CISMAs, Migratory Bird Treaty, and Sea Lampreys: this week in environmental news

Collaboration key to stopping spread of invasive species across southeast Michigan (Metromode): Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are a new model of collaborative management unfolding across the state. They are designed to get people working together to address the threats posed by invasive species. The Michigan Nature Association is a partner to both the Oakland County CISMA and the St. Clair CISMA in southeast Michigan and MNA is included in both funded grants. The two CISMAs will work with the Stewardship Council and each other to mobilize new areas for collaboration and care for their shared land and water. Their ultimate goal: bringing people together.

Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016 (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service): The Migratory Bird Treaty and Act is commemorating its Centennial this year. These efforts have helped manage and conserve millions of acres of wildlife habitat benefiting migratory birds. Congress passed the Migratory Bird Act in 1918 to formally implement the provisions of the 1916 Treaty. Specifically, the Act prohibited the hunting, killing, capturing, possession, sale, transportation, and exportation of birds, feathers, eggs, and nests. It also provided for the establishment of protected refuges to give birds safe habitats and it encouraged sharing of data between nations to monitor bird populations.

migratory bird treaty

Odes to the Great Lakes: GVSU exhibition showcases collaborative pieces (Great Lakes Echo): Two department chairs at Grand Valley State University have curated an exhibition with collaborative works that showcase the Great Lakes region.  The exhibit is called Great Lakes: Image & Word, which is now open until April 1 at the GVSU Performing Arts Center.

sea lamprey

Sea lamprey mouth. Photo: T. Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

Siren song for lamprey closer to Great Lakes use (Great Lakes Echo): Sea lampreys are one of the most costly and destructive invaders in the Great Lakes region. But new understandings of the functions and behaviors of these animals has given researchers a new way to try to combat this invasion, including the first vertebrate biopesticide ever discovered. The biopesticide is registered as a lamprey pheromone – a pheromone is an odor that is intentionally released as the purpose of communicating with another individual. It could take several more years of research to make sure the biopesticide does not have unintended consequences and is ready for use. But registration gives the compound the legal foundation needed for eventual mass production.

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Invasive species, a fishing boom and algae blooms: 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:

An emerald ash borer. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An emerald ash borer. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Invasive emerald ash borer hurts Michigan timber sales (Great Lakes Echo): The emerald ash borer first caused an infestation in Michigan in 2002. The beetle eats the layer below bark, causing a lack of nutrients and ultimately leads to the death of the tree. The Department of Natural Resources said timber sales are being hurt by the spread of the emerald ash borer. Not all timber is meant to be sold right away, but because of this insect, the process has to be sped up. The infestation is causing a decrease in salvage bid sales and there will be a noticeable decrease in timber sales next year, according to the DNR.

Climate change is making Lake Superior a fishing haven, for the moment (PRI): Lake Superior is warming faster than any other lake on the planet. Because of this, there has been a shift in the species that the lake supports. Lake trout are becoming rarer and are being joined by the walleye in Lake Superior. James Kitchell, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said there will be an economic boost in the short run from this change. However, it will cause problems in the long run. As fish population increases, the amount of food per fish decreases, causing overall growth rates to decline. The warmer temperature of the lake also reintroduces the sea lamprey, a major predator of lake trout.

Algae blooms on Lake Erie getting ‘difficult to control’ (CBC): Massive algae blooms on Lake Erie are becoming harder to control, according to a scientist at the International Joint Commission. The algae blooms are being caused by fertilizer runoff from nearby farms. Raj Bejankiwar of the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority correctly predicted that Lake Erie would see near-record algae levels because more intense storms cause more intense runoff. The algae is also causing a higher level of toxins in drinking water. This is causing both economic and environmental problems, as 20 percent of the world’s freshwater comes from the Great Lakes.

18-foot-long deep-sea creature found off California (LiveScience): Dive instructor Jasmine Santana found an oarfish carcass while swimming in about 20 feet of water. The animal is rare and serpent-like, and is usually found in much deeper waters. With the help of many others, Santana dragged the carcass onto land, where people took pictures and eventually put the oarfish on ice so it could be shown to students the next day.

Forget polar bears: Global warming will hit the tropics first (Mother Nature Network): Researchers at the University of Hawaii are saying the tropics will suffer “unprecedented” climate change effects in the next ten years. This is predicted to come long before the Arctic and polar bears see effects. Camilo Mora, lead study author and a geographer at the University of Hawaii, Manoa said, “The coldest year in the future will be hotter than the hottest year in the past [150 years].” The amber-eyed jaguar is near the top of the list to become extinct due to climate change.