Deer penalties, osprey nests and gypsy moth removal: this week in environmental news

By Alyssa Kobylarek, MNA intern

Every Friday, MNA gathers news stories related to conservation and the environment from around the state and country. Here is some of what happened this week in environmental news:

New state law stiffens penalties for poaching deer, especially bucks with trophy-sized racks (mlive): A new state law designed to deter poaching deer is in effect in Michigan. The new law makes changes to the fines and restitution payments for poaching deer. This law should help curb poaching in Jackson County where big bucks are known to be present.

Gypsy moths defoliate trees and impact Ohio's timber industry. Photo courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Gypsy moths defoliate trees and impact Ohio’s timber industry. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ohio’s Department of Agriculture to treat Gypsy Moth (Great Lakes Echo): Parts of Ohio will be treated to slow the spread of the gypsy moth in early spring. Fifty-one counties are under gypsy moth quarantine due to the attacks on more than 300 types of trees and shrubs. Gypsy moths have a negative impact on Ohio’s forestry and defoliate trees. The two approaches to suppress the population are mating distribution and the use of BT, which is a bacterium used to control moth caterpillars.

President Obama signs Sleeping Bear Dunes wilderness legislation into law (mlive): On Thursday, President Obama signed the bill to designate 32,557 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness under the National Wilderness Preservation System. This is the first wilderness protection bill to pass both chambers since 2009, and is the result of years of planning.

Joseph Sax, Who Pioneered Environmental Law, Dies at 78 (The New York Times): Joseph Sax, who helped shape environmental law in the United States and fueled the environmental movement, died Sunday in California. He emerged in 1970 as one of the most prominent of a new breed of lawyers focusing exclusively on the environment. He wrote Michigan’s environmental act, which became law in 1970 and was used in nearly 300 federal and state decisions between 1997 and 2008.

Ospreys often make their nests on cellular and utility towers which obstruct access. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ospreys often make their nests on cellular and utility towers which obstruct access. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Experts warn against osprey nest removal (Great Lakes Echo): Osprey nest in tall objects and commonly are found in cellular and utility towers. But the nests obstruct access to the towers and lines and utility workers often move them so they can work. Osprey, though, use the same nests for up to 10 years. Protection for the birds is lenient and if there are no birds or eggs in the nest, it is legal to remove it, but companies are doing what they can to help protect them.


Wolf hunt, recycling rates and ‘metabarcoding’: this week in environmental news

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:

A grey wolf. Photo from MNA Archives

A grey wolf. Photo from MNA Archives

Animal rights advocates launch new petition to drive halt to wolf hunting (Detroit Free Press): Animal rights advocates launched a petition drive on Monday to repeal the law that would give control over setting wolf hunts to the Natural Resources Commission. Passed in May, the law bypassed a petition drive mounted by activists last year that would have put a halt to a hunt of grey wolves in the Upper Peninsula. If the petition drive is successful, voters will face two ballot issues on wolves in November.

Michigan’s recycling rate is lowest in Great Lakes region (WKAR):Michigan’s recycling rate is just 20 percent, 10 percent lower than the regional average. Governor Rick Snyder is hoping to change that. In 2012, he identified increasing recycling rates as a priority for his administration.

How ‘insect soup’ DNA could help conservation efforts (Mother Nature Network): Researchers are turning to a method known as “metabarcoding” for identifying endangered insect species across the globe. The process involves identifying species from fragments of DNA in a single bulk sample, such as an “insect soup” or various crushed bugs. Though it may seem strange, researchers believe metabarcoding could allow could enable scientists to identify endangered insects that would otherwise go unnoticed across various regions and continents.

Vigilant residents take on lake invaders with hot water (Great Lakes Echo): The Glen Lake Association is doing its part to fight against invasive species with its boat-wash program in the northwestern Lower Peninsula. The boat wash station uses a warm-water spray to clean the hull and flush the engine of boats that have been in another lake. The program began in 1994 and efforts seem to be paying off; Big and Little Glen lakes are nearly invasives-free.

Climate change alters apples’ flavor (Conservation Magazine): A new study reports that Fuji apples are becoming softer and sweeter as a result of global warming. Scientists studied the apples from 1970 to 2010 and found that the annual average air temperature at the site increased by 0.31 to 0.34 degrees Celsius. Over that same time period, the apples’ acid level and firmness dropped.