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environment

National Park Service

Yes, it’s a rare virus that people can get from animals (specifically mice, in this case.) And yes, it can be fatal, and has symptoms like fever, fatigue, and cough. 

But the Washtenaw County woman who was recently hospitalized with the state’s first confirmed case of Hantavirus isn’t the beginning of another pandemic - just a good reminder to be smart about rodent exposure. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There’s been a lot of news about the amount of plastic debris in the oceans. But plastic pollution is also affecting the Great Lakes. A study out of the Rochester Institute of Technology estimates 22 million pounds of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes from the U.S. and Canada each year.

Michigan's rural water systems confront generations of inadequate investment

Apr 19, 2021
J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue

  • Building, maintaining, and operating a water and sewer system is generally the most expensive item on a small town’s budget.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Program is a lifeline for rural communities, providing Michigan towns with $963.8 million in loans and $307.1 million in grants between January 2008 and November 2020.
  • The affordability of rural water service is a “monstrous elephant in the room” when it comes to long-term rural financial viability.

forest
Adobe Stock

This week the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is holding the first of two online sessions to listen to people’s thoughts what to do about climate change. Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to be carbon neutral by 2050. EGLE — with input from the Council on Climate Solutions — has to come up with a plan.

Courtesy: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A group opposed to wolf hunting in Michigan has sued the Department of Natural Resources. The lawsuit claims appointments to the Wolf Management Advisory Council are heavily in favor of wolf hunting in Michigan.

“The appointments to the council are clearly stacked in the favor of wolf hunting – and don’t get me wrong, wolf hunters have a voice too – but this is grossly in favor of wolf hunters,” said Karol Miller, President of the wolf advocacy group The 06 Legacy.

Courtesy Macomb County Public Works

Apparently, people are using a lot more personal wipes and baby wipes during the pandemic. Then, they’re flushing them down the toilet. Officials in Macomb and Oakland counties say those so-called “flushable” wipes are wreaking havoc on sewer pipes and pump stations.

“A couple of years ago, we had about 70 tons of these things, but just recently we completed a cleanup that was 270 tons. So just a huge increase,” said Candice Miller, the Public Works Commissioner of Macomb County.

Report: Lake Michigan is 'running a fever.' More storms, less fish possible.

Apr 2, 2021
Courtesy: NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Diminished surface ice is just the beginning: Climate change is warming Lake Michigan and other big lakes all the way down to their chilly depths, according to new federal research.

In a first-of-its kind study, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory have used the only known long-term dataset of deep-lake temperatures to determine that Lake Michigan’s temperature is slowly increasing over the past 30 years.

Lester Graham

The Trump administration has finalized a rule that will cut protections for migratory birds.

The federal government will no longer prosecute companies and landowners who unintentionally kill migratory birds.

Asian carp leaping out of a river.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Another barrier to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes is about to enter the planning and design stage.

There are already electric barriers to stop Asian Carp. This new one will be more complex and the first line of defense.

This barrier is a joint project between Illinois, Michigan, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Lab

Michigan is struggling to bring back clean energy jobs. That sector has lost more than 22,000 jobs in the state since the pandemic began.

November numbers show Michigan regained only 215 clean energy jobs.

The entire sector across the country has taken a hit because of the pandemic.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club’s ‘Environmentalist of the Year’ did not plant a forest or fight pollution. The environmental group is honoring Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

The Morrow Dam drawdown is polluting the Kalamazoo River

Jun 29, 2020
SEHVILLA MANN

The company that operates Morrow Dam near Comstock faces a state investigation for letting large amounts of sediment wash into the Kalamazoo River, endangering fish habitats and possibly kicking up contaminants, according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Protesters standing with signs
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

More than 150 protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a national climate strike Friday.

They want Senator Gary Peters and other Democrats to commit to the Green New Deal.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A half-century ago, within the span of two years, three of America’s rivers caught fire. One of them was in Michigan. Those fires ignited the environmental movement. 

On this date, October 9th, 50 years ago, the Rouge River caught fire. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

You can hear a flock of geese calling, but there’s not a single goose. It’s a bunch of humans, warming up for the goose call contest at the 72nd annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival held last weekend.

white woman smiling in front of foliage
Courtesy of Logan Vear

 


The constant barrage of news about climate change, drinking water contamination, and pollution in the Great Lakes region can feel overwhelming. If you care, it’s hard to know what to do or where to start.

That's where Stateside's new series comes in. We're featuring ordinary people who identified a problem – no matter how big or small – and chose to act. 

Trump administration to revoke water protection rule

Sep 12, 2019
northern michigan wetlands
ehrlif / Adobe Stock

The Trump administration plans to revoke an Obama-era regulation that provided federal protection to many U.S. wetlands and streams.

Two Environmental Protection Agency officials with knowledge of the plan told The Associated Press the administration plans to substitute the rule with its own version.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a more than half a million dollar settlement for cleanup of a site in Benton Harbor. The EPA finished the cleanup of the Alreco Metals site in 2015. The site had hazardous waste from the demolition of buildings and equipment.

The EPA says the Alreco Metals site in Benton Harbor was in operation for 43 years before the owner filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The EPA negotiated a settlement with Service Aluminum Corp., Toyota Motor Engineering and Louis Padnos Iron and Metal (PADNOS). Now the agency is asking for public input.

dog inspecting old balloon laying on a beach
COURTESY OF LARA O'BRIEN

Balloons are a part of many American traditions: birthdays, graduations, retirements, weddings. It’s easy to forget these balloons once they float away, but what goes up, must come down. And pieces of balloon waste are coming down all around the Great Lakes.

Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.

Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.

 

Mike Russell / creative commons

Michigan lawmakers introduced new bills designed to make polluters pay. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Democrats Senator Jeff Irwin and Representative Yousef Rabhi introduced identical bills in the House and Senate Thursday. Irwin says there was a polluter-pay law, but the Engler administration changed them in 1995.

sugar in measuring spoon
Flickr

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has settled a lawsuit against Bay City’s Michigan Sugar Company.

The MDEQ filed a lawsuit against Michigan Sugar Company in August of 2017. The lawsuit claimed the company’s sugar beet processing plant violated air and water quality regulations.

damaged road and car
Vicky Ingram

On Black Friday, the federal government released its National Climate Assessment.

Compiled by 13 federal agencies, the landmark report spells out the consequences we’re already seeing — and that we’ll continue to see worsen over time — as a result of climate change. 

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

Today, we speak to MLive reporter Paula Gardner, co-author of an investigative report that found PFAS chemicals are still being released in large quantities by businesses across the state. Plus, a new bill proposed in the state Senate would remove protections from some Michigan wetlands on private property. Opponents say it would have devastating effects, but supporters say it's protecting property owners from government overreach.  

Wetland in Kalamazoo
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 


A bill sponsored by State Senator Tom Casperson would remove protections from some Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes, and streams. In a recent letter, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Trout Unlimited, and the National Wildlife Federation outlined their opposition to the proposed legislation.

Stateside's Lester Graham talked to a business leader who supports the bill, as well as an enviornmentalist who opposes it. 

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.

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