Michigan environment roundup: ‘Bee highway’ to the rescue in Detroit

“Bees in the D” operates 102 hives across Michigan, hoping to bolster bee populations and educate the public about the importance of the pollinators, which are declining in number. (Photo by Charles J. Sharp, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bridge Magazine is committed to sharing the best environmental journalism in and around Michigan, an effort called #EnviroReads.

In Bridge’s Michigan Environment Watch, we share a roundup of recent stories on the Great Lakes or other issues. If you see a story we should include next time, use the hashtag #EnviroReads on Twitter or email Environmental Reporter Jim Malewitz at jmalewitz@bridgemi.com.

What Happens When Humans Fall In Love With An Invasive Species


“There is no commercial smelt fishing on Lake Superior today. But because the smelt in Lake Superior are an invasive species, their decline is actually a sign that the lake is becoming healthier, ecologically speaking,” Maggie Koerth-Baker reported. “From a cultural and economic perspective, though, the North Shore isn’t what it was. So is the decline of smelt something to celebrate? And if so, who should be throwing the party?”

Mackinac Bridge Authority members: We weren't consulted on Straits tunnel

Detroit Free Press

“The Mackinac Bridge Authority owning a new oil pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac that's built by, then leased back to, Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge? That's news to bridge authority members. Three members of the seven-member Mackinac Bridge Authority board contacted by the Free Press on Friday said they had no involvement with, or input into, the plan announced by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration and Enbridge,” Keith Matheny reported.

‘We were here first’: Tribes say Line 5 pipeline tunnel ignores treaty rights

Energy News Network

“Michigan officials have spent the past year pursuing a plan to tunnel an oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac while ignoring the 182-year-old treaty rights of Native Americans,” Andy Balaskovitz reported, citing multiple tribal leaders. “While the Snyder administration formally met with tribes three times over the past year under a State-Tribal Accord, tribal chairpersons say these consultations were little more than an “airing of grievances” for them.”

A ‘bee highway’ is being created in Detroit, and it could help offset the dangerous decline of honeybees

Business Insider

“A nonprofit in Detroit is setting up beehives around the city to help increase local bee populations and educate residents about the importance of pollinators. Bees in the D, which launched two years ago with six hives, operates 102 hives throughout Michigan and nearby areas,” Peter Kotecki reported. “The US Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate about $15 billion of crops each year, including almonds and zucchinis. But honeybee populations have declined dramatically for most of the past decade, largely due to Colony Collapse Disorder, in which a majority of worker bees disappear from their colony.

State at odds with feds over Wurtsmith chemical contamination

Detroit News

“State officials and the Department of Defense remain deadlocked over whether the Air Force should accept more responsibility for cleaning up and paying for the chemical contamination in Oscoda after nearly a year in dispute resolution,” Beth LeBlanc reported. “The ongoing disagreement between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and federal officials was highlighted during last Friday's round table discussion with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Kalamazoo, where the Department of Defense was notably absent.”

Michigan's hops industry hopping

Detroit News

“Few businesses can boast a 150 percent increase in production in two years. Michigan hop farmers can. The growth of craft beers and number of specialty brewers has created new opportunities for growers in Michigan, where soil and climate conditions are optimal for quality hop production along the 45th Parallel,” John L. Russell reported. “The renewed interest in locally grown farm products and the popularity of brewpubs have given rise to hop yards throughout the state."

Why this 2010 approval of a multi-million gallon Great Lakes water diversion is drawing new scrutiny

Michigan Radio

“When Peter Annin, director of the Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College, was completing research for an updated version of his book The Great Lakes Water Wars, he discovered a detail about Great Lakes water diversions that had gone unnoticed for 8 years,” Michigan Radio’s Stateside staff reported. “According to his findings, the state of Wisconsin never announced that in 2010, it approved the village of Pleasant Prairie’s request to extract seven million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, the largest water diversion in the state.”


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