LANSING — A recent International Joint Commission poll revealed stark differences between indigenous and non-indigenous people in their reactions to threats to the Great Lakes. The poll asked about 4,000 people about their attitudes toward regulations on the Great Lakes, the biggest threats to them and whether there even are threats. For the first time the survey included 300 Native Americans and other indigenous groups of people proportional to the region’s population. “Traditional indigenous knowledge has a lot to offer as far as how to approach environmental issues and so we really wanted to try and reach out to that,” said Sally Cole-Misch, a public affairs officer for the binational commission that works with the United States and Canada to manage shared lakes and river systems along the border. “By adding this additional demographic data, it really allowed us to see more of the breadth of diversity that makes up the basin,” said Kelsey Leonard, the engagement workgroup co-chair for the Great Lakes Water Quality Board, which worked with the commission on the poll.
LANSING — An ancient and culturally significant crop is getting a boost from modern technology. Wild rice, or manoomin, has declined significantly in recent years, but drones are helping one Michigan tribe restore it. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi has found drones to be effective at monitoring wild rice beds in the St. Joseph River basin. The aircraft are essential to wild rice restoration efforts, said John Rodman, the director of environmental relations for the Nottawaseppi in Southwest Michigan.
LANSING — While Michigan’s efforts to restore a popular but endangered songbird succeeded by doubling its goal, nearby Wisconsin is experimenting with a new way of increasing its population. Every day the love song of a Kirtland’s warbler calls throughout the Bayfield County Forest in northwestern Wisconsin. But it isn’t coming from a bird. It’s a recording created to lure the endangered species to the forest. “We had a handful of birds on the landscape, but none of them was finding each other,” said Nick Anich a conservation biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
20 people died in a limousine crash involving an unlicensed driver. Hurricane Michael escalates to a category 4 and touches down in the Florida panhandle. A four-foot-long alligator was found in Lake Michigan by a surprised fisherman. In Iowa, a man was charged with domestic violence after abusing three of his pet dogs. The Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-23.
LANSING — Thousands of acres of endless trees and undisturbed waters belong to one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets. The 26 land conservancies spread out in every region of the state protect natural land from development and give residents an escape into nature. Conservancies acquire land either donated by property owners or purchased through grants and fundraising efforts.
Heart of the Lakes, a statewide organization that represents the majority of Michigan’s 26 land conservancies, found in its 2017 survey that their members control 638,317 acres. There has been no recent change in the number of conservancies throughout the state, but there has been a steady expansion of already established lands, increasing by at least 10,000 acres every year since 2013.
LANSING – Each fall, many Chinook and coho salmon make their way from the Great Lakes to their birth streams to spawn and die. But some end up on people’s dinner plates. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains weirs along several rivers that block the fish and allow for the collection of the fish’s eggs and sperm to help more spawn survive. A weir is an obstruction that is placed across a river and used to catch fish. “The weirs are used to bring the fish into a facility where we can do an egg take to help supplement natural reproduction,” said Aaron Switzer, the manager of the DNR’s Northern Lower Peninsula hatcheries.
Scientists are puzzled by the return of martens to Isle Royale. The members of the weasel family may have been re-introduced by conservationists, lived under the radar or strolled across an ice bridge. By Eric Freedman.
A sap-sucking insect and a fast-growing flower could threaten Michigan plants. They’re the latest invasive species identified as potential threats to the state. Environmental officials are encouraging people to us an app to report sightings of the spotted lantern fly and the Japanese chaff flower. By Kaley Fech.
What happens when saving the few – in this case, a small number of plants or animals in a species at high risk of extinction – may harm the many – here, members of more common species? That’s a real problem as conservation experts and public land agencies wrestle with how to allocate scarce funds for habitat protection. A new study by scientists from the Nature Conservancy’s Michigan chapter and three universities says tradeoffs are necessary, based on their research of about 35 species of native migratory fish – some extremely rare, some extremely common — in the 1,833 largest tributaries of the Great Lakes.
While health agencies statewide investigate the link between contaminated drinking water and a firefighting foam, use of the substance remains legal. The chemical, known as PFAS, is linked to contamination at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Camp Grayling. Firefighters say alternative foams aren’t as effective.
Mercury levels remain high in the lakes, rivers and fish of the Western U.P. despite a substantial drop in airborne mercury emissions over the past 30 years, according to scientists from Michigan Technological University and the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a “geographic enigma” with serious health implications.