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DDT was banned in the United States more than 40 years ago, but it's still killing birds in a town in Michigan
For the full article, see Douglas Main, "DDT Is Still Killing Birds in Michigan", Smithsonian.com, July 29, 2014.
For another article, see Keigh Matheny, "Birds fall from sky in St. Louis, Mich., amid massive chemical cleanup", Detroit Free Press, August 3, 2014.
For another, see Brian Bienkowski and Environmental Health News, "Government Officials May Have Mishandled DDT Superfund Site", Scientific American, August 6, 2014. Health experts are questioning the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan state officials for their decades-long delays in cleanup of a Superfund site that is killing songbirds in yards, possibly leaving people at risk, too
Earlier this year, researchers from Michigan State University published the results of a meticulous effort to determine where and when the borer arrived and how it spread. They divided Michigan’s southeastern corner into a grid, searching in each square for the longest dead or longest infested green ash tree. They collected core samples from 1,085 trees, used the thin tree rings of drought years and thick rings of abundant years to establish dates.
The emerald ash borer probably arrived in the early 1990s, they found, possibly as early as the late 1980s. Larvae were likely carried along inside of wooden packing materials from the borer’s native range in China.
Of those 1,085 trees, the one that fell victim to the ash borer the earliest was in Canton Township, a stroke of cosmic drollery, maybe. In the 1830s, enthusiastic about burgeoning trade with China, Michigan’s state legislature named three townships after Chinese cities. Only in Canton did the name stick.
When developers built on Canton’s farmland, they had to plant trees or pay into a tree fund. The township planted ash trees along its major roads.
“A great street tree,” Yack said. “It was resistant to salt. It could do OK in drought periods. We mono-planted.”
“And the devastation was complete,” he said, “just complete.”
The ash borer has wiped out virtually every ash tree in southeast Michigan. In much of the rest of the state’s lower peninsula, there are few trees left to fight for.
But, in a sense, this is still one of the front lines in the fight against an insect that has laid waste to more than 100 million ash trees from Massachusetts to Colorado and has another 8 billion or so waiting for it.
Scientists here were the first to recognize the emerald ash borer as a threat. They gave the metallic green beetle a name in English. Some have spent the past dozen years chipping away at the puzzle of how to stop an insect that is singularly lethal to its hosts and uncommonly difficult to track.
They have lost most every battle. They may yet win the war.
For the full article, see Matthew Miller, "Battle of the ash borer: Decades after beetles arrived in Michigan, researchers looking to slow devastation", Lansing State Journal, July 28, 2014.
The Department of Natural Resources is seeking recommendations for state-owned lands considered of high conservation value.
Review of the designations is part of the state's forest certification process.
Proposed areas for designation ecological reference areas or dedicated habitat areas are posted at the DNR website, http://www.michigan.gov/forestcertification .
Feedback can be provided to DNR-ForestCertificationComments@michigan.gov through August 22.
Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #53, Report 145, July 28, 2014. Full access requires a subscription or a visit to a subscribing library such as the Michigan State University Main Library.
You hear a lot about green building these days, but like most things in the area of energy conservation, it takes time for such an initiative to become a common practice. However, that isn’t the case at Michigan State University, where they have been on the green energy-saving bandwagon for years.
“We use the least electricity per square foot of any Big Ten university,” said Lynda Boomer, an energy and environment design administrator with MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities department.
Boomer said MSU recently joined the Better Buildings Challenge, a national program designed to reduce energy use by 20 percent by the year 2020. And when you look at all the green things happening on campus, it is easy to see why MSU has made such an energy conservation commitment.
For example, MSU has pledged that all new on-campus construction will be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified levels, and it received its first LEED award for the construction of an addition to the Chemistry building, which included such energy saving features as recycled glass in the flooring, low-flow toilets and motion sensors for classroom lights.
Boomer said the goal for new construction is also to build more sustainable buildings, which includes adding better building insulation, installing roofs that will last for 50 years and designing advanced storm water management systems, to name a few.
For the full article, see Glenn Haege, "MSU builds a greener campus we can learn from", Detroit News, July 25, 2014.
More than a decade after its prized chinook salmon crashed, Lake Huron is fertile fishing territory once more, with fast-growing populations of native species such as walleye and lake trout, biologists say. Now the challenge is convincing anglers to take the bait.
Sport fishing on the second-largest of the Great Lakes in terms of surface area lags far behind its heyday, when chinook were plentiful following their introduction in the 1960s, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Anglers loved the big fish’s feisty spirit and came from across the U.S. to do battle with “king salmon,” which often weigh up to 40 pounds and exceed three feet in length.
But chinook numbers nosedived when their main prey, the alewife, collapsed in the early 2000s, which scientists attributed to invasive zebra and quagga mussels that arrived from Europe in cargo ship ballast tanks. The filter-feeding mussels gorged on phytoplankton — microscopic plants at the base of the aquatic food chain — causing alewives to go hungry.
For the full article, see John Flesher, "Lake Huron fishery recovers, but anglers skeptical", Detroit News, July 26, 2014.
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