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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“State spending on attorneys working on civil and criminal court cases tied to the Flint water crisis has nearly reached $25 million, new figures requested by MLive-The Flint Journal shows,” Ron Fonger reports. “Accountings by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Health and Human Services and Governor's Office detail the spending, which has increased approximately $5 million since the start of the year, reaching more than $24.8 million...State employees charged with crimes are also being paid while on leave.”
Detroit Free Press
“At an idyllic, quiet, tranquil patch of fen and prairie in Oakland County's Springfield Township, a tragedy is unfolding. It's there that Michigan's most endangered species, the Poweshiek skipperling butterfly, flutters away what may be its last days on Earth,” Keith Matheny reports. “The brownish-orange, thumbnail-sized butterfly, with a wingspan of only an inch or so, once was fairly common on the North American plains. Now, it's precariously close to extinction.”
What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan
“For nearly a century, a dam at the head of the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., has been used like a faucet, controlling the amount of water flowing from Lake Superior into lakes Michigan and Huron,” Tony Briscoe reports. “In the past five years, following a swift rise in lake levels, the relatively obscure Lake Superior board that regulates the amount of water released has stepped up these discharges, raising an outcry from a group representing property owners along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and potentially harming seasonal tourism.”
“Scientists and regulators are trying to define their approaches to highly fluorinated chemicals - collectively known as PFAS - as officials increasingly discover them in water supplies, prompting concerns to escalate. But Michigan's consumers also are looking for answers,” Paula Gardner reports. Among suggestions for taking action: “If you're on a municipal water supply, learn what testing shows” and “use caution when catching fish that you'll eat.”
“While most of the Upper Peninsula is parched for tourists, this small town is awash with them during the summer. Restaurants run out of food. The closest hotel vacancy is 60 miles away. So many businesses are opening they don’t have enough workers. A Mexican eatery was so unnerved by the ravenous horde coming through the door it closed after one day,” Francis X. Donnelly reports. “Munising has gone from a ghost town to boom town in just a few years.”
“Look around you. Chances are – wherever you are – you can see something that’s plastic. It's everywhere, and the plastic we throw away is filling up our landfills and finding its way into our lakes and oceans,” Doug Tribou reports. “Environmental scientists are trying to develop alternatives to traditional plastic. A team of researchers at Michigan State University is developing bioplastics made from cyanobacteria."