Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup This Saturday

In Activism, Community Alert, E Beach, Environment, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on September 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Here’s the link to last year’s data collection.

Special Council Meeting Regarding Elberta Beach

In E Beach, Gov't Watch, Law & Order, Open Season, Public Safety, Wildlife on August 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Update! Kristi Mills came through with a recording of the meeting. Thanks, Kristi! It’s a bit hard to hear and hasn’t been edited for levels and whatnot, but it’s worth a listen if you care about the beach.

 

Here are some of the officials and others who attended the meeting. We thank them! And thanks, Jon Keillor, for taking this photo.

Here are some images that were used during this morning’s special council meeting to discuss where exactly Elberta property and the public “roadway” is, as opposed to Sand Products Corporation and other private property used by Elberta beachgoers pedestrian and motorized. Thanks for the photos, Andy Bolander. I tried to record the meeting but had a tech fail. —Emily Votruba

Baby’s Breath: Scourge of America

In E Beach, Environment, Open Season, Wildlife on May 18, 2017 at 10:49 am

Baby’s breath: Nice in a wedding bouquet or a prom corsage (maybe), but not so nice when it takes over your whole beach, pushing out native plants that naturally grow almost nowhere else besides our unique shoreline.

You can help work to remove these shrubby masses from our beach by joining forces with the Invasive Species Network on volunteer bee days this summer. Enjoy the beach, work your hockey muscles, and meet cool people. Wear long pants and gloves, because there’s natural poison ivy out there, too. And we like that. —Emily Votruba

 

Hunting in the Village: Let the Game Begin

In Community Alert, Environment, Law & Order, Open Season, Wildlife on September 15, 2016 at 10:39 am

It’s hunting season! But it’s illegal to shoot firearms within Village limits. That includes up in the dunes. So if you hear gunshots here in Elberta, you would be correct to call the Sheriff, who is tasked with enforcing that law, because it’s also a state law. Bowhunting, however, is allowed in EDNA, as long as regulations, including legal distances from structures, are followed. EDNA hikers should be aware that there may be archery going on in the park during their visit. Hey, Blaze Orange looks good on everyone! This notice is posted on the Village website here.

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Lines in the Sand

In Community Alert, Crime, E Beach, Environment, Law & Order, Open Season, Public Safety, Water, Wildlife on May 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm

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By Andy Bolander

Here is an annual reminder of the beautiful frailty our community possesses in the Elberta dunes and beach. It will take persistent and vocal presence for us to protect this resource.

Why is it necessary to protect the dune habitat? Well, something you may feel intuitively is actually true: Elberta Dunes are geologically unique in the world.

“Elberta Dunes lie at a latitudinal transition point between perched dunes to the north and lake-plain dunes to the south. Elberta dunes consist of five parabolic dunes perched on a glacial bluff. Characterized by stabilized dunes with overlapping arms which indicate non-concurrent periods of migration. Elberta Dunes have four distinguishable migration periods.” —Dunes in a Transitional Zone: Using Morphology and Stratigraphy to Determine the Relative Ages of Green Point Dune Complex and Elberta Dunes, Emma Fulop, Davidson College 2014

“Very few dunes in Michigan can be classed as truly migratory.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

“[T]he greatest dunes of the entire region occur along the east coast of Lake Michigan because the prevailing Westerlies gather added energy as they fetch across this unbroken expanse of lake.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Human activity on the beach has the potential to change the shape of the dune. Vehicle tracks and the digging out of vehicles kills and/or displaces grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation that stabilizes the dunes. Removal of plant life exposes the sand to the wind and water erosion.

“Whenever plants on the foredune are injured or destroyed, the wind has access to the raw sand and creates a blowout, a saddle-shaped breach in the ridge, through which the sand commences a march inland. Many blowouts change the foredune into a very irregular feature called a dune ridge.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Dunes along the Lake Michigan coast have vanished before because of human activity. Pigeon Hill in Muskegon was named for the massive number of passenger pigeons that roosted there up until the end of the 19th century. The hill was sold to Nugent Sand and the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1920. By 1936 Sand Products Corporation (owner of about 180 acres of Elberta sand dunes and bluffs) had erected a conveyor system to load the sand onto waiting boats. Excavation of the sand continued until 1967. The site then sat barren until 1992, when there was a change in ownership and Harbour Towne condominiums were built. (http://www.actorscolony.com/) Dune sand mining also destroyed huge dunes that once surrounded Manistee.

But you don’t have to be a large sand mining corporation or a real estate developer to do a lot of damage to these natural areas and to the birds and other creatures who make Elberta Beach their home. The beach and dunes are subject to the everyday threat of human vehicle traffic.

“People are drawn to shorelines for their beauty and recreational opportunities so the remaining shoreline areas with dune habitat are often also public use areas. Hikers and Off Road Vehicles (ORVs) trample Pitcher’s thistle [a protected species] which harms or destroys the plants. ORV traffic in dunes also causes erosion which creates unstable areas where it’s difficult for plants to take hold. Pitcher’s thistle and its dune habitat are also destroyed for the creation and maintenance of public beaches.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Pitcher’s Thistle, updated 5/2001

“Off-road vehicles, which ruin habitat, crush nests and eggs, and directly kill birds by running over them are a key threat. Chicks that move across primary vehicle paths on their way to feed are in particular danger — especially when they get stalled alongside tall tire-track edges or stuck inside ruts. To save piping plovers from vehicle mortality, the Center has been working hard to keep off-road vehicles out of precious habitat through our Off-road Vehicles campaign. We’re also gearing up to petition the Secretary of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service to establish rules that prohibit motorized vehicle use in all designated critical habitat and on all federal, state-owned, and state-managed public lands within piping plover habitat.” — http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/piping_plover/

“The Great Lakes population of the piping plover is at a perilously low level. Since 1983, the number of nesting pairs has ranged from 12 to 32. In 2000, all of the Great Lakes pairs nested in Michigan.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

“Piping plovers are very sensitive to the presence of humans. Too much disturbance causes the parent birds to abandon their nest. People (either on foot or in a vehicle) using the beaches where the birds nest sometimes accidentally crush eggs or young birds. Dogs and cats often harass and kill the birds. Other animals, such as fox, gulls, and crows, prey on the young plovers or eggs.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

The beach and dunes are arguably the greatest asset that Elberta possesses; the village has a handful of businesses and no industry. Most of us who live here have chosen this place, or have stayed here, because we love the beach and the dunes and the forest around them. Allowing the impact of humans to change our unique natural system to a conventional mess would be a great shame. It’s up to the people who live here and the visitors who come to enjoy the beach to treat it with the respect and care it, and we all, deserve. It’s up to locals to demand that visitors behave responsibly and not destroy this amazing place.

We have been given a great responsibility. There is literally nowhere on earth like this beach and dune environment.

Driving and digging out trucks and cars on the beach and dunes not only crushes the nests of piping plovers, hurts the habitat of the Lake Huron locust, wormwood, horsetail, coreopsis, wood lilies, and other native wildlife, but it also hurts the human community. It upsets people who gently walk the beach and live through hard winters here in order to enjoy summer. It upsets people who pay taxes to keep local services running. We don’t have the manpower within local law enforcement or the DNR to deter the destructive activity that goes on down at the beach. So we need to get together as a community and protect this by demonstrating responsible behavior.

In recent years both the Village of Elberta and private citizens have spent money and time posting signs to try to cut down on off-road traffic on the beach. Vandals have removed these signs and in some cases set fire to them. Dollars have been spent and wasted on these selfish individuals, and to no avail.

I don’t have a solution today, but I hope that sharing and refreshing this knowledge of how truly special this environment is will help us keep talking until we do reach a solution.

In the meantime, if you see vehicles driving on the dunes or beach, call the DNR hotline at 800-292-7800, and/or try to get a photograph of the vehicle and its license plate.

Benzie Emergency Management Seeks Feedback on Its Natural Hazards Draft Plan

In Agriculture, Community Alert, E Beach, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Green Elbertians, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Public Safety, Transportation, Water, Weather, Wildlife on January 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Get back to Frank Post, our county emergency management coordinator, by email or phone asap! (fpost@benzieco.net, 231-882-0567)

Read and download the draft plan here: 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan

More information is available at the Region 7 website.

Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

In Agriculture, Breaking, Fishing, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on April 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

 

 

DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incidentDRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 2 DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 3

DRAFT Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

Audio of April 10 regular Beulah Village meeting.

Plant It Wild Has Tips for Your Shady Spots

In Calendar, Community Alert, Green Elbertians, Open Season, Wildlife on August 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

By Cheryl Gross for Plant It Wild

Plant It Wild is offering “Shade Gardening with Michigan Native Woodland Plants and Ferns” by the landscape expert Brian Zimmerman on  Wednesday, August 28, 7 pm, at Trinity Lutheran Church. Michigan native plants will be for sale at the program.

Shade gardening can be a challenge.  If you have a shady spot in your garden or can create such a spot, you will not want to miss this presentation. Brian Zimmerman, the owner and landscape designer of Four Season Nursery,  will draw on his extensive knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to explain how a landscape designer formulates ideas into a design and then implements it.

Brian spent 24 years working for his father’s landscaping firm before opening his own business, Brian Zimmerman and Associates, in 1996.  The firm is focused on residential landscape design and construction projects as well as post-planting care and maintenance services.  Four Season Nursery is located at 7557 Harry’s Rd, off M-72 near Traverse City and is a member of the Go Beyond Beauty program. Go Beyond Beauty nurseries have committed to keeping high-threat invasive plants out of their retail supply and offer desirable Michigan native plants instead. Mr. Zimmerman has also initiated a Plant Michigan Native program to encourage homeowners to use native Michigan plants in their landscape design choices; he makes the decision easier for his customers by having as many native trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers as possible in his inventory.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, August 28, 7 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 955 James Street in Frankfort. As a bonus, many beautiful native plants from Four Season  Nursery will be on sale.

Admission to the program is free and open to the public. There will be a social time following the meeting.

Plant It Wild is a Michigan native plant organization whose mission is to foster greater awareness and appreciation of the fragile natural environment of our region. Through direct efforts, we work to preserve, protect and promote the natural beauty of the area and its plant communities. For information contact Phyllis at 231-392-1206 or Carolyn at 352-6962.

Sure, you love your century-plus-old tree, but what to plant under it?

One of two century-plus-old black locust trees on the corner of Washington and Bigley. Wouldn’t trade them, but what can handle the shade under them?

Plant It Wild Has Tips for Your Backyard Wilderness

In Green Elbertians, Open Season, Wildlife on July 16, 2013 at 12:32 am

By Cheryl Gross for Plant It Wild

Plant It Wild invites you to a program on forest management to improve wildlife habitat July 24, 7 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, Frankfort. Eric Ellis, of the Conservation Resource Alliance, will be speaking on private sustainable forest management, planting native flora, invasive species removal, improving wildlife habitat, and maintaining the ecological integrity of riparian corridors. Given the destruction of our trees from invasive insects and other diseases, property owners will want and need to understand how to manage a succession forest.

The Conservation Resource Alliance works to maintain and restore regional riparian and wildlife corridors. Efforts include road/stream crossing repair, invasive species control, native tree and shrub plantings, stream bank stabilization, fish habitat improvements, and sustainable forestry implementation. Recent projects have focused on restoring early successional forests to improve wildlife habitat, especially for migratory bird species. This presentation will provide an overview of early successional restoration techniques as practiced in northern Michigan and will review the forest types, native plant species, and wildlife that benefit most from this work. Numerous examples from on-the-ground projects will be presented.

Eric Ellis is a wildlife habitat biologist and native Michigander who received his BS in resource ecology and management from the University of Michigan. He later worked in the Peace Corps in parks/wildlife. He completed an MS degree at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources. Eric now works in Traverse City, managing the Conservation Resource Alliance’s Wild Link program.

Admission to the program is free and open to the public. There will be a social time following the meeting.

Plant It Wild is a Michigan native plant organization whose mission is to foster greater awareness and appreciation of the fragile natural environment of our region. Through direct efforts, we work to preserve, protect, and promote the natural beauty of the area and its plant communities. For information contact Phyllis at 231-392-1206 or Carolyn at 352-6962.

A pitcher's thistle, just one of many rare plant and animal species we can learn to protect in our area.

A pitcher’s thistle, just one of many rare plant and animal species we can learn to protect in our area.