Michigan Energy & Environment

The Environment Report
2:22 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Restaurants and markets running low on a popular Great Lakes fish

Bernie Fritzsch gets ready for the lunch rush at Monahan's Seafood Market.

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 12:24 pm

Monahan’s Seafood Market in Ann Arbor carries soft-shell crabs from Maryland, Alaskan salmon, and Florida red snapper.

But at the moment, they’re fresh out of Great Lakes whitefish.

Bernie Fritzsch manages the fish market.

“We’re hoping to see it today, but we haven’t seen it for the last week,” he says.

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Oil and Gas Drilling
4:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

When Williamsburg Erupted

One of hundreds of cauldrons that erupted in Williamsburg, Michigan in April of 1973 when a nearby drilling rig punctured a pocket of gas under high pressure.
Credit Geology Department at Northwestern Michigan College

Starting with President Nixon in 1973, every U.S. President has pledged to make America energy independent. That same year, 500 drilling permits were issued in Michigan, and the quest for domestic oil nearly destroyed one small village in Northern Michigan.

Williamsburg is about halfway between Traverse City and Kalkaska. It was settled in a place American Indians called the Weesh Ko Wong, or clear cold water, because of the many natural springs that bubble up there. Spring-fed trout ponds and a state fish hatchery were once the pride of Williamsburg.

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Michigan Food & Agriculture
4:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Warm Up Could Bring Quick Halt To Maple Syrup Season

Joe Woods among his maple trees in Rapid City.
Credit Tom Carr

Warm days and cool nights have the sap running steadily through a web of plastic tubes into Joe Woods' sugar shack in Rapid City.

But the cold winter started things about three weeks late for Woods and other commercial syrup makers in the area.

So far, Woods has produced about 400 gallons, which is about half of an ideal year.

He thinks he may be able to get one more week of good sap.

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Eco-Friendly Initiatives
3:58 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Traverse City To Get Water Bottle Filling Stations

The proposed model for the water bottle filling stations.
Credit traversecitymi.gov

It might get a little easier for the Traverse City community to be green this summer.

The city is getting three water bottle filling stations this summer. One new and two retrofitted stations will be installed in The Open Space. They will have a unified look and are forest green in color. 

The concept will go to the city commission next week for approval.

Katie Lowran is deputy city clerk for Traverse City. She says the purpose is two-fold.

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Flooding
6:37 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Roads Are Flooded Throughout Northern Michigan

Kid's Creek overflows onto Cedar Street in Traverse City Monday afternoon.
Credit Peter Payette

Several Northern Michigan counties have seen flooded out roads and homes.

Wexford County, on Monday, went in a local state of emergency due to flooding. Several roads closed with washouts all over the county.

In Emmet County, one lane of US-31 was closed in the Bay View area.

Brian Gutowski is with the Emmet County Road Commission. He says Monday the lane closure was due to the Tannery Creek flooding.

"We’ve got up to a foot of water right on US-31, and it’s flooding into a couple of the residential streets also, which are county roads," he said.

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Michigan Environment
6:36 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Devastating Disease Found In Michigan Bats

White-nose syndrome is a fungus that attacks bats as they hibernate. They often recover the first year but succumb the next.
Credit USGS

A disease devastating bats throughout the American northeast has now spread to Michigan. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in three Michigan counties: Alpena, Mackinac and Dickinson. 

Statewide Bat Program Director Bill Scullon explains the bat's importance to Michigan agriculture and why the fungus makes it so hard for bats to survive the harsh Michigan winter.

Bats play a critical role for farms and forests by eating insects, lots of them.

“Bats in Michigan had an economic benefit of $528 million to $1.2 billion dollars for farmers,” says Bill Scullon, the statewide bat program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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The Environment Report
11:13 am
Thu April 10, 2014

There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most

The long, cold winter may have damaged Michigan grapevines.

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:00 pm

Farmers are finally able to head out into their fields, orchards and vineyards to see how everything fared over the winter. 

Ken Nye is a commodities specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. 

He's expecting a lot of damage to Michigan fruits. 

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Stateside
3:49 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The fresh air of Sault Ste. Marie once made it a popular destination for allergy sufferers

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

We've been hearing from the experts that, thanks to the great winter and our friend the polar vortex, this is going to be quite a year for allergy sufferers.

Perhaps it might be time to revive The Ca-Choo Club.

The Ca-Choo Club was a very unique way to attract visitors to Sault Ste. Marie.

Beginning in 1928, it welcomed allergy sufferers who turned up to breathe that clean, cool, pollen-free air that swept in off Lake Superior.

Writer Deidre Stevens dug into the history of this quirky Ca-Choo Club for Michigan History magazine, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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The Environment Report
10:35 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Michigan beekeepers breeding hardier "survivor bees"

Greg Griswold with some of his bee boxes in Beulah, Michigan in March.
Sara Hoover Interlochen Public Radio

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:51 am

It’s been a tough winter for honeybees. Bees already face several obstacles, including parasitic mites, habitat loss, and pesticides.

Those factors and others are believed to contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where bees disappear from the hive in large numbers. 

In the face of all these things, beekeepers in Michigan are trying to breed a hardier bee.

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VASA Pathway
1:25 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Fat Tire Fate On Vasa Will Get Public Hearing

Fat tire bikes shared the Vasa Pathway in Grand Traverse for the first time this winter.
Credit Courtesy of Einstein Cycles

IPR's Peter Payette talks Glen Ruczynski of with the Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, who says he thinks the problems on the Vasa have been overblown. He also talks about bikers' hopes to build a separate trail.

Fat-tire bikes have become a popular winter sport, but they’re not too popular on the Vasa Pathway. The bicycles are a new trend. They’re designed for use on packed snow. 

Some skiers would like to ban them from the trail near Traverse City. Pete LaPlaca is board president of the North American Vasa Ski Race. He says there are safety concerns.

"Our trails are only 11 to 12 feet wide, which makes it difficult for passing or sharing the trails," he says. "Most of the trail systems are 20 feet or more in width and there’s much more room for passing."

The trail is on state land. And the Department of Natural Resources is asking for public comments.

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