Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit

The Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit will take place from 10am to 3pm on August 15 at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center in Frankenmuth.

The free summit will explore the impact of extreme storms and flooding in the Saginaw Bay region and look at strategies for resilience. Decision makers, planners, residents, and other interested partners are encouraged to attend.

Topics include hazard mitigation strategies, green infrastructure, and more. Summit keynote speaker, Mike Sobocinski from the Michigan State Police, will share information about hazard mitigation planning in the context of the Saginaw Bay watershed. There also will be time for networking over the provided lunch. 

Summit venue:

Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center
3775 S. Reese Road
Frankenmuth, MI 48734

For questions or accessibility needs, contact:

Meaghan Gass at gassmeag@msu.edu or (989) 895-4026 ext. 5

Please share the Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit opportunity with your networks.

Michigan Sea Grant is looking for an Administrative Assistant!

Interested in being part of a dynamic state-wide team that provides research, education, and outreach around Great Lakes issues? Michigan Sea Grant is the place for you.  

The Administrative Assistant will help with operations and communications of the office, including providing administrative support to all program areas as needed. He/she will be the consistent staff member in the office and on the phone, providing welcoming and responsive service to anyone who reaches out to MISG office. This position serves as the main presence in the MISG office for approximately 40 hours per week.

To learn more visit: http://careers.umich.edu/job_detail/160473/administrative_assistant

The job opening ID is 160473. Application deadline is July 26, 2018.

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference

Travel to Beaver Island to explore online opportunities for expanding the heritage trail network across Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

By Brandon Schroeder

Poster describing Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Conference to be held on Beaver Island, Sept. 12-13, 2018.

The 2018 Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference heads to Beaver Island, Mich., for a heritage experience, and also conversation toward expanding fisheries heritage trail partnerships across Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Beaver Island Historical Society in collaboration with Central Michigan University Biological StationMichigan Sea GrantMichigan State University Extension, and other network partners will host the annual conference Sept. 12-13, 2018. This conference is a great opportunity for networking, sharing information and resources, and gaining new ideas linking our valuable Great Lakes fisheries with historic preservation, heritage tourism, education, and other community development efforts.

Explore technology and online opportunities

Does your community you have a local fisheries business, maritime museum or historic site, fisheries exhibit or educational materials, or even fisheries events or experiences? Would you like to share your community’s fisheries heritage stories and opportunities in more accessible ways? This year’s conference will serve to unveil a new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website; and explore technology and online opportunities to better connect local fisheries heritage among Great Lakes-wide audiences. Participants will learn to archive, share and connect work in their local communities, museums, and libraries with others across the state.

Explore fisheries heritage and Great Lakes science

The networking picnic, which kicks off the conference festivities on Sept. 12, 2018, is always a highlight. We will take a tour of Beaver Island Historical Society’s maritime museum, which includes a wealth of fisheries heritage artifacts, images, and stories; along with a visit to the CMU Biological Station. The following day (Sept. 13, 2018) will feature an educational conference with presentations and discussion centered on promoting fisheries heritage in connection with tourism, historic preservation and Great Lakes education goals.

This two-day conference will offer:

  • Conference kick-offand networking reception at 1 p.m. Sept. 12, 2018, with an afternoon picnic (provided) and guided tours of fisheries heritage and Great Lakes science partners and programs on Beaver Island.
  • Business meeting for the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium (open to all) will be held following dinner on Sep. 12, 2018. Participants are invited to assist in planning for this statewide network. This Great Lakes fisheries network works to benefit local museum programs and the work of fisheries organizations, promote Great Lakes literacy, enhance coastal tourism development opportunities, foster educational connections, and support community development efforts.
  • Conference educational sessions begin 9 a.m. Sept. 13, 2018, in the James Gillingham Academic Center. Learn from panel presenters, and share your own ideas and experiences that can help bring fisheries heritage stories to life. Learn how to use a new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website and resource in advancing your local work.

Register online to attend

  • Visit the conference website to register online. This educational program is open to all those interested in promoting maritime heritage tourism and Great Lakes stewardship. Please register by Friday, Sept. 7.
  • Registration is $50 ($30 for students) and includes picnic lunch and guided tours of Beaver Island on Sept. 12; and participation in educational conference sessions with lunch provided on Sept. 13.
  • Lodging is provided onsite at the CMU Biological Station for $76 (1 night) or $84 (2 nights) – payment and arrangements for lodging are included this year as part of registration process.
  • Travel to Beaver Island (from Charlevoix) includes ferry and flying options. Beaver Island Ferry runs on Sept. 12th (11:30 a.m. departure) and gets you to the Island on time for conference kick-off (NOTE: ferry returns on Sept. 14th – so those choosing ferry option should plan for an extra day). Flights are also available via Fresh Air Aviation and Island Airways.

For additional information about this educational program contact Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant Extension (schroe45@msu.edu, 989-354-9885).

Farmers needed to test EnviroImpact tool

With the tool, farmers can better determine when to apply manure as a fertilizer source with lower runoff risks.

By Meaghan Gass and Erica Rogers

Farm machinery shown in a field spreading manure. Utilizing manure as a fertilizer source can be a cost-effective way for farmers to meet crop nutrient needs, and with effective application, be environmentally sustainable. Photo: Beth Ferry, MSU Extension

Utilizing manure as a fertilizer source can be a cost-effective way for farmers to meet crop nutrient needs, and with effective application, be environmentally sustainable. Photo: Beth Ferry, MSU Extension

Are you a farmer applying manure to your farm fields? Then your help is needed to test the Michigan EnviroImpact tool.

The MI EnviroImpact tool is a decision-support tool for short-term manure application planning that shows daily runoff risks across Michigan. The tool’s runoff risk forecast comes from real-time precipitation and temperature forecasts, which are combined with snow melt, soil moisture, and landscape characteristics in order to forecast runoff events. With the tool, farmers can better determine when to apply manure as a fertilizer source with lower runoff risks.

MI EnviroImpact Tool Website Screen Shot

Reducing risk of runoff

Nutrients found in manure and commercial fertilizers, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can enter rivers and streams as runoff, and in Michigan, almost all of our waterways flow to the Great Lakes. When it rains, these nutrients have the potential to wash into nearby waterways, which can cause an excess of nutrients and lead to algae overgrowth, or harmful algal blooms. These algal blooms can have a big impact on the Great Lakes watershed as they consume oxygen that fish need to survive and can affect the quality of drinking water. With manure application planning, farmers are able reduce the risk of nutrient runoff and help better protect the Great Lakes.

Manure application is just one source of harmful algal blooms, but with proper planning, farmers can help keep applied manure nutrients on their fields and reduce runoff entering the Great Lakes.

Pilot program seeks farmers to help

Currently, tool developers are recruiting farmers to pilot the MI EnviroImpact tool. If you are interested in piloting the tool and sharing a testimonial, please contact Erica Rogers (email: roger392@msu.edu; Phone: 989-875-5233, ext. 5296). Farmer input and feedback could be used in promotional materials to highlight the tool and how farmers can use it as a decision support tool to reduce runoff risk.

The Michigan EnviroImpact Tool was developed in partnership with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration National Weather ServiceMichigan Department of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentMichigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance ProgramMichigan State University Institute of Water ResearchMichigan Sea Grant and MSU Extension. The tool is part of a regional effort to improve runoff risk decision support tools in the Great Lakes basin supported by the Environmental Protection AgencyGreat Lakes Restoration Initiative, and National Weather Service North Central River Forecast Center.

2018 Freshwater Summit

Michigan Sea Grant and its partners invite you to attend the 11th annual Freshwater Summit. The summit is a great place for environmental professionals and engaged citizens to network and to focus on current issues facing the Great Lakes region. 

This year the Freshwater Summit will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26, 2018, at the Hagerty Center, 715 E. Front Street, Traverse City.

Topics for 2018 will include:

  • Great Lakes lake levels and the impact of their rapid rebound
  • Bringing the science of coastal change and resilience to the local level
  • More accurately measuring the impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 
  • And additional topics surrounding our freshwater resources

Registration information will be available soon.

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

Mark your calendars and save the date!

Free Webinar: Coastal Storm Hazards

Free webinar series: Improving awareness of coastal storm hazards, stormwater runoff, and risk reduction strategies

Decision makers and planners – check out these free webinars to gain information about how to better support your community when facing extreme storms and flooding.

By Meaghan Gass

Water is shown covering a road. Road closed sign warns drivers not to enter the roadway.

In June 2017, the Saginaw Bay region faced a storm that caused major flooding to roads, homes, businesses and agriculture. A state of emergency was declared in Bay, Isabella and Midland counties. Extreme storms, like this June event, can also contribute to issues like erosion, runoff pollution, infrastructure instability and crop damage. Communities in the Saginaw Bay watershed are especially susceptible to these issues due to the area’s land-use patterns and topography.

Often, we focus on responding to these emergencies, yet it is equally important to invest in preparing before the storm. Prior to this particular storm, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and other local Saginaw Bay organizations partnered to improve community resiliency, which in this instance refers to a community’s ability to adapt to and recover quickly from extreme storms. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Storms Program, decision-makers across the Saginaw Bay watershed’s 22 counties participated in a 2015 survey to explore views of extreme storms and their local impacts. The results of the surveys are summarized in this report along with outreach actions to improve community resiliency.

Using the survey results as a guide for resources needed, Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant are hosting a series of three FREE webinars to support decision makers and planners in addressing and developing resiliency related to extreme storms and flooding in the Saginaw Bay region. Visit http://bit.ly/ResilientSaginawBay to register for the webinar series. These webinars will be recorded, but attending the live webinar is encouraged in order to address any questions directly with the experts.

All of the webinars will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Upcoming dates and topics include:

June 20: NOAA Digital Coast Partnership: Using data to support community resiliency

Learn about the NOAA Digital Coast Partnership and how the available data and tools help communities address coastal issues.

June 27: Extreme Storms and Hazard Mitigation Strategies

Explore different types of hazards, including extreme storms and flooding, and mitigation planning efforts that support community resilience.

July 11: National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System

Find out more about the NFIP’s Community Rating System, where communities can reduce flood insurance premiums for local property owners by completing flood protection activities.

If you have any questions or accessibility needs, please contact Meaghan Gass (Email: gassmeag@msu.edu | Phone: 989-895-4026 ext. 5).

Huron-Michigan Predator Diet Study gears up for summer

Student researchers at MSU are busy analyzing the contents of fish stomachs collected by Great Lakes anglers.

The fish diet study team gathers in the MSU fish research lab, including (back from left) Nick Green, Mark Hamlyn, Nick Yeager, Dr. Dan O’Keefe, Dr, Brian Roth, Brok Lamorandier, (front from left) Katie Kierczynski, Jasmine Czajka. Photo: Katelyn Brolick

The fish diet study team gathers in the MSU fish research lab, including (back from left) Nick Green, Mark Hamlyn, Nick Yeager, Dr. Dan O’Keefe, Dr, Brian Roth, Brok Lamorandier, (front from left) Katie Kierczynski, Jasmine Czajka. Photo: Katelyn Brolick

Future Spartan already building MSU network through underwater robotics, science career exploration

Alpena High School student assisting sturgeon science team in capturing video, data in the Black River.

Liz Thomson works with Doug Larson from the lake sturgeon science team at MSU to install underwater cameras in the Black River. Courtesy photo

Liz Thomson works with Doug Larson from the lake sturgeon science team at MSU to install underwater cameras in the Black River. Courtesy photo

High school is a good time to explore career opportunities—an idea that one Alpena High School student has taken to heart. Liz Thomson soon will be a proud student of Michigan State University. However even before attending MSU, she has combined on-the-job career exploration with networking at the college.

This past year (and upcoming summer), Thomson has worked for Michigan Sea Grant and gained experience that cross-connects her passion for underwater robotics with an interest in future science careers. Along the way she has found many opportunities for fun and to add engaging learning, leadership, and career experiences to her resume.

Dr. Kim Scribner and Doug Larson lead a lake sturgeon research team from MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. They are embarking on a new citizen science project to track movement of spawning sturgeon along with other fish species in the Black River (Cheboygan River Watershed). Thomson is contributing to the project.

The MSU sturgeon science team is installing cameras above the water to capture video of the variety of large fish migrating in the Black River during the springtime sturgeon spawning season. Thomson explored underwater video options and also helped install an underwater camera which will be used help to verify species identification in video data collected during this project. Her project reflects a career exploration opportunity supported by the Michigan Sea Grant and a recently funded Great Lakes NOAA B-WET grant supporting meaningful watershed education experiences for youth across northeast Michigan.

Thomson has fostered her expertise in applying underwater technology toward science through her leadership with the Alpena 4-H Underwater Robotics club and involvement with NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s MATE Underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) competition.

She has been part of several underwater robotics teams who have built and successfully competed across the state and nation. She also has been involved in a variety of hands-on Great Lakes and natural resource learning experiences in elementary, middle and high school through the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI). The initiative is a regional place-based education network and partnership for which MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant provide leadership.

Photo shows Liz Thomson who is the subject of the story

With this new project, Thomson is able to explore careers in Great Lakes and natural resources, and support research designed to better connect citizens with stewardship of the state-threatened lake sturgeon.

While employed by Michigan Sea Grant, Thomson has supported Great Lakes educational programs in northeast Michigan ranging from fisheries science to youth education projects. “Michigan Sea Grant has given me lots of great connections and networking opportunities from the lake sturgeon project and from the NEMIGLSI network,” Thompson said. “Working with the Sea Grant staff has allowed me to develop my skills with data entry and summarizing evaluations and surveys.”

Beyond this in-the-water project, Thomson has been working with a local Sturgeon for Tomorrow Chapter and educators from the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service to adapt their sturgeon education program for Great Lakes educator audiences. This summer she hopes to pilot some adapted educational activities with teachers – and data collected through this sturgeon citizen science project will be integrated as part of these adapted lessons.

Lake sturgeon exhibit opens at Belle Isle Aquarium

Sturgeon model on the move! Photo: Mary Bohling

An exhibit celebrating Michigan’s ancient, iconic lake sturgeon opened at Detroit’s Belle Isle Aquarium on May 25.

On loan from Michigan Sea Grant, the exhibit was previously on display at the Michigan Science Center and features an intricate, life-sized model of an adult female lake sturgeon. This 6-foot-long model gives visitors a close-up look at the features that make the lake sturgeon such a unique inhabitant of the Great Lakes. Visitors can also meet Belle Isle Aquarium’s living population of young lake sturgeon, who are at least 15 years away from maturity.

The exhibit’s engaging interpretive materials tell the story of the lake sturgeon and its connections to local ecosystems and economies. “We want to show this iconic species to the people who would not necessarily see sturgeon in their lifetime or don’t even know it exists in the waters surrounding Detroit,” says Amy Emmert, Belle Isle Aquarium’s director of education.

These ancient fish once thrived in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, serving as an important food source for Native American tribes. Due to overfishing and habitat loss, lake sturgeon populations today are estimated to be at one percent of their historical levels. In recent years, many local partners have worked to raise awareness and restore habitat for lake sturgeon in the Detroit and St. Clair rivers.

“The display allows us to demonstrate how conservation can be accomplished through partnerships, education, and local efforts,” says Emmert. “The exhibit highlights restoration efforts, such as new rocky reefs created to provide egg-laying habitats for lake sturgeon off Belle Isle and throughout the Detroit River.”

The Belle Isle Aquarium is open to visitors Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Parking and admission are free.

To learn more, visit: www.belleisleconservancy.org/belle-isle-aquarium and www.miseagrant.umich.edu/explore/restoration/restoring-fish-habitat-st-clair-river/

Visit the sturgeon display in its new home on Belle Isle. Photo: Mary Bohling

Visit Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit near Charlevoix

East Jordan is second stop for traveling Smithsonian exhibit

East Jordan will be the second of six Michigan communities to host the Smithsonian’s traveling Water/Ways exhibit in 2018. Water/Ways is a unique display and event series that explores the essential role of water in our environment, economy, and society.

The Water/Ways exhibit will begin in June 2018 and close in April 2019, stopping at each site for a six-week period. Host sites will complement the exhibit with programming focused on the local history and information about water in each area.

A statewide Great Lakes-specific exhibit will also travel to each location as part of The Great Lakes Water Heritage Project, offered in partnership by the Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Humanities Council, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Michigan State University. It will feature regional and local Great Lakes history, facts, and simple ways for people to practice everyday water stewardship. 

The six host sites and dates of the exhibit are:

Beaver Island–Charlevoix County 
Venue: Beaver Island Historical Society June 23 – August 5, 2018

East Jordan–Charlevoix County 
Venue: Raven Hill Discovery Center August 11 – September 23, 2018

Big Rapids–Mecosta County 
Venue: Artworks September 29 – November 11, 2018

Harrisville–Alcona County 
Venue: Alcona Public Library November 17 – December 30, 2018

Niles–Berrien County 
Venue: Niles Public Library January 5 – February 17, 2019

Owosso–Shiawassee County 
Venue: Shiawassee Arts Center  February 23 – April 7, 2019