invasive species

Environment & Science
1:16 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Senators want faster action on stopping Asian carp

DNR

TRAVERSE CITY – A group of U.S. senators wants the federal government to move faster on preventing Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through waterways in the Chicago area.

Eleven senators from states in the region sent a letter Tuesday to the assistant secretary of the Army, whose office oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. The letter asks a series of questions about when the Corps might begin tasks such as adding barriers at the southernmost lock in the Chicago Area Waterway System.

It also asks what authorization the Corps needs from Congress to move more quickly toward short- and long-term solutions.

The Corps issued a report in January with options for blocking the invasive carp's path to Lake Michigan, but says Congress and regional stakeholders must choose the final plan.

Environment & Science
10:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

The solution to the Asian carp problem? 'Dam it,' say many at public hearing in Ann Arbor

Brigadier General Margaret Burcham, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, speaks to the audience at a public hearing on Asian carp last night in Ann Arbor.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

About a hundred people showed up at a public hearing Tuesday night in Ann Arbor to discuss ways to keep Asian carp from getting into the Great Lakes.

One by one, people took to the microphone to tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the only way to stop the Asian carp is to close the man-made waterways connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River basin.

Asian carp have devastated native fish populations in parts of the Mississippi River basin since first being introduced in the southern United States. Some species of Asian carp were brought in to help keep retention ponds clean in aquaculture and wastewater treatment facilities.

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Environment & Science
6:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

First meeting on U.S. Army Corps’ plans for Asian carp is tonight in Ann Arbor

DNR fishery technician Vince Balcer holds up one of the "common carp" already found in many rivers in Michigan. The DNR held a practice drill in September 2013 to test their carp catching skills, just in case bighead or silver carp make it here.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week federal officials will talk about the options for preventing Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan.

People and organizations will get a chance to have their say about which option they support. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host meetings in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night and in Traverse City on Thursday.

The meetings are two of six scheduled this month, from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. Officials will also take written comments through early March.

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Environment & Science
11:27 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Will plans to stop Asian carp invasion take too long?

A silver carp. Great Lakes advocates are disappointed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not recommend a plan of action when it released a study outlining eight scenarios to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.
Dan O'Keefe Michigan Sea Grant

This week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a study about what might be done to keep those invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

It took seven years and that was a rush job after some members of Congress accused the Corps of dragging its feet.

The study outlines eight scenarios.

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Politics & Government
6:54 am
Thu January 9, 2014

In this morning's headlines: More money in MI, power outage investigation, the good in polar vortex

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Lawmakers kick off 2014 with a budget surplus

"The state Legislature has kicked off its 2014 session. One of the first big debates of the new year will be about what to do with a projected budget surplus. Early estimates suggest the state will have hundreds of millions of dollars more than it expected," Rick Pluta reports.

State regulators investigate utilities' response to massive power outage

"State regulators will investigate how Michigan’s two largest electric utilities responded to a massive power outage last month. State regulators will not be investigating how the Lansing Board of Water and Light handled the same outage. They do not have jurisdiction over municipal utilities," Steve Carmody reports.

Polar vortex could stave off invasive species

"It might be difficult to think of this week's deep freeze as anything good, but scientists say the extreme cold could slow the migration of invasive species and kill some of the insect pests that have ravaged forests. Heavy ice could also prevent erosion and protect wetlands along big lakes," the Associated Press reports.

Environment & Science
1:31 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Michigan agencies step up invasive species fight

quagga mussel
lakescientist.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan officials say after years of planning, they're ready to put in place a strategy for controlling the spread of invasive species in the state's waterways.

The plan is described in the annual "State of the Great Lakes" report released Thursday by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Aquatic invaders such as quagga mussels cost the region hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The newly developed strategy focuses on early detection of new invaders and a rapid response to rein them in.

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Environment Report
7:58 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Why are Great Lakes birds dying from botulism?

The common loon
Credit Steve Maslowski/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)

Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

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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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The Environment Report
5:27 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Tracking Asian carp by what they leave behind

Asian carp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
flickr Kate Gardiner

Audio for The Environment Report for Oct. 24th

There’s a lot of time, money and effort being spent to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

To keep them out, we first have to know where the carp are.

Biologists often go out and sample water from rivers and lakes to look for carp. They test the water for genetic material, and some of those tests have turned up positive for Asian carp.

Last year, 20 samples turned up positive hits in Lake Erie. The positive DNA hits raise alarm bells that an invasive carp species might be establishing a population in the Great Lakes.

But the presence of carp DNA does not mean an actual fish was swimming in that area.

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The Environment Report
9:24 am
Thu September 12, 2013

To prepare for invasive Asian carp, DNR tests its carp-catching skills

DNR fishery technician Vince Balcer holds up one of the "common carp" they're catching, tagging and releasing for the drill.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

This week, the Department of Natural Resources went through a big training drill that’s a first of its kind in Michigan. The drill is supposed to prepare the agency for what to do if the Asian carp makes its way into Michigan’s rivers.

A dozen boats stamped with the DNR logo line the shores of the St. Joseph River. Some of them are normal fishing boats.

But a few have these metal poles sticking out about three feet in front of the boat. At the end of each pole are these long pieces of metal cable that hang down in the water.

The DNR’s Todd Somers is the foreman of one of these homemade boats. He points out a 240-volt generator near the back of the boat. It can deliver up to 16 amps through the metal poles at the front of the boat; sending electric shocks through the cables into the river. That’ll stun any fish nearby.

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Environment & Science
12:22 pm
Sun August 18, 2013

Feds to survey Detroit River for invasive lamprey

Sea Lampreys attached to a fish
Activistangler.com

DETROIT (AP) - A team with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will estimate the abundance of sea lamprey in the Detroit River this month to determine what control measures might be needed.

The eel-like lamprey invaded the Great Lakes during the 1920s and has remained ever since. Lampreys attach to fish with a mouth resembling a suction cup. Their sharp teeth dig through a fish's scales and skin and feed on blood and body fluids.

The average lamprey will destroy up to 40 pounds of fish.

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Stateside
5:29 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Invasive plant species are threatening the Great Lakes

dnr.wi.gov

An interview with Jo Latimore, an outreach specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU.

We have had many conversations on Stateside about invasive species, usually the type with scales and gills, such as Asian carp.

Today, we focus on invasive species with chlorophyll. Yes, non-native plants that are invading ecosystems in the Great Lakes.

Jo Latimore is an outreach specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:57 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Stateside for Monday, July 29th, 2013

Today we focused our attention on what it takes to run an auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

And, we met a real life "Rosie the Riveter." She helped turn out bombers at the Willow Run Bomber Plant nearly 70 years ago.

And, we a got a preview of this year's Traverse City Film Festival, which kicks off this week.

Also, we took a look at what invasive plant species are threatening the Great Lakes and what can be done to stop them.

And, more and more people are doing their shopping on their smart phones. We spoke with a man from Ann Arbor who created an app to help with mobile shopping.

Also, John Fierst with the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University joined us to discuss Michigan In Letters, an online collection of letters that give insight to Michigan’s past.

First on the show, it's been just over a week since Detroit became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9.

Until now, that unwanted distinction belonged to Stockton, California. 

Earlier this year, Bridge Magazine writer Ron French wrote an article about his visit to bankrupt Stockton and Vallejo, a California town that has emerged from bankruptcy.

As Ron puts it, if Stockton is an example of a city just being diagnosed with fiscal "cancer," Vallejo is a community that has finished chemotherapy. And so far nobody seems particularly thrilled with the results.

Ron French joined us today. 

Environment & Science
12:21 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

NWF sues EPA over ballast water rules

Ships crossing through the Welland Canal can bring in invasive species. Lake freighters can then move those invaders around.
NorthAmericanFishing YouTube

The National Wildlife Federation is suing the EPA over the agency's ballast water rules. The group says the rules are not stringent enough to stop invasive species from getting into U.S. waterways from ballast water discharges.

Invasive species found throughout the Great Lakes, such as quagga mussels, zebra mussels, round gobies, and spiny water fleas, most likely hitchhiked their way here in ballast water.

Here's how:

More on the NWF's lawsuit from the Duluth News Tribune:

The EPA in April announced its ballast water regulations after years of delays and actions by environmental groups to force the issue. But the National Wildlife Federation says the rules don’t go far enough to keep invasives out of U.S. waters, including the Great Lakes.

“The EPA’s permit will not adequately protect the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters from ballast water invaders. This weak permit leaves the door open for future harm to our environment and economy,” Marc Smith, senior policy manager for the group, said in announcing the suit. “We can do better — and need to do better — if we are to protect our fish and wildlife and their habitat for future generations.”

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Environment & Science
7:55 am
Wed July 10, 2013

State wants judge to issue $700,000 fine to small farmer for special pigs

A farmer in Michigan could face up to $700,000 in fines for keeping a hybrid breed of pig if Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has its way.

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources banned a species of wild Russian boar two years ago. The concern is that the pigs could escape from hunting reserves or farms and become hard to manage in the wild.

Mark Baker grows produce, and raises chickens, pigs and other animals at Baker's Green Acres in Marion.

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The Environment Report
3:24 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

6 things to know to stop invaders from hitchhiking on your boat

Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive plant that can easily get tangled up in your boat.
Wisconsin DNR

You can listen to the interview with Jo Latimore here (starts about two minutes in) or read the story below.

There are more than 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan, and a lot of us love to take boats out on them. But invasive species also like to catch a ride on boats, and that’s a major way they get from one lake to another.

You might see people wearing blue t-shirts when you go to a boat launch this summer. They’re with the program Clean Boats Clean Waters, and they want to show you a few things about where invasive species like to hide out.

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Politics & Government
8:53 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Local government leaders begin 3 day meeting on Great Lakes issues

A map of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
great-lakes.net

A three day conference is getting underway in Marquette today, looking at the unique needs of cities on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

More than a hundred American and Canadian cities are part of the group organizing the conference.

Dave Ulrich is the executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

He says this year’s conference is focusing on the effects of climate change on Great Lakes cities, particularly on water levels on the lakes.

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Environment & Science
4:54 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Study shows Asian carp eggs could survive in tougher conditions than previously thought

Asian carp can grow to weigh up to 100 pounds.
Kate Gardiner Creative Commons

Wildlife managers could have a harder time controlling spawning Asian carp, if they escape into the Lake Michigan from Chicago-area shipping canals. That's according to a report released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Elizabeth Murphy is a hydrologist with the USGS. She co-authored the study.

Murphy says new data shows fertilized Asian carp eggs can incubate in waterways that are only 16 miles long. That’s a lot less than the 62 miles scientists thought the drifting eggs needed.

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Politics & Culture
4:58 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Stateside for Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Lawmakers in Lansing are quickly wrapping up the state budget for the next fiscal year. What will the $50 billion spending plan mean for you?

And, we took a look at the efforts to help prison inmates rebuild their lives through post-secondary education.

Also, we got an update on just how close the Asian Carp is to the Great Lakes.

First on the show, the Council of Great Lakes Governors met this past weekend on Mackinac Island.

The group talked of economic cooperation, and harmonizing plans for protecting the largest body of freshwater on the Earth’s surface. The discussions were mostly nice, but there were some disagreements, especially when it came to dealing with invasive species.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta joined us today to explain.

Stateside
4:51 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Governors meet to discuss threat of Asian carp

Asian carp DNA has been found in some curious places in the Great Lakes
Kate.Gardner Flickr

An interview with Duane Chapman, a research fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Council of Great Lakes Governors met this past weekend on Mackinac Island.

The group talked of economic cooperation, and harmonizing plans for protecting the largest body of freshwater on the Earth’s surface. The discussions were mostly nice, but there were some disagreements, especially when it came to dealing with invasive species like Asian carp.

Rick Pluta filed a story on their meeting, and we also got an update on where things stand with Asian carp. 

We spoke with Duane Chapman, a research fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Chapman said that there have been three Bighead carp that have been caught in the Great Lakes, but not since 2000. 

Listen to the whole story to find out where the most recent DNA has been found in the Lakes, and how it got there.

To hear the story, click the audio above.

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