Bat with White-nose Syndrome - a disease recently found in Michigan. Credit: Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Bat with White-nose Syndrome – a disease recently found in Michigan. Credit: Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

This edition of News to Us provides a link to a series of meaty articles on global water scarcity.  Closer to home, what is the impact of persisting lake ice on our Great Lakes?  And what does the recent outbreak of white-nosed syndrome mean for bats in Michigan?  Also, read about oil and gas leasing in Scio Township and a locally hosted conference on recycling.

How We Can Save Our Water – Three heavy hitters in publishing science on the natural world have come together to produce an in-depth report chronicling issues associated with freshwater supplies, climate change and the private sector.  Multiple articles and opinion pieces help characterize the issues and potential solutions to global water scarcity.  It is a lot of information.  But for those interested in the issue, this is one of the best compilations of articles we have run across. While we have abundant freshwater in the Great Lakes, freshwater scarcity is a global issue that affects everyone.

Biologists expect the worst for Michigan’s bat population – We have recently received really bad news in the State of Michigan.  White-nose syndrome, a disease that kills bats in astounding numbers, has been found in two locations in the State. Bats play a critical role in our ecosystems, in part as voracious consumers of mosquitos. Not to mention they are adorable, fascinating flying mammals. The disease impacts 5 of the 9 species of bats we have in Michigan and will ultimately kill 90% of the population of those species.

Scio residents voice opposition to oil drilling in area – More than 300 people showed up to an informational meeting on oil and gas leasing activity in the township.  Most of the crowd voiced opposition to any drilling activity citing concerns about pollution and water quality among others.  However several leases have already been signed.   A panel, facilitated by Gretchen Driskoll, included representation from the oil and gas company- West Bay Exploration, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, MSU Extention, Michigan Environmental Council and the Sierra Club. HRWC attended a prior meeting of homeowners providing resources for residents interested in stopping the drilling.

Statewide recycling conference coming to Ann Arbor area this week – One of the country’s largest recycling conferences is happening in Ann Arbor this week.  The City is highlighting some progressive programs including its new curbside compost program.  Michigan’s recycling rate for residential household waste is about 15 percent, lagging behind a national average of 35 percent.  The Governor’s Office will present a new plan to increase residential recycling in Michigan on Thursday.

Why it’s a big deal that half of the Great Lakes are still covered in ice – In regional news, reports continue to discuss the implications of the doozy-of-a-winter we just experienced.  This article shares the implications of the persistence of Great Lakes ice cover longer into the spring than typical. Late lake ice cover has both economic and ecological consequences.

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