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community weblog - [ Environment ]

Putting Factory Farms to the Test: A Guide to Community-based Water Monitoring

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Changes in farming practices over the last 60 years have dramatically increased the potential to harm the environment and human health, especially in the livestock sector. Large intensive livestock operations can increase the risk of environmental contamination from harmful bacteria, foul odours and toxic vapours. As a result of such effects, citizens are becoming concerned about large livestock operations in their communities.

Putting Factory Farms to the Test is a manual designed to help community groups monitor the effects of local factory farms on nearby water sources. The manual is a step-by-step guide to help community groups start their monitoring program, collect samples, manage data and put the results to good use in the community.    more...

 



Environment  

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Watershed workshop

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If you don't want pollution filtering through our waterways or have experienced an inability to fish, boat or swim in nearby waters, there's a workshop for you.

Communities across the Clinton River watershed and Lake St. Clair are teaming up to address one of the biggest threats to water quality -- storm water pollution.

Stakeholders ranging from community and business leaders to civic groups and homeowner and lake associations are invited to attend any of three upcoming workshops to learn more about the watershed planning process, and to provide input on water resources management issues.

According to Jessica Pitelka Opfer, executive director of the Clinton River Watershed Council, the ideas generated at the workshops will "help shape future community policies and regulations governing storm water management."

The three workshops are:

  • Red Run Sub-watershed Stakeholder Workshop, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Jan. 18, at the Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Road, in Troy.

  • Clinton River East Sub-watershed Stakeholder Workshop, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Jan. 19 at the Macomb Intermediate School District, 44001 Garfield, Room 100-B, in Clinton Township.

  • Lake St. Clair Direct Drainage Sub-watershed Stakeholder Workshop, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Jan. 20, at the St. Clair Shores City Hall, 27600 Jefferson Circle, in St. Clair Shores.

    Opfer said storm water pollution includes: pesticides and fertilizer runoff from lawns; sediment from construction sites and eroding stream banks; nutrients from failing septic systems; and oil and grease from roads and parking lots.

    For more information, call (248) 601-0606. or Click Here...



  • Environment  Other  

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    Cormorant study fuels the fire

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    Are cormorants a victim of perception, or are they a conservation effort gone out of control?

    Sport and commercial anglers got part one of a two-part answer this week when preliminary diet analysis research by University of Wisconsin graduate researcher Sarah Meadows was released.

    Meadows sorted through the stomachs of 436 lower Green Bay cormorants shot under a federal permit between mid-May and mid-September 2004. She counted 4,712 fish.   more...

     

    Yellow perch, 1,743 of them, topped the list of species. One cormorant had 80 perch in its stomach; another, a 23-inch walleye.



    Animals  Environment  

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    EPA is blending a foul mess for Michigan waters

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    While raw sewage once openly flowed into our rivers and lakes, the Clean Water Act (1972) mandates the treatment of all human waste and resulted in major water quality improvements in the Great Lakes and all our waterways.

    Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed "Blending Policy" - on which a final decision is expected in February - ignores the act and returns Michigan and the rest of the United States to the Third World strategy of releasing sewage without adequate treatment.

    The EPA's proposed policy allows sewage to bypass biological and chemical treatment when it rains. This largely untreated sewage is "blended" with treated sewage. The EPA wants to legalize this process, which reverses the requirement for full treatment in all but extreme circumstances.   more...

     



    Environment  

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    Great Lakes Restoration

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    Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
    Information on current restoration issues, news, resources and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration.   more...

     



    Environment  

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    Ohio expected to crest Tuesday

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    As the Ohio River continued rising today toward a crest expected tomorrow, it left it banks and covered part of Vaughn Drive at the western end. Drainage ditches unable to empty into the river backed up and overflowed, adding to the water on the west end and causing the closure of other parts of Vaughn.

    Sandy Wagner, owner of Tugboats Eatery at Vaughn Drive and Mulberry Street, was checking the river level this morning. “I am very worried,” she said. Tugboats was under water in 1997, the year she bought the building where she opened her restaurant in 2003.

    “I’m trying to make plans for somebody to move my equipment to higher ground,” she said this morning. “I’m just trying to anticipate what to do.”  more...


     



    Environment  Other  

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    Big Lake salmon catch bigger, but fish smaller

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    The number of chinook salmon anglers caught while fishing from Lake Michigan charter boats increased substantially in 2004, though the fish were much smaller than in the past.

    Charter boats from all Michigan ports hauled in 68,051 chinook salmon last year, a 19 percent increase over 2003, according to the latest Michigan Department of Natural Resources data. The catch rate -- the number of chinook caught per angler for every five hours of trying -- increased at most ports, including Muskegon, Grand Haven and Ludington.

    "It was just a great year for chinook," said Sarah Thayer, a DNR fisheries biologist who analyzed the data. "The other species were showing some different trends."   more...

     



    Environment  Fishing  

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    "Outstanding Resource' designation sought for Grand Traverse Bay

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    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Environmentalists are asking local governments to help stop pollution discharges into Grand Traverse Bay by changing its designation to an Outstanding State Water Resource.

    Local governments would have to petition the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the designation. It would prohibit discharging into the bay wastewater of lower quality than is already there.

    "Traverse City is already doing it, and we want other communities to follow its lead," John Nelson, baykeeper for The Watershed Center of Grand Traverse Bay, told The Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Monday. "It's not anti-development, but it's going to cost more money."   more...

     



    Environment  

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    Agencies fish around for carp barrier funds

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    After months of squabbling over who should pay for an electric barrier to keep Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes, last fall the federal government and governors of the eight Great Lakes states finally scrounged together the necessary $9.1 million.

    The new Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal barrier should be completed next month, but there is still one very big problem: Nobody seems to have the money to turn it on.

    The cost to operate and maintain the barrier is estimated at $20,000 a month. The state of Illinois is the official "sponsor" for the federal project, which is largely funded by the Army Corps of Engineers. That puts Illinois on the hook for the big - and never-ending - monthly electrical bill, but Illinois apparently doesn't have the money.  more...

     



    Environment  

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    Lake residents dissolve their watery boundaries

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    ImageSeveral area residents have started a grass-roots effort to form an alliance among homeowners who live on area lakes.

    "Our most valuable resource is water," said Katie Schlueter, a Round Lake resident and one of the organizers of the group, to be called the Shiawassee Huron Watershed Alliance.

    "The biggest threat to our lakes, creeks and ponds is storm water runoff, soil erosion and increased impervious surfaces due to the high rate of development along Hartland's watershed increase our risk of pollution and flooding," Schlueter said.

    Long Lake resident Norm Lugar, who has lived in the township for more than 30 years, has gleaned information about problems facing lake property owners through his involvement with the Huron River Watershed Council and the Michigan Lakes and Stream Association.    more...

     



    Environment  Other  

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    Historic AuSable River dam to be removed

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    GRAYLING, Mich. (AP) -- The AuSable River dam, built during the former mill town's lumbering days but now posing a threat to fish hatcheries, will be removed, a legislator said Thursday.

    After decades of debate, state and local officials have reached an agreement to dismantle the structure, which dates from the late 1800s, said state Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena. The job should be done by early March.

    The $385,000 project will be funded by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Constructed of log timbers, the dam originally was used by mill operators to store logs during summer. A bridge was built over the dam and renovated with steel sheet pilings in the 1930s as part of Grayling's main north-south thoroughfare.   more...

     



    Environment  Other  

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    Concordia raising funds to save shore

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    Mequon - Forces of nature - from waves battering the shoreline to rain and melting snow causing erosion - have been pounding away at the steep Lake Michigan bluffs and beach at Concordia University.

    As many as 20,000 tons of soil a year wash away from the land and into the lake, university officials and experts who have studied the problem say.

    Erosion is such a problem that it has eaten away about 5 acres of lakeshore property at the 155-acre campus, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, since 1982, when Concordia bought the land.  more...

     



    Environment  

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    Efforts failed to control invaders in Lakes

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    MUSKEGON (AP) -- A study due out next year is expected to show that efforts to keep more invasive species from entering the Great Lakes have been a failure, according to a published report.

    The Muskegon scientist who worked on the study says dramatic action is needed now to stop the army of non-indigenous species of fish, mussels and microorganisms marching into the Great Lakes.

    "It's time to close the Welland Canal," said Gary Fahnenstiel, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon. "This a simple problem with a simple solution."  more...

     



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    Cities weigh their options after water study

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    Maybe it's because it follows the lowest proposed increase in water rates in about a decade.

    Maybe there's something in the water.

    But suburban Detroit leaders, who have raged against double-digit rate increases for years, are showing uncharacteristic restraint as they digest a new study that shows, for the first time, what it would take to break away from the Detroit Water and Sewerage monopoly.

    Even maverick Warren officials, who spearheaded efforts to look at alternatives, were quick to say Wednesday that more research is needed.  more...

     



    Environment  

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    Could killer waves happen here?

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    Chances of destructive wave is extremely minimal, but not impossible, on the Great Lakes say experts

    By MIKE FORNES

    Tribune Staff Writer

    CHEBOYGAN - The chances of a tsunami hitting Great Lakes shorelines and causing the type of damage seen in last week's Asian disaster are extremely minimal, experts say.

    However, it is not impossible, and the earthquake to get things started wouldn't necessarily have to occur under one of the Great Lakes.

    According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the inland seas version of a tsunami is usually the result of temporary rises in water levels that can cause flooding and shore damage. Some of these rises last long enough to enable large waves to reach shore before breaking. There are two main phenomenons seen in the Great Lakes that cause damage - storm surges and seiches . A rare third type is known as an edge wave.   more...


     



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