News and Events

Au Gres Initial Visioning Meeting

Event Date: 8/25/2015

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials and local citizens. To share your vision, attend upcoming public meetings to collaboratively develop a plan for Au Gres’ waterfront.

The initial visioning meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 25 at the City Park Pavilion (522 Park Street, Au Gres). Those who attend the initial meeting will have the chance to weigh in on the future of Au Gres’ waterfront and will help identify assets linked to existing or potential public waterfront uses and/or facilities. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

In the community design charrette scheduled for September 24-26 at City Park Pavilion, participants will assess and prioritize design and planning options, resulting in a preliminary vision for the public waterfront as an asset to the community. The three-day design charrette will include small working groups (by invitation) and public sessions. A detailed agenda will be made available on the project website as the event date draws near, see: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability.

This entry was posted in Events.

Creating a Vision for Au Gres’ Waterfront

Au Gres Bridge Photo James Baughn

Au Gres Pedestrian Bridge. Photo by James Baughn

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Stanley
Au Gres City Manager
(989) 876-8811

[Au Gres, Mich.] – Au Gres has been selected as a case study community to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. In a six-month engagement process, a research and design team will engage the Au Gres community in an exercise to identify opportunities to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of public waterfront facilities.

With help from local citizens, the project will develop an economic model and sustainability toolkit including potential management strategies for small harbors in Michigan to assist communities in identifying planning objectives to ensure a more secure future.

The project is supported by the Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes, Department of Natural Resources, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan Sea Grant and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Benefits to Au Gres

As one of four case study communities, Au Gres will benefit from in-depth analysis and economic assessment — typically valued into the tens of thousands of dollars — at no direct cost. The assessment will shed light on barriers to financial sustainability and identify potential solutions, reducing dependence on declining external funding.

The project team will host an initial meeting and then a three-day public planning meeting, or “community design charrette,” to garner feedback, develop ideas and create a sustainable vision for Au Gres’ waterfront. The research and design team will then compile community input to develop a harbor sustainability plan specific to Au Gres, plus a case study on the process and outcomes to be used as part of the harbor sustainability toolkit. The toolkit will be shared to help other communities in Michigan move forward in drafting their own sustainable harbor and waterfront plans.

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials and local citizens. To share your vision, attend upcoming public meetings to collaboratively develop a plan for Au Gres’ waterfront.

The initial visioning meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 25 at the City Park Pavilion (522 Park Street, Au Gres). Those who attend the initial meeting will have the chance to weigh in on the future of Au Gres’ waterfront and will help identify assets linked to existing or potential public waterfront uses and/or facilities. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

In the community design charrette scheduled for September 24-26 at City Park Pavilion, participants will assess and prioritize design and planning options, resulting in a preliminary vision for the public waterfront as an asset to the community. The three-day design charrette will include small working groups (by invitation) and public sessions. A detailed agenda will be made available on the project website as the event date draws near, see: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability.

Public Meetings for Sustainable Harbor Visioning

  • Initial Visioning Meeting
    Tuesday, August 25, 6-8 p.m.
    City Park Pavilion
  • Community Design Charrette
    September 24-26
    City Park Pavilion

Agenda and more details available at: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability

Additional Contacts

Amy Samples
Michigan Sea Grant, Coastal Resilience Specialist
asamples@umich.edu or (734) 647-0766

Dr. Donald Carpenter, Project Manager
Lawrence Technological University
carpenter@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2549

John Stanley, Au Gres City Manager    
johnmstanley@hotmail.com or (989) 876-8811

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Conference

Event Date: 9/21/2015
End Date: 9/22/2015

GLFHC-2015 image

Discover how our valuable Great Lakes fisheries (past, present and future) can benefit local museum programs, enhance coastal tourism development opportunities, and support community development efforts. Learn more about Michigan’s Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium projects and partnerships, including current partnerships in fostering a statewide fisheries heritage tourism trail.

Please register by Thursday, September 17

Learn more and register online

This educational program is open to everyone interested in promoting maritime heritage tourism and Great Lakes stewardship.

  • Monday, September 21: No cost to participate as part of the business meeting.
  • Tuesday, September 22: General registration $30, students $10, to participate in the educational Great Lakes Heritage Trails Conference.

National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium

Event Date: 11/16/2015
End Date: 11/19/2015

The National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium is the crown jewel of the National Working Waterfront Network. People from across the United States attend the symposium to connect with one another and showcase (and initiate) innovative solutions to their waterfront issues. The ultimate goal of the symposium, and the Network, is to increase the capacity of saltwater- and freshwater-based coastal communities and for stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse uses, ensure access, and plan for the future of their working waterfronts. Working waterfronts include waterfront lands, waterfront infrastructure, and waterways that are used for water-dependent activities, such as ports, marinas, small recreational boat harbors, fishing docks and hundreds of other places across the country where people use and access the water.

By design, the triennial symposium moves around the country to highlight the diversity of our nation’s working waterfronts, to foster a cross-fertilization of ideas, knowledge and solutions, and to generate strategic partnerships.

Florida Sea Grant, the National Sea Grant Law Center, and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium are sponsoring the 4th National Symposium. We are pleased to announce that the symposium will also incorporate the third edition of Florida’s reoccurring state conference: Stem to Stern: Boating and Waterway Management in Florida.

We hope that you will add your voice to those of your working waterfront colleagues by attending the 4th National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium scheduled for November 16-19, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.

Registration, Agenda and Presenter Details

Purpose of the Symposium

  • To connect and unite stakeholders from across the U.S., and to showcase (and initiate) innovative, successful, and timely solutions to waterfront and waterway issues
  • To provide attendees an opportunity to network with others who are involved in the same types of professional issues and, together, develop strategies, timelines, funding sources, and regional alliances to address them.

The 2015 NWWW Symposium will utilize several presentation formats to create an educational and interactive forum where emerging ideas, best practices, and information may be shared.

Program Structure

The symposium will be comprised of:

  • Plenary Sessions, which will feature leaders and keynote presenters from the working waterfronts and waterways community.
  • Traditional Concurrent Sessions, which will be comprised of 15-20 minute speaker talks accompanied by PowerPoint Presentations. Concurrent sessions will be arranged from individual abstracts submitted on similar topics.
  • Formal Poster Session, which will feature all NWWW Symposium poster presentations.
  • Strategic Planning Meeting, which will take advantage of our time together to collaborate and develop strategic plans for the working waterfronts and waterways community moving forward.

About NWWWN

The National Working Waterfront Network (NWWN) is a nationwide network of businesses, industry associations, nonprofits, local governments and communities, state and federal agencies, universities, Sea Grant programs, and individuals dedicated to supporting, preserving, and enhancing our nation’s working waterfronts and waterways. Participation in the NWWN is open to all individuals and organizations involved in working waterfront issues at the federal, state, and local level. Our mission is to increase the capacity of coastal communities and stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse uses, ensure access, and plan for the future of their working waterfronts and waterways.

About Stem to Stern

From Stem to Stern is a statewide conference that is organized every two to three years in the state of Florida. Its primary goal is to provide an opportunity for planners, resource managers, waterway users, marina operators, industry representatives, harbor masters, city managers, elected officials, law enforcement, policy makers, attorneys, consultants, educators, and researches to learn and discuss boating and waterways issues, and to network with colleagues in the area.

Marquette Water Safety and Recreational Expo

Event Date: 8/7/2015

water safety and rec advertisement 2015 (1) copy

Beachgoers can learn about dangerous currents that exist at Marquette’s beaches at the Marquette Water Safety and Recreation Expo to be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 7, 2015, at McCarty’s Cove. This event is being sponsored by the National Weather Service, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the City of Marquette, and the YMCA of Marquette County.

Contact Ron Kinnunen for more details.

Invasive red swamp crayfish found in Holland

Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus_clarkii credit Mike Murphy

Red Swamp Crayfish, Photo: Mike Murphy

The remains of invasive crayfish were found at a popular fishing site on Lake Macatawa

Native crayfish don’t get much attention in the world of aquatic science. In fact, the last comprehensive survey of crayfish in Michigan waters was conducted in 1975. The underwater world has changed a lot since then, in large part due to the arrival of invasive species like the rusty crayfish. Dr. Brian Roth with Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife is leading a project in collaboration with the Michigan DNR-Fisheries Division that will map the current distribution of both native and invasive crayfish species.

In addition to the mapping component, Dr. Roth and graduate student Kelley Smith are also working on a risk assessment for another invader that has never been found alive in Michigan waters. The red swamp crayfish is an incredibly hardy and destructive pest that also happens to taste great. Although the red swamp crayfish is native to the southern U.S., invasive populations have invaded coldwater streams in Germany and would likely flourish in many habitats in the Great Lakes region.

A sampling crew led by Smith was working on Lake Macatawa in Holland, Michigan, last month when the two components of the crayfish project came together. While taking a break from crayfish trapping, Smith decided to walk along a boardwalk and look for evidence of red swamp crayfish.

Two years ago, conservation officers with Michigan Department of Natural Resources noticed some anglers on Lake Macatawa and the lower Grand River were using red swamp crayfish as bait. In 2013, it was illegal to transport live crayfish into Michigan for use as bait, but loopholes remained.

crayfishposterThe red swamp crayfish is widely available from southern fish farms and they are sold alive by food markets, pet stores, and biological suppliers. Anglers had evidently been buying crayfish intended for food or other uses, and then using them as bait. State law was changed in 2014 to prohibit possession of live red swamp crayfish, regardless of intended use.

Unfortunately, they are still being used as bait. Smith found the remains of several dead red swamp crayfish at Kollen Park in Holland on June 26, 2015. Although it is possible that anglers had purchased dead crayfish, it is also possible that they were purchased alive. Both the MSU crew and Michigan Department of Natural Resources conducted additional sampling in Lake Macatawa and the lower Grand River in response to the finding. To date, no live red swamp crayfish have been captured.

This is a good thing, because the red swamp crayfish is nearly impossible to get rid of once they establish breeding populations. They are able to move over land and construct burrows where they can evade even the most aggressive aquatic chemical controls. In fact, they are so hardy that they can survive in some wastewater treatment facilities after being flushed down the toilet.

To protect Michigan waters from the red swamp crayfish and other invaders, Michigan State University Extension recommends contacting a pet retailer or veterinarian regarding proper euthanasia and disposal of unwanted pets. Unwanted aquarium plants should be placed in sealed plastic bags before disposing in the trash. Unused live bait should also be disposed in the trash and never released into the wild. Report red swamp crayfish sightings and send photos to the DNR-Fisheries Division’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator (Seth Herbst,Herbsts1@michigan.gov) or by using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). If you find live red swamp crayfish being offered for sale in Michigan, contact the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline (800) 292-7800.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

Jump on board and become a Cruise Leader Volunteer!

GLEP-volunteer

Contact: Justin Selden, Great Lakes Education Program instructor
(586) 469-7139 or email glepmc@msu.edu 

 

The Great Lakes Education Program seeks Cruise Leader Volunteers to help elementary school students explore and learn about our Great Lakes.

Adults, ages 18 and older, will learn about our local river and lake resources and then share that knowledge through hands-on activities with students. Explore the physical, chemical, cultural and biological aspects of our water resources in fun and interesting ways aboard our schoolship!

Volunteers must attend a one-day training session and then will receive hands-on training on the boat before being certified as an official “Cruise Leader.” Cruises are scheduled Monday-Friday, are approximately 2.5 hours long and 2 cruises are scheduled each day. Volunteers can designate which days they are available. The time commitment per day would be 3 to 6 hours. Our morning route takes us down the Clinton River, starting at Mt. Clemens, into Lake St. Clair, and into Black Creek (Lake St. Clair Metropark), with a return trip in the afternoon.

Training dates for fall volunteers are Aug. 12, 19 and 25 (choose one). Training is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Macomb County MSU Extension office, Suite 12, 21885 Dunham Road, Clinton Township. Use entrance E at the rear of the building. Participants also should bring a lunch.

For more information or to register, please call Justin Selden at (586) 469-7139 or email glepmc@msu.edu. Learn more about the Great Lakes Education Program at www.glep.us.

The Great Lakes Education Program is presented by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority and with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Macomb County.

Heavy rainfall may increase risk of algal blooms in Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay

Algal Bloom Lake Erie 2500ft Tom Archer

View of an Algal bloom (from 2500 feet) along southeast Lake Erie shore of Pelee Island, Ontario (September, 2009). Photo: Tom Archer

Early summer storms have experts concerned about effect on waterways

By Katy Hintzen, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant

This past June was one of the wettest on record in the Midwest. Some of the heaviest storms in Michigan hit the southeast corner of the state and experts are concerned that high levels of phosphorus runoff into western Lake Erie may prompt record breaking algal blooms.

However, Lake Erie is not the only waterway that may see heavy rainfall impact water quality. Saginaw Bay shares many traits in common with Lake Erie that make it especially vulnerable to the environmental impacts of stormwater runoff. Both Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie are shallow bodies of water fed by very large drainage basins. In the case of Saginaw Bay, the drainage basin covers an area seven times bigger than the bay itself. A full 15 percent of the state of Michigan (8,709 square miles of land) is included within the Saginaw Bay watershed, meaning any rain that falls in this area eventually makes its way into Saginaw Bay.

The causes of algal blooms are complex but often a combination of warm temperatures, excess nutrients, and shallow slow moving water combine to create the perfect conditions for a major bloom. These three ingredients are most often present in shallow bodies of water that drain large areas of land, such as Saginaw Bay, Lake Erie, or Green Bay.

In some cases, algal blooms can produce toxins harmful to the health of humans and animals. These incidents are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs). It was a harmful algal bloom that contaminated Toledo’s water supply in August 2014. The most common harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes consist of blue-green algae. Despite its name, blue-green algae is not actually algae but rather a form of bacteria known in the scientific community as cyanobacteria. Like algae, cyanobacteria contains chlorophyll and gains energy through photosynthesis. More information about cyanobacteria and the potential health threats posed by HABs is available through the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (PDF).

Nutrients, primarily phosphorus and nitrogen, contribute to cyanobacteria growth in the same way that they promote faster growing flowers in our gardens and crops in our fields. Scientists believe that runoff from several sources including faulty septic systems, concentrated animal feeding operations, lawn fertilizers, urban stormwater, and agricultural fields are contributing to more frequent harmful algal blooms. Heavy rainfall can increase runoff from all of these sources and lead to higher levels of nutrients available to feed the growth of HABs. It’s a problem that will likely be further exacerbated by climate change as temperatures rise and we see more frequent extreme storm events.

Efforts to mitigate harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie gained national attention following the Toledo incident, leading to great strides in policy addressing nutrient runoff. However, it is important to be aware that this is not a threat unique to Lake Erie. Many communities across the Great Lakes rely on water bodies vulnerable to HABs. The creative solutions being employed to address nutrient runoff into Lake Erie could benefit these watersheds as well.

Citizen Scientists: Protecting the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly

Event Date: 7/24/2015

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Credit Paul Burton

Protecting the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly and High Quality Natural Habitats at Thompson’s Harbor and Negwegon State Parks

WHEN: Friday, July 24, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon

WHERE: Presque Isle District Library, 181 East Erie Street, Rogers City, MI 49779, (989) 734-2477

WHAT: Protecting the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly and High Quality Natural Habitats at Thompson’s Harbor and Negwegon State Parks.

  • Learn about unique plants, animals and natural communities that occur here including the extremely rare Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
  • Learn how invasive plants threaten these important species and habitats.
  • Become a volunteer “citizen scientist” to help us find Hine’s emerald dragonfly larval habitat and map invasive species at the same time!
  • Get information about future trainings and participate in upcoming field surveys

WHO: Anyone interested in learning more about these parks and this two year project to protect the Hine’s emerald dragonfly.

REGISTER: Please register by July 23 to attend this free presentation. Contact: Blake Gingrich, Hoeft State Park (989) 734-2543 or email: Gingrichb@michigan.gov

Questions: Please contact Bill Grigg (Friends of Thompson Harbor) WnGrigg@hotmail.com or (989-734-4385) or Daria Hyde (Michigan Natural Features Inventory) hydeda@msu.edu or (517-284-6189)

Sponsored by: Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Friends of Thompson’s Harbor, Friends of Negwegon, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks Stewardship ProgramHuron Pines and Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

Funding provided by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program Grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative