Environment & Science

Environment & Science
3:08 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Lake Erie to be focus of Ohio legislative group

Sport fishing boat on Lake Erie.
Credit Mark Brush/Michigan Radio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers plans to make Lake Erie the focus of discussions next year.

State Sens. Randy Gardner, a Bowling Green Republican, and Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from Hubbard, say the Lake Erie Caucus will meet in January to address state and federal policies related to the body of water.

The group will look at ways to preserve the environmental health of the lake and to work on related economic growth and tourism issues.

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Environment & Science
10:38 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Study finds food supplies drop in Lakes Huron, Michigan

NOAA

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Food supplies for fish and other organisms are declining in some areas of the Great Lakes, particularly Lakes Huron and Michigan, according to a newly released scientific report.

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Environment & Science
12:30 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Fewer wolves than expected have died so far in Michigan's wolf hunt

USFWS Midwest

It’s been a month since hunters took to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to hunt wolves.

So far, the wolves have been doing better than expected.  

Since the start of the hunt, only about 20 wolves have been killed. That's less than half of the 43 wolves state wildlife officials set as the goal to be killed in the hunt.   The hunt ends December 31st. 

Adam Bump is the Department of Natural Resources’ point man on wolves.  He admits he’s not sure why hunters have had more success bagging wolves in some parts of the U.P. than in other parts.

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Environment & Science
11:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

If its name is any indication, this winter storm headed for Michigan could be really fierce

Doesn't she look ferocious?
Credit screenshot from weather.gov

The most recent winter storm on the National Weather Service's radar is on her way. The Weather Channel named her Electra. 

This is what she looks like:

According to the NWS, there's a prediction of "a complex storm system impacting much of the Central and Eastern U.S. this weekend."

Here are the states that have a winter storm warning. The blue and purple are areas under warnings and advisories.

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Stateside
4:30 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Michigan students begin drone start-up

One of the robots built by SkySpecs
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Michigan

Jeffrey P. Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, recently turned a few heads with his announcement that within a few years he expects deliveries to your home courtesy of unmanned aerial vehicles — also known as drones.

It’s been predicted that by 2025, there could be 175,000 of these UAVs in United States airspace — ranging from teeny, tiny nano-sized UAVs to a full-sized, pilotless airplane hauling cargo for UPS.

Development of these drones are popping up everywhere, including right here in Michigan. SkySpecs, a start-up coming out of the University of Michigan, is developing new ways to use UAVs — creating drones that can inspect everything from bridges to wind turbines and make sure these structures are safe.

We talked to Danny Ellis, the CEO of SkySpecs.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Go lake trout! Native fish overcome seemingly ‘insurmountable’ challenges in Lake Huron

Ellen Marsden examines an egg trap on what is left of the historic spawning reef in Thunder Bay. This reef was buried in cement kiln dust which filled in the spaces between the stones where fish would otherwise deposit their eggs.
NOAA

A fish that was almost wiped out in the Great Lakes is making a comeback in Lake Huron.

Lake trout are suddenly doing what biologists have been trying to get them to do for more than 40 years: They’re making babies.

Lake trout used to be a mainstay of Great Lakes commercial fishing in the first half of the twentieth century. The Lakes would produce 15 million pounds of the fish every year.

Then the sea lamprey came in and sucked the life out of the lake trout populations.

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Environment & Science
5:14 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

U.S. Senators want more info on Enbridge pipeline running through Straits of Mackinac

Enbridge Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
NWF screenshot from YouTube video

Three U.S. senators want a federal agency to check on the safety of an oil pipeline that runs beneath Great Lakes waters.

The 60-year-old pipeline passes beneath the Straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. It was the first pipeline Enbridge built through Michigan.

Environmentalists protested the pipeline expansion earlier this year. They sent divers down to check out the condition of the pipeline firsthand.

Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan want the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to provide details of the agency’s safety tests on the line. PHMSA is a division of the Department of Transportation.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Can Michigan reach 30% renewable energy sources by 2035?

warrenski Creative Commons

Our state is working to get its energy needs met by wind and other renewable sources.

Right now, state law mandates that electric providers must obtain 10% of their electricity sales from renewable resources by 2015.

We're on track to do that.

But a recent report turned in to Governor Snyder says we could boost that to 30% by 2035. And when compared to neighboring states, Michigan's Renewable Portfolio Standard, the RPS, is not as robust as it could be.

John Quackenbush is the Chairman of the State Public Service Commission who led the renewable energy study at the Governor's request, and James Clift is the director of the Michigan Environmental Council. They joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

After 150 years, Keystone State steamer discovered in the Lake Huron

Divers found the shipwreck submerged in Lake Huron.
user Brucegirl wikimedia commons

It's been a mystery that has haunted Lake Huron since the Civil War: What happened to the Keystone State?

The wooden steamer set out from Detroit, bound for Milwaukee, around November 9th, 1861.

She never made it — and no one knew the Keystone State had run into trouble until wreckage washed up on the shore near Lexington.

But thanks to David Trotter, the Keystone State has been found — in nearly 175 feet of water.

Listen to the full interview above. 

The Environment Report
8:30 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Big changes are coming to wetland regulations in Michigan

Wetlands in the fall near Paradise, Michigan.
Nathan Sharkey Creative Commons

Michigan has lost millions of acres of wetlands over the last century. But the state’s still got roughly five million acres left. 

“Wetlands are really, really important to clean water. They’ve been called nature’s nurseries and nature’s kidneys,” said Grenetta Thomassey, who heads Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey.

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Environment & Science
9:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Cold temps and snow expected into next week

Cold temperatures moving in.
NWS

Cold temperatures and snow were expected in Michigan into next week. The lowest readings Friday morning were in the Upper Peninsula, including zero degrees in Ironwood and 1 degree in Iron Mountain.

Forecasters said lake-effect snow was possible in the U.P. and parts of western Michigan. Snow and freezing rain could make travel difficult.

Gale warnings were in effect Friday for Lake Superior, with waves expected to be 18 feet to as high as 27 feet.

Environment & Science
11:46 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Federal regulators say PCB cleanup in Kalamazoo River gaining momentum

Portage Creek in November 2013 after EPA dredged and refilled sections that were contaminated by PCBs.
Paul Ruesch Environmental Protection Agency

People in Kalamazoo won’t have to wait much longer for a federal decision about what to do with an old landfill site that's full of toxic material.

The Allied site is where a paper mill dumped waste for decades. The pile is laced with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They can cause cancer and other health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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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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