Environment & Science

user jsome1 / Flickr

New research finds men are dirtier than women, but not by much.

Health officials say that washing your hands is the best thing you can do to avoid getting sick.

When it comes to putting that into practice, studies have found that a lot of us say we do a good job, but researchers found most of us don’t do anywhere near as good a job as we should.

Carl Borchgrevink is an associate professor in the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.

“We found that people do not wash their hands as much as they should… or to be blunt… there’s a lot of dirty hands out there,” he says.

Mark Savage / Entergy

It’s been more than a month since the Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven shut down after an unexpected release of slightly radioactive water into Lake Michigan.

Nuclear watchdog groups are upset there was yet another leak into the plant’s control room last week.

www.geograph.org.uk

Two northern Michigan representatives want to keep the picturesque shoreline of the Great Lakes free of spinning wind turbines.

New legislation introduced by Republicans Greg MacMaster and Ray Franz would stop any proposed research or production of offshore wind power in the Great Lakes that border Michigan.

It would also ban it for the future.

Critics say the bill lacks foresight.

"We think it is a mistake to limit research in this area," said James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. "We have a number of universities who have gotten grants to do research on offshore wind. It may be decades down the road, but to restrict our ability to even learn the possibilities there is extremely shortsighted."

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s1135.htm / NOAA

Today is the 60th anniversary of the tornado that ravaged the small community of Beecher, Michigan. According to Jake May at MLive, the F5 tornado killed 116 people and destroyed nearly 350 homes.

Check out a video created by the Flint Journal that documents people’s story from the tragic event:

Credit John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech

The Obama administration announced a proposal to lift the federal protection of gray wolves in 48 states. 

The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, said wolves have recovered.

According to Matthew Brown and John Flesher of the Associated Press, Ashe cited the wolf population as having "successfully rebounded."

Ashe said that "science is an important part of this decision, but really the key is the policy question of when a species is recovered. Does the wolf have to occupy all the habitat that is available to it in order for it to be recovered? Our answer to that question is no."

As summer water temperatures warm up, more people are enticed into big waves in the Great Lakes, and warnings about dangerous currents are being posted at more beaches.

The number of people who have drowned or been rescued has gone up in each of the last three years.

Jamie Racklyeft is one of the lucky ones.

The U.S. government spends millions of dollars every year to keep sea lamprey in check.

This year, Congress has approved $21,408,342.00 to control the Great Lakes invader.

Dale Burkett is the director of the sea lamprey control program for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC). The agency oversees lamprey control both on the U.S. side and on the Canadian side.

Burkett says the money pays for control efforts in roughly 100 streams and rivers feeding the Great Lakes.

CDC

On today's Environment Report, we talked about ticks.

Michigan State University entomologist Howard Russell told me that tick season is booming in Michigan this year.

And the boom is happening in areas where ticks were relatively rare a few years ago.

Specifically, Russell says the blacklegged tick population is expanding in Michigan. Those are the bad ones. The suckers that can carry Lyme disease.

warrenski / Creative Commons

Check this chart out. Interact with it.

The green circles hovering over each of the fifty states represents each state's green energy consumption, based on recent data from the Energy Information Administration. 

The map was created by Mother Jones, and is a visual aid to understand how much each state used solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy. 

jschumacher / Morguefile

Michigan cows are making national headlines. Last week, NPR’s Morning Edition covered a story by Dan Charles on the cattle tracking program in Michigan.

The state of Michigan requires cattle to have electronic ear tags. In fact, it is the only state that requires the tags.

This mattered little to the general public until now. Some farmers are looking at how the tags could help consumers learn more about where meat is from and how it was raised.

Michigan Radio’s Mary Jo Wagner first reported on the tracking system back in 2001. Originally, Michigan started the electronic tracking system in order to monitor cattle for tuberculosis, mad cow disease, and foot-and-mouth disease.

Now, the local food movement and recent exposés on cruelty in the meat industry have given the tags a new use.

Scott Bauer / USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

There’s a guy at Michigan State University who people call when they find a tick on their child or their pet. Lately, he’s been getting a lot of calls.

Howard Russell is an entomologist at MSU.

“There are certain parts of the state that have had lots of ticks for a long time, the Upper Peninsula in particular. But I’m getting calls from people from areas that haven’t seen a lot of ticks, particularly the central Lower Peninsula, southeastern Lower Peninsula and the central part of the state.”

Asian Carp
Kate.Gardner / Flickr

The Council of Great Lakes Governors met this past weekend on Mackinac Island.

The group talked of economic cooperation, and harmonizing plans for protecting the largest body of freshwater on the Earth’s surface. The discussions were mostly nice, but there were some disagreements, especially when it came to dealing with invasive species like Asian carp.

Rick Pluta filed a story on their meeting, and we also got an update on where things stand with Asian carp. 

We spoke with Duane Chapman, a research fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Chapman said that there have been three Bighead carp that have been caught in the Great Lakes, but not since 2000. 

Listen to the whole story to find out where the most recent DNA has been found in the Lakes, and how it got there.

To hear the story, click the audio above.

Illinois Dept of Natural Resources

The Great Lakes governors are meeting this weekend on Mackinac Island.

There may have been a small breakthrough on a plan to deal with the threat of Asian carp spreading into the lakes.

There’s been some tension among the Great Lakes states over what to about Asian carp spreading from the Mississippi River system to Lake Michigan.

The two join at a shipping canal in Chicago. The Great Lakes Council of Governors agreed to adopt a common strategy to fight the spread of invasive species.

Logan Chadde

It has been a good year for maple syrup in Michigan. Farms produced twice the amount of syrup as they did last year, thanks to prime weather conditions that extended the tree-tapping season into April.

Syrup production ended in the Lower Peninsula in early April, and the Upper Peninsula continued production until the end of April. The official numbers of gallons produced will be released in early June. 

Once upon a time, there was a small Hungarian village that was very proud of its sour cherries. The village was called Újfehértó. As in many Hungarian villages, tall cherry trees lined the streets and provided welcome shade in the summertime.

When communism came to Hungary after World War II, the government introduced big collective farms, and Hungarian scientists had to decide which cherries the farms should grow.

user: mosoltysik / Flickr

Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore was voted 'The Most Beautiful Place in America in 2011,' we know that. 

Some Michigan natives try to avoid the popular tourist sites during peak visiting months. The crowds can be overwhelming for some tourists, too.

Lifelong Michigander or not, if you're trying to soak up Michigan's beauty without all the people, check out michigantrailmaps.com.

Kazoo Sturgeon / kazoosturgeon.org

It’s near the end of spawning season for Michigan’s oldest and biggest fish species, the lake sturgeon. Overfishing and hydraulic dams built to power industry have wiped out many lake sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes.

A group of people and government agencies are trying to increase the odds the kind of sturgeon specific to the Kalamazoo River will survive.

Sturgeon have been around since the age of dinosaurs. So they’re a lot different from other fish in the Great Lakes. They don’t have a normal skeleton. Instead, they’ve got these bony plates on the outside of their bodies, called scutes. They have no fish scales.

“They’re kind of rubbery on the outside and they are extremely docile, unlike the fish with the flopping and all that,” said Ron Clark. He’s with the Kalamazoo River Sturgeon Restoration Project out of New Richmond.

“They let you move them; they let you hold them,” Clark said.

National Weather Service

Tornado conditions merely amounted to warnings in Washtenaw County, but a tornado did touch down in Atlas township last night.

Ron Fonger, of MLive.com reported that the majority of the damage was probably caused by small twisters as well:

NEFCO / YouTube

Detroit has budgeted $683 million to move forward with plans to build a biosolids dryer facility in the city. If built, it is expected to be the largest facility of its kind in the United States.

What exactly is a "biosolids dryer facility," you ask?

It converts human waste materials into energy or fertilizer.

Whether you view this as innovative green technology or just plain gross, the contract is a big deal for Detroit. 

Twitter

One of leading topics of statewide conversation is how to keep young professionals and college grads in Michigan.

Lately on Stateside, we've heard talk of "placemaking," ways to make cities more attractive to young people.

That's one of many ideas being tossed around in the quest to prevent "Brain Drain."

Writer Natalie Burg recently published a guest column in Bridge Magazine. At the age of 31, she is writing from the perspective of those young people we're trying to keep in Michigan. And she thinks some of these strategies aren’t going to do the trick.

Natalie joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Pages