Michigan environment roundup: Cancer fears in Oscoda over PFAS

Wurtsmith Air Force Base is among a growing list of PFAS-polluted sites in Michigan.

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.

Wurtsmith base water may have caused veteran cancers

MLive“Drinking water laced with high levels of poisonous chemicals may be to blame for cancer and other chronic disease among veterans and families who lived at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in northern Michigan,” Garret Ellison reports, citing a recently released federal health draft report. “That conclusion, reached in July by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), sets the table for Congress to consider legislation that would force the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend health benefits to base veterans without making them somehow prove their illnesses are linked to chemical exposure.”

Disappearing beaches part of the ebb and flow of Great Lakes water levels

Michigan Radio

“Like many of us, listener Steven Drews, from Lapeer, and his family love spending time at Lake Michigan during the summer,” Michigan Radio’s Stateside reports. “But for the past couple of years, Drews has noticed some changes at the his family's favorite Alberta, Michigan, beach. The last time they visited, Drews said the beach they normally love to walk along was no longer there. Instead, there was a cliff.” The radio program interviewed Philip Chu, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory to discuss why.

Garden City man fights ticket for turkey who moved into his backyard

Detroit News

“Mark Johnston’s wife had just left him in March when he was visited by a stranger who refused to leave. Stranger still, the guest was a gargantuan turkey. The 30-pound butterball, who moved into the backyard, was unbidden but not unwelcomed,” Francis X. Donnelly reports in an unlikely story about man-turkey companionship and the city that has tried to thwart it. “Alas, Garden City, like most municipalities, doesn’t allow residents to keep wild animals as pets. It fined Johnston $100 for harboring a gobbler. Adding insult to injury, it charged him another $100 for having a messy yard.”

Scientists creating meteotsunami warning system for the Great Lakes

Michigan Radio

“Scientists are creating an experimental warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. Meteotsunamis are potentially dangerous waves that are driven by storms,” Rebecca Williams reports. “Eric Anderson is a physical oceanographer with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Meteotsunamis are a very particular kind of wave and we don’t yet have the ability to forecast when and where they’re going to occur,” he says.”

Researchers discover 2 new non-native species in Great Lakes

Chicago Tribune

“Cornell University researchers have confirmed two new exotic species, both about the size of a flea, have established themselves in the Great Lakes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Tony Briscoe reports. “The arrival and staying power of both species in western Lake Erie remains a mystery to scientists who say it is the farthest north either has been tracked in the Western Hemisphere. Though neither is considered an invasive species because they have been found in low abundance compared with native zooplankton, they now join the more than 180 foreign species that have crept into the Great Lakes, which has one of the highest numbers of non-indigenous species in the world.”

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