Andy Knott, Executive Director of the Watershed Center, joins Dave for an update on Watershed activities which include major storm water mitigation projects around the Bay and long term work managing sediment behind three dams scheduled for removal from the Boardman River. Brown Bridge Pond will see dam removal and restoration of the river bed over the next year. Dave and Andy also discuss a presentation at the recent Fresh Water Summit in Traverse City. We share a portion of Dr. Gary Fahnensteil's talk on developments in the water-column food web in Lake Michigan where the Quagga mussel is changing everything at an historic rate. Fahnensteil works at the Great Lakes Research Lab in Ann Arbor and his findings are sobering.
Outside In concludes it's replay of the plenary presentation at this year's Bioneers' Conference with the keynote address by Jay Walljasper. The theme of this year's Bioneers Conference was "Reclaiming The Commons". Walljasper is contributing editor to the web site OnTheCommons.org and author of ALL THAT WE SHARE. Walljasper sets the tone for the conference challenging everyone attending to look around and "see" the commons that are around them all and work for their preservation.
Duke Elsner, Grand Traverse County extension agent, updates the local experience with bugs, both pests and otherwise, this hot summer. Importantly, Duke and Dave talk about the funding threats to the Extension Service and the vital role that agency plays in our communities' social capital.
In this edition of Outside In Dave shares an excerpt of a recent presentation by Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of BRINGING NATURE HOME. Tallamy is an entomologist who argues that we have so decimated natural living spaces in our country that only fragmented natural habitats remain. Most 'wild' country is covered in non-native, invasive plants that fail to harbor native bugs. Without native plants and the native bugs they support, whole food webs begin to decline. With fragmented habitat lacking in native food supply throughout our country, Tallamy argues it is the gardeners and landscapers of America who must lead the way in re-establishing our native food webs. If half of all of the space committed to grass lawn in country were shifted to native plants we would increase critical habitat by over 20 million acres, an area greater that the top 12 national parks combined. Without such action the eco-system will begin to fail to supply critical eco services to our communities.
In this second of a two part discussion Bob and Dave begin by recognizing how widespread talk of resilience is becoming. In the effort prevent the concept from becoming hackneyed, the two zero in on two key points of distinction: resilience is not the same as sustainability nor is resilience the same as efficiency. In fact resilience is the opposite of single outcome efficiencies. Resilient eco-social communities will not be completely completely or fully efficient. Pockets of inefficiencies and unused resources often become the locus of resilience when changes in the environment (natural and man-made environments) demand adaption.
The first ever Leelanau Peninsula bird watching festival, BirdFest, took place the first weekend of June. It is the latest entry onto a list of local festivals growing steadily. Bird watching festivals are substantial economic engines in other parts of the country and with our local birding resource and expansive public lands bird watching should be added to our tourism brand. BirdFest organized multiple guided field trips, offered over several days, plus presentations each night of the event. The keynote address was by Paul Baicich, noted bird consultant and conservationist and author or editor of numerous books and journal articles. Baicich joins Dave on the front porch of historic Fountain Point Resort for this discussion of why birds matter, where they fit in our social-ecological community, and why bird festivals are a good idea.
More Threats To The Great Lakes -- Several weeks ago it was the 'ownership' threat to the Great Lakes, with Jim Olson; this week it is the invasive species threat. Tom Kelly, executive Director of the Inland Seas Education Association joins Dave to update the status of foreign mussels in our Great Lakes water. Quagga mussels are now replacing zebra mussel as the worst threat. Quaggas filter a much deeper water column robbing native species of vital food at the bottom of the native food chain. Our water may clearer these days, but that doesn't always mean it's healthier. Tom updates the state of the fight against Asian Carp and suggests that unless the barrier to the fish is pushed much farther downstream, farther from Lake Michigan, it is only a matter of time before that nightmare unfolds on the Great Lakes.
Environmental lawyer and water activist Jim Olson joins the discussion this week, outlining the various threats to our Great Lakes waters. Olson identifies a long list of threats, either physical threats to the ecosystem like invasive species, or ownership threats. We are right at the point of determining for future generations, says Olson, on whose bottom line does our water resource fall. Is water to be commoditized and whose value ends up on the corporate bottom, line or is it to be protected as part of the public commons with the benefits protected for the public. Who 'owns' our fresh water resource, underground and on the surface? Jim and Dave also promote an important upcoming event, the 2011 Conference: Saving The Great Lakes Forever with presentations by Maude Barlow (speaking at the State Theater) and Winona Hunter and including a viewing of the film Tapped at the State Theater.
Bob Russell and Dave Barrons join each other for this week's discussion. Much of it focusses on a book by Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home, which asserts that if you own a backyard or a garden, or are responsible for any sort of urban or suburban landscaping then you must become involved in creating native biodiversity. More 69 million acres of US land space has been converted to human managed urban or suburban landscaping. If biodiversity of bugs and birds is to be maintained, America's gardeners that must step in to replace the loss of native plants. Native plants support native insects and native insects are what support our bird populations. It isn't just a matter of aesthetics, birds and bugs are vital to the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem. Loss of diversity in our backyard plantings, lack of diversity in our population of bugs and birds, threatens not only backyard bird populations, but all of agriculture and ecosystem health.
Bob Russell returns for a couple of programs as he and Dave draw conceptual boundaries around the many discussions held so far. Bob points out that a four year cycle to change our living habits related to 'resilience' is one that we can all relate to.