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community weblog - [ February 10, 2012 ]

Living with Michigan's wolves

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Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes were recently taken off the endangered species list. Now, the state of Michigan is responsible for managing the wolf population.

Michael Nelson is a professor of environmental ethics at Michigan State University. He’s an author of a new report on people’s attitudes about wolves in Michigan. His report is based on a statewide telephone survey conducted in 2010. 

Nelson says they asked people throughout the state how they felt about the following four statements (on a five point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree):  more...



Animals  

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Chemical levels in Saginaw Bay fish depend on where they hang out

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Male walleye in the Saginaw Bay really need to start taking a cue from their female counterparts and hang out in a better neighborhood.

A study about to be published by the Journal of Great Lakes Research found male walleye contain three times more flame retardant chemicals than females. The chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE’s), have been used in plastics, foams and fabrics as flame-retardants since the 1970’s. Animal tests suggest they could damage the liver, thyroid and brain, according to the EPA.

The reason: The males are hanging out in the wrong places.  more...




Environment  

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Eric Sharp: Good, bad news on lampreys

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While lamprey numbers have been reduced by 90% in the other Great Lakes, they remain high in Lake Erie. Lampreys clamp onto fish, using a tongue like a file to bore into fish and live off their blood and body fluids.

Tests of chemical signals called pheromones prove they can trick sea lampreys to avoid streams that offer good spawning habitat and lure them to streams where baby lampreys won't survive.

"It's hard to see any good news when it comes to invasive species, but the sea lamprey is one case where we're winning the battle," Dr. Marc Gaden said this week during a briefing on new lamprey control efforts by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and other agencies.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news, at least in the short run, is what the scientists learned when they tried a full-count press on the handful of rivers and creeks that were thought to produce most of the lampreys in Lake Erie.



Animals  Environment  

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Should hunting of sandhill cranes be allowed in Wisconsin?

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Sandhill cranes take flight from a pond east of Mishicot.

With long legs trailing behind in the sky, the sandhill crane announces its arrival with a cry that hearkens back to prehistoric times.Spotted along the river or seen fishing in Fond du Lac County’s abundance of ponds and lakes, the elegant bird has a great following of local enthusiasts who turn out to count them every year. The state is home to the International Crane Foundation.

But the bird’s blissful existence may soon be disturbed by the blast of shotguns. State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, an Oconomowoc Republican and avid duck hunter, began circulating a bill last week that would require the DNR to create a sandhill season. more...


Animals  

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Politicians flounder while Asian carp spawn a threat

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Should the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins be separated, even if the work costs as much as $9.5 billion? You bet.

Will it happen? Probably not.

A new engineering analysis shows that such a massive task could be completed for the price of some big-city road and tunnel projects. Yet it remains doubtful the Obama Administration and the President's home state of Illinois have the political will to get behind such a plan.

The study was done to light a fire under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has given itself until 2015 to develop options for the Chicago Area Waterway System. more...



Environment  

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Lake St. Clair levels high now, but won't last, official says

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There will be higher water levels than last year around Lake St. Clair this spring, but boaters and other water lovers shouldn't think that will last.

The lakes will be about the same depth as last year by summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts.

Boaters and anglers who might be expecting low lake levels because of the lack of snowfall will be pleasantly surprised in early spring to find the lake higher than last year.

Those higher-than-last-year levels in lakes St. Clair and Erie in spring are more of a false positive than a real promise of deeper water, said Keith Kompoltowicz, a Corps of Engineers meteorologist. more...



Environment  Other  

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