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Environment & Science

A freshwater jellyfish. This species is clear and smaller than a penny.
Wikipedia Commons

A recent Facebook post has gone viral in the Great Lakes region. A few weeks ago, an Ontario woman posted a video and photo of a small, umbrella-shaped sea creature she says she caught in Lake Erie — a freshwater jellyfish. The video has been viewed more than a million times.

A map of the 13 trillion gallon plume of contaminated groundwater extending from Mancelona, Michigan.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

When I arrive at Bethany Hawkins' home, the first thing she does is offer me a glass of her well water.
"Our water's always been really good," she says.

USFWS

Biologists say the sixth mass extinction episode on Earth is already happening. But researchers say if we only look at species extinctions, we miss a big part of the story.

Paul Ehrlich is a professor emeritus of biology at Stanford University, and an author of a new study about this published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Joanna Paterson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

23 counties in Michigan have reported one or more unhealthy ozone days each year, on average. That’s from a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

An online map the group produced also shows where those high ozone days tend to overlap with high pollen days. That can make air unhealthy for people with respiratory problems.

Paul Cryan / USGS

White-nose syndrome is killing millions of bats in 31 states including Michigan, and five Canadian provinces. It’s a disease caused by a fungus.

But clusters of bats that warm up together during hibernation might have an edge against the fungus. Researchers discovered this by putting temperature-sensing surveillance cameras in caves.

Stateside 7.10.2017

Jul 10, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear why some alleged victims are furious over former doctor Larry Nassar's plea deal. We also hear why one political consultant thinks the Democratic Party's messaging is still failing to convince voters. And, we learn why Michigan trees are migrating. (Note: It's not all due to climate change).

user jimflix! / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Most of us expect to hear that trees are moving north in search of colder temperatures because of global climate change. But trees don’t only need colder temperatures; they also need to have enough water.

A new study published in Science Advances suggests that trees are moving west in search of more moisture.

Associate Professor School for Environment and Sustainability Inés Ibáñez joined us on Stateside to share her perspective on the many other global change factors that are causing this migration.

Hubble ESA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There's a big new discovery in the world of astronomy.

And "big" is appropriate: it's a giant planet much like Jupiter, revolving around a star about 385 light years from the sun.

“We think we have an estimate of its temperature, somewhere around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s very toasty on this planet,” said Michael Meyer, a University of Michigan professor of astronomy who is part of the team that discovered this planet.

four soldiers
Elliott Plack / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

For more than a hundred years, medical practitioners have been trying to figure out post-traumatic stress disorder.

Assistant Professor of Practice Marisa Brandt and Associate Professor of Philosophy Robyn Bluhm, from Michigan State University, recently published an article in The Conversation which tells the story of the invisible trauma caused by war and the sometimes barbaric treatments doctors used on soldiers returning home with PTSD.

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

New public meetings began Thursday about the controversial Enbridge Line 5 pipeline.

Several state agencies and the authors of a report suggesting alternatives to the pipeline gave a presentation and took questions. 

The pipeline sends oil and natural gas across sections of lower and upper Michigan, and runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

A report created by Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc. was released earlier this week. It gives six options for dealing with the decades-old pipeline.

CDC

There’s a newly discovered kind of bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, Borrelia mayonii. Scientists have run tests to find out how long it takes to transmit the disease after a tick bites you.

Fishing on Lake Michigan.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Freshwater lakes provide many things: water for crops, recreation, power plants, and of course, fish. But a new study argues we don’t value those fisheries enough.

The study is from Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Andrew Deines is the lead author. He says we know more about the fish we catch from oceans than we do from freshwater lakes.

Kalamazoo River
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Federal environmental regulators want to remove the Otsego City Dam in Allegan County in an effort to clean up toxic chemicals left behind by the paper mill industry.

The newly proposed plan released late last week also includes excavating some of the contaminated Kalamazoo River banks, and rerouting the river channel past the most contaminated areas.

Solar panels on a roof
wikimedia commons

Solar roof customers are more than paying their share of maintaining the electric grid, according to a new study commissioned for the Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI).

Michigan's new energy law charges the Michigan Public Service Commission with devising a new rate to compensate people with solar roofs when their extra electricity goes onto the grid. 

Michigan Radio

A new study from Harvard University concludes that there is no "safe" level of air pollution.

Researcher Qian Di and colleagues find that particulate matter and ozone kills thousands of people every year, even at levels below the federal standard.  

James Clift of the Michigan Environmental Council says the message for the state is clear: DTE Energy and Consumers Energy should not delay shutting down their remaining coal-burning plants.

Power plant
Courtesy of Duke Energy

Long-term exposure to certain kinds of air pollution increases the risk of premature death in Americans over 65 years old. That finding holds true even at levels of air pollution below national standards.

Inside the Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Take the combined brainpower of Michigan State, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University and apply that to solving the water infrastructure problems we face not only in Flint, but across Michigan.

More than 200 bats move into downtown Pontiac

Jul 1, 2017
brown bat with white nose syndrome
Ryan Von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

No, this isn't the beginning of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

The bats belong to the Organization for Bat Conservation's new education center, known as the Bat Zone, which opens this weekend

Executive Director Rob Mies says the move to Pontiac from their former space at the Cranbrook Institute of Science means there will be more space for animals and visitors. The bats the organization takes care of are all orphaned or injured — and many hail from much warmer locales — so they won't be flying over downtown Pontiac.

But the new building will also be the center of a nationwide research project on the lives of urban bats.

Search finds no additional Asian carp

Jun 30, 2017
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

A search of Chicago-area waterways has turned up no additional Asian carp. Recent discovery of a live silver carp nine miles beyond an electric barrier raised concerns that more of the fish may have slipped through. The barrier was set up to keep invasive Asian carp from migrating into the Great Lakes.

Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says that the discovery of the out-of-place carp is "concerning, but not catastrophic." 

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.
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.

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