Minong Ridge Trail: One tough trek

It may be Michigan’s toughest hike, the 29-mile Minong Ridge Trail in Isle Royale National Park. Rustic and rugged, it lures backpackers seeking a challenge. Portions are a path in the woods, but much of it is a route along a rocky ridge where an occasional rock cairn is the only indication hikers are headed in the right direction. For news and outdoors pages.

Invasive mussels slam commercial fishery

By KURT WILLIAMS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Denise Purvis’ family began fishing the waters of northern Lake Huron off Manitoulin Island in 1882. Over the years, they came to expect the unpredictability of a livelihood  that depended on their ability to capture wild fish. Purvis came back to the family business in the mid-1990s after college. Her return coincided with the arrival of zebra and quagga mussels into the Great Lakes. The mussels have become synonymous with the problem of invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Growing green: marijuana presents water, air and energy challenges

By QUINN ZIMMERMAN
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan regulators are preparing for the environmental impact of the state’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana. High demand and the new legal status will drive the growth of the state’s crop, Marijuana Business Daily reported last November. Environmental concerns related to water and air quality are associated with the expanding production, said Jill Greenberg, a public information officer with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. “The way the ballot (question) was written, there was no consideration for environmental impact. it all had to be picked up afterward,” said Robert Elmouchi, an environmental quality analyst with the agency’s Air Quality Division.

Air quality casts pall over Michigan national parks, report says

A new study by the National Parks Conservation Association warns that air quality problems are adversely affecting virtually all national parks, even those remote from major cities.

Those include Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshores, Isle Royale National Park, River Raisin National Battlefield Park and Keweenaw National Historic Park.

We hear from park officials and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. By Eric Freedman.

Tribe seeks to set its own water standards

The U.P.’s Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for authority to regulate water quality on tribal land. I

t would be the first Michigan tribe to gain such responsibility, although 60 tribes elsewhere already have it.

A Senate committee has passed a resolution, sponsored by senators from Vulcan and Ludington, opposing the application. We hear from the tribe’s water resources expert and council president and a law professor who belongs to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Power plants monitor groundwater for coal ash contaminants

A new national study sharply criticized electric utilities for their handling of coal ash that contains toxic materials.

The state’s two major electric utilities, DTE Energy and Consumer’s Energy, explain how they’re remediating such problems at their coal-fired plants, including ones in Monroe, West Olive and Essexville.

We talk to the lead author of the Environmental Integrity Project study, utility representatives, the Michigan Environmental Council and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

The East Lansing Recycling Drop-off Center provides local residents with pre-sorted recycling bins as a supplement to its single-stream curbside recycling program.

Higher costs put community recycling programs at risk

Sharply higher costs are putting strains on community recycling programs — even pushing some cities to send all of their waste to landfills instead. The problem is due in large part to the trade war with China, once the largest buyer of recyclable materials from the U.S. In January 2018, China imposed tariffs and bans on Americans’ waste materials like cardboard and plastics. That’s led to a steep drop in the price waste companies can get for raw recyclable materials. Recyclers have increased fees for processing cities’ waste to make up for those losses. Lansing paid $6.42 per ton to recycle waste gathered from its curbside recycling program in January 2018.

Arbor Day grows on campus

Michigan State’s campus is known for its trees… over 25,000 of them. A red autumn maple tree was planted this afternoon in the Brody neighborhood to celebrate the 147th Arbor Day. MSU is recognized for the second consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA Institution. Spectators received a free tree to plant themselves and to motivate them to learn about Arbor Day.