environment

The climate is changing. The evidence is clear. It's no longer a matter of whether we need to prepare, but instead, how we need to prepare. In this week's installment of WEMU's Issues of the Environment, David Fair talks with Matt Naud. Matt is the City of Ann Arbor's Environmental  Coordinator, and has been right in the middle of the city's efforts to adopt a pro-active Climate Action Plan.


WEMU's Issues of the Environment is a weekly feature and is heard each Wednesday at 8:20am, as part of Morning Edition.

In this week's installment,  WEMU's David Fair is joined by Ypsilanti City Planner Teresa Gillotti. The city has been looking to re-purpose the 38-acre water Street property since 199, and now there is it looks as though there will be development in 2014. 

The land has required some environmental remediation, and any new development will have to meet Ypsilanti's Master Plan goals. And, of course, it must ensure the health of the Huron River. Listen below as David and Teresa look at the environmental issues surrounding Ypsilanti's Water Street property. 


Courtesty Victor Shendel / National Wildlife Federation

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation outlines the effects of climate change for Michigan's big game animals and their habitat. 

The report says deer, moose, and elk experience dire repercussions from human-induced climate change. 

Christopher Hoving is the Wildlife Adaptation Specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says that a decrease of snowfall will affect the deer population locally and regionally.

Hoving also says that the disease Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, found in white tailed deer, is more common thanks to longer summers and warmer winters. 

From the report:

Nowhere to Run takes a comprehensive look at the best available science on climate change’s impacts on big game, covering moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and black bears. The most significant effects include:

  • Heat: Moose can become heat-stressed in warm weather, especially in summer if temperatures climb above 60 to70 degrees when moose coats are thinner. Heat stress leads to lower weights, declining pregnancy rates and increased vulnerability to predators and disease. Because of warmer fall and winter temperatures, black bears are already more active than usual during times when they normally conserve energy through hibernation, pushing fat stores to the limit.
  • Drought: More droughts have reduced aspen forests in the west, a favorite elk habitat, and many elk are not migrating as much as they traditionally have. Increasing periods of drought, more invasive plants and wildfires will alter sagebrush and grassland ecosystems, favored pronghorn habitats.
  • Parasites and disease: With less snowpack to kill ticks, moose in New Hampshire are literally being eaten alive, losing so much blood to ticks that they die of anemia. White-tailed deer are susceptible to hemorrhagic disease caused by viruses transmitted by biting midges

Nowhere to Run outlines the key steps needed to stem climate change and save big game:

  1. Address the underlying cause and cut carbon pollution 50 percent by 2030.
  2. Transition to cleaner, more secure sources of energy like offshore wind, solar power and next-generation biofuels and avoid polluting energy like coal and tar sands oil.
  3. Safeguard wildlife and their habitats by promoting climate-smart approaches to conservation.
  4. Factor a changing climate in big game plans and management.

Read the report at NWF.org/Sportsmen. Nowhere to Run is the latest in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2013 Wildlife in a Warming World series:


Wikimedia Commons / Leo Koivulehto

In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair looks into the global helium shortage. 

To help us better understand helium gas, it's uses and the potential ramifications of running out of this non-renewable resource, David spoke with Eastern Michigan University Chemistry Professor Dr. Gregg Wilmes.


Credit James Marvin Phelps / Foter / CC BY-NC

In this week's edition of WEMU's "Issues of the Environment", David Fair talks with Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, Evan Pratt. 

This interview is a follow-up to an earlier conversation with Jennifer Lawson, Water Quality Manager for Ann Arbor, that followed the large sewage spill into the Huron River in June or 2013. Evan will address the fact that several spills have occurred since then and talk about projects that Washtenaw County is working on to update the water treatment system.

Overview

  • There have been at least four breaches of the water treatment system in Ann Arbor since this summer.
  • These spill have prompted concerns that Washtenaw County’s aging water treatment network and sewage system may not be robust enough to handle the demands of today’s residents.

Listen to "Issues of the Environment" with David Fair and Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt below.


Governor Snyder has released a new report that shows that Michigan has the ability to move towards more usage of renewable energy.  

Jack Schmitt is the Deputy Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

He says the Snyder Administration's report shows we have the potential to triple our current renewable energy goal.

Schmitt also says wind energy could be an alternative for renewable energy in Michigan, reducing our dependency on the environmentally destructive method of burning coal.

Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council

On the first Friday of every month, WEMU Morning Edition Host David Fair partners with Michigan League of Conservation voters Executive Director Lisa Wozniak. Together they invite a guest to spend 20-minutes discuss a topic of environmental importance. 

This month, our guest is Dan Scripps. Dan is a former State Representative and current President of the  Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. Today's conversation centers on progress that has been made in both energy efficiency and renewable energy usage in the state, where we are going next, and how we'll get there.

Michigan's Energy Future: That's the topic on WEMU's First Friday Focus on the Environment.


Clean Energy Action

An environmental group lists Michigan among a dozen states in which the cost of delivering coal for use in energy production has grown at two to three times faster than inflation over the past decade.

Clean Energy Action Director of Research and Policy Leslie Glustrom says the government is also over-estimating the amount of affordable coal reserves. 


Solar Ypsi

Ypsilanti continues to push forward with a goal of becoming a solar destination. 

What began as a grassroots effort in 2005, has progressed to the point where the Ypsilanti City Council has passed a resolution establishing a goal of having one-thousand solar roofs in the city by the year 2020. 
Our guest this week is Dave Strenski.

He launched Solar Ypsi back in 2005, and you can see the grassroots efforts successes at a variety of locations around the city.

Wasthenaw County / ewashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County has launched a new website to educate motorists on the environmental and financial costs of unnecessary idling. The website is part of a larger educational campaign being run by Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County officials. 

Jeff Kruchmerrick is the Environmental Program Supervisor for Washtenaw County. He explains that there is some simple advice people can follow if they want to help cut down on unnecessary idling.

Kruchmerrick adds that unnecessary idling costs Americans millions of dollars each year and is responsible for about 5 percent of the gas used in the US each year.

More information is available at www.motor-smart.com

Michigan's Renewable Energy Efforts Paying Off

Oct 24, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan's investment in renewable energy is paying off, according to a new energy efficiency report from Governor Rick Snyder's office

WEMU's Bob Eccles has more.

This Saturday, Ann Arbor will again be host to a "March Against Monsanto."  The local march is part of a global effort to bring awareness to the potential environmental and health problems genetically modified organisms create, and to some of the suspect practices of the company.

 

flyzipper / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Senator Debbie Stabenow joins David Fair and Lisa Wozniak as our guest on the 1st Friday Focus on the Environment on WEMU 89.1 FM. Our topic? The Farm Bill, stalled in the House even before the government shut down.

Listen to the full discussion here:


meltedplastic / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The City of Ypsilanti is getting rid of it's old mercury-vapor streetlights in favor of new and more energy-efficient LED models. 

In this week's installment of Issues of the environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber about the financial and environmental impacts of the switch.


Mike Andaloro / WEMU

As we move toward the end of the calendar year, we started to wonder what, if any, environmental bills would move through the legislature. In this week's installment of "Issues of the Environment", WEMU's David Fair talks with State Senator Rebekah Warren, (D)- Ann Arbor, about some of the pressing issues being considered in Lansing.


umtri.umich.edu

Would you be willing to pay more for a car that comes with a carbon capture system?  As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, drivers responding to a University of Michigan survey said yes, they would.


cleanenergy4america.org

A group called "Clean Energy America" is touring college campuses across Michigan this week, speaking with students about the role nuclear power will play in the country's energy future.  

WEMU's Bob Eccles spoke with Desirée ' Wolfgramm, an engineer with Energy Northwest who's traveling with the group.

Would you be surprised to know that pesticides are being sprayed around you and your neighborhood? Michigan residents could soon be notified when pesticides have been applied near their properties with new right-to-know legislation.  

In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Ann Arbor State Representative Jeff Irwin about House Bill 4841. 

The 53rd District Democrat seeks to pass into law a measure that would give all residents of Michigan the opportunity to register with the State of Michigan, and be notified when pesticides are being used near their property. Right-to-Know pesticide legislation is the focus on this installment of WEMU's weekly feature, Issues of the Environment.


Associated Press

 The massive pile of black refinery waste that has sat alongside the banks of the Detoit River is gone. The 'Pet Coke' , as it's called, is the waste that's left after heave tar-sands oil is refine. It is not considered hazardous, but it does violate portions of the Clean Air act when it becomes airborne. 

Throughout Detroit and Windsor, the airborne residue can be found throughout nearby neighborhoods.  

Listen in as we focus on the effects of exposure of Pet Coke and the regulations to protect the health of the environment:

http://homegrownfestival.org/

The local foods movement continues to grow throughout the country, and it is becoming particularly prevalent in Washtenaw County. This weekend, Ann Arbor's 6th annual Homegrown Festival will take place at the site of the Farmers market in Kerrytown.

Our guest this week is Jason Frenzel. Jason is Co-Chair of the Planning Committee of the Homegrown Festival, and also serves as  stewardship coordinator at the Huron River Watershed Council. 

Washtenaw County Department of Public Health

Ann Arbor City Council has unanimously passed a resolution asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to update clean-up standards for 1,4 Dioxane Plumes.  

The issue is important to the city because of the dioxane plume that started at the Pall Gelman facility west of town.  City Council member Sabra Briere says the resolution is important just because it gets people thinking about the issue again.
 

The city has applied a surface application of lime to kill any remaining bacteria. This lime product appears as a white, powdery substance. Because the sewage reached the Huron River, the City of Arbor took the immediate precaution of closing canoe livery trips in the vicinity, from Argo to Gallup, on Thursday and through Friday. Any body contact is not recommended for at least 24 hours after a known release of raw sewage to waterways. The City of Ann Arbor has completed testing and will evaluate water quality samples over the next 24 hours for presence of harmful bacteria in the Huron River. The determination whether to resume canoe livery operations between Argo and Geddes Dam will be made at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, based upon water sampling results.

Barbara Lucas

Open natural areas such as meadows, prairies, and "oak openings" are declining habitats, which spells trouble for the species that depend on them.

Barbara Lucas reports:

Today, we'll  focuses on butterfly species in Washtenaw County. There are more than you might think, and these delicate creatures can be a good indicator as to the health of the local environment.

This week's guest is John Swales,  the North American Butterfly Association  population survey coordinator for Washtenaw County and U-M Professor Emeritus of Linguistics. We'll be discussing his long-standing participation with the NABA butterfly counts, and what the surveys tell us about the status of different butterfly species in Washtenaw County. 

pigliapost / Foter / CC BY-SA

To many, Ann Arbor is Tree Town.  In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, we will explore the current health status of Ann Arbor's tree population and the city policies aimed at maintaining its lush canopy. 

David's guest this week is Lynn Borset. Lynn is a founding member of the citizens group, The Ann Arbor Tree Conservancy.  The group is pushing Ann Arbor officials to make a stronger budgetary and policy commitment to the city's trees.


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