Bioengineering Waterways, Low-Level Lakes, Biodiversity Management, Half a Million Dead Fish, and Rotten-Hearted Beeches

Some Nooze for your Tuesday reading pleasure! Sena ChristianFirst, from Sena Christian, writing for Earth Island Journal, a look at how cities are looking to the natural world for help with cleaning up waterways:

Learning from Nature: Using Bioengineering to Save Waterways

Donna Wilson believes when you love something you should give it a name. So when she and a few other regular visitors to a greenbelt along Linda Creek in the city of Roseville, CA discovered a gathering of western pond turtles sunning themselves on an oak tree that had fallen across the creek back in 2010, they named the spot Turtle Grove in honor of the threatened species. “I got a degree in anthropology,” Wilson says, as she stops to look at the spot on a recent afternoon. “Anthropology is a love of culture, and I see this creek and greenbelt as a culture, a community.”...Read more.

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john flesherNext, John Flesher with the AP reports on record-low water levels in the Great Lakes:

2 Great Lakes hit lowest water level on record

Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation.

Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months, the corps said. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012.

The other Great Lakes — Superior, Erie and Ontario — were also well below average... Read more.

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Rebecca WilliamsRebecca Williams, with Michigan Public Radio, looks at efforts there to curb the state's ability to manage lands with ecosystem health in mind:

Bill aims to restrict state's ability to manage for biodiversity

If you're feeling like you've heard this story before... you're right.

Senator Tom Casperson-R (Escanaba) has introduced a bill, Senate Bill 78, that would prohibit the DNR from setting aside an area of land specifically for the purpose of maintaining biological diversity (basically, to protect the variety of plants and animals that live in an area).  The DNR could not make or enforce a rule to do that... Read and hear more.

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Photo Times-Picayune

Mark Schleifstein with the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports on the paper plant that killed half a million fish:

Temple Inland pleads guilty to environmental law violations, admits killing more than 500,000 fish in Pearl River

Temple Inland, a subsidiary of International Paper, pleaded guilty in federal courtWednesday to polluting the Pearl River in August 2011 with illegal discharges from its Bogalusa paper manufacturing plant, and killing more than 500,000 fish, including more than 1,000 in the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. The company could be fined up to $200,000 for violating the Clean Water Act, and up to $10,000 for each "taking" of wildlife in the refuge... Read more

Dead fish float in the Pearl River in August 2011. Temple Inland on Wednesday pled guilty in federal court in New Orleans to violating the Clean Water Act for releasing paper liquor into the river and causing the fish kill. (Photo by Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive)

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Morgan SherburneAnd Morgan Sherburne with the Petosky News-Review writes about beech trees with exotic diseases and rotten hearts:

Beech trees Up North in double trouble: Combo of insects, fungus deadly

Jim and Ann Wilderom noticed a problem with the beech trees on their 37 acres in Harbor Springs two years ago.

Their woods, consisting of mainly hemlock with some maple, cherry and birch, has small groves of beeches. The beeches were suddenly snapping and falling.

"We'll be in bed sometimes, and we'll just hear, 'Whooomp!' " Jim Wilderom said. "They come down like a house of cards."

The beech trees on the Wilderoms' land and elsewhere in northern Michigan are falling victim to beech bark disease, a double infestation of two organisms, experts say... Read more.

A white substance marks beech bark disease. Ann Wilderom of Harbor Springs and her husband expect they will lose all their beeches. (Photo by Morgan Sherburne/Petoskey News-Review)