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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Wisconsin announces US$1 million for recreational boating improvements

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Governor Jim Doyle of Wiscsonsin announced over US$1 million in grants for 12 units of state government to make improvements for recreational boating in their communities. The grants were approved last month by a five-member commission, and the announcement made last week. Funds for the grants come from the state Water Resources Account and are raised through excise tax on gasoline used for marine purposes.

The Commission approved eight new projects and five requests for additional costs for a previously approved project. Grant agreements and amendments for the approved projects will be released by the DNR over the next several weeks.   more...



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Three Canadian marinas gain highest environmental rating

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Stephane Dion, Canadian Minister of the Environment, today recognized three Ontario-based marinas for being awarded the Five Green Leaf Anchors rating under the country's Clean Marine program. A statement issued today says that this award is the highest achievable rating.

Harbour-West Hamilton Marina and LaSalle Park Marina located in Hamilton Harbour, and Fifty Point Marina located in Winona, Ontario, were all awarded the Five Green Leaf Anchor rating for their excellence in pollution prevention and protection of the environment within their marinas.   more...

 



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Gingrich says Michigan regulators out of touch

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TRAVERSE CITY -- Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, ridiculed Michigan environmental regulators Friday as out-of-control bureaucrats peddling a "nutty" notion that the Great Lakes could run dry.

"Do you know how hard it is to be ideologically so out of touch with reality that you've concluded that Michigan could run out of water?" Gingrich said during a state Chamber of Commerce forum, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.

"Think about it. You've got lakes on three sides. I've seen the map. This is like suggesting that the Upper Peninsula in February will run out of snow. This is nutty."

Gingrich, often mentioned as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said in an interview his remarks were directed at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's crackdown on bottled water exports.

The DEQ this year granted a permit for Nestle Waters North America Inc. to buy water from the city of Evart for bottling at its Ice Mountain Spring Water plant. But the department said the water could be sold only within the Great Lakes basin, drawing a lawsuit from the company.   more...

 



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Senate GOP offers plan to regulate state groundwater

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The state would have oversight of some Michigan farms, businesses and other groundwater users that withdraw more than 100,000 gallons a day under a plan outlined Thursday by Senate Republicans.

The legislation, which will be introduced next month, could require state permits for new and expanding large-scale groundwater users but only if their withdrawals would hurt key natural resources. Unlike a plan proposed by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the GOP legislation would not apply to surface water.

Granholm's Water Legacy Act would require permits for all new or increased withdrawals from both groundwater and surface water of more than 2 million gallons a day. Starting in 2010, the permit requirement would apply to all new or increased withdrawals of more than 100,000 gallons a day.   more...

 



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Rolling lab teaches students to read their environment

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PhotoMcCLURE, Ohio - Most folks might not think of leeches as must-see TV, but hundreds of area students have gazed at them in fascination.

The look comes courtesy of the "A.P.P.L.E." bus - a roving field lab geared toward students from third grade to graduate school - and run through the Hancock County Educational Service Center.

The name is an acronym for "amazing, practical, powerful learning experience," said Ron Bowerman, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources naturalist aide who helped get the program rolling last fall.   more...

 



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Beach cleanup Saturday

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It's a dirty job picking up trash from Great Lakes beaches, but someone has to do it.

Officials at the Alliance for the Great Lakes are hoping thousands of people volunteer for the 15th annual Great Lakes beach cleanup. The cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The beach cleanup is part of an international effort to pick up trash from beaches around the world. The Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy started the International Coastal Cleanup in 1986; the annual Great Lakes beach cleanup began in 1991.   more...

 



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New Renard Isle plan cuts dredging limits

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A revised plan for transferring ownership of Renard Isle limits the amount of dredged soil that can be deposited on the island to less than half the amount planned earlier this year.

The revised plan allows additional dredgings to 800,000 cubic feet, down from 1.7 million cubic feet.

The amount of additional soil has been an issue with critics of the ownership transfer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Brown County. Residents along the shoreline have objected to any future use of the island because it is contaminated with PCBs, a probable human carcinogen.   more...

 



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Bald eagle suffers mercury poisoning

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An ailing bald eagle found by an Indiana farmer tested positive for mercury poisoning, but state wildlife officials say it's unclear if the bird was poisoned by eating tainted fish it caught in Indiana waterways.

An environmental watchdog group says Indiana ranks fourth nationally in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants that end up in the food chain.

''To me, this eagle is sending a very strong message that people should pay attention to,'' said Catherine Bowe of the National Wildlife Federation.  more...

 



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Lake's Ups And Downs Recorded In River Valley

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Ann Arbor, MI — The sediments in the mouth of the Pigeon River near Sheboygan, WI, provide a 7000-year recorded history of rising and falling water levels in Lake Michigan. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin - Baraboo / Sauk County collected long cores of sediment from the river valley and examined various textures, colors, and shells in the sediments to describe changes in the lake level of Lake Michigan.

"The results have implications not only for the history of lake level, but also for processes in small stream basins and, of course, for processes in freshwater estuaries," states one reviewer.  more...

 



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Alewives Have Negative Effect On Deepwater Sculpins

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Ann Arbor, Mich. — When alewives move into a lake, the deepwater sculpin population suffers. Alewives likely caused both the disappearance of deepwater sculpins from Lake Ontario during the 1950s and the very low abundance of deepwater sculpins in Lake Michigan during the 1960s.

"Some scientists blame the disappearance of deepwater sculpins from Lake Ontario during the 1950s, as well as the low levels of deepwater sculpins in Lake Michigan during the 1960s, on their relatives, the slimy sculpins," states Chuck Madenjian, a researcher with the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) in Ann Arbor, MI. "According to this theory, slimy sculpins outcompete the deepwater sculpins for food. Other scientists claim that alewives, by feeding upon the fry of deepwater sculpins, caused the disappearance."   more...

 



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Water on the Web

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Water on the Web

Water on the Web (WOW) helps college and high school students understand and solve real-world environmental problems using advanced technology.

WOW is a complete package containing two sets of curricula, data from many lakes and rivers nationwide, extensive online primers, data interpretation and Geographic Information System Tools, and additional supporting materials.

Basic Science consists of individual lessons for infusion into a wide range of exisiting science cources. Water Resource Science is a two-semester water resource management curriculum for second year technical students and undergraduates in water or environmental management disciplines.  more...

 



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Selling lake water can aid state economy

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The line goes: “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” This is because while about three-fourths of the earth’s surface is covered with water, only about 2.7 percent of it is drinkable.

Given this, logic tells us that water is a valuable resource. According to an April 15 article in the Wall Street Journal, global demand for water is driving up the price of water stocks. The article points out that water-industry stocks rose 24 percent last year, topping the 11 percent gain in the S&P 500 stock index. Even more striking, the article indicates that during the past five years water stocks have risen 113 percent, compared with a loss in the S&P 500 of 17 percent.   more...

 



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State warns of high dioxin levels in some Tittabawassee River Fish

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Carp, catfish and white bass in the Tittabawassee River contain high levels of dioxin and should not be eaten, the Michigan Department of Community Health said Thursday.

Women of childbearing age and children under the age of 15 years old are advised not to eat smallmouth bass from the Tittabawassee, but others can eat smallmouth bass once a week, the department said.

Walleye, which travel from Lake Huron through the Saginaw River to reach the Tittabawassee, contain some of the lowest dioxin levels. Women and children can safely eat one monthly meal of walleye under 22 inches and six annual meals of walleye over 22 inches. The general population can eat walleye less than 22 inches without restrictions, but should eat walleye over 22 inches only once a week. more...

 



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Hearing on invasive species focuses on ship's ballast

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U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, held a first-of-its-kind congressional hearing at Anchor Bay High School on Friday to discuss invasive species and the dumping of ballast water from ships that pass through the Great Lakes.

Miller, Chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, took testimony on the problem of invasive species like zebra mussels and round goby fish that have invaded the Great Lakes, including Lake St. Clair and inland lakes across Michigan. more...

 



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Large woody debris to be airlifted to AuSable River by helicopter

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Every year since 1998, Huron Pines RC&D has sponsored the placement of Large Woody Debris by heavy lift helicopter at various areas on the AuSable River, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, the Michigan DNR and other project sponsors. Entire trees with the root wad intact are lifted from a staging area and placed either individually or in groups into the river.

Large Woody Debris (LWD) was once a common site within most Northern Michigan rivers and streams. Early logging practices removed fallen trees and log jams from the stream in order to transport saw logs downstream to lumber mills. Logging activity also harvested the majority of timber within the river corridor preventing the future recruitment of naturally occurring LWD.   more...

 



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