Environment agency Zooms you outdoors

Tired of getting trapped in countless Zoom meetings? Rather be hiking among Michigan’s natural wonders? The DNR can get you out of your home-office and into the outdoors. Sort of. It posted images of the state’s natural wonders formatted for use as a Zoom background. Among the locations mentioned: Straits of Mackinac, Tahquamenon Falls, Pigeon River State Forest, Allegan State Forest and Hartwick Pines State Park. By Dave Poulson.

Gloom, doom and ruin draw visitors to Detroit, study says

It’s the lure of gloom, not glitz. It’s the appeal of decay, not resurrection. It’s the enchantment of failure, not success. It’s a ruin tour of Detroit, a type of “dark” tourism that draws visitors to the city. While some abandoned buildings await the wrecking ball, others such as the Michigan Central Station are being reborn. We talk to a researcher, who grew up in Grand Rapids, who has studied the phenomenon, and two tour operators who say abandoned buildings should be placed in the context of the city’s culture and social and industrial history. By Eric Freedman.

Potential new cormorant management plan released

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its proposed new plan to address double-crested cormorant conflicts and allow killing as many as 77,000 of the migratory birds in the Mississippi and Central flyways each year. In Michigan and 23 other states. The federally protected waterbird has historically created problems for shoreline communities, and critics blame them for destroying vegetation and declining fish populations in some places, such as the Les Cheneaux Islands and Mackinac County’s Brevoort Lake. A DNR expert calls the proposal a step in the right direction “even if it is not at the level of control that fisheries managers desire.” By Peter Payette & Cassidy Hough.

Book explores how lighthouses and harbors transformed the Great Lakes

Theodore Karamanski didn’t expect to be reprimanded by Gordon Lightfoot at a concert in 1976. Lightfoot, widely known for his ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” lectured an audience for living on the Lake Michigan shores while knowing nothing of Great Lakes history. We interview Karamanski about his new book, “Mastering the Inland Seas: How Lighthouses, Navigational Aid and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America.” We also talk to a Grand Valley State historian and a scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor. By Lucas Day.

Bigheaded carp pose big threat, new model suggests

Bigheaded carp are a big threat to yellow perch, according to a new model that forecasts what would happen over the next several decades if bighead and silver carp made it into Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. The biggest concern is disruption of the food web. We hear from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Michigan State, Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. By Carin Tunney.

Too many dams, too little money

The recent failure of two dams in Midland County highlights the need to remove other failing and obsolete dams in Michigan before another disaster strikes, but there’s not enough money to do it. We talk to experts from DNR, Conservation Resource Alliance and Huron Pines and the owner of a bar in Wolverine. By Cassidy Hough.

Along the Inter Urban

From goslings to red-winged blackbirds to deer to swans, a 1¾-mile multi-use pathway along the route of an abandoned interurban rail line in Ingham County provides surprises and escape to bicyclists, joggers, scooterers, dog-walkers and just-plain walkers. Includes Three Rivers reference. Column for news, features and outdoor recreation sections.

Covid-19 animal care: curbside service, pet supply delivery, video adoptions

Animal-related organizations face new challenges in caring for their critters in the midst of a pandemic.Humane societies and rescue shelters have had to rely on foster owners. Pet store owners have had to adapt to the 6-foot spacing guideline with curbside service. All are more conscious of employee health. We talk to a Lansing pet store, the Michigan Humane Society and a Grand Rapids rescue organization. By Taylor Haelterman.

Greening Detroit’s Riverfront

The EPA has signed a $2.5 million agreement to clean the Detroit River and create new habitat for wildlife. The money will help clean contaminated sediments and create homes for fish and wildlife in a cove area at the Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Parkbeing built along the waterfront. We hear from the Detroit River Conservancy and the former manager of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. By Ri’An Jackson.