Kirtland’s Warblers, piping plovers, and dunes: this week in environmental news

Kirtland's warbler

The Kirtland’s warbler.
Photo: Cindy Mead.

By Allison Raeck, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA shares recent environmental news stories from around the state and country. Here’s some of what happened this week in environmental and nature news:

Michigan’s ever famous, endangered Kirtland’s Warbler (mlive): The Kirtland’s Warbler, one of Michigan’s rarest migratory songbirds, is facing removal from the Endangered Species List, according to the DNR. The species has historically been threatened by the over-growth of Jack Pine trees and competition with the Brown-headed Cowbird. Combating this, the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Plan has helped the population grow from 167 to 2,063 singing males in the past 26 years. Intensive management practices will continue to sustain this species.

Volunteers needed to monitor endangered piping plovers (Great Lakes Echo): The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently seeking volunteers to monitor piping plovers during the bird’s nesting season, May 1st to July 15th. The piping plover, which nests on wide-open beaches, is considered critically endangered, and the population has seen a significant drop in recent decades. Volunteers can help restore the species by reporting sightings of the bird, assisting with habitat recovery, and raising public awareness along Great Lakes shores.

New Metropolitan Planning Council report offers solutions to stem Lake Michigan water loss (Chicago Tribune): The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) may change its regulations for local permittee use of Lake Michigan water, hoping to save both water and money. Currently, northeastern Illinois loses 26 billion gallons of this water each year. The Metropolitan Planning Council released a report that supports the IDNR’s water regulation proposal and also suggests that the department improve its water accounting systems, metering plans, and permittee support. Additionally, they suggest that the department require modernized plumbing plans and restrict outdoor water use among permittees.

Protecting Sleeping Bear Dunes (Grand Traverse Insider): A funding cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has resulted in controversy regarding the protection of Michigan’s parks, particularly the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The fund puts a portion of the proceeds from offshore drilling toward the Park Service’s ability to buy privately owned land near parks, affecting animal migration, land and water quality, and environment sustainability. Park allies are working to achieve full congressional funding of the LWCF, which is currently supported by Michigan Senators Stabenow and Levin.

Plan could lead to lifting of land acquisition cap (Holland Sentinel): The Michigan DNR is planning to submit a proposal to lift the cap on state-owned land, which currently limits state-holdings to approximately 4.6 billion acres. If approved by Governor Rick Snyder, the proposal would end the cap statewide, allowing for more state-owned forests, recreation areas, and wildlife reserves. The DNR argues that this lifting is necessary, as the Detroit area in particular sees a general need for public land.

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One thought on “Kirtland’s Warblers, piping plovers, and dunes: this week in environmental news

  1. It’s really good to see the Kirtland’s Warbler getting back up to full strength; they really are a treasure of Michigan’s Jack Pine forests.

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