Great Lakes Conference, ANR Week

Event Date: 3/6/2018

The annual Great Lakes Conference held on March 6 will investigate the opportunities and challenges our Great Lakes face. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

The annual Great Lakes Conference held on March 6 will investigate the opportunities and challenges our Great Lakes face. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

The Great Lakes are one of Michigan’s most valuable resources, providing countless benefits in the present and offering tremendous opportunities for the future. Learn more about the opportunities and also the challenges facing the lakes during the annual Great Lakes Conference at Michigan State University.

The 28th Great Lakes Conference is an important part of MSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Week. The conference will be presented 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 6, 2018, at the MSU Kellogg Center auditorium on the East Lansing campus. The conference is sponsored by the MSU Institute of Water Research, MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Michigan Sea Grant; and the Office of the Great Lakes.

Workshop presentations

This year the Great Lakes Conference will focus on topics including beach monitoring, autonomous vehicles used in research, ice cover, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS), and more:

  • The Geomorphology and Evolution of Coastal Dunes along Lake Michigan – Dr. Alan F. Arbogast, Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing.
  • Seasonal, Interannual and Decadal Variability of Great Lakes Ice Cover – Dr. Jia Wang, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor.
  • Beach Monitoring using “Poop Sniffing” Dogs – Dr. Laura Symonds, Environmental Canine Services LLC, East Lansing.
  • New Aquatic Invasive Watch List Species – Sarah LeSage, Water Resources Division, MDEQ, Lansing.
  • Autonomous Vehicles in the Great Lakes for Exploration, Mapping and Environmental Monitoring – Dr. Guy Meadows, Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center, Michigan Tech University, Houghton.
  • Forecasting Harmful Algal Blooms to Help Lake Erie Stakeholders – Devin Gill, Outreach Specialist, Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, Ann Arbor.

Registration is open

The conference is open to the public. Registration is $10 through March 1; $12 at the door (students are free). If you are a K-12 or informal educator, you may be eligible to attend the Educator Luncheon and receive a stipend in support of your participation. Educators may contact Steve Stewart via email at stew@msu.edu.

Register online and don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about our present Great Lakes and planning for the future.

National Parks of the Great Lakes should be on your bucket list

U.S., Canada have each preserved lakeshores and parks of these beautiful natural resources.

Voyageurs National Park Photo courtesy NPS

Voyageurs National Park Photo courtesy NPS

Are you someone who loves to travel? If so, you have probably visited at least one or two of our National Parks. And you probably have a list of additional parks you’d like to visit when times allows. The good news for those of us in the Great Lakes region is that we have many National Parks at our doorstep – or more appropriately, shoreline – than in many other parts of North America.

On the American side of the Great Lakes, the National Park Service has set aside special areas, called units in the National Park System, to preserve “the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” These include three National Parks and four National Seashores. On the Canadian side, Parks Canada has done much the same, designating six National Parks, one National Marine Park, and one National Marine Conservation Area.

In the coming months we’ll be getting to know the varied parks on both sides of the border through a series of articles looking at their diverse natures and locations. From the Isle Royale and Voyageurs National Parks in the U.S., to the Georgian Bay Islands and Bruce Peninsula National Parks in Canada, we’ll see just how special these areas are and how they highlight some of the most unique features of the Great Lakes. Following are a couple of teasers to spark your interest in some of the articles ahead.

Do you know which parks can be found in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago? Or which park is at the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland? Do you know which Great Lakes park is the only U.S. national park to completely close during the winter? To get the answers to these questions and discover a host of fascinating facts about our Great Lakes national parks, look for the upcoming articles in this series.

Bird Counts across Michigan

Event Date: 12/14/2017
End Date: 1/5/2018

The longest running citizen science project in the world celebrates its 118th year.

Birders are all bundled up at Tahquamenon Falls in the winter. Photo: Elliot Nelson | Michigan Sea Grant

Birders are all bundled up at Tahquamenon Falls in the winter. Photo: Elliot Nelson | Michigan Sea Grant

In 1900, an ornithologist (aka bird scientist) named Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition, to count birds across the entire country. Conservation was in its early days, and Chapman was concerned about the decline in many of the bird species he loved. Frank Chapman’s idea was to collect data across the country on what birds were present and in what numbers to provide information on how bird populations were changing. Over the years this count, became known as the Christmas Bird Count. The count, which is organized by the National Audubon Society, has gained in popularity. In 1900, there were 24 counts from California to New York. Now there are over 2,500 counts ranging from Antarctica to Brazil to the farthest reaches of Alaska each year.

Fun and serious science

While counting the birds is a fun holiday tradition, the data collected is serious business. The data stored by the National Audubon Society is being used by ornithologists around the world for important research. The information collected in the counts can be used to track how bird populations are changing over time and how habitat changes can effect bird populations.

What is particularly unique about the Christmas Bird Counts is that they are run by volunteers with data collected by ordinary citizens from across the country. Anyone can volunteer to assist a particular count regardless of skill level.

Volunteers still needed

In Michigan there are around 65 counts that take place. Each count is organized on the local level by passionate volunteers or organizations such as Michigan AudubonThe Nature Conservancy and Michigan Sea Grant/Michigan State University Extension.

Each count is held on one day between December 14 and January 5. Many surveys take place during the weekend to attract the most participants and many counts are still looking for volunteers. If you are interested in participating in the Christmas Bird Count you can check out this interactive map to find the count closes to you. You can also contact the Michigan Audubon or one of their local chapters and they can help point you towards a count close to you. For more information on participating in a count read this Michigan Audubon article.

The holidays are a great time of year to get out and experience the outdoors. Why not contribute to science while you are at it?

New Canadian law will change rules for American boaters and anglers

Kayak event on the Detroit River

Kayak event on the Detroit River

Reporting to Canadian Customs no longer necessary under certain conditions.

Things are about to get easier for American boaters and anglers who venture into Canadian waters thanks to a new border enforcement law stemming from a bill drafted by Canadian Sen. Bob Runciman and recently signed by Governor General David Johnston. The House version was authored by House of Commons member Gordon Brown.

Bill S-233 received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017, meaning that American boaters and anglers will no longer be required to report to Canadian Customs as long as they do not leave their vessel, land, anchor, moor, or make contact with another conveyance in Canadian waters. However, the new law does require that boaters and anglers report to Canadian Customs if requested to do so by Customs agents. The change also means Canadians who venture into United States waters also do not have to contact Canadian Customs unless they leave their vessel, land, anchor, moor, or make contact with another conveyance in U.S. waters.

Prior to passage of the new law, American boaters and anglers were required to call Canadian Customs at (888) 226-7277 to check-in with their passport number, boat registration and express their intentions for entering Canadian waters and how long they anticipated being there.

“The reporting requirements were overly rigid, they were out of step with those facing Canadians who enter U.S. waters and they were hurting the economy of tourism-dependent border regions. And they didn’t do anything to enhance border security,” said Sen. Bob Runciman when asked why the rule change was important.

Although the new law makes it easier to boat and fish in Canadian waters, remember that valid fishing licenses are always required when fishing in U.S. and Canadian waters.

Additional information about Bill S-233 can be found on Sen. Runciman’s web­­site. The Royal Assent can be found on the Parliament of Canada website.

Clean Marina programs extend stewardship of the Great Lakes environment

Marina on Lake Superior

Michigan Sea Grant, as coordinator of the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network, has been active in supporting environmental sensitivity in the recreational boating industry. It recently provided two grants to support Great Lakes Clean Marina programs. It also produced and distributed informational signs to all of the Clean Marina programs in the region on best practices for environmental stewardship while boating. The network also developed a list of discounts certified Clean Marinas are eligible to receive, including a 10 percent underwriting credit on general liability insurance. With an average $15,000 policy, this credit results in a savings of $1,500 per year.

Clean Marina programs work to reduce pollution to coastal waters by encouraging environmentally friendly marina and boating practices. The Great Lakes Clean Marina Network is a forum for these programs to share resources, information, and best management practices. Funding for the grants and signs was made possible by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

“These projects and signs help Clean Marina programs in their efforts to protect the waters and coastlines that boaters enjoy,” notes Jim Diana, Michigan Sea Grant director. “We are pleased that insurance providers see the value of this program in helping marinas be safer and cleaner.”

Two $5,000 awards were provided to Clean Marina programs in the Great Lakes Region. The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program will expand program participation and certifications by increasing in-person technical assistance and improving program promotion, outreach, and training. The Ohio Clean Marina Program will create a model illustrating Clean Marina best management practices (BMPs) and how an “ideal” clean marina may function and appear. They will also work with agency experts to develop voluntary BMPs not already included in the certification criteria to address additional marina needs and goals.

All funded projects will report to the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network to share best practices and lessons learned.

To learn more about the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network and view a list of discounts available to certified Clean Marinas, visit glcleanmarina.org.

Contacts:
Catherine Riseng, Research Program Manager, (734) 936-3622, criseng@umich.edu
Rhett Register, Communications Program Leader, (734) 647-0767, rregist@umich.edu

Downriver Linked Greenways Celebration

Event Date: 6/8/2017

You’re invited to the Downriver Linked Greenway Celebration. Bring your bicycle or walking shoes and join us for the Stroll and Roll Meet-up following the festivities.

When: Thursday, June 8, at 4pm
Where: Trenton City Hall, 2800 Third St., Trenton, MI
RSVP: Trenton Parks and Recreation by June 7, please call (734) 675-7300

Sustainable Small Harbors Webinar

Event Date: 5/8/2017

Michigan Sea Grant to host webinar about Sustainable Small Harbors project findings and next steps

On May 8 at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT, Michigan Sea Grant will host a webinar titled, “The Sustainable Small Harbors Project: Helping coastal communities re-imagine their waterfront.”

This webinar will provide an overview of the Sustainable Small Harbors project, an initiative to boost the long-term well-being of Michigan’s coastal communities. All people involved in coastal communities, both in and outside of Michigan, are invited to participate.

The Sustainable Small Harbors project arose in 2014 when many of Michigan’s small coastal communities were struggling to cope with fluctuating water levels, declining populations, and economic instability. The project research team (consisting of Lawrence Technological University, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., Veritas Economic Consulting, LLC, and David Larkin Knight, LLC) has assessed barriers preventing small harbor communities from becoming socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

Members of the project research team along with personnel from Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension facilitated in-depth visioning workshops in six coastal communities to help community members identify potential growth areas for their waterfronts. By May 2017, the team will publish a guidebook to help other coastal communities analyze their own waterfront assets and develop strategies to bolster their long-term economic, social, and environmental stability.

“This effort empowers communities to overcome the burdens of their historic legacies,” says Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes. “The process engaged community members in constructive conversations to create a shared vision.”

The 90-minute webinar will provide an overview of the project’s history, major findings and outcomes, and future directions. Representatives from the cities of New Baltimore and Ontonagon will speak about their experiences with the project. The webinar will conclude with an open question-and-answer session.

Registration is required to participate in this webinar, scheduled for May 8, 2017, at 2–3:30 p.m. EDT. Please register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8474664373942398467

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar. Learn more about the project at: www.sustainablesmallharbors.org

Contact: Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant; (734) 647-0767, rregist@umich.edu 

Quiet Water Symposium

Event Date: 3/4/2017

quiet_water_symposium_arena_exhibits_2015

Mark your calendar and make plans to attend the 22nd Annual Quiet Water Symposium, which promotes non-motorized outdoor recreation.  Visit our Michigan Sea Grant booth and try your luck at winning a prize!

Last year’s Symposium featured over 200 exhibits, speakers and demonstrations. This year will feature presentations by noted travel writers, Jim DuFresne, Kevin Callan, Hap Wilson and the dean of outdoor writers, Cliff Jacobson.

Campers, hikers, cyclists, sailors, anglers, and of course paddle sport enthusiasts will all find something interesting at the symposium.

We hope to see you there!

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: Michigan State University Pavilion, 4301 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: Adults $10.00, Students with I/D $5.00, under 12 free.

www.quietwatersociety.org

Recreational Boating Educational Conference (RBEC)

Event Date: 12/7/2016
End Date: 12/8/2016

Where Michigan’s Marine Industry Comes Together

Education. Networking. Fun.

December 7–8, 2016

The Recreational Boating Educational Conference is produced annually by the Michigan Boating Industries Association, bringing in nationally renowned speakers with expertise and information specific to the educational needs of the marine industry. It’s an opportunity for marine business people to come together for education, networking and fun – a great way to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Don’t miss the most important conference to add to your calendar this year!

www.recreationalboatingconference.com

Location:

Radisson Hotel at the Capitol
111 N. Grand Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

Room Rate: $112.95/night

Reservations:
Radisson Reservations: (800) 333-3333
Hotel Direct: (517) 482-0188
Online: www.Radisson.com/lansingmi
PROMO CODE: RBEC16

Visioning for City of St. Ignace Waterfront

Event Date: 10/24/2016

sustainable-small-harbors-st-ignace

News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Clyde Hart or Les Therrien
City of St. Ignace
(906) 643-9671
simgr@lighthouse.net

[St. Ignace, Mich.] – The City of St. Ignace has been selected as a case study community in developing a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities. A research and design team will engage the St. Ignace community in an exercise to identify opportunities to secure the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of public waterfront facilities and the nearby community.

Driven by input from local citizens and community leaders, the project will review a draft coastal community sustainability toolkit and create some updated vision options for the City of St. Ignace harbor and waterfront. This will include learning from potential management strategies useful for small harbors elsewhere in Michigan and, more specifically, to assist the City of St. Ignace with identifying planning objectives that help ensure a more secure future.

The project is supported by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lawrence Technological University, Edgewater Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Public Meetings for Sustainable Harbor Visioning

Visioning Meeting
2–5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2016
St. Ignace Public Library
110 W. Spruce Street
St. Ignace, Michigan  49781

Agenda and more details available at: www.miseagrant.umich.edu/smallharborsustainability/get-involved/st-ignace/

Benefits to St. Ignace

As one of six case study communities, St. Ignace will benefit from in-depth visioning assessment — typically valued into the thousands of dollars — at no direct cost. The multi-disciplinary project team will host a key meeting to garner feedback, develop ideas, and create a sustainable vision for the St. Ignace waterfront and nearby areas.

Share Your Vision

Developing a vision for a sustainable harbor requires input from a wide range of stakeholders, including landowners, waterfront users, planning officials, chamber of commerce members, and local citizens. To share your vision, please attend this upcoming public meeting to collaboratively develop vision elements for the St. Ignace waterfront.

The visioning meeting is scheduled for 2 –5 p.m. Monday, October 24, 2016, at the St. Ignace Public Library, 110 W. Spruce Street,  St. Ignace, Michigan. Discussion will include pedestrian access, harbor use, and linking the waterfront to downtown and commercial areas.

 

Additional Contacts:

Mark Breederland
Educator & Facilitator
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
breederl@msu.edu
(231) 922-4628

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