Wildfires, rising water levels and a new species of anemone: this week in environmental news

By Alyssa Kobylarek, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA shares news stories related to conservation from around the state and the world. Here is what happened this week in environmental news:


The peak season for California wildfires runs from May to early December. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Behind California’s January Wildfires: Dry Conditions, Stubborn Weather Pattern (National Geographic): The record dry conditions that California has been experiencing have been the result of almost 2,000 acres of land destroyed by wildfires. Meteorologists say the drought is being caused by a dome of high pressure over the state of California that has been sitting over the state for months and there is little indication that it is breaking down.

Great Lakes Water Levels Expected to Rise Thanks to Frigid Winter (Guardian Liberty Voice): There is a benefit to the arctic temperatures and the record high snowfall this year. The cold polar vortex that hit the Great Lakes region is expected to create higher water levels, which is good news for industries that depend on the lakes, like agriculture.

Michigan rivers polluted by human, animal waste more than double previous estimates (mlive):  Pathogen pollution in lakes and rivers in Michigan has more than doubled in recent years, according to a draft of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s 2014 impaired waters report.  Many sources linked to the contamination are sewer overflows, polluted stormwater runoff, leaking septic tanks and manure from farms. A state report is in the process of being finalized in order to help guide efforts to clean up the rivers and lakes.

First Known Sea Anemone Found That Lives Upside Down in Sea Ice (National Geographic): This newly discovered species lives in burrows dug into the bottom of sea ice in the Ross Sea. It was discovered by accident during environmental surveys to test underwater equipment and geologists saw “fuzzy things” on the underside of the ice.  This anemone is the first of its kind to be found living in sea ice, rather than sticking to rocks or reefs.

Michigan Trout Unlimited works to conserve, protect and restore Michigan’s coldwater fisheries and watersheds (mlive): Michigan Trout Unlimited is a conservation organization aiming at protecting and restoring Michigan’s watersheds which house wild trout and salmon. They are focusing on climate change and dams in Michigan.


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