Environment & Science

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.

The Environment Report
8:30 am
Tue November 12, 2013

More bike lanes in Michigan mean more cyclists

You'll be seeing more of these signs in Michigan
Credit MDOT

More communities in Michigan are embracing bike lanes.

Grand Rapids plans to add 40 more miles of bike lanes in the next few years. Detroit has an aggressive approach to implementing them and they're popping up in places like Adrian and South Haven, not to mention the biking hot spots of Traverse City and Marquette.

Josh DeBruyn is the bike and pedestrian coordinator for MDOT. Part of his job is to deal with the applications that towns send him when they apply for grants to help install bike lanes.

DeBruyn says he gets double to triple the amount of applicants that he can actually fulfill for these kinds of grants.

He also says he hears from plenty of people and organizations about what he calls "motor vehicle angst" - or drivers who are frustrated and sometimes aggressive with cyclists.

You can listen to my interview with him here:

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Environment & Science
1:04 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

New invasion threatens Michigan water plants

European frog-bit (Latin name - Hydrocharis morsus-ranae)
treknature.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An invasive plant is spreading in Michigan waters.

The Department of Natural Resources says European frog-bit has been spotted in Saginaw Bay, Alpena and Chippewa County's Munuscong Bay. Until recently, the free-floating aquatic plant had been reported only in a few sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

European frog-bit was released accidentally into Canadian waters in the 1930s. It has spread across Ontario and the Northeastern U.S.

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Environment & Science
12:32 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

Report: Measure Great Lakes cleanup progress

A view of Lake Michigan near Frankfort, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A government report says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should do more to make sure a Great Lakes cleanup program is meeting its goals.

Congress has spent about $1.3 billion on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the past four years. It has funded 1,700 grants for on-the-ground projects and scientific research. It focuses on persistent environmental threats such as invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat, toxic pollution and runaway algae growth.

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Environment & Science
9:39 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Michigan DNR officials counter claims that bad info led to wolf hunt

A Gray Wolf
metassus / Flickr

Michigan wildlife officials are dismissing claims that bad information led to the state’s upcoming wolf hunt.

Opponents of the hunt are asking Governor Rick Snyder to suspend it based on a recent MLive report.   It raised questions about a number of alleged wolf encounters with humans, pets, and livestock in the U.P.

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Environment & Science
3:20 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

What fall smells like in Michigan and around the world

For many Michiganders, leaf smells are a major indicator of fall's arrival.
user hyperboreal Flickr

Wet leaves, cider, campfire — for many Michiganders, these are the smells of fall.

But our friends over at WNYC’s Radiolab wanted to get an idea of what autumn smells like all over the world.

So with the help of Google Maps and talented olfactory nerves, the Radiolab crew is compiling a map that highlight the scent of autumn around the U.S. and beyond.

Here are some the responses so far from Michigan. Leaves seem to be the big winner:

  • “Salt, smoke and sweet rotting apples”

  • “Leaf-burning, skunks”

  • “Cider spices and dead leaves”

  • “Cold, crispy leaves and firepits”

  • “Musky leaves”

And the rest of the world:

  • “Roasted chestnuts and sea salt” - Istanbul, Turkey

  • “Roasted chestnuts, cigarette smoke, wet asphalt, diesel fumes, fresh-baked bread” - Lyon, France

  • “Salt and damp seaweed” - Coronado, CA

  • “Its spring here [sic]” - Melbourne, Australia

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
4:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Will proposed regulations change fracking in Michigan?

A drilling rig used for fracking.
Eusko Jaurlaritza Flickr

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality proposed a list of new rules for hydraulic fracturing in the state — commonly known as fracking.

Fracking is a process where developers pump high-pressure streams of water and chemicals into a well to clear a path to hard-to-reach deposits of natural gas.

So just what are these proposed new rules? And what could they mean to the future of fracking in Michigan?

James Clift is the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He joins us to discuss the new regulations.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Environment & Science
3:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Story of wolves shot on daycare property not true, Michigan State Senator apologizes

State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) apologizes for advancing a false story about wolves in the U.P.

Here's the wolf story as it appeared in a 2011 resolution asking Congress to remove federal protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Wolves appeared multiple times in the backyard of a day care center shortly after the children were allowed outside to play. Federal agents disposed of three wolves in that backyard because of the potential danger to the children

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The Environment Report
10:17 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Cities adapting to changing climate, but more changes coming

Credit courtesy: USEPA

It used to be environmentalists did not want to talk about adapting to climate change. They were concerned adapting to the changes meant dodging the big job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

That thinking is changing.

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The Environment Report
10:07 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Michigan could get 30% of its energy from renewable sources

Michigan could be getting much more of its energy from renewable sources according to a report submitted to Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Public Service Commission has submitted a report on renewable energy to Governor Snyder. That report indicates renewable energy is getting cheaper and more varied, ranging from wind and solar to biomass and ground source heat pumps.

But the surprising point in the report was this statement:

“...it is theoretically technically feasible for Michigan to meet increased Renewable Portfolio Standards of as much as 30% from resources located in the state.”

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Environment & Science
8:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Enbridge will miss deadline to finish cleaning up 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill

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

An oil pipeline company will miss the EPA’s year-end deadline to complete its cleanup of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill.

More than 800 thousand gallons of crude leaked from a pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy. The spill fouled more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

In March, federal regulators gave Enbridge until December 31st to finish removing the remaining submerged oil in the river.

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Stateside
4:31 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Rep. Kildee weighs in on proposed nuclear waste disposal facility on Lake Huron

Bruce Power Ontario Power Generation

Rebecca Williams of Michigan Radio's Environment Report first told you last year that Ontario Power Generation has proposed building a nuclear waste disposal facility at its Bruce Nuclear Power Site.

 The site near the city of Kincardine and would be located less than a mile from Lake Huron. If approved, the site would house 52 million gallons of low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Among those expressing alarm about this proposal are Congressman Sander Levin, Gary Peters, John Dingell, and my next guest, Congressman Dan Kildee, Democrat from Flint Township. *Listen to the audio above.

Environment & Science
4:31 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

MDNR official says he misspoke when talking about Michigan wolves

Al Warren

On yesterday's program, we spoke with MLive writer John Barnes about his series of stories this week on the upcoming managed-wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The managed hunt is a first for Michigan.

 During the interview, John Barnes referred to a statement made by the MDNR's fur-bearer specialist, Adam Bump. In an interview last May with Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody, Bump told him about ways in which wolves were frightening residents of Ironwood, in the Upper Peninsula, but in speaking with John Barnes,Bump said he misspoke. Adam Bump joins us to explain just how that happened.

Stateside
4:30 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Where are the women in Michigan politics?

The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives in Lansing. Leaders in the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm are close to an agreement on the budget.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

On this Election Day - Here's a question worth exploring: where are the women in Michigan politics?

The number of women in the State Legislature has now dropped to a 20 year low.  There are only four women serving in the Senate, and 24 in the House.

And that puts Michigan at 36th in the nation in terms of female State Senators and Representatives.

And when you look to Washington, the gender ratio in Congress isn't much better.

Barb Byrum joined us today. She’s the Ingham County Clerk, and she served in the State House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013.

Environment & Science
3:08 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Michigan non-profit says it has cloned John Muir's giant sequoia

John Muir
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive announced this week that it has successfully cloned a giant sequoia tree planted by renown conservationist John Muir.

About 130 years ago, Muir transplanted the tree from Yosemite to his home in Martinez, California.  Now 75 feet tall, the tree suffers from two fatal fungal diseases.

Archangel's co-founder David Milarch said a forester from the John Muir National Historic Site sent cuttings from the sick tree to Archangel.

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