Parking lots, 20-pound fish and a Michigan trailblazer: This week in environmental news

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

Each Friday, MNA highlights environmental news stories from around the state and country. Here are five of this week’s stories on nature and the environment:

Renovations to a parking lot near Lake St. Clair will help cut down on pollution in the lake. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Huge ‘green’ parking lot will reduce Lake St. Clair pollution (Macomb Daily): Macomb County officials have wrestled with the pollution problems in Lake St. Clair for 20 years and concluded that a major cause of this pollution is rainwater that runs off streets and parking lots into the lake. A $3.3 million project to substantially alter a 42-acre parking lot, located within 100 feet of Lake St. Clair, will break ground on May 9 and make the parking lot more environmentally friendly. Half of the parking lot will be reconstructed and will combine parking spaces with ponds, swales, grassy areas, trees and shrubs. Stormwater will be diverted into those areas, rather than into the lake. The other half of the lot will receive a new “seal coat” on the asphalt.

20 Pounds? Not Too Bad, for an Extinct Fish (The New York Times): Last year, fisherman Matt Ceccarelli caught and released a 24-pound Lahontan cutthroat trout—a trout once believed to have gone extinct. The Lahontan cutthroat trout has been the focus of an “intense and improbable” federal and tribal effort to restore it to its home waters at Pyramid Lake in Nevada after the lake’s strain was declared extinct in the mid-1940s. In 2006, federal officials began stocking Pyramid Lake with Pilot Peak cutthroats, which have an exact DNA match to the cutthroats once found in Pyramid Lake. The fish is making an apparent comeback—since November, dozens of anglers have reported catching cutthroats.

Wet spring offers some relief for low Great Lakes levels, experts say (The Detroit News): The wet weather Michigan’s been having may boost water levels in the Great Lakes, but experts are uncertain by how much the levels will rise or how long it will last. Runoff from melting snow and rain showers typically causes the lake levels to rise in the spring, and Lakes Michigan and Huron have risen 6 inches this month. However, Keith Kompoltowicz from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that the lakes need several more wet winters and springs to return to their normal levels.

Veteran hopes to boost economy, fitness by blazing Michigan trail (Great Lakes Echo): Chris Hillier of Taylor, Mich., was recognized Thursday as a nominee for the Governor’s Fitness Award for Veteran of the Year. This award honors a military veteran who goes “above and beyond” to promote healthy lifestyles in the state. Hillier has hiked more than 6,000 miles since 2011, mostly across Michigan, and is starting a 924-mile hike that will take him from Belle Isle in Southeast Michigan to Ironwood in the Western Upper Peninsula. This route was proposed by Gov. Snyder last November and “connects existing pathways with new trails to showcase Michigan’s waterways, diverse forests, and unique animals.” This new trail could boost local economies and establish Michigan as the top trail state in the country.

Earth Month: 12 intriguing environmental books (USA TODAY): Wendy Koch, USA TODAY’s environment and energy reporter, shares 12 new books about the environment in celebration of Earth Month.

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