Undaunted by federal rejection, Michigan pursues drone opportunities

Capital News Service
LANSING – While the state recently lost its bid for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone test site in northern Michigan, aviation officials insist they’ll be able to advance the new industry. The FAA recently designated sites in six other states, none in the Great Lakes region. Those now have federal support for civil and commercial exploration of what are known as unmanned aerial systems.
The competition received 25 applications from 24 states. The winners are Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. Michigan remains committed to advancing the fledgling industry, said Rick Carlson, transport and safety manager for the Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Aeronautics.

Warming climate opens door to new forest pests

Capital News Service
LANSING – The mimosa webworm was nowhere to be found on honeylocusts at Michigan State University 20 years ago. But within the past decade, warming temperatures made the campus an appealing home for this destructive bug. “It was the canary in the coal mine,” said Deborah McCullough, an MSU entomologist who witnessed the honeylocusts disappear from campus as temperatures warmed and the mimosa webworm moved north into Michigan. It’s a phenomenon not confined to webworms and honeylocusts as the Earth’s temperature rises and the variability of climate increases, experts say. Climate change will increase the frequency of droughts, increase the severity of snowstorms and rain storms and make frosts occur later, said Sophan Chhin, an assistant professor of forestry at MSU.