WUOMFM

Environment & Science

Rita McNamara.
Morgan Springer

Near a landfill in northern Michigan, residents have been dealing with undrinkable water for decades. Now, a new proposal at the landfill makes them even more concerned.

In 2005, Rita McNamara’s well broke and she needed a new one. McNamara says she was walking her property with a well driller when a woman from the county health department drove up.

Stateside 2.5.2018

Feb 5, 2018

Today on Stateside, we hear from a researcher who's found a link between the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County and the switch to Flint River water. And, we talk about the crucial moment of Super Bowl LII when two former Wolverines mattered most.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Researchers have linked a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Genesee County to a switch to the Flint River for drinking water.

During the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in 2014 and 2015, twelve people died and 79 people became sick.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan wildlife officials are launching a five-year study to see if deer movement is spreading a serious disease.

Since 2015, 58 cases of Chronic Wasting Disease have been identified in the state.  CWD attacks the brain of infected animals, resulting in death.  The outbreak started near Lansing, but has spread to other areas.

MSU professor David Williams is fitting deer with collars to see if their movements are increasing their contact with infected herds.

MDEQ

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved a permit for a new marina near Saugatuck.

It's slated to be part of a housing development on the shore of Lake Michigan.

David Swan is president of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. He says the marina will spoil an otherwise mostly pristine area.

"It is a 1600 foot long, 200 foot wide, 18 foot deep trench through Michigan's critical dunes," says Swan.  "(This area) is completely unique. The river mouth and the beaches are essentially undeveloped."

George Redgrave / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The late 1960s saw the birth of many activist groups fighting to change the status quo, particularly in light of the ongoing Vietnam War and Civil Rights movement.

Science for the People was one such group. It was made up of radical scientists who challenged the relationship between their work and political and economic power.

Sampling locations in the Great Lakes region.
USGS/courtesy of Michelle Hladik

Insecticides widely used on farms, lawns and gardens — known as neonicotinoids — are showing up in rivers across the Great Lakes region.

Asian carp leaping out of a river.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission

On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder announced an interstate partnership with leaders of the Great Lakes states to reduce the risk of invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses in a Chicago-area waterway. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Ontario are the founding members of the partnership, representing more than 90% of the Great Lakes surface area.

The initiative contributes to reducing costs of upgrading the Brand Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, a key choke point between the carp-infested Illinois River and Lake Michigan.

Eric Minbiole / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Tomorrow morning there will be a lunar trifecta: the super blue blood moon.

Mary Stewart Adams of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmett County joined Stateside today to explain what this rare lunar event is, what Michiganders will be able to see, and when.

Suzannah Tobin

The climate solutions caucus in the U.S. House is a group of more than 60 Democrats and Republicans who want to address climate change. Representative Fred Upton from St. Joseph just joined the caucus.

Last fall, Representative Jack Bergman, R-MI 1st District, announced he was joining the caucus. He represents northern Michigan.

A group of Traverse City high schoolers were the unlikely lobbyists who helped convince Bergman to join the caucus.

SCREENSHOT FROM ENBRIDGE REPORT TO THE STATE

Governor Rick Snyder is rejecting a proposal to shut down an oil pipeline that runs beneath the Mackinac Straits.

Last month the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (MPSAB), a panel created by the governor, urged Snyder to temporarily shut down Enbridge Line 5 until it can be inspected for gaps in the external coating and all the gaps are repaired.

But today, the governor says recent tests indicated there “is not a risk of imminent failure.”  

Piping plovers.
Roger Eriksson

Piping plovers are little white and gray shorebirds. You might’ve seen them running around on the beach.

Sarah Saunders is a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State University.

“The majority of the piping plovers in the Great Lakes region nest at Sleeping Bear Dunes,” she says. “The chicks look like little fluffy cotton balls on toothpicks because their legs are really long and they’re very cute. And they make a very high pitched piping noise.”

The latest influenza map from the CDC.
CDC

Health experts say we can catch the flu if someone coughs near us. But now there’s evidence we can spread the influenza virus into the air just by breathing.

Waves on Lake Michigan.
Nathaniel May / UM

Scientists have found organic matter from toxic blooms in the Great Lakes can get airborne.

Andrew Ault is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, in the departments of environmental health sciences and chemistry. He’s an author of a new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“Anytime a wave breaks on the ocean or in a lake, you push bubbles below the surface. When those come up, they burst and that bursting process essentially, ends up leading to aerosols being formed,” he says.

screenshot from Enbridge report to the state

U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Michigan, has introduced a bill that could force Enbridge Energy to replace its aging pipeline under the straits of Mackinac.   The so-called Great Lakes Oil Spill Prevention Act would require strict maintenance of any oil pipeline in the Great Lakes -- which means Enbridge's controversial Line 5.  The act would require pipeline operators to submit status reports regularly, and immediately report problems, to PHMSA, the federal pipeline safety agency, and requires that agency to keep the state informed as well.  The act also has a provision to require the replacement of pipeline materials over 50 years old.  Line 5 was built in 1953, so it is 64 years old now. 

wind turbine
Courtesy Consumers Energy

DTE Energy plans to move out of the state's reliably windy Thumb region for its next wind farm.

The utility has signed up 120 landowners so far in Branch County, which is in the middle of the state near the Indiana border.

Matt Wagner is manager of renewable energy development for DTE.

He says wind in Branch County can produce electricity about 37 percent of the time, as opposed to roughly 43 percent of the time in the Thumb.

But today's bigger engines and bigger blades can make up the difference.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Livingston County's Hamburg Township is expected to be swarming with meteorite hunters this weekend.

People have found more than a half-dozen suspected fragments from a meteor that streaked through the night sky early this week.

Stateside 1.18.2018

Jan 18, 2018

Today on Stateside, we check in on the sentencing hearing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, and a PFAS expert answers basic questions about the chemicals. Also today, an inventor explains how he turned satellite dishes into wind turbines that help irrigate crops and charge phones.

Courtesy of Mike Hankey / American Meteor Society

After Michigan's meteor show Tuesday night, the hunt was on to find fragments.

Meteorite hunters Larry Atkins and Robert Ward flew here from Arizona in hopes of finding a piece, and today they were successful. They located several meteorites on a frozen lake near Hamburg, Michigan.

glass of water
Enid Martindale / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

 

PFAS is an acronym for a group of industrial chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

They've been used since the '50s, in everything from firefighting foam to fast-food paper wrappers to stain-resistant textiles and carpeting, waterproof shoes and boots, non-stick pots and pans, and more.

Ross and Donna Tingley
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

At least 14 communities in Michigan have water contaminated with a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

One of those sites, in West Michigan, has gotten a lot of attention recently. This month, the state abruptly announced a cleanup standard for PFAS.

But these chemicals have been a pollution problem in the state for years.

In Oscoda, some residents are wondering why remediation is taking so long.

Stateside 1.17.2018

Jan 17, 2018

Today on Stateside, a meteorite hunter explains just what caused that bright flash of light in Tuesday night's sky. And, we learn how Muskegon "snurfers" plowed the way for snowboarding's popularity. We also discuss whether a sandhill crane hunt is coming to Michigan soon, and we hear why Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon calls MSU President Simon's appearance in court today little more than "political expediency."

Courtesy of Elizabeth LaPensée

The name “America” was drawn from the first name of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who died in 1512. But the first inhabitants of what we now call “North America” call it "Turtle Island."

A new video game called Thunderbird Strike lets players protect Turtle Island, particularly from the oil industry.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Copperwood Resources, a subsidiary of Highland Copper, has entered into a legal settlement with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality over part of its exploratory drilling operation at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

The agreement concerns environmental damage from the mining company's test drilling last spring along a county road right-of-way (233 feet on each side of the road) at the park.

Donna Dewhurst / USFWS

A new study in the journal Science finds there are genetic differences in yellow warblers that live in different parts of the U.S. and Canada, and some of those populations seem to be more genetically vulnerable to climate change than others.

Rachael Bay is the lead author of the study, at the University of California-Davis.

“We did some genome sequencing and we found a bunch of genes that seem to be associated with whether yellow warblers live in warmer or drier or hotter or colder areas," she says.

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

More than three centuries of thriving marine commerce and those notorious storms in the Great Lakes have given Michigan a wealth of historic shipwrecks. There are nearly a thousand on the bottomlands of the state's 13 designated underwater preserves alone. But Michigan's mostly volunteer system of protecting the shipwrecks is showing signs of trouble. 

Ryan Utz / Chatham University

There’s too much salt getting into our rivers and streams.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds over the past 50 years, freshwater systems across the country have become saltier, and that can cause problems for people, wildlife and our infrastructure.

TROUT UNLIMITED

Michigan has set new cleanup rules for chemicals that have contaminated drinking water sources all around the state. The chemicals in question are per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

They were used in firefighting foam and in a wide range of products, from fast-food paper wrappers to textiles and carpeting, pesticides, printing inks, and more. They have since been linked to some cancers and other health problems.

FLICKR USER USFWS MIDWEST / FLICKR / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Scientists might have found a new way to combat white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by a fungus killing millions of bats in the U.S. and Canada.

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI.
From Goole map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

Residents in Kent County might have to wait a bit longer before they know all of the health effects of the chemicals in their groundwater.

A study about the effects of PFAS exposure is being delayed while Kent County officials get help from federal health experts.

Pages