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Preview: The Environment Report Podcast

The Environment Report

Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" hosted by Rebecca Williams explores the relationship between the natural world and the everyday lives of people in Michigan. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday.

Last Build Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2017 05:28:24 +0000


New "commander" of MDEQ's beleaguered drinking water division hopes to boost morale

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:42:53 +0000

There’s a new guy running the drinking water division at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric Oswald served 12 years of active duty in the Air Force. He spent the last five years as a commander at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek. Oswald is not a drinking water expert.

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Why lawsuits over climate change are on the rise

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:38:55 +0000

The number of state and federal lawsuits related to climate change has been on the rise since 2006. Sabrina McCormick is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at The George Washington University Miliken Institute School of Public Health. She's the lead author of a study in the journal Science that finds the role of climate science in court is changing.

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Antidepressants are building up in fish brains in the Great Lakes region

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:02:44 +0000

Antidepressants that people take are building up in the brains of fish like walleye, bass, and perch. Researchers studied fish from the Niagara River, which connects lakes Erie and Ontario.

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Solving a sugar maple mystery

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 15:27:01 +0000

Earthworms seem pretty harmless. But they’re causing problems for Michigan’s multi-million dollar sugar maple industry. That’s the finding of a study by Tara Bal, a research assistant professor of forest resources and environmental science at Michigan Technological University.

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Detroit's Whitney Mansion is going green

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:52:26 +0000

The 123-year old Whitney Mansion wastes a lot of electricity. But now the Detroit icon is going green. Let's just hope the ghost living there is okay with it.

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Bloody red shrimp: invasive species or tasty snack?

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:00:00 +0000

Around the Great Lakes, millions of dollars are spent to fight invasive species like Asian carp. But when scientists find a new animal or plant in the area, it’s not always clear if it’s harmful or helpful.

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Northern Michigan fishermen wrestle over catching carp

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 14:59:22 +0000

Common carp have been in Michigan since the late 1800s. They’re not considered an invasive species because they’ve been around so long. Many people consider them to be a “trash fish,” but flyfishing for carp is very popular in northern Michigan.

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Why we could have more toxic blooms in our warming world

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:15:16 +0000

There’s a green bloom of cyanobacteria on Lake Erie again. People who run water utilities and scientists are watching the bloom because the cyanobacteria can produce toxins called microcystins that are dangerous for people and pets. It's what made Toledo’s drinking water unsafe to drink in 2014. Chris Winslow directs Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory. He says the bloom’s covering about 10% of the western basin.

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Building a better Lyme disease test?

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:57:07 +0000

Experts tell us it’s important to treat Lyme disease early, and state officials say Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Michigan. But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it can sometimes be confused with a similar condition that’s also transmitted by ticks, called Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, or STARI.

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We still don’t know if the Flint water crisis caused miscarriages

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:00:00 +0000

One of the toughest things about being a parent in Flint right now is the uncertainty. If your kid gets diagnosed with ADHD, or struggles in school, there’s a part of you that wonders: is it because of the lead exposure?

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Why did the Asian carp cross the electric barrier? This scientist is on the case.

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:16:58 +0000

An Asian carp was caught this summer in a place where it shouldn’t be – beyond an electric barrier meant to keep the species out of Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes. Now, a researcher at Southern Illinois University is trying to figure out just how it got there.

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Trying to trap invasive sea lamprey with "eel ladders"

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 15:31:58 +0000

The sea lamprey is an invasive fish with a round mouth like a suction cup. It latches onto big fish like lake trout and salmon, drills its razor sharp tongue into them, and gets fat drinking their blood and body fluids. A single lamprey can kill up to 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime. We spend about $20 million dollars a year to control lampreys. One of the main ways people do that is with a pesticide, but researchers are working on other ways to control the invasive species.

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Reporter's Notebook: How much Detroit water do Coke and Pepsi use?

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:50:00 +0000

Back in January of this year, when I first decided to embark on reporting about bottled water in Michigan, I had literally no idea what I was in for. That’s probably a good thing, because I plowed ahead naively optimistic and enthusiastic.

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Study: Bacteria can grow in faucet water filters

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:57:10 +0000

Water filters that you attach to your faucet are known to be good for filtering out heavy metals like lead and disinfectants like chlorine. But they’re not designed to filter out bacteria that can grow in the filter itself.

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Tiny lobsters of doom: Why this invasive crayfish is bad news

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

A couple weeks ago, this guy in Kalamazoo County sees something a little odd: what looks like a tiny lobster, trying to cross the road. He takes a picture of it, and sends it to the man who’s been dreading this moment: Seth Herbst, the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the fisheries division at the Department of Natural Resources. “And as soon as I saw that photo, it was a clear as day that that was a red swamp crayfish,” Herbst sighs. But his day was only going to get worse. Later that very morning, he heard from another person in that same area – Sunset Lake in Vicksburg – who saw a red swamp crayfish walking around in their yard. This was bad news.

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Turning an old highway into a "pop-up forest"

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:00:00 +0000

Many cities in the Rust Belt are still shrinking, because people continue to move away. Some have lost so many people, that highways are unneeded, and being removed. In one Midwestern city, what’s being constructed (at least, temporarily) is giving some people hope for the future of its downtown.

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Some species might be both winners and losers under climate change

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:35:33 +0000

We talk a lot about how people can adapt to climate change, and scientists have found that some animals are changing their behavior, too. The ability to change rapidly because of environmental changes is called behavioral flexibility.

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Northern Michigan community tries to stay ahead of massive contaminated plume

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0000

When I arrive at Bethany Hawkins' home, the first thing she does is offer me a glass of her well water. "Our water's always been really good," she says.

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What one biologist says you need to know about the mass extinction event that's underway

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:56:14 +0000

Biologists say the sixth mass extinction episode on Earth is already happening. But researchers say if we only look at species extinctions, we miss a big part of the story. Paul Ehrlich is a professor emeritus of biology at Stanford University, and an author of a new study about this published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

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Bats that warm up together in hibernation could be fighting white-nose syndrome

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 15:05:13 +0000

White-nose syndrome is killing millions of bats in 31 states including Michigan, and five Canadian provinces. It’s a disease caused by a fungus. But clusters of bats that warm up together during hibernation might have an edge against the fungus. Researchers discovered this by putting temperature-sensing surveillance cameras in caves.

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