconsin's Door Peninsula and Michigan's Garden Peninsula.

Millions of sparrows, warblers and other birds stop on the chain to take a break and feed before continuing their migration. According to a release issued by the group today:

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Stateside
2:13 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Will new legislation stop another deadly meningitis outbreak?

cdc.gov

Congress has passed new legislation to try to prevent another deadly fungal meningitis outbreak... But, will it be enough?

*Listen to the audio above.

Environment & Science
11:52 am
Wed November 27, 2013

This is what it sounds like to be attacked by a turkey

Not the turkey of interest, but a close facsimilie.
wikimedia commons

Back in 2007, I was doing a story on CAFOs in Wood County, Ohio.

I was waiting for my interviewee to return home when I spotted a gang of turkeys appear at the edge of the woods.

I had some time to kill, so I channeled my inner Marlin Perkins, got out my "shotgun" microphone, and attempted to record some wild nature sounds. (A "shotgun" microphone does not shoot anything, it's simply a long microphone that collects sound from far away.)

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Environment & Science
6:47 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Michigan hunters plan to petition for new wolf hunt law

Gray Wolf
http://the-wolfs.webs.com/wolfspecies.htm

There could soon be dueling petition drives on opposite sides of the debate over wolf hunting in Michigan.

Next week, a coalition of Michigan hunting groups will ask the Board of State Canvassers to approve the wording of a petition for a new state law.

“The wolf hunting debate alerted us to the need for this type of decision making process,” says Drew YoungeDyke.   He’s with Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management.

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The Environment Report
10:44 am
Tue November 26, 2013

This is what it sounds like inside Michigan's largest wind farm

Kent Humm says he agreed to put a wind turbine on his land because of the environmental benefits.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

The Gratiot County Wind Farm has 133 wind turbines scattered over more than 30,000 acres. It's the largest wind farm in Michigan. Each 1.6 megawatt wind turbine can generate enough power for 350 homes.

And this is what it sounds like when you stand directly beneath a wind turbine that stretches more than 450 feet into the sky with the wind blowing between 10 to 15 mph.

(Listen below - You can hear the turbine slow down - I think it's neat, but I'm a nerd.)

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Environment & Science
10:33 am
Mon November 25, 2013

At least 11 wolves killed in Michigan hunt

MDNR's tally of the number of wolves killed in the different hunting zones.
MDNR

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least 11 wolves have been killed during Michigan's wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Monday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.

It's the first hunt in Michigan since the wolf was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate with firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.

The DNR had estimated the state's wolf population at 658.

Energy
6:00 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Holland needs air permit for new natural gas plant

The new natural gas plant will replace the DeYoung coal plant in Holland.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The City of Holland wants to get an air permit so it can build a new natural gas-fired power plant.

People have until Wednesday to tell the state’s Department of Environmental Quality what they think of the plans.

The roughly $200 million dollar power plant would help replace the city’s 70 year old DeYoung coal plant.

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Environment & Science
8:12 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Go on an "owl prowl"

How cute is this barred owl?
Credit Michigan DNR website

The Department of Natural Resources is putting on a series of guided night time walks in different state parks and recreation areas, with the goal of trying to spot owls.

They're called "owl prowls." (Just try and say that five times, fast.)

Events are scheduled in Livingston, Wayne, Oakland, Clinton, Lenawee, Jackson and Bay Counties. You can find more information here at the DNR's website.

The events are free and the organizers suggest that you pre-register.

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Environment & Science
11:10 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Many Michigan agencies lose 2014 beach monitoring funds

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - About three dozen local health departments and other agencies that usually receive state funding to monitor beach waters for contamination won't get any next year.

The funding comes from the federal government. Michigan will get $152,000 in 2014.

But a provision inserted into a state budget bill orders the Department of Environmental Quality to spend $100,000 of that money on one project in Macomb County.

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Environment & Science
1:20 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Enbridge pipeline construction delayed

The pipeline under construction in southern Ingham County
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - Pipeline company Enbridge Energy says completion of construction of an oil pipeline in parts of Michigan will be pushed back until mid-2014.

Word of the delay in Michigan comes after Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge this week said its project to replace a stretch of oil pipeline across northern Indiana won't be completed until at least February, months later than planned, due to delays in obtaining needed permits.

Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum tells the Times Herald of Port Huron that work in Michigan's Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties was supposed to wrap up this year, but delays in environmental approvals stalled work.

The overall project is replacing Line 6B, which runs between Sarnia, Ontario to Griffith, Ind. A portion of Enbridge's existing pipeline ruptured in southwestern Michigan in 2010.

Environment & Science
5:28 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Check out how the Grand River could look in Grand Rapids with river restoration plan

A rendering of what the river restoration project could look like.
Grand Rapids Whitewater

The preliminary plan to restore the rapids to a two-mile stretch of the Grand River is out. It’s the first real look Grand Rapids has gotten at the proposed project.

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The Environment Report
9:06 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Scientists pushed to share their data sooner

A soil scientist collecting data in the field.
Scott Bauer USDA, ARS

The Environment Report for Thursday, November 21, 2013.

Some policymakers say scientists hold onto their data too long. They say by the time the information is released, it can miss the window for addressing pressing problems.

The federal government is urging scientists to share their data sooner, but good data is like gold to scientists.

It can solve a lingering puzzle, and lead to professional success. That's why some scientists are considered data hoarders. They protect the information they collect.

But in a recent survey of over 1,300 scientists, Carol Tenopir found more of a spirit of collaboration than competition.

Tenopir participates in a National Science Foundation project called DataOne. Her job is to figure out how to overcome barriers to data sharing and broaden access to information.

Though only a small percentage of scientists said they actually share their data, she was surprised to find many are eager to do so.

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