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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: Sat, 29 Jul 2017 11:45:28 +0000


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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CDC's tick advice remains the same after Lyme disease discovery

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:16:41 +0000

There’s a newly discovered kind of bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, Borrelia mayonii . Scientists have run tests to find out how long it takes to transmit the disease after a tick bites you.

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Why tiny particles of pollution increase the risk of premature death in older Americans

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 12:50:00 +0000

Long-term exposure to certain kinds of air pollution increases the risk of premature death in Americans over 65 years old. That finding holds true even at levels of air pollution below national standards.

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Why state officials want hunters to help control bovine tuberculosis

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:48:29 +0000

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern lower Michigan. Infected deer in the area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized dairy products.

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A proposal to remove the Hamilton Dam prompts Flint River dredging project

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:50:00 +0000

A century-old legacy of Flint’s industrial past is the focus of a major cleanup project this summer. The Flint River is the main artery flowing through Flint’s industrial heart. For decades, from the late 1800’s and into the 1920’s, a gasification plant located along the river turned coal into much-needed natural gas.

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What EPA budget cuts could mean for low-income and minority communities

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:50:00 +0000

The EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice is meant to defend communities that face a disproportionate share of the effects of pollution. But that office’s funding could be cut entirely in the 2018 budget.

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Scientists want to create a warning system for freshwater tsunamis

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:19:08 +0000

This week, experts are getting together in Ann Arbor to make a warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. We have on average 106 meteotsunamis in the lakes each year.

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Why 5 officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:33:02 +0000

New charges in the Flint water crisis are connected to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Five current and former government officials are now facing involuntary manslaughter charges in the Flint water crisis. The charges are in connection with a Legionnaires' disease outbreak during the height of the crisis. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia caused by bacteria.

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Survey: Majority of Americans want states to take the lead on climate change

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:17:48 +0000

A majority of Americans believe states should take the lead to address climate change if the federal government fails to act. That’s one of the findings of the latest in a series of National Surveys on Energy and Environment .

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A climate change discovery in tiny bits of decomposing leaves

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 21:42:27 +0000

What do tiny pieces of decomposing leaves have to do with climate change? It turns out they’re nitrous oxide hot spots. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that’s 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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Study: some highly fluorinated chemicals are harder to filter from water

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:29:20 +0000

Researchers have found some kinds of chemicals are harder to filter from water. These compounds belong to a family called highly fluorinated chemicals. They’re used to make carpets, clothes and cookware stain and water repellant. They’ve also been used in firefighting foam at military bases and airports. Those chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated drinking water around the country, including drinking water wells near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda.

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Building more green infrastructure in the Great Lakes region

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:32:58 +0000

Green infrastructure is the focus of a conference at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week. The people behind it say it’s time to start thinking differently about how we handle storm water throughout the Great Lakes; but make sure we do it right.

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Cuts to conservation funding in President Trump's budget

Tue, 30 May 2017 12:00:00 +0000

The Trump administration’s detailed budget proposal leaves fewer resources for protecting endangered species. Under the proposed plan, the budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be trimmed to $1.3 billion for 2018. Brett Hartl, Government Affairs Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says that’s about an 8% funding cut for conservation. He says the Trump administration’s cuts to the domestic side of the budget, in favor of defense spending, aren’t a surprise.

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Crowdsourcing meets science with new animal tracking technology

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:46:57 +0000

Researchers have developed a way to track endangered species using smartphones and drones, and you can help them with that work.

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Does the free market or government regulation drive more use of renewables?

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:29:37 +0000

A new survey finds a majority of Americans (54%) lean toward regulations as the best way to increase our use of renewable energy versus relying on economic markets alone. Cary Funk is the associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. She says a majority of Americans say that increasing the use of renewable energy sources should be a top priority for the country’s energy policies. “But there’s a closer divide on whether or not government regulations are necessary or whether the private marketplace can ensure that businesses and consumers increase more reliance on renewables even without regulations,” she says.

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