environment

TexasRaiser/Wikimedia Commons

WEMU explores what can be done to protect private property from gas and oil exploration here in Washtenaw County. The discussion has been spurred by recent actions of a Traverse City oil company attempting to lease area properties, an effort to further explore gas and oil mining operations in Washtenaw County.

Frozen Lake Michigan In March
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ice still covers over 20 percent of the Great Lakes surface, following a winter that nearly saw records set for the total amount of ice coverage.  As one would expect Lake Superior leads the way with about 41 percent ice coverage, but even Lake Huron was still one-quarter ice covered this week.  

  

On May 6th, voters will decide a millage to fund expanded bus services in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township.  While disagreeing on the question of a tax increase, both supporters and opponents support expanded services.  Environmentalists say buses help communities achieve their climate action goals, and so increasing ridership is crucial.  This month’s “Green Room” hears from a variety of local residents about what improvements they would like to see in our local bus system.

creatingsustainablelandscapes.com

In this week's installment of "Issues of the Environment,"  WEMU's David Fair talks with Drew Lathin about the environmental benefits of sustainable landscaping. Lathin is Principal Owner of Creating Sustainable Landscapes.  

  

cleanwater.org/mi

It's Earth Day, and there's a Climate Action Rally happening this afternoon on the University of Michigan campus.

Michigan Clean Water Action, Ann Arbor 350 and organizing for Action-Michigan are hosting the rally. 

Clean Water Action Campaigns Director Eric Keller says it's one of many events taking place across the state today.

"People are coming together as individuals and communities to act on climate," Keller says, "and to protect everything that the earth has to offer, and to protect the Great Lakes today."

Corey Seeman/flickr.com

EVART, Mich. (AP) - Floodwaters are receding along rivers in Michigan's central and western Lower Peninsula, a trend that should continue with mostly dry weather in the forecast for the next several days.

Wikipedia

Michigan ranks dead last among Great Lakes states when it comes to the rate of recycling. Governor Snyder Snyder is taking the first step forward to try and change Michigan's standing. 

In this week's installment of  Issues of  the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Michigan Recycling Coalition Executive Director Kerrin O'Brian about where that first step may lead. 

A Ready-Mix concrete company, McCoig Materials, is looking to open up a mine on a site north of Chelsea, between the Waterloo and Pinckney Recreation areas. The area has numerous bodies of water and natural areas that could be impacted by the move. McCoig wants to operate the mine for 22 to 30 years and remove 11 million tons of sand and gravel. 

This week on 89.1 WEMU's Issues of the Environment, Dr. Lynn Walter, Professor Emerita of Geology at the University of Michigan, will discuss the environmental impacts of sand mining and the controversial operation proposed for Lyndon and Scio Townships.

Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In nature, Chimney Swifts nest in large hollow trees, but when the logging of Michigan did away with those, the swifts adapted to large chimneys.  

Now, suitable chimneys are also in short supply, and Swift numbers are dwindling.  In the March installment of The Green Room​, Barbara Lucas looks at what we can do to help out.

graham.umich.edu

The University of Michigan's Graham Sustainability Institute is launching a study to determine how best to help people in the Great Lakes region deal with changing water levels.

Institute Director Donald Scavia said two main areas of concern came out of this week's conference of the Environmental Law and Policy Center at U-of-M:  If lake levels keep dropping, how to stop that; and, how to help residents deal with changing water levels.

Scientists and policy makers are descended on Ann Arbor Wednesday to focus the numerous challenges facing the Great Lakes.

The two-day conference is being hosted by the University of Michigan Biological Station and will focus on declining water levels and the effect of climate change on the Great Lakes.

Howard Lerner is the Executive Director of the  Environmental Law & Policy Center of Chicago, the group responsible for organizing the event.

Road Salt
Sgt. Jorge Intriago / U.S. Air National Guard Photo

    

Overview

  • The Washtenaw County Road Commission reports laying down 50% more road salt this winter than last year and using twice as much as in 2012.
  • Although thus far no ill effects from salt in Huron River watershed have been detected, road salt has a number of environmentally destructive effects impacting water, soil, wildlife, and public health, and if extreme winter weather conditions become the norm the effects could escalate.
  • Ric Lawson, Watershed Planner for the Huron River Watershed Council, implements watershed plans in Washtenaw County and monitors water quality for salt and other sediments in our waterways.

en-tek.org

  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is awarding $357,450 in grants for scrap tire cleanup projects.

http://053.housedems.com/

    

As Concerns About the Pall/Gelman Plume Linger, Rep. Jeff Irwin Pushes House Bill to Require the MDEQ to Align Contaminate Clean-up Standards with EPA Standards

National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center

Water is one of the most important natural resources in Michigan. As a Great Lakes state, perhaps it's the most important. We are also spoiled with an amazing network of inland lakes, rivers and streams that enhance our quality of life in a myriad of ways. So, protecting this resource is something we think about often.  

Invasive species, pollution and water levels are some of the frequent conversations we engage in. What we discuss less frequently is vast number of oil pipelines that run through the state of Michigan near, and sometimes under our precious waterways. That's the topic in the March edition of WEMU's 1st Friday Focus on the Environment.  

Listen Here: 


  

Snowy Owls don't make it to Washtenaw County every winter. They made it this winter in greater numbers than usual. Why? Where might you see one?  In this week's installment of WEMU's Issues of the Environment, David Fair seeks out answers to those questions.

NASA Goddard Photo and Video

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes water levels rebounded sharply last year after a prolonged low period dating from the late 1990s.

Barbara Lucas

 Energy conservation is low-hanging fruit--no new technology, power plants or pipelines are required.  But it can be a stubborn nut to crack if there is no financial motivation to conserve, and the question of motivation all depends on who pays the bills. 

Additional Resources:

Lyndon Township’s Planning Commission will continue discussions on a proposed gravel pit and sand mining operation northwest of Chelsea next month.


Lawmakers to probe Army Corps of Engineers report on invasive species Tuesday
By Jake Neher

State lawmakers want to know whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is inflating the cost and time it would take to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes.

Army Corp officials will face questions from legislators Tuesday about a report it released last month. It says separating the lakes from the Mississippi River would take more than two decades and up to $18 billion to complete.

University of Michigan Ford Battery Lab, University of Michigan Partners with Ford Motor Company on an $8 Million Car Battery Development Lab
Joseph Xu / University of Michigan

 On this week's Issues of the Environment, Andy Drews, Technical Specialist at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, discusses Ford's partnership with the University of Michigan for car battery research and the future of car batteries and electric cars in Washtenaw County.

Listen to the extended interview here:

Ann Arbor Greenbelt
A2gov.org / The City of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor's Greenbelt Commission is developing a registry of potential properties to be preserved.  The goal is to give property owners interested in finding out more about the program a chance to let the city know.


Environmentalists across the country are urging President Barack Obama to reject the proposed Keystone X-L pipeline linking Canada with Texas. Rallies were held Monday night, including in front of Ann Arbor's federal building.

Robert Gordon says adding 30 to 50 jobs isn't worth the environmental risk.  He says the pipeline runs to refineries but also ports where he believes much of the oil will be shipped across the globe.  He says this will do nothing to help domestic energy independence. 

Rita Mitchell says promoting the use of tar sands oil is an issue beyond the pipeline.  She and other Ann Arbor protestors highlight the Enbridge leak in the Kalamazoo River as an example of what can happen.  They also fear proposals to pump tar sand oil under the straits of Mackinac or ship it on the Great Lakes.

The rallies across the country were in response to the State Department releasing a new environmental assessment on the project. 

See NPR's coverage of the State Department report here 

Barbara Lucas

What plans do you have for your body after death? More people than ever are looking for ways to better serve the environment in their post-life decisions. What are the options? Which is better for the environment? That's the focus of this month's installment of WEMU's The Green Room. 

Space Science And Engineering Center- University of Wisconsin - Madison

Had enough of the cold and snow already? It has been the snowiest January in this area in history. Add in the polar vortex and frigid temperatures, and it's been a somewhat trying winter. Why is it happening, and will it continue to happen in winters to come? 

 This week on Issues of the Environment our guest is  Dr. Tom Kovacs, Associate Professor of Meteorology at Eastern Michigan University.  Kovaks teaches courses on the effects of climate change on weather and will discuss the consequences for our county.

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