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Environment & Science

bbodjack / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It’s a classic Hollywood plotline: A powerful corporation wants to develop a large tract of pristine land. Local citizens band together, persuade politicians, raise money, and save the land. Everyone goes home from the theater with a smile on their face.

Except, in the case of the Arcadia Dunes, Hollywood had nothing to do with it. The story is real, and it happened here in Michigan.

David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern lower Michigan.

Infected deer in the area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized dairy products.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Environmental programs all across Michigan are in danger from budget cuts – not just the spending cuts in President Trump’s budget proposal, but state funding cuts as well.

It’s a one-two punch that has environmental groups very worried.

Dredging the Flint River.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A century-old legacy of Flint’s industrial past is the focus of a major cleanup project this summer.

The Flint River is the main artery flowing through Flint’s industrial heart. For decades, from the late 1800’s and into the 1920’s, a gasification plant located along the river turned coal into much-needed natural gas.

Stateside 6.26.2017

Jun 26, 2017

Today on Stateside, an expert explains why vigilance, not panic, is what's needed after a live Asian carp was found near Lake Michigan. And, we hear how a group of veterans on bikes plans to be "extra eyes" in Detroit neighborhoods.

asian carp on bucket
COURTESY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

At the same time the Trump Administration is pushing to slash funding for the Great Lakes, a commercial fisherman has discovered a live Asian carp just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

Duane Chapman is a research fish biologist who leads Asian carp research for the U.S Geological Survey. He told Stateside how the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee is formulating its next steps.

Velsicol Chemical on the banks of the Pine River in St. Louis, Michigan. The chemical plant closed in 1978. The plant was later buried on site -- buildings, contamination and all -- after an agreement with the EPA and the State of Michigan.
Pine River Superfund Citizen's Task Force

The town of St. Louis, Michigan got some good news from the Environmental Protection Agency this week. Agency officials announced at a meeting with concerned citizens that the Velsicol Chemical Superfund site will get $9.7 million to start a massive cleanup project this fall.

The small city in mid-Michigan has one of the most polluted pieces of land in the country. The Velsicol Chemical Company (known as Michigan Chemical up until 1976) produced all kinds of toxic chemicals at its factory right on the banks of the Pine River.

Lake Superior
Helena Jacoba / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you’re in the U.P. this summer, you can give back to Lake Superior.

There’s a new project called the Lake Superior Volunteer Corps.

Emily Goodman is with the Superior Watershed Partnership. She says they’re looking for volunteers every Friday this summer to help with restoration work along the lakeshore.

“For example, at Pictured Rocks, tourism has nearly tripled in the last couple years. With this increased nature tourism comes more litter, more erosion, sensitive dunes and vegetation are trampled,” she says.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign
TexasGOPVote / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice is meant to defend communities that face a disproportionate share of the effects of pollution. But that office’s funding could be cut entirely in the 2018 budget.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

The state of Michigan has scrapped a risk study on Enbridge’s Line 5 and fired the contractor just a week before a first draft of the report was to be released.

Katherine Hunsberger

President Trump's budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year continues to send shock waves through the scientific world.

Scientists are warning that the huge cuts in federal science funding pose a threat to our country's role as a world leader in scientific research and innovation.

Courtesy of NOAA

This week, experts are getting together in Ann Arbor to make a warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. We have on average 106 meteotsunamis in the lakes each year.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Greenversal is a program packed with environmental news — local, national and international. It's all put together by a student from Ann Arbor's Huron High School.

Megan He's Greenversal is one of 15 projects that’s been honored by the EPA for environmental activism. She won the 2016 President's Environmental Youth Award for Greenversal, her website and YouTube channel that has her weekly environmental news reports.

a peregrine falcon on a branch
Becky Matsubara / Flickr

Peregrine falcons are making a comeback in southeastern Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The birds became endangered in the mid-20th century because of pesticides like DDT. But now, the population has grown from near extinction to 15 nesting pairs in southeast Michigan alone.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New charges in the Flint water crisis are connected to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Five current and former government officials are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges in the Flint water crisis. The charges are in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak during the height of the crisis. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia caused by bacteria.

This photo of Microcystis, a kind of cyanobacteria, was taken in Lake Erie in late July of this year.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Michigan has a draft plan ready for public comment on how it will help keep phosphorus out of Lake Erie.

All Great Lakes states will come up with their own plan.  Those plans will become part of an EPA-led strategy to fight harmful cyanobacteria, which thrives on the high loads of phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie.

Jim Johnson is Director of the Environmental Stewardship Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Rick Pluta / MPRN

A group marched on Governor Rick Snyder’s office Tuesday to call for faster work fixing Flint’s water system.

About 50 demonstrators delivered more than 11 hundred empty water bottles with messages from Flint residents curled inside each one.

Nayyirah Shariff with the group Flint Rising led the march. She says the demands include picking up the pace of replacing lead pipes, and a moratorium on city water bills until the work is done. Shariff says the process of replacing the water pipes should not take years.

Wind turbine
Tim Wang / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A majority of Americans believe states should take the lead to address climate change if the federal government fails to act.

That’s one of the findings of the latest in a series of National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Enbridge Energy says it’s pressure testing the structural integrity of Line Five beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The company says the results appear to show the oil and gas pipeline does not pose a serious threat to the Great Lakes.

The company tested the first of two underwater pipes over the weekend.

a moose being released
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The moose population in the western Upper Peninsula appears to be rebounding after taking a dip a few years ago.

Moose were reintroduced into the western U.P. in the 1980s. Their range there covers about 1,400 square miles in parts of Marquette, Baraga, and Iron Counties. 

The moose population in the area grew to 451 in 2013 before dropping down to 285 in 2015.

But Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman John Pepin says the just completed aerial survey counted 378 moose.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study says as we age, friendships become more important to happiness than family ties.

William Chopik is an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new study that identifies what parts of the Great Lakes might be most at environmental risk if there’s an oil spill.

Oil is transported through the Great Lakes region by pipeline, train and ship.  

Jerome Marty is the president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.  The society studies inland waterways.     

Sasha Kravchenko and Jessica Fry, MSU scientists
Michigan State University

What do tiny pieces of decomposing leaves have to do with climate change? It turns out they’re nitrous oxide hot spots.

Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Beach flags
Michael Dawes / Flickr

June marks the beginning of beach season in the Great Lakes – but it also means more people are at risk of drowning.

So the city of Holland is trying something new to teach people about dangerous conditions.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project reports that 98 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, the most since 2012. Currents caused by wind or structures like piers can make swimming in the lakes dangerous.

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Thirty-two members of Congress – including Debbie Dingell – have sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to get involved in efforts to stop a nuclear waste storage site.

A Canadian company has proposed a site about a mile from Lake Huron in Ontario.

Courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Before Europeans arrived in Michigan, “moose were pretty much all over” the state, said Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center.

After that arrival, the moose population declined as settlers began over-hunting the animal and damaging its habitat.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Researchers have found some kinds of chemicals are harder to filter from water.

These compounds belong to a family called highly fluorinated chemicals. They’re used to make carpets, clothes and cookware stain and water repellant.

They’ve also been used in firefighting foam at military bases and airports. Those chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated drinking water around the country, including drinking water wells near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda.

DTE Biomass

Most people know DTE Energy as a gas and electric utility that operates in southeast Michigan. 

But the company also has a subsidiary with projects throughout the country that convert landfill gas to renewable energy. 

DTE Biomass has now added two landfill gas-to-energy projects in Texas to its portfolio.

Kevin Dobson, Vice President of DTE Biomass, says landfills produce greenhouse gases from the decomposition of organic waste.  About half is methane.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Story updated June 9 at 2:07 p.m.

In the wake of President Trump leaving the Paris Climate Agreement, several dozen mayors across the U.S. have created a coalition to uphold the goals of the accord in their own cities. Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City represent Michigan on the list.

A small sample of the thick, bacteria-ridden algae spreading across Lake Erie
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It's been three years since toxic blooms on Lake Erie contaminated the tap water in Toledo and forced the city to shut down its water supply for several days. Now, a new study says a virus may have played a role in the crisis.

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