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environment

Michigan Radio will make changes to its environmental coverage beginning in October. 

The Environment Report, which has explored the relationship between the natural world and the everyday lives of people in Michigan for nearly twenty years, will no longer air at fixed times on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The elk is an important Michigan symbol. It’s even on our state flag. But have you ever seen an elk in the wild in Michigan?  Did you even know there are elk in Michigan?

A meteoroid flew over I-75 Northbound in metro Detroit Tuesday night.
Mike Austin / YouTube

 


In January, there were sightings of a fireball in the sky over Southeast Michigan.

The following day, the United States Geological Survey confirmed it was a meteoroid which had exploded in the atmosphere.

At the time, the loud "boom" it caused was reported to register at 2.0 on the Richter scale, but for the USGS and NASA, it didn't seem like that big of a deal.

Firefly or lightning bug on a flower
Radim Schreiber

Does it feel like you've seen a burst of fireflies this summer? You probably have!

This year will go down as a "firefly boom," not just here in Michigan, but across the country. 

JIM D / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In 2015, the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy began a quiet campaign to protect natural lands from development in northern Michigan. Since the launch, $53 million has been raised, and 19 areas spanning five counties have been identified as in need of urgent protection.

The Land Conservancy has named it “The Campaign for Generations,” and opened the campaign to the public on August 11 to raise more money for the campaign.

green liquid in petri dish
Danny Ducat

Look around you. Chances are – wherever you are – you can see something that’s plastic.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

New tariffs are putting some Michigan newspapers and printers at risk of going out of business.

There’s more than a little irony in the fact that a state which built paper mills all over, no longer makes the kind of paper that newspapers use.

quagga mussels in lake michigan
Greg Marks / NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Beaches along Lake Michigan are closed when E. coli bacteria gets too high. But a nasty critter found on the bottom of the lake might help keep the beaches open.

Still from Casperson campaign video.

New laws signed by Governor Rick Snyder last Friday set up commissions to oversee the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Environmentalists say those commissions will be stacked with business and industry people and give them more influence in the environmental rulemaking process.

field with tubs filled with green liquid
Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography

For years, scientists have been developing ways to put algae in your gas tank. It works, but we're still a long way from buying algal biofuel at the pump. 

Researchers at the University of Michigan have been experimenting with methods that could improve the fuel's long-term prospects.

a bumbleebee on a pink flower
Jice 75 / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Bees might be small, but they play an outsize role in food production. In fact, one of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees.

While a lot of attention on the shrinking bee population focuses on honeybees, they aren't the only pollinators in our state. Michigan is also home to hundreds of native bee species that play an equally important role in our environment and economy. 

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

A Canadian company will turn in a report tomorrow outlining whether it thinks a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac is a feasible option for its pipeline. A tunnel was suggested by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Field of corn
Flickr/Vampire Bear

 


Globally, climate change is going to cause serious upheaval. But the kinds of changes will vary from place to place. That means there are likely to be both winners and losers in a changing climate.  

As science refines its predictions about the impact of climate change, it's getting easier to see who will end up in each column. 

Bruno Basso is a Michigan State University Foundation Professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department. He spoke with Stateside about his new study on climate change and crop growth in the Midwest.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Eleven years ago on a cold January day, volunteers for the Huron River Watershed Council, Rochelle Breitenbach and Mary Bajcz trudged through the snow and thicket to get to a pristine little stream that flows into the Huron River.

A picture of Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint in 2015
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 


 

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for grassroots environmental activism.

Ian Geoffrey Stimpson / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is now considering a proposal that could put Michigan in the forefront of potash mining. 

Trump should not ignore the Great Lakes

Feb 13, 2018
satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

There are a lot of baffling things about President Trump, but perhaps the most baffling is this: Usually, when you win a close election, you do everything you can to hang on to those voters who gave you victory.

Trump won the last election by a tiny margin, and he won it in the Great Lakes states, flipping Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Lake Superior
Helena Jacoba / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

More than three centuries of thriving marine commerce and those notorious storms in the Great Lakes have given Michigan a wealth of historic shipwrecks. There are nearly a thousand on the bottomlands of the state's 13 designated underwater preserves alone. But Michigan's mostly volunteer system of protecting the shipwrecks is showing signs of trouble. 

CREDIT SAKUTO / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

The Michigan legislature is considering three bills that would change how the state of Michigan determines environmental regulations. They would create an environmental rules committee that could reject or change any rule the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issues.

The legislation would also create an appeals board to review permits and an environmental science advisory board, which the state once had, but was ended a decade ago. 

Disruption Books, 2017

When it comes to protecting the environment, our existing laws have failed us.

So says environmental activist Maya van Rossum. In her new book, The Green Amendment, she says existing laws don't ban pollution or development.

She writes, "Industries are perfectly able to pollute the air and water not in spite of, but because of, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act – they simply need the right permits to do so."

Researchers manipulating the number of plant species in an experimental plot to determine how biodiversity impacts the productivity of ecosystems.
David Tilman

Biodiversity.

It's one of those scientific terms we hear and think, "That's a good thing. We need it,” without truly knowing why it's a good thing.

A University of Michigan and Smithsonian study now helps us understand. The researchers found biodiversity is even more powerful and important than they thought it would be.

Chesapeake Bay Program / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Casting a fishing line into the water is just about as Michigan as you can get. And for some families, it's a legacy passed down through generations.

It might be easy to take fishing in Michigan for granted. But nearly sixty years ago, a group of fishing fanatics got together near the Au Sable River to ensure that trout-fishing in Michigan would remain strong for years to come.

That group was--and is still--called Trout Unlimited.

Bottled water.
John McDonnell / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Back in January of this year, when I first decided to embark on reporting about bottled water in Michigan, I had literally no idea what I was in for. That’s probably a good thing, because I plowed ahead naively optimistic and enthusiastic.

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.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Greenversal is a program packed with environmental news — local, national and international. It's all put together by a student from Ann Arbor's Huron High School.

Megan He's Greenversal is one of 15 projects that’s been honored by the EPA for environmental activism. She won the 2016 President's Environmental Youth Award for Greenversal, her website and YouTube channel that has her weekly environmental news reports.

Sunrise over trees and water
mikebabcock / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


The Great Lakes Economic Forum is being held this week in Detroit and Windsor. This is the third forum held by the Council of the Great Lakes Region, which includes business, government, and labor union organizations.

Mark Fisher, CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, joined Stateside to discuss the importance of cross-border trade and the economic impact of the Great Lakes. 

Fish in Lake St. Clair have a virus (VHSV) that is causing thousands of them to wash up dead on the shore.
jpowers65 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There are two environmental stories making news today.

First, fish in Lake St. Clair have a virus (VHSV) that is causing thousands of them to wash up dead on the shore. Luckily, eating a fish with VHSV is not expected to cause any adverse health problems for humans, but with that many fish dying in the lake, this could cause a problem for the ecosystem. 

Second, Nestle has put in a bid to pump more Michigan groundwater to produce Ice Mountain bottled water for consumers, but they were denied. However, that's not the end of the story.

DPROVOST ~ PROSPER IN 2011 / FLICKR HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Poor air quality in Detroit is putting people into the hospital, and even killing some. It's making them sick and unable to go to work or school.

That's not opinion. That's a fact with scientific data to back it up.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget shifts spending from domestic areas to security areas. One of the programs that would be cut under the proposal is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

That money has been used to do the following: clean up polluted areas called Great Lakes Areas of Concern, prevent and control invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful blooms of algae (which led to Toledo's water system shut down), and restore habitat to protect native species.

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