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Michigan and Ohio have agreed to sharply reduce phosphorus runoff blamed for a rash of harmful algae blooms on Lake Erie that have contaminated drinking water supplies and contributed to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can’t survive.
The two states, along with Ontario, said Friday they will work to cut the amount of phosphorus flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent within the next 10 years.
It’s a significant move to combat the algae blooms that have taken hold in the western third of the lake over the last decade and colored some of its waters a shade of green that’s drawn comparisons to pea soup and the Incredible Hulk.
Researchers have linked the toxic algae to phosphorus from farm fertilizers, livestock manure and sewage treatment plants that flows into rivers and streams draining into the lake.
For the full article, see John Seewar, "Michigan, Ohio to cut pollutants behind Lake Erie algae", Detroit News, June 12, 2015.
State officials say an infestation of spruce budworm could cause widespread damage to evergreen trees in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
The insect has attacked forests in the eastern U.S. and Canada periodically for more than a century. Forest health specialist Bob Heyd of the Department of Natural Resources says the latest assault has been underway for a couple of years and could continue for a decade.
For the full article, see "Spruce budworm attacks northern Michigan evergreens", Detroit Free Press, June 12, 2015.
Decision postponed on nuclear waste storage site near Lake Huron
June 11, 2015
Snyder administration outlines 30-year water plan
June 9, 2015
Why there are gaps in public health studies on fracking
June 9, 2015
Federal government announces settlement with Enbridge over oil spill
June 8, 2015
Peregrine falcon chicks at BWL power plant
June 7, 2015
Agribusiness gets access to utilities' energy efficiency programs for first time
June 7, 2015
When the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced a three-year trial to allow a commercial fishery to pursue whitefish in southern Lake Huron, recreational anglers took to social media to express their outrage.
"We'll lose our gear." "The fishery has been built up, can it sustain the pressure?" "Will we damage props and other equipment."
Recreational anglers still are concerned.
For the full article, see Bob Gross, "Commercial fishing trial worries Lake Huron anglers", Detroit Free Press, June 11, 2015.
The state released a draft version of its 30-year strategy for managing Michigan's water, garnering generally good marks from several environmental groups.
The Office of Great Lakes, within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has been gathering input and crafting the strategy for some time now (See “Water, Water Everywhere This Year For State Agencies,” 2/21/14). It's a response to Gov. Rick SNYDER's 2012 special message on energy and environment.
The idea was to develop a comprehensive water strategy over a longer period of time, for the purpose of ensuring the state's water resources support healthy ecosystems, residents, communities and economies, according to a DEQ press release.
Some of the recommendations outlined in the draft report include:
- Establishing a “durable water fund” to help pay for water infrastructure management,
- Reducing phosphorus by 40 percent in the western Lake Erie basin,
- Preventing introduction of new aquatic invasive species,
- Developing a water trails system, and,
- Supporting investment in commercial and recreational harbors.
Reaction to the report today was mostly positive.
The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) said in a statement it was “pleased” with the direction of the strategy. The MEC said it particularly supports the DEQ's pledge to improve oversight of large-quantity water users in the state, as well as speeding implementation of green infrastructure projects as a way to capture and filter stormwater.
The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) also was supportive, saying it was “a strong step forward,” and also said, “we look forward to seeing a more concrete plan of action to turn that vision into reality for the Great Lakes State.”
The Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) called water “the issue of the decade” and said that MABA appreciates “the work that went into this report, embrace its findings, and strongly support new research into water quality issues.”
The report can be found here. The state is accepting comments on it until Aug. 28, 2015.
For the full article, see "DEQ's Draft Report On Water Strategy Draws Praise", Inside MIRS Today, June 9, 2015.
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