LAND, WATER & WILDLIFE STEWARDSHIP:
BURNING - FORESTRY - INVASIVES - WILDLIFE & MORE
AIR QUALITY: Due to the recent summer's haze from Canadian forest fires there is increased concern about air quality. The Michigan Dept of Health & Human Services has issued guidance on the level of particulates in the air. Use AirNow.gov's online tool to check air quality by location.
LOCAL WATERWAYS LIST: Click here
NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT:
One of the more important protections we can advocate is to keep our waters clean and clear. Towards that end, a new Michigan law went into effect in March 2019 that requires thorough cleaning of all watercraft --including non-motorized paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and even intertubes-- by emptying of all water from the craft AND washing the craft. It also restricts disposal of fish and bait.
This Michigan NR & EP Act has provisions aimed at keeping invasive species from spreading across our waters. These laws must be followed by all individuals using boating equipment or fishing on MIchigan's waterways. Click Here for the full text of the law.
Specifically, that means all boaters are required to perform the following actions before leaving a boating access area:
THE TWP'S AQUATIC NUISANCE ORDINANCE: It's the law. Long before these "new" state-mandated regulations, all the townships surrounding Crystal Lake --including Crystal Lake Township--had already taken the initiative to require these actions listed above. See the Crystal Lake's Aquatic Nuisance Ordinance for more details.
Where can you wash your water vehicle? The main DNR boat launch at Mollineaux Road where the Crystal Lake Watershed Association's (CLWA’s) washing facility is readily available. More are needed but we need a (currently non-existent) volunteer force to staff other washing facilities at places such as public road ends, Bellows Park Beach, the Crystal Lake Yacht Club and more outlets.
COMBAT INVASIVES SPECIES ON LAND:
For Invasive Species Alerts in Benzie County: click here.
HEARD ABOUT THE DREADED SPOTTED LANTERN FLY? READ ABOUT ONE OF THE LATEST THREATS . . .INCLUDING THE NEWEST THREAT TO BEECH TREES.
LINKS TO INFO ON INVASIVE SPECIES:
In no particular order, the following are links to environmental information & events, and agencies & action groups whose missions are to combat a myriad of invasive species, both flora and fauna.
FROG BITS AND WATER SOLDIERS: Marine invasives can be and must be thwarted. Help keep our fishing and recreational waters world class by following the law and remembering to CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY, and DISPOSE. Boaters should be aware that the boat washing ordinances apply wherever your boat is launched; if it has navigated other water within 10 days, it MUST BE WASHED. Want to see an example of WHY? Here one of the newest invasives to our waterways made worse by the unintentional transport of un-cleaned, un-drained and un-dried watercraft.
GO BEYOND BEAUTY IN YOUR GARDENS: GO NATIVE
Many invasive plants arrive in our are by way of our gardens. That's right, by purchasing from nurseries that actually sell plants that harbor the potential to overcome our native species.
Go beyond Beauty, says the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (HabitatMatter.org) by purchasing from nurseries and landscapers that have committed not to use or sell high-threat invasive plants, such as the following:
[KEY: (*) more than 20 native plants available; (^) Michigan Natural Shoreline Partner; (~) Certified Green Industry Professional]
Cyman Gardens #231-533-8960 (*)
Garden Goods #231-933-4769 (*)
Green Lake Gardens & Goods #231-276-6775
Greystone Gardens #231-326-5855 (*)
Lakeshore Native Gardens LLC #248-631-8816
Misty Ridge Greenhouse #231-885-2290 (*)
Northwoods Nursery #231-946-7378
Pine Hill #231-941-1801
Cre Woodward Garden Design #231-735-5300 (~)
Cyman Gardens #231-533-8960
Designs in Bloom #352-6962 (^) (~)
Grand Traverse Organic Landscapes #231-938-2626 (~)
Heritage Landscape Design #231-492-4128
Inhabitect, LLC #231-943-1434
Laurel Voran, LLC #231-632-3211 (^)
The Mossy Tree, LLC #231-499-5369 (~)
Northwoods Landscaping #231-946-7378
Old Mission Associates #231-223-9222 (^)
Pine Hill Landscaping #231-941-1808
Silverman & Company #231-932-1925
Sustainable Landscape Design, LLC #231-735-6972
TruNorth Landscaping #231-922-0087 (^) (~)
Wildlife & Wetland Solutions #231-360-1203 (^)
WILDLIFE WATCHERS: You found an animal? You're interested in becoming closer to Mother Nature? You want to volunteer? You're looking for programming or a special event? Keep reading. . .
WILDLIFE REHABILITATION: Check out the local wildlife duo that are servicing Benzie County in areas of wildlife rehabilitation, and so much more, at their website sleepingbearwildlife.org. Samantha Wolfe and Justin Grubb are co-founders of the Sleeping Bear Wildlife Fund, a new nonprofit to help rehabilitate and restore the wildlife and wild spaces that exist in the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan that is slated to begin operating this spring. SBWF will be the only organization to take in animals other than raptors that is north of Houghton Lake. They will start out by helping to rehabilitate opossums, rabbits, and squirrels at the Benzie location, but the organization will also be able to take in myriad other animals temporarily, until they can be transferred to another rehab facility.
Read the full article by Emily Cook here in the March addition of the media publication, the Betsie Current at betsiecurrent.com
Also worthy of investigating are North Sky Raptor Sanctuary, Skegemog Raptor Center, Benzie County Central Schools, Benzie Central High School, Kalamazoo College, Miami University, Miami University Alumni Association, The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, Ohio Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.
REPORT ALL POACHING: Call or text (800) 292-7800.
REPORT WILD LIFE OBSERVATIONS: If you see diseased wildlife, tagged fish, invasive carp and more, click on Michigan.gov/EyesInTheField
Check out these additional organization's sites for more information on what they are doing to improve and preserve the environment:
Crystal Lake and Watershed Association
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Benzie-Leelanau Health Department-Environmental Health
Water Quality Maps by County
Native Flora Species or plantitwild.net
Benzie County Conservation District
Conservation Resource Alliance
Oil & Water Don't Mix
Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council
Michigan Climate Action Council
Michigan DNR Conservation Organizations Directory or https://www.epa.gov/greatlakes
Environmental Protection Agency
Great Lakes Coalition
EGLE: MI Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
Michigan State Extension
FREE FORESTRY MANAGEMENT ADVICE:
District Forester, Kama Ross provides free assistance through the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) to encourage and enable landowners to more actively manage their woodlands. DOWNLOAD THE PDF TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE WITH ALL OF THE INFORMATION.
FIRE & FUELS MAP: Check out the Mesowest Great Lakes map to assess fire risk locally or in an area you plan to visit. Get details on burn permits and other helpful resources by clicking on Michigan.gov/DNR/FireAlert.
GET A BURN PERMIT:
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds those burning leaves, or anything else, will first need to check if weather conditions and/or materials being incinerated require a permit. Checking out permitting is easy. For the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula, residents can visit Michigan.gov/Burn Permit or call 866-922-BURN to find out whether burning is currently allowed by the DNR. This process is a little different from the "downstaters" because all Southern Lower Peninsula residents can obtain burn permits from their local government or fire department. For any questions regarding responsible burning information, call (616) 260-8406.
Click here for a quick and wonderfully educational video of a threat most of us know little about. Don't think throwing away food scraps is an environmental issue? Facts such as an estimated 40% of what goes into a typical landfill could be composted, and most of that 40% is old food (potato peelings, "expired" items, restaurant food scraps, and such) that ends up hogging significant space in our dumps, neglecting a valuable resource, and producing planet-killing methane gases.