Issues of the Environment

Wednesdays during Morning Edition
Ford Lake
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

After decades of foul-smelling and toxin-producing algae blooms, Ford Lake has enjoyed several bloom-less years.  In this week’s “Issues of the Environment” David Fair talks to the man who figured out how to prevent the blooms.  Listen to the conversation with Dr. John Lehman, professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, about his work to improve water quality on the 975-acre, man-made lake. 


Michigan Sea Grant
Courtesy Photo / miseagrant.umich.edu

Back in March, the Trump Administration issued its budget recommendations that included a more 30% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.  As part of the funding reductions, the Sea Grant program faced potential elimination.  As WEMU’s David Fair found out, the director of the Michigan Sea Grant Program has maintained faith the work will continue with financial support. For the latest, listen to this week’s “Issues of the Environment” conversation with Dr. James Diana


Air Quality
Tony Webster / flickr.com

It has been a rather warm 2017 summer.  So far, there have been four Air Quality Alert, or Ozone Action Days, recorded.  These are days that pose heightened environmental and public health risks.  In this week’s “Issues of the Environment,” WEMU’s David Fair learns more about the region's air quality in a conversation with the Senior Meteorologist for the Michigan Departmentt of Environmental Quality - Air Quality Division, Jim Haywood


Landfill
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

More local events organizers are choosing to utilize the services of "Zero Waste Washtenaw" and move towards a day when absolutely none of the waste generated ends up in a landfill.  In this week’s edition of  "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’S David Fair gets an update on progress in a conversation with Noelle Bowman, a Washtenaw County Solid Waste Program Specialist. 


Solar Array
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In this week's "Issues of the Environment," we talk with Jennifer Young, Project Manager at Michigan Interfaith Power and Light.  The group is working to get houses of worship in Ann Arbor to 'go solar.' 


Michelle Deatrick
Washtenaw County / ewashtenaw.org

In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Washtenaw County Commissioner Michelle Deatrick about the potential environmental and economical risks of the Rover natural gas pipeline.


Michigan House Democrats / http://housedems.com/state-rep-yousef-rabhi

The Rover and Nexus pipeline projects will run right through Washtenaw County, and that is raising concerns among many residents.  The 'Line 5' pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac is causing concern throughout Michigan.  In this week's edition of 'Issues of the Environment,' WEMU's David Fair discusses legislation aimed at pipeline safety and accountability with state representative Yousef Rabhi


Huron River Watershed Council / hrwc.org

The Peninsular Paper Dam in Ypsilanti once provided hydro-electric power to the area.  Those days are long gone, and some believe it’s time remove the structure from the Huron River. This week, we explore the potential benefits of dam removal with the executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, Laura Rubin.


Mosquito
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Mosquito Season has arrived, and, in some areas, it is hitting with a vengeance.  Unfortunately, sometimes there is more to a mosquito bite than just minor swelling and itching.  Mosquito-borne illnesses are on the increase in Michigan.  On this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair will talk with Washtenaw County Public Health Epidemiologist Laura Bauman about the West Nile, Zika, and other viruses from which you should take precautions.


Hemlock
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

According to recent Michigan Department of Natural Resources inventory data, more than 173 million hemlock trees grow in Michigan.  An invasive insect is now threatening the tree species.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with Forest Health Monitoring Program Manager, Roger Mech about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and what you can do to help protect our trees and forests. 


Christopher Taylor
City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

The city of Ann Arbor continues its push to remain an environmental leader.  There are ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and better remediate a 1,4 dioxane plume.  Many of the environmental initiatives and local opportunities will be highlighted in the upcoming 17th Annual Mayor’s Green Fair.  David Fair covers these topics with Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor in this week’s edition of "Issues of the Environment." 


Ticks
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Did you know the summer of 2016 was the first in which Lyme disease is thought to have originated in Washtenaw County?  It was.  Now, 2017 is predicted to be a particularly bad year for ticks.  In this week’s edition of WEMU’s "Issues of the Environment," David Fair explores why that is and what you can do about it with a medical entomologist from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.


Mute Swan
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Anytime a governmental unit authorizes lethal measures as a way to control animal population, there are those in the human population that get upset.  Such is the case of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources management plan for Mute Swans in Michigan.  On last week’s “Issues of the Environment,” David Fair discussed the state action plan with Holly Vaughn of the Michigan DNR.  This week, he talks with John Griffin, Director of Urban Wildlife at The Humane Society of the United States, for an alternative viewpoint.  


Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Swans on a lake are typically a beautiful sight, but one breed of swan has been disrupting Michigan's ecosystem.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks to Holly Vaughn, Wildlife Communications Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, about the management of invasive mute swans.


Gerald Anderson
DTE Energy Co. / dteenergy.com

Coal remains an important component of Michigan’s energy mix.  That is changing and, in the foreseeable future, the use of coal is likely to become obsolete.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair explores the energy future in a two-part conversation with DTE Energy chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson.


Washtenaw County Public Health / www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/public_health/

Recent events in our community, like the Ann Arbor area’s 1,4-dioxane plume, have increased residents’ awareness of – and concern about – the chemicals companies use.  While many state and federal regulations may exist that govern chemical storage and manufacturing, these regulations generally do not involve an onsite inspection component.  As a result, the programs are enforced on a complaint basis or incident, after the fact.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with Kristen Schweighoefer,  Environmental Health Director for Washtenaw County Public Health, about 25 years of effort to manage these issues in Washtenaw County.


Washing Hands
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Melissa Cooper-Sargent, Green Living Resources Director for the Ecology Center, about the environmental and health risks of using antibacterial soap.


There are roughly 48,000 on-site septic systems in Washtenaw County, according to the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Division.  State statistics show that at any given time 10% of those systems are leaking and in need of repair.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s David Cotton about the growing number of these systems and how to protect our land and waterways.


Adam Zemke
Courtesy Photo / housedems.com

Since the Flint Water Crisis we have all, at some point, questioned the safety of our water.  That crisis is still being addressed and serves as a cautionary tale for what can happen around the rest of the state.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with 55th District State Representative Adam Zemke about the health of our water and what needs to be done.


Citizens Climate Lobby, Ann Arbor Chapter

Concerns about federal leadership and proposed rollbacks in environmental protections have led to increased levels of activism.  In this week’s edition of "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with Ginny Rogers, leader of the Ann Arbor chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, about the challenges ahead. 


Average rainfall in the area is expected to increase in the years to come.  There will also be more frequent periods of drought and more severe weather events.  It is climate change, and measures of adaptation are being adopted to protect the Huron River Watershed.  In this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU’s David Fair talks with Watershed planner Rebecca Esselman about the present and future of the Huron River. 


Corn
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The value of biofuels has long been a subject of debate. Corn-based ethanol is in our gasoline and, along with biodiesel, is a part of the nation’s long-term energy plan. Last week, WEMU spoke with a University of Michigan researcher whose team has declared that biofuels are causing more environmental damage than gasoline.  On this week’s ‘Issues of the Environment,’ you’ll get an entirely different perspective.

 


Ethanol
Drew from Zhrodague / flickr.com

In August of 2016,  University of Michigan Energy Institute scientists, led by John DeCicco, released an 8-year study.  It estimated powering an American vehicle with ethanol made from corn increased carbon pollution more than using gasoline.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment,” David Fair talks with Professor DeCicco about the findings and what it means to future policy.


Solar Array
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The Ann Arbor Solar Club is a cooperative effort aimed at adding 500 new solar installations throughout Washtenaw County this year and in each ensuing year.  In this week's “Issues of the Environment,” WEMU's David Fair talks with Nate Geisler, an Energy Programs Analyst with the city of Ann Arbor, about the initiative. 


Google
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks to Sam Arons. Arons is Lead, Energy and Infrastructure  for Datacenter Energy at Google. they discuss the tech giant's plans to operate completely on renewable energy sources by the end of 2017.


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