Michigan Energy & Environment

IPR brings you the stories and sounds of nature Up North. Hear about our changing natural world, and the challenges northern Michigan faces with a growing economy and a fragile ecosystem.

Scientists have created a vegan burger that bleeds like beef. It’s called the Impossible Burger and its creators argue it’s better for the planet. But there are some questions about the substance the company uses.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Thousands of miles of forest roads will soon open to off road vehicles in northern Lower Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law last year permitting ORVs on all Lower Peninsula forest roads, except those closed by the state. Around 6,300 miles of roads will open on January 1. 

Jack Boyd

A doe with chronic wasting disease has been found at a deer farm in Mecosta County. The fatal, neurological disease can be found in deer, elk and moose.

The number of deer thought to be infected with CWD tripled this fall, bringing the tally to 30 cases. Seventeen suspected cases were found in Montcalm County around hunting season. The deer farm's infected doe is the northernmost confirmed case so far. 

Jack Boyd

Cases of chronic wasting disease have been slowly increasing among deer in Michigan. Before hunting season this fall, there were nine cases of the disease. Now that number has risen to 30 suspected cases.

Native plants are better for birds than non-native plants.

That’s the main finding of a study on chickadees and the caterpillars they eat.

Michigan Tech University

A wildlife researcher suspects Isle Royale National Park may be down to just one wolf. The island used to have a pack of significant population of grey timber wolves, but the population has dwindled to just two in recent years in part because of inbreeding.

The oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac will be shut down during bad storms. That’s just one of the agreements reached in a deal announced last week by the state of Michigan and the Canadian oil transport company Enbridge.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDY VIDEO

The state of Michigan is imposing some new conditions on the operation of a controversial oil and gas pipeline. The actions include replacing a portion of Enbridge’s Line 5 that runs beneath the St. Clair River. 

The new line will be in a tunnel beneath the riverbed. The state will also look at doing the same thing with the portion of the line that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac. 

Sam Corden

It could be a more productive year for deer hunters in Michigan. The state Department of Natural Resources projects the deer harvest will go up this year compared to 2016, due to a milder winter. 

The silky strands made by spiders are prized for their strength and suppleness. Now, scientists in the Great Lakes region are using technology to reproduce spider silk. And there's a wide range of users – from the Army to a famous British fashion designer.

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Swiss company Nestle has been criticized for its plan to take more water out of northern Michigan. Opponents say the company wants to take too much water from the area – and an increase in pumping will degrade streams and wetlands. But the company denies the allegations.

University of Michigan

The state of Michigan will sponsor a new analysis of the risks posed by an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. 

In June, the state cancelled a contract with a firm doing a previous risk study, when it learned one of the firm’s researchers was also working on a project for Enbridge – the company that operates Line 5. 

Conservation Resource Alliance

The Boardman River Dam is gone. The river is flowing freely through an area that used to be a pond. It’s the second of three dams to be removed in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to return the waterway to a more natural state.

Invasive or not? A Great Lakes Puzzle

Aug 23, 2017
Central Michigan University

Around the Great Lakes, millions of dollars are spent to fight invasive species like Asian carp. They cause a lot of damage. But when scientists discover a new animal or plant in the region, it’s not always clear if it’s harmful - or helpful.

That debate has begun over a shrimp.

The bloody red shrimp is roughly the size of a pencil eraser. They came to the Great Lakes around 2006, hitching a ride in the ballast water of cargo ships from the Black Sea.

Since then, they’ve worked their way into all of the Great Lakes except Superior.

Steven Depolo/Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5233546650

Water has been a dominant topic in Michigan politics in recent years, from the Flint water crisis to the controversy over the oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

There’s another water debate going on in northern Michigan. The Swiss company Nestle wants to boost the amount of water it pumps from a well in Osceola County, south of Cadillac. The water would be bottled under the company’s brand Ice Mountain. 

Local leaders and Native American groups are fiercely opposed to the increase, and the effort has been tied up at the state and local level. 

 


NOAA

President Trump proposed ending a popular Great Lakes restoration program earlier this year. Michigan lawmakers from both parties criticized the idea. 

Now a U.S. House committee has released a bill that would keep federal dollars flowing to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for the next budget year. 

David Cassleman

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern Lower Michigan – a lot more. Infected deer in this area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized milk.

Cheyna Roth

New public meetings began Thursday about the controversial Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. Several state agencies and the authors of a report suggesting alternatives to the pipeline gave a presentation and took questions. 

 The pipeline sends oil and natural gas across sections of lower and upper Michigan and under the Straits of Mackinac.

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern lower Michigan.

Infected deer in the area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized dairy products.

Andrea Bitely

Two high-ranking state officials in Michigan face serious charges for allegedly keeping an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Flint a secret.

Involuntary manslaughter is the most serious criminal charge filed yet related to the Flint water crisis.

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service will not close a popular party spot on the Pine River. It’s a 160-foot sandy bank, located between Cadillac and Manistee, that draws scores of paddlers each year. Forest officials instead will try to stabilize the bank by laying down branches on the edges of it. 

Officials worry the heavy summer traffic is causing erosion on the bank and sending sediment into the blue-ribbon trout stream. Sand can harm trout populations.

Hunting Works for Michigan

Hunting boosts the Michigan economy by $2.3 million annually, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. And Hunting Works for Michigan estimates 34,400 hunting jobs are created in the state.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Cormorants will be safe from sharp shooters in the Great Lakes this spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not ready to restart a program that allowed lethal control of the birds to protect sport fish, and the agency says it might be years away.

For more than a decade, the federal government allowed double-crested cormorants to be killed in 24 states in the eastern U.S. In the Great Lakes, it was mainly done to protect sport fish like perch and bass.

An administrative law judge has sided with a company called Harrietta Hills Trout Farm that's operating in Grayling. It produced nearly 69,000 pounds of rainbow trout last year.

The state granted a permit to the company in 2014. But some groups challenged that permit, and it ended up in court.

Last week, the judge issued a proposal for decision that the business should keep the permit that’s allowing it to expand.

Opponents of the fish farm are vowing to keep fighting the permit.

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