The White House has taken up an interest in wind energy developments in the Great Lakes regions as of last month. The goal is to plant windmills in the Great Lakes in order to gain wind energy from the lake winds. This could be a pioneering break through for Michigan because electricity would become more economically accessible. Launched in the water last week in the middle of Lake Michigan was a yellow buoy that will be used to measure and collect data from wind at different heights. Although this project has finally taken off, it faced difficulties and still is under the threat of being shut down due to lack of financial resources. $1.3 million that was originally supposed to come from a state grant through the Michigan Public Service Commission was cancelled by a court ruling last year. Despite this devastating draw back on funding, the buoy was launched and built on $1.2 million from the Department of Energy along with $250,00o from a Wisconsin utility. As of currently this buoy is one of two in the North American region and could be at risk of being docked by 2013 because of lack of funding. Grand Valley State University has reached out to the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Technological universities for aide in collecting research over the Great Lakes. This research includes the studying and tracking of flight patterns for birds and bats so that the turbines aren’t build in areas that put these animals in danger.
Currently Michigan holds the manufacturing skills to produce wind turbines and can benefit significantly economically from wind energy. This pioneering in wind technology in Michigan can help create jobs, make access to energy more economical and benefit the environment. “Why export” and lose out of this powerful opportunity to change Michigan’s economy.
Federal government, 5 states put wind farms on fast track
Michigan State seems to be windy all the year around. One day in February, when I was walking back home along the Michigan Avenue, a strong wind came and nearly pushed me from the sidewalk to the motorway. I believe most of the girls in East Lansing have experienced free messy hairstyle designed by the wind. The messy hair is really annoying when we go outdoors. However, the windy climate in Michigan is far more dangerous than what we thought.
In 2012, Michigan already had five tornadoes. The tornado happened in Dexter on March 15th was only about 65 miles from MSU. The evidence in the past years showed Michigan State is tending to have more tornadoes. Since 1950, southeast Michigan only accumulatively received nine tornadoes, and the last one happened in 1998. But in 2012 we already had four tornadoes. As wind is caused by differences in pressure, the frequently change in the weather is one essential reason of tornadoes. The observed temperature of March is peculiar- on March.5th it was from 15-29°F, on March.21st it was from 58-85°F, on March.30th it was 30-37°F, seems we had both summer and winter in the March.
The frequently change in weather can intensify storms, hails and thunderstorms, and affect our daily life. First of all, the impact on traffic is horrible, the wind can definitely increasing traffic accidents. Furthermore, the simply constructions may collapse. In addition, the unexpectedly wind in spring can hurt blooming of crops, it may lead to pollination of crops cannot be completed, then reduce the productivity of farms, the price of crops would increase as well. People who love flowers, can find petals on ground after winds, indicating us the spring is vanishing.
Due to the flexibility of windy severe weather, we need an agile observing and warning system. I have ever received the mail called “Tonardo warning”, but obviously it is not effective. Severe weather hazards like tornado move fast, when a tornado observed may hurt Michigan State, why not messaging every cell phone in Michigan State to avoid potential hurt? And if website like Facebook or MSU homepage can provide advertisement to help people learn emergency measure can at least help people save life. The best mitigation strategy is to keep people informed.
by Yiqing Ge
Michigan State University students and faculty have the unique opportunity of living and working right alongside a fresh body of water, the Red Cedar River: a benefit that not many other college students living inland can enjoy.
“The Red Cedar River originates in Livingston County and flows north and then west for approximately 40 miles until it enters the Grand River in Lansing” (MSU Water).
One thing about the river that people may not realize is that there are drains all over campus that run directly to the river, which delivers untreated water into the Red Cedar. That means runoff from rain can carry fertilizers from the grass, oil or other car leaks from parking lots, or other things around the drains right to the river. “Storm water carries high concentrations of the pollutants with it, and this pollution can lead to the destruction of aquatic life, fish and wildlife habitats, and loss in the aesthetic values” (MSU Water).
The drains that go straight to the river without going to a treatment plant first are labeled with a stamp that says, “dump no waste, drains to water” to help make people aware of their behavior around the drain and to avoid excess pollution if possible. So, students should keep this in mind when they are doing things like washing their cars, dumping paint or chemicals, or fertilizing their yards. These activities directly affect our body of water if they are done near these particular drains.
The Red Cedar River is more than just a line in our fight song. It is a place for relaxing and enjoying our campus, a resource for many, and a home to various animals. Check out what the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife club is doing to help clean up our incredible river.
For many of Michigan State University’s students, feeding the ducks along the Red Cedar River in East Lansing, Mich. is nothing but relaxing and enjoyable. However, the activity that many students have in common causes problems for wildlife. Normally, ducks do not stick around for a polar Great Lakes winter, but these adamant animals will if they have a steady food intake. While many of the ducks travel south, some brave the cold due to the promise of food from residents. The best thing for their health would be to not feed the animals, according to the land specialist for the Grand Traverse Conservation District, Ben Purdy. Purdy said ducks in the Great Lakes region naturally feed off greenery in the bottom of rivers and ponds. With limited food supply in the river, ducks grow reliant on the scraps people throw them. Feeding the ducks over time causes an unnatural concentration of wildlife and a number of problems concerning E. coli and duck waste. There are many potential impacts that are caused by feeding the ducks. Feeding wild ducks leads to: poor nutrition, spread of disease, unnatural behavior, overcrowding and pollution. First of all, birds eating human foods will suffer from malnutrition by filling up on bread and crackers and not consuming the nutrients they need. This can lead to heart and liver problems. Ducks usually defecate in the areas they eat and this adds to the unhygienic nature of a particular area. Furthermore, ducks who are used to being fed will congregate on the shore, anticipating food and some may even engage in dangerous behaviors to get to a food source. Ducks will also gather in large numbers at a location where food is available, cause overcrowding in that area. In order to reduce the risk of endangering Michigan State’s wildlife, I feel that educating the community about the impact of feeding the ducks would be the most beneficial. To prevent these issues from occurring again, students could post flyers around campus explaining why ducks shouldn’t be fed and even create an online database about it.
By: Frances Allen