Michigan beaches

Environment & Science
4:51 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

New technology could improve beach water-quality testing

Credit Kathleen Tyler Conklin/ Flickr

A new technology will make testing water quality at Michigan beaches faster. And that means safer swimming. 

County water departments  are required to test  public beach water for E. coli contamination. But the testing process has been pretty slow – it can take around 24 hours for results to come in. That means that a health department may not close a beach a full day after it discovers water was unsafe for swimmers. 

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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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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
11:31 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Drownings in Lake Michigan prompt calls for new beach warning signs

Could beach flags help in Michigan? (Warning flags on Paradise Beach.) Some residents are calling for yard signs to warn visitors.
Michael Dawes Flickr

After two drownings in Lake Michigan in recent weeks, some are calling for a better warning system when beach conditions are dangerous.

The Muskegon Chronicle's Lisha Arino reports on an idea being proposed from Hugh and Kathleen Kallen.

The couple was moved to develop a new approach after 15-year-old Raybeon Jenkins drowned in the waters off Pere Marquette Park.

Not long after the incident, it moved them to do something to help prevent another drowning.

Their plan: create yard signs that would notify beachgoers of dangerous swimming conditions.

"We wanted to do something for the next rip current day because there aren't any warnings posted on the severe days," said Kathleen.

The couple wants residents to put up yard signs, similar to political yard signs, on days when hazardous conditions are predicted.

There are permanent signs warning visitors of possible dangerous waters, but nothing to indicate current conditions.

Ocean communities work with beach flag warning systems. The International Life Saving Federation has a document showing the standards for this flag warning system.

Environment & Science
5:27 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Michigan DNR plans to harvest healthy ash and beech trees before disease sets in

Technicians in Michigan Tech's emerald ash borer survey search for signs of the pest in Brimley State Park. Here, on the shore of Lake Superior, the first borer-infested ash tree was found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Michigan Technological University

Forests throughout Michigan are undergoing big changes as millions of beech and ash trees are killed off by pests and disease.

Beech Bark Disease and the Emerald Ash Borer first arrived in Michigan around twelve years ago.

Both problems continue to spread, but many forests still have healthy trees in them.

Foresters from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Tech are taking a closer look at more than 30,000 acres of state forest land.

Andrew Storer, professor of forest and insect ecology at Michigan Tech, said the plan is to harvest healthy stands of ash and beech trees before they’re affected.

"If it's consistent with the management objective of the stand, then removing resources that you know are not going to persist until the next cutting cycle makes a lot of sense just in terms of getting the value out of those trees while they’re still in the forest," said Storer.

Storer said harvesting these trees now can also help forest ecology.

"It helps the forest by getting a head start, if you like, on what the future forest is going to be, and so by removing trees now and getting the value from that, we’ll start to see what the regenerating forest is going to be, and through management be able to direct that regeneration toward species that are going to be successful in the forest in the future," said Storer.

In a press release, the Michigan DNR said the goal is not to remove all beech or ash trees in these forests, but to thin them to a healthier level.

"We are using criteria including proximity to the nearest infested site, infestation, size, density and quality of trees, and accessibility, in order to prioritize which areas need attention," said Bill O'Neill, chief of the DNR's Forest Resources Division, who also serves as state forester. "Considering other factors important to maintaining healthy forests, harvests are being scheduled to remove the beech and ash and regenerate the stand to a desired, productive species mix. The goal is not to remove all beech or ash, but to reduce them to a level that the mortality will not significantly impact the quality of the remaining trees or the productivity of the forest."

Researchers started surveying state forest land for this project last June and plan to continue surveying through next summer.

3:04 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Top ten Northern Michigan beaches

Lead in text: 
Check out what MyNorth.com thinks are the top-ten best Leelanau Peninsula beaches the state has to offer. An up north escape from this heat sounds pretty good right about now...
  • Source: Mynorth
  • | Via: Elaine Ezekiel
Northern Michigan Beaches: Use the MyNorth.com guide to the best Leelanau beaches to find "the delight of your life." Jul 23, 2012 Intern Thea Senger Northern Michigan Beaches: The ancient Native American word Leelanau means "delight of life".
Environment
5:06 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Trash that closed Michigan beaches in 2008, 2010 from Wisconsin

A toothbrush is one piece of trash that traveled from Wisconsin to a beach in West Michigan.
Alliance for The Great Lakes

A couple of summers ago piles of trash washed up on the beaches of Lake Michigan from Pentwater to Portage. A federal investigation confirms the trash came all the way from Wisconsin.

The trash included medical supplies, small plastic pieces, chunks of wood; even whiskey bottles. Many beaches were closed at the time because of the trash.

Volunteers with the Alliance for The Great Lakes first reported the trash in 2008 and 2010 when they were out doing normal cleanup work.

"We’ve had many people in Michigan contacting us and asking ‘what ever happened about that?’ said Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program Manager for the Alliance.

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Environment
12:08 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

Beach closure information is a click away

BeachGuard tracks the water quality and closures of Michigan's public beaches.
Tom Gill Flickr

Michiganders don’t have to take a trip to see if their favorite beach is closed. 

BeachGuard is a website run by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality. It tracks the water quality and closures of all public beaches in the state. 

Shannon Briggs is with the DEQ.