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Environment & Science

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.
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.
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.

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.

CDC

Tick season is here again. And with Lyme disease on the rise in Michigan and other parts of the U.S., it’s important to know the facts about ticks.

A bioswale
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Green infrastructure is the focus of a conference at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week.

The people behind it say it’s time to start thinking differently about how we handle storm water throughout the Great Lakes; but make sure we do it right.

Japanese stiltgrass.
National Park Service

Invasive plants are really good at being bad. They’re hard to get rid of, and a new study finds that even if you rip them out, they can have lingering effects for years.

Dan Tekiela is an invasive plant ecologist at the University of Wyoming. He studied Japanese stiltgrass, and calls it one of the top three worst invasive plants in the eastern U.S.

Tekiela says they removed the plant from several sites. Three years later, things were worse.

“We found the disturbance of us removing that invader actually promoted other weedy and invasive species,” he says.

Gray wolf.
Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

The Trump administration’s detailed budget proposal leaves fewer resources for protecting endangered species. Under the proposed plan, the budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be trimmed to $1.3 billion for 2018.

Brett Hartl, Government Affairs Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says that’s about an 8% funding cut for conservation. He says the Trump administration’s cuts to the domestic side of the budget, in favor of defense spending, aren’t a surprise.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major river dredging project is nearly ready to begin in downtown Flint.

In about two weeks, crews will begin removing river sediment contaminated with coal tar from a section of the Flint River.   The coal tar was a by-product produced by a gas plant that was located along the river a century ago. Consumers Energy bought the plant in the 1920s.  The utility is handling the cleanup.

(PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. MOHAMED FAISAL)

This Memorial Day weekend, anglers dipping their fishing lines into the St. Clair River and Lake Erie are being asked to help contain a viral outbreak that's killing fish.

This spring saw the biggest Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia.  or VHS, outbreak in Michigan since 2006.   

A Bald eagle perched on a branch
ellenm1 / flickr

After nearly going extinct, the bald eagle population across the United States has been recovering. In Michigan, the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in Michigan has doubled in the past 15 years.  

Heather Good is the executive director of the Michigan Audubon Society. Good joined Stateside to talk about the bald eagle's recovery, and new challenges facing the birds of prey today.

Paw print
Tracy Ducasse / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Researchers have developed a way to track endangered species using smartphones and drones, and you can help them with that work.

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