Environment & Science

Environment & Science
8:12 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Go on an "owl prowl"

How cute is this barred owl?
Credit Michigan DNR website

The Department of Natural Resources is putting on a series of guided night time walks in different state parks and recreation areas, with the goal of trying to spot owls.

They're called "owl prowls." (Just try and say that five times, fast.)

Events are scheduled in Livingston, Wayne, Oakland, Clinton, Lenawee, Jackson and Bay Counties. You can find more information here at the DNR's website.

The events are free and the organizers suggest that you pre-register.

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Environment & Science
11:10 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Many Michigan agencies lose 2014 beach monitoring funds

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - About three dozen local health departments and other agencies that usually receive state funding to monitor beach waters for contamination won't get any next year.

The funding comes from the federal government. Michigan will get $152,000 in 2014.

But a provision inserted into a state budget bill orders the Department of Environmental Quality to spend $100,000 of that money on one project in Macomb County.

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Environment & Science
1:20 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Enbridge pipeline construction delayed

The pipeline under construction in southern Ingham County
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - Pipeline company Enbridge Energy says completion of construction of an oil pipeline in parts of Michigan will be pushed back until mid-2014.

Word of the delay in Michigan comes after Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge this week said its project to replace a stretch of oil pipeline across northern Indiana won't be completed until at least February, months later than planned, due to delays in obtaining needed permits.

Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum tells the Times Herald of Port Huron that work in Michigan's Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties was supposed to wrap up this year, but delays in environmental approvals stalled work.

The overall project is replacing Line 6B, which runs between Sarnia, Ontario to Griffith, Ind. A portion of Enbridge's existing pipeline ruptured in southwestern Michigan in 2010.

Environment & Science
5:28 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Check out how the Grand River could look in Grand Rapids with river restoration plan

A rendering of what the river restoration project could look like.
Grand Rapids Whitewater

The preliminary plan to restore the rapids to a two-mile stretch of the Grand River is out. It’s the first real look Grand Rapids has gotten at the proposed project.

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The Environment Report
9:06 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Scientists pushed to share their data sooner

A soil scientist collecting data in the field.
Scott Bauer USDA, ARS

The Environment Report for Thursday, November 21, 2013.

Some policymakers say scientists hold onto their data too long. They say by the time the information is released, it can miss the window for addressing pressing problems.

The federal government is urging scientists to share their data sooner, but good data is like gold to scientists.

It can solve a lingering puzzle, and lead to professional success. That's why some scientists are considered data hoarders. They protect the information they collect.

But in a recent survey of over 1,300 scientists, Carol Tenopir found more of a spirit of collaboration than competition.

Tenopir participates in a National Science Foundation project called DataOne. Her job is to figure out how to overcome barriers to data sharing and broaden access to information.

Though only a small percentage of scientists said they actually share their data, she was surprised to find many are eager to do so.

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Environment & Science
4:52 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Enbridge starts more dredging this week, hopes to finish most projects by December 31 deadline

The Kalamazoo River delta just north of Morrow Lake will take longer to clean up. Enbridge officials say clean up won't be done until 2014.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

This week an oil pipeline company began another project to dredge oil that remains from the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill.

Enbridge Energy spokesman Jason Manshum says the company is working near the mouth of Morrow Lake in Kalamazoo County. But they have to complete the work before ice starts to form.

“If we need to look at doing something there in 2014 we certainly will. But right now our focus is to try to get this done while we still have favorable weather conditions,” Manshum said.

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The Environment Report
1:17 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

The clock is ticking for a decision on Isle Royale's wolves

Isle Royale National Park Superindendent Phyllis Green talks with people at a public meeting in Chelsea, Michigan about the wolves on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Wolves are doing fine in many parts of the Upper Midwest, so much so that people are hunting them now.

But a protected population of wolves on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior has plummeted.

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Tue November 19, 2013

This is what a playground for kids with disabilities looks like

Haisley's new playground includes ramps for kids in wheelchairs.
Sarah Kerson Michigan Radio

Ask any kid about their favorite part of the school day and they’ll likely give you one response - recess.

But for kids with disabilities, going outside isn’t always easy.  Traditional playgrounds aren’t always safe for these kids.

Haisley Elementary in Ann Arbor just renovated its playground to specifically accommodate for students with disabilities.

The school has a large population of kids with disabilities. Most of these kids can’t talk. Many have a hard time sitting up right. Some are in wheelchairs. Some have Autism.

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Environment & Science
5:14 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Many Michiganders are still waiting for their electricity to be turned back on

Utility crews work to restore electricity to tens of thousands of Michigan utility customers
DTE

Consumers Energy and DTE linemen return to work today hoping to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of Michigan utility customers left in the dark by Sunday’s windstorm.

At last report, DTE says it still has about 150,000 customers waiting to have their electricity turned back on.   Consumers Energy has more than 170,000 of its customers waiting for their power to be restored.

Last night was not a good time to be without electricity. Temperatures around the state dipped below the freezing mark.

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Environment & Science
12:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

2 Michigan men killed in severe storm

midwest.storm
midwest.storm

DETROIT (AP) — At least two people have been killed in a severe storm that struck much of Michigan.

Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand says Ryan Allan Rickman died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree Sunday evening. Rand tells the Jackson Citizen Patriot he's not sure if the tree fell onto Rickman's vehicle or if the 21-year-old Leslie resident hit it.

Meanwhile, the Shiawassee County sheriff's department says 59-year-old Philip Daniel Smith of Perry was found dead and entangled in high voltage power wires after going outside late Sunday to investigate a noise.

In Detroit, Officer Dan Donakowski says a 14-year-old boy was critically injured after grabbing a downed power line while walking from a school Monday morning. A hospital spokeswoman says the boy was in critical condition.

Environment & Science
7:34 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Storms cut power to more than 450,000 in Michigan

Map of DTE Power outages in Michigan.
DTE

Storms swept across Michigan yesterday. First there were tornado watches, then a tornado warning in Newaygo County. Once the watches ended, high winds swept across the state knocking over trees and powerlines.

As of this morning, more than 450,000 homes and business are without power, according to the Associated Press:

Wind gusts were measured at 70 mph in Battle Creek and 77 mph at a buoy in Lake Michigan near South Haven. The National Weather Service reports one person was injured Sunday afternoon in Clare County by a falling tree...

DTE Energy Co. reports 245,000 customers without power, including 70,000 each in Wayne and Oakland counties. CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy unit reports more than 213,900 customers without service.

Go here for more info on DTE power outages. And here for more on Consumers Energy outages.

Tornado watches expired without any confirmed as of Monday morning, but a possible brief tornado was reported in Newaygo County. The National Weather Service will be in Newaygo County today investigating.

Meteorologist Evan Webb in Grand Rapids says a crew will be in that area Monday. He says another will be looking at an area between Kalamazoo and Lansing where storm damage was reported. Heavy rains also flooded some roadways in the state.

WWTV/WWUP-TV is reporting a partial shutdown of the Mackinac Bridge this morning.

Environment & Science
9:05 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

National Museum of the Great Lakes opens spring 2014

The new National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Col. James M. Schoomaker Museum Ship in Toledo, Ohio.
Credit Facebook

Organizers are still raising money for what's expected to be an almost $13 million project and they're in the process of putting the final touches on all the exhibits at the museum.

Once the The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio opens you'll be able to learn about how booze was transported across the waterways from Canada into the United States during Prohibition.  Along with lots of other cool things about the Great Lakes.

Here's what the museum says on its website:

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Environment & Science
5:54 am
Sun November 17, 2013

High wind warnings, watches issued

High wind warnings and watches are in effect from 4 p.m. today (Sunday) until 4 a.m. tomorrow for the entire region. Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected to develop along the Lake Michigan shore and move east late this afternoon. Wind gusts to 60 miles per hour are possible, which could cause power outages and make driving difficult, especially on north-south roads.  It'll be unseasonably warm today with highs in the mid to upper 60s.

Environment & Science
2:13 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Michigan Tech tests if solar power works up North

Do snow and solar power mix?
me.queensu.ca/Research/Sustainability/

HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) - Researchers at Michigan Technological University are trying to figure out if solar power generation that works in the sunny South can function in the snowy North.

A two-year-study underway at the Houghton school's Keweenaw Research Center seeks to measure how snow affects solar panels' power generation.

The international engineering company DNV GL is helping underwrite the project. Michigan Tech spokeswoman Marcia Goodrich says the company specializes in "large energy and sustainability related projects."

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Environment & Science
1:20 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Strong storms possible across south Michigan

Storms are expected to start in southwest Michigan on Saturday night. Damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and a chance of tornadoes are possible on Sunday afternoon and evening in southeast Michigan.
NOAA

DETROIT (AP) - The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of strong thunderstorms starting Saturday night through Sunday in much of southern Michigan.

The storms are expected to start in southwest Michigan on Saturday night. Damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and a chance of tornadoes are possible on Sunday afternoon and evening in southeast Michigan.

Environment & Science
11:58 am
Sat November 16, 2013

3 wolves killed in 1st day of Michigan wolf hunt

DETROIT (AP) - The state reports that three gray wolves were killed in the first day of Michigan's wolf hunt.

Friday was the start of the wolf hunt, which is the first in the state since the animal was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate in the hunt taking place in three Upper Peninsula zones.

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Stateside
4:28 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Why do we have the lowest recycling rate in the Great Lakes region?

A recycling sorter.
skatebiker Wikimedia Commons

The state’s paltry recycling numbers have caught the attention of Gov. Rick Snyder, who’s pinpointing recycling as a top priority. The Department of Environmental Quality is trying to come up with a proposal to expand recycling in Michigan.

“If we could accomplish our 50 percent recycling goal, the value of that material if diverted from the landfill is about $500 million dollars a year,” said Kerrin O'Brien, the executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

O’Brien talked to us in the studio along with Barry Rabe, professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Michigan, where he directs the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy.

Click on the audio link above to listen to the full interview.

Agriculture
10:49 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Michigan farmers can get loan help after hail storms

Hail stones.
Raysonho Wikimedia Commons

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Farmers in 20 Michigan counties that had damage from severe hail storms earlier this year are eligible for emergency loans.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced the support Wednesday involving loans from the Farm Service Agency. The hail storms took place between June 10 and Aug. 2. Farmers in the affected counties will have about eight months to apply for emergency loans.

Huron, Jackson, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties were all designated as primary disaster counties.

Sixteen were named contiguous disaster counties and are eligible for the same aid. Those are the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Lenawee, Livingston, Midland, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola and Wayne.

The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Michigan Tech builds phone apps to connect researchers with citizen scientists

An example of the beach app

There’s a new project out of Michigan Technological University in Houghton that involves phone apps.

The idea is to use apps to share information with professional researchers.

So far the team of professors and students have made four web apps.

  1. They help people measure beach safety,
  2. air pollution,
  3. community ethnography,
  4. and mushroom locations.

Alex Mayer is a Professor of Environmental & Geological Engineering at Michigan Technological University and he’s the project’s director.

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Environment & Science
4:38 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Why are moose populations declining?

Rolf Peterson on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

All across North America, something is happening to the moose.

From British Columbia to New Hampshire, moose populations are thinning out, and no one has been able to point to a good, clear reason why.

For the status of moose here in Michigan, we turned to Rolf Peterson, Professor at Michigan Technological University. He joined us from Houghton.

*Listen to the interview above.

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