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Environment & Science

sturgeon baby
Photo courtesy of USFS, Rob Elliott

One of the most ancient species in the Great Lakes is the sturgeon. The fish has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and was once abundant in all five lakes.

But, like many species, its numbers nosedived thanks to overfishing and habitat destruction.

Ed Baker is research station manager at the Marquette Fisheries Research Station of the Department of Natural Resources. He joined Stateside to talk about efforts to restore the region’s sturgeon population.

Blood test.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An opinion piece in the New York Times has stirred up a war of words. According to a recent Detroit News article, an emergency room doctor at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint persuaded the majority of his physician colleagues to ban using the words “lead poisoned” to describe children's exposure to lead from drinking Flint water.

NASA HQ PHOTO / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

It's the stuff of science fiction: send a space mission to the sun.

But science fiction became reality this week when NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe, humanity's first-ever mission into the corona, part of the sun’s atmosphere.

Matt Allender

We have a rattlesnake in Michigan called the eastern massasauga. It’s listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

One of the threats it’s facing is a disease called snake fungal disease, and it can kill the snakes. 

Researchers have figured out some clues about how the pathogen affects the snakes.

Demand to kill cormorants grows in Great Lakes

Aug 15, 2018
Cormorant drying its wings on the wreck of the Francisco Morazan off South Manitou Island.
Sam Corden

There are renewed calls to kill cormorants in the Great Lakes. There are far fewer of these migratory birds left in the region after years of lethal control. But anglers and some congressmen say there are still too many and they eat too many fish. Conflict with these waterbirds is longstanding in coastal communtities where fishing is important and the birds nest by the hundreds or even thousands.

In 2004, there were almost 1,800 double-crested cormorant nests on Goose Island, a strip of land in northern Lake Huron about 500 feet wide and less than a mile long.

firefly
terry priest / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

As you watch fireflies flit around your backyard at night, do you ever wonder, "How does that firefly do it? What makes him glow?" 

Kara Holsopple

The global market for recycling has changed dramatically over the last year, and it’s already trickling down to what happens at the curb.

Stateside 8.13.2018

Aug 13, 2018

Today on Stateside, Abdul El-Sayed sits down for his first interview after coming in second place in Michigan's Democratic gubernatorial primary. And, you're not imagining it — there are more fireflies than usual showing up in your backyard this summer. 

To hear individual segments, click here or see below: 

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.

Stateside 8.9.2018

Aug 9, 2018

Today on Stateside, Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib will soon be the first Muslim-American woman to  serve in Congress. Plus, how wild turkeys became the "poster child" for conservation success stories in Michigan. 

To listen to individual segments, click here or see below: 

two wild turkeys in Clyde Township, Michigan
Matthew Gordon / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Continuing our look at conservation and restoration efforts paying off: animal species here in Michigan that were threatened – but are now coming back.

Today: the wild turkey!

Al Stewart, a wildlife biologist, upland game bird specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, joined Stateside to discuss how wild turkeys have become the “poster child for the comeback of wild species.”

perseid meteor shower in New Mexico, 2013
Mike Lewinski / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Perseids are coming!

North America's favorite meteor shower will be most visible to Michigan stargazers on August 11, 12, and 13.

The biggest question is: will the weather be on our side for this celestial show?

USGS

Water use in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level in about 45 years.

But the U.S. Geological Survey found 12 states accounted for more than 50% of the total water withdrawals in the U.S. – and Michigan ranks 10th on that list.

Stateside 8.7.2018

Aug 7, 2018

Today on Stateside, we hear from county clerks around the state about what Election Day has looked like at their polling stations. Plus, the sad end of the Milky Way's long-lost sibling, and what it might tell us about our own planet's fate. 

Beach
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Like many of us, listener Steven Drews, from Lapeer, and his family love spending time at Lake Michigan during the summer. But for the past couple of years, Drews has noticed some changes at the his family's favorite Elberta, Michigan beach. The last time they visited, Drews said the beach they normally love to walk along was no longer there. Instead, there was a cliff. 

Richard D'Souza / University of Michigan / Compiled images from Wei-Hao Wang / NASA, JPL and NSF

Space is the final frontier, as Star Trek's Captain Kirk observed. It is almost always yielding exciting surprises and discoveries.

The latest finding is that our Milky Way galaxy once had a sibling. Sadly though, that sibling galaxy came to an unhappy end at the hands of our closest neighbor.

Eric Bell, professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan joined Stateside to tell us more about our long-lost galaxy sibling.

Map of Michigan
Limnotech

Scientists are creating an experimental warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes.

Meteotsunamis are potentially dangerous waves that are driven by storms.

Eric Anderson is a physical oceanographer with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Meteotsunamis are a very particular kind of wave and we don’t yet have the ability to forecast when and where they’re going to occur,” he says.

Dan Dillon

Methane is one of the big three greenhouse gasses, next to carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

Peter Groffman is a professor at the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center, and a senior research fellow at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. 

“Its concentration in the atmosphere has been going up at a rather high rate since the Industrial Revolution,” he says.

The Kirtland's warbler
National Audobon Society

Amidst concern about animal species on the verge of extinction, we wanted to look at some success stories: species that were highly endangered, but whose populations are now making a comeback in Michigan.

The Kirtland's warbler is one of those species. Fifty years ago, the songbird was nearly extinct. Today, it has an estimated population of around 5,000.

A person holding a northern pike
Flicker user megankhines / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Health officials are warning people not to eat fish from parts of a southeastern Michigan river because of chemical contamination.

The emergency "Do Not Eat" advisory issued Saturday applies to all fish from the Huron River from Oakland County's Milford to the Livingston and Washtenaw county border. That includes lakes connected by the river, including Kent Lake.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Dry months of the year have been getting hotter in large parts of the U.S.

Felicia Chiang is the lead author of a new study on droughts and climate change, from the University of California-Irvine.

“Essentially we found that droughts are warming faster than the average climate in the southern, the midwestern and the northeastern states of the U.S.,” she says.

Photo by C. Daly, courtesy of Jo Latimore

If you’re out on a lake this summer and you stumble on a blob that looks like an alien life form, it could actually be a good thing.

Jo Latimore got an email recently about a weird-looking greenish-gray gelatinous blob that a boater found in Juno Lake in Cass County. Latimore is an aquatic ecologist at Michigan State University.

She says she got an email from the boater saying, “We found something that’s pretty gross attached to the bottom of one of our pontoon boats and we’re afraid of what it might be.”

Granite Island
Anne / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

NASA researchers have cast their eyes on a little island in Lake Superior that sits about 12 miles northwest of Marquette.

Granite Island has been chosen as a site for NASA research that could help scientists better understand the way clouds and aerosol particles in the atmosphere affect global climate change.

NASA is working with Northern Michigan University on the project.

The Poweshiek skipperling at rest.
Cale Nordmeyer

One of the 27 Michigan species facing extinction is a tiny butterfly called the Poweshiek skipperling. They are small, about an inch long, and live in native prairie habitats throughout the Midwest.

They were once a common sight in Michigan, but Oakland County is one of the very few remaining places where you can find a Poweshiek skipperling. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Tamara Smith studies the butterfly and joined Stateside to talk about what’s driving the steep decline in population.

michigan monkey flower
Michigan State University Extension

A recent proposal by the Trump administration could mean big changes for the Endangered Species Act.

That law was passed some 40 years ago. It was designed to keep endangered plant and animal species from going extinct.

EPA proposes new rule for asbestos

Jul 31, 2018
CDC

Asbestos is known to cause cancer. It’s banned for some uses in the U.S., but it’s not entirely banned.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new rule, and new ways to evaluate the safety of asbestos.

Monarch Butterfly
flickr user Paul VanDerWerf / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It’s breeding season for monarch butterflies, and government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico want your help collecting data on them.

The second International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is underway, now through Sunday, August 5.

Mara Koenig is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest Region. She says you can write down the number of monarch butterflies you see this week, and take a close look at any milkweed plants you find.

chase and steve moskalik in front of cases of bottled water at Parchment high school
Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

Late last week, Michigan declared a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County. The state told 3,100 residents of Parchment and nearby Cooper Township to stop drinking and cooking with municipal water.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan officials say state agencies will be providing additional help for two communities near Kalamazoo dealing with chemical contamination of the public water system.

The governor's office said Sunday that a state of emergency has been declared for Kalamazoo County over the health concerns in Parchment and Cooper Township, where water test results announced Thursday revealed high levels of substances known as PFAS.

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