Mountain lions, a wildlife council and invasive stink bugs: this week in environmental news

By Sally Zimmerman, 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:

Mountain lion. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mountain lion. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Are mountain lions going urban? (Mother Nature Network): Due to excessive hunting and habitat destruction, mountain lions are now making their home in urban areas of the United States, such as Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Researchers say the mountain lions are traveling long distances across the U.S. to find homes. Mountain lions are on the endangered list and were all but extinct in 2011. Since then, they have made a slight comeback.

Michigan lawmakers propose wildlife council to promote hunting, fishing (Great Lakes Echo): Lawmakers want to create a bill that would finance a new wildlife council, headed by the Michigan Wildlife Management Public Education Fund. This council would educate the public on the importance of wildlife management and licensed hunters. The Department of Natural Resources estimates $1.6 million will be collected from hunting and fishing license increases, which will cover the cost to create the council.

Invasive stink bugs swarm across the U.S. (Mother Nature Network): The brown marmorated stink bugs, arriving from Asia, are overshadowing stink bugs native to the U.S. The bug that once bred in only southern Pennsylvania now breeds in 15 states and exists in about 25 more. Chuck Ingels of the Cooperative Extension office in Sacramento calls them the “worst invasive pests we’ve ever had in California.” Besides their stench, the brown marmorated stink bug destroys commercial crops. In 2010 alone, they caused $37 million in damage to Mid-Atlantic apple farms.

Lyons Dam on borrowed time: Endangered species discovery complicates removal project (MLive): The Lyons Dam was set to be removed until biologists from Central Michigan University discovered an endangered species downstream of the dam, the snuffbox mussel. These mussels were added to the endangered species list in 2012 when there was a 62% population decrease. They must be relocated before the dam can be removed. State and federal officials will have to decide where to relocate the mussels, and they would likely not begin this process until next summer.

No cure in sight for loon-killing botulism (Great Lakes Echo): An avian botulism outbreak in northern Michigan has killed more than 1,000 loons. Tom Cooley, a Department of Natural Resources disease lab biologist and pathologist said there is an estimated loon population of 2,000. Conditions in the water make a breeding ground for the bacteria. Scientists believe the loon’s predation on infected fish is causing a rise in deaths. There are no known solutions to stop the botulism from infecting loons.

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MNA Welcomes a Trio of Talent

MNA is pleased to welcome three talented and environmental-savvy interns to the communications department this winter. As the brains behind MNA communication and promotion, these interns won’t be fetching coffee or making copies. Drawing from their diverse backgrounds and experiences, they will be your leading ladies when it comes to the freshest environmental news, event coverage and the latest social media tools. They’re a friendly group, too, so feel free to contact them with ideas or just to say hello!


Angie Jackson

As a yoga instructor who enjoys rock climbing, camping, running and traveling, Angie is thrilled to join the MNA team as the News Editorial Intern and blog manager. A journalism undergraduate at Michigan State University with an interest in magazine writing, Angie’s responsibilities include bringing news to MNA members and the public, editing the newsletter and managing the blog. Angie strives to preserve life in everything she does, and believes that humans are equal parts of, not superior to, the environment. Her ultimate dream is to move to Colorado, take weekend rock climbing trips with her dog, teach yoga and write for a magazine or newspaper.


Danielle Sheley

Danielle, a public relations undergraduate at Central Michigan University, has a passion for working with nonprofit organizations, and is dedicated to making the world a better place for future generations. Thus, it’s only fitting that she is MNA’s Communications Intern. Danielle hopes to use social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help educate the public about MNA’s importance. She craves change and adventure, and her interests include traveling, being active and spending time with her family. Once she graduates in May, Danielle sees herself working in communications for a nonprofit that improves the environment or society in general.

Yang Zhang

Yang, a writing intern, graduated from Michigan State University in December with a master’s degree in environmental journalism. She is from Xi’an, China, and is passionate about nature. When she’s not digging up the latest news on our environment, she enjoys reading and jogging. By covering MNA events and writing news stories, Yang hopes to gain valuable experience in public relations and learn skills in event planning and project management.

If you have interesting or fun ideas for the blog, or are interested in contributing to our news efforts, please contact Angie by emailing ajackson@michigannature.org. If you are more interested in events, or are interested in helping out with the promotion of MNA and the environment, please contact Danielle by emailing dsheley@michigannature.org.