Here come the Asian Carp

Issue # 3 | PLUS: How the robin came to be Michigan's state bird

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Detroit | Stories from around the city & region

New FCA plant | More jobs, more air pollution?

The new FCA plant will add both jobs and air pollution to Detroit’s east side. According to EPA data pulled by advocacy group The Detroit People’s Platform, pollution is already high in this area, especially particulate matter and ozone. Asthma is also prevalent. The group lists a series of resident demands, including a health impact assessment, best technology filters on stacks, funds to help protect vulnerable populations, and creation of a “Community Air Monitoring Project and Environmental Community Council” similar to one created for Southwest Detroit. The community benefits agreement approved by a citizens’ advisory council emphasizes jobs and training for Detroiters, and a wall of ivy to screen nearby neighbors from the plant. Unpack the details of the historic deal in Curbed Detroit’s rundown.

Sources: Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit People’s Platform, Curbed Detroit

Detroit is # 1 for mosquitoes | Zzzzzz

In a dubious honor, Orkin has listed Detroit is among the top ten worst cities for mosquitoes. That’s up four spots from last year. Why Detroit? The ranking is based on the number of mosquito customers served.

Sources: WWJ, Orkin

Rain, rain, rain | Flood, flood, flood

More rain expected this week, and likely more flooding. And with flooding there is always the possibility of more sewage discharged into Lake St. Clair. Flooding is nothing new in St. Clair Shores, though. Remember this?

Sources: MLive, WXYZ, St. Clair Shores Sentinal

Michigan Matters |The week’s big Michigan stories

Asian Carp | “We're beyond the 11th hour; we're at 11:59:59, but with four timeouts"

The hour is getting late to stop Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes and destroying the region’s $7 billion fishing industry. Can a last-minute $778 million plan proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halt the menace? The plan, which would upgrade an Illinois dam serving as the last barrier to entry, still needs congressional approval.

What might the future look like if carp enter the system? In this 2011 Detroit Free Press documentary “Asian Carp: Managing a Menace”, director Brian Kaufmann travels down to the Gulf of Mexico to find out how the invasive fish has changed the local culture. Warning: Some people are starting to eat the fish.

Image: Screenshot, Asian Carp: Managing a Menace

Sources: Crain’s Detroit Business, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s energy future | DTE vs. Consumers Energy

A package of stories coming out of a partnership between Inside Climate News, Bridge Magazine, and other midwest newsrooms explores “Middle America's Low-Hanging Carbon: The Search for Greenhouse Gas Cuts from the Grid, Agriculture and Transportation.” Covered in Bridge:

  • DTE lowers incentives for rooftop solar: This month the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a new method for calculating how much DTE customers who generate their own electricity for the grid will be compensated by the utility. The new method, which subtracts transmission costs, will reduce credits for new customers about 45 percent from what they are now.

  • Consumers Energy’s transition plan emphasizes renewables: Instead of building a large natural gas plant to replace retiring coal plants (ahem), Consumers Energy is instead opting to gradually add smaller-scale renewable resources, aiming to generate 43 percent of its energy from renewables by 2040.

So which Michigan utility has the bolder carbon reduction plan? You decide.

Sources: Inside Climate News, Bridge Magazine, Michigan Radio

Environmental History | Why the robin?

I found a robin’s nest this week.

So why exactly is the robin Michigan’s state bird? While sweet and undeniably the iconic harbinger of spring, the familiar brown-and-orange fowl really isn’t that unique to Michigan. According to this delightful recounting by Amy Elliott Bragg, a popular vote in 1929 secured the bird’s status, something Michigan Audubon Society Edith Munger apparently regretted at the time:

“Much as the robin is loved by many, I feel that after a course of nature study those who might vote again would so change their vote that the robin would not be returned the winner, but that rather this honor would go to a bird more closely allied with the outdoor life of our state.”

Like, for example, a year-round resident such as the black-capped chickadee, or one dependent on a uniquely Michigan ecosystem, like the Jack Pine forest-dwelling Kirtland’s warbler?

Bragg, for her part, seems to be at peace with the choice. After all:

How many of us will see a Kirtland’s warbler? You have to be pretty intentional to make that happen, unless you are a gnome who lives in a jack-pine forest.

(emphasis mine)

Source: The Night Train

More Michigan environment news

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business

See | Our photo pick

Thanks to feral_detroit for documenting this rare sighting of a Northern Mockingbird.

Big Picture | Top stories from around the nation and world

Global Heating | Don’t like climate death numbers? Change them

That’s what the Trump administration’s USEPA plans to do, according to a New York times report this week. Not by, say, reducing carbon emissions, but by changing the rules by which it calculates risk. Essentially, “the proposed methodology would assume there is little or no health benefit to making the air any cleaner than what the law requires.” It’s part of a pattern of data obfuscation, WaPo columnist Catherine Rampell writes:

Sources: New York Times, Washington Post

Climate messaging | “It’s not about the polar bears”

What’s the right mix of scary and hopeful to help people understand—and possibly act on — the climate crisis? That’s the focus of the growing academic field of “climate change communications”, which finds:

The best climate-related appeals… work best if they avoid fear-based messaging (which can cause a head-in-the-sand effect) and provide a sense that individuals can affect the environment in a personal and positive way…

Which is more motivating to people — learning about individual or societal solutions?

Sources: New York Times, Vox, Scientific American

Connect | Engage with Detroit’s environment

Have an opportunity you’d like to see featured here? Let us know.

Citizen Scientists for Monarchs | Detroit

Join Greening of Detroit to help document this year’s Journey North monarch migration on June 1 >>>

Paddlepalooza | Auburn Hills

Navigate the mighty Clinton River on June 1 >>>

Buy some native plants | Multiple locations

Upcoming plant sales where natives can be purchased:

  • June 1: Stage Nature Center Native Plant Sale >>>

  • June 8: Clinton River Watershed Council >>>

Enjoy art in Palmer Park | Detroit

June 1 & 2 >>>

Learn about sustainable brands | Detroit

The conference runs June 3-6 at Cobo Center >>>

DEPTH to Detroit | Michigan Science Center

Thus “part gallery, part science lab, part theater” exhibit will explore the world’s connection to water. Opens June 8 >>>

Learn backyard nature photography | Pontiac

June 1 at Goldner Walsh. More info >>>

Learn how to plant a butterfly garden | Mount Clemens

July 18 at Mount Clemens Public Library >>>

Jobbie Nooner | Lake St. Clair

Here’s one way to enjoy the outdoors. To each his own. June 28 >>>

Tour native residential landscapes | Novi

You too can have more than a lawn in the suburbs. July 6 >>>

Detroit Kite Festival | Belle Isle

Let’s go fly a kite on July 14 >>>

Native bee walk & talk | Detroit

Join Greening of Detroit at Lafayette Gardens to learn about native bee diversity on July 20 >>>

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