Peter Payette

Executive Director and Interim News Director

Peter Payette is the Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio. He was previously the station's News Director. For many years, he hosted the weekly program Points North and has reported on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR, Michigan Radio, Bridge magazine and Edible Grande Traverse. He has taught journalism and radio production to students and adults at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.

Peter has vacationed in Benzie County his entire life. His wife Sarah is his biggest fan. They have three children, Isabelle, Amelia and Emmet, and live happily in Traverse City's Kid's Creek Neighborhood. 

Many of his favorite stories are about obscure fish in the Great Lakes or the new arrivals changing the food web.  He also admires the people keeping the rock 'n' roll revolution alive in the woods of northern Michigan and enjoys any story that reconnects the past to the present.

Ways to Connect

Yankech gary on Flickr

There was a plan to release hundreds of pine martens — a slender, furry predator native to the Upper Midwest — in Michigan's lower peninsula over several years.

That never happened.

Peter Payette

A years-long effort to build an experimental fish ladder on the Boardman River in Traverse City is in jeopardy. That’s all because of a man who decided to sue the city to protect a place he loves. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A century ago, Michigan decided politics was not useful for protecting the state’s forests, water and wildlife. A commission was set up to manage natural resources without much influence from elected officials.


Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

 

At a lock and dam site in the suburbs of Chicago, there’s a plan to build a set of booby traps to keep invasive carp from reaching the Great Lakes. 

 

It would involve a barrier of bubbles, an electric field, underwater speakers, and a price tag of over $800 million dollars. 

 

  

Robert Ruleau III

 

A dispute between Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and the commercial fishing industry is heading to court. 

 

The state announced it will prohibit fishing in water deeper than 80 feet and other restrictions commercial fishers say will mean the end of their livelihoods. 

Peter Payette

The few commercial fishers that remain in Michigan are suing the state’s Department of Natural Resources over changes to industry rules. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Arctic grayling were wiped out of Michigan nearly a century ago. Since then, researchers have been trying to restore the iconic fish to the state, without success. 

 

 

Now, more than 50 collaborators across the state think they have a shot. 

 

Read the full feature here.

 

Google Maps

There’s a lot of interest in solar energy in Michigan as the technology becomes cheaper and more efficient, and utility companies set ambitious renewable energy goals. But building up the state's solar capacity will require miles and miles of land. And that could be a problem, because many people don't want solar farms in their communities. 

Adam Buzzo on Flickr

For public land advocates in Michigan, Christmas comes the first week of December each year.

That’s when the Michigan Natural Resources Trust fund board decides how to spend the earnings of its massive endowment.

A black bear wanders through the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, just south of Kresge Auditorium on November 6, 2020.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

The number of black bear sightings in northern Michigan is on the rise, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 


Cherry growers mixed business and politics this election season. That's not something the industry has been known to do.


According to unofficial election results, Republican John Roth has kept Michigan’s 104th State House District red.

 

Roth won a clear victory for the GOP yesterday in a race that has been increasingly competitive in recent elections. 

 

The cut at this site is called shelter wood. About half the tree canopy was left after harvest. The forest floor was later turned up with construction equipment to allow more seeds to germinate.
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Young trees have a tough time growing in many northern Michigan forests. That might sound strange since our region is full of trees, but many hardwood species can’t produce seedlings faster than deer can eat them. On this episode of Points North, hear about an idea to solve this problem that might sound counterintuitive: more aggressive logging.

James Marvin Phelps

On the ballot this election is a proposal to change how Michigan spends the money it gets from oil and gas production.

Right now the state uses oil and gas dollars to buy and maintain public lands, and for nothing else.

 

Under Proposal 1 this program would continue in perpetuity.

Courtesy of Michael Huey

Sleeping Bear Dunes turns 50 this month. It’s a destination that brings well over a million visitors to the dunes along Lake Michigan every year

 


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week, hear how high water in the Great Lakes is unearthing Native American burial sites. In some places along Lake Michigan, human remains have been discovered at the beach.

Also, more water isn’t the only reason the lakes are higher, a higher elevation that is. The Great Lakes are still rebounding from the last ice age.

 

And what’s in those holes in your garden?

 

    

 

Amanda Holmes

This week we look into why commercial fishers in the Great Lakes have been left out of federal aid for fisheries nationwide, to the tune of $300 million. (The Great Lakes got zero.)

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

This week we bring you two birds with very different reputations. 

Peter Payette

Maria San Miguel was nervous about getting a coronavirus test. 

“I was seeing on the television and the internet that there was something they were going to put up your nose really far,” she says in Spanish. 

Courtesy Bill Milliken, Jr.

When the late William Grawn Milliken first told his mother about his aspirations to serve in government, she told him to be a “statesman, not a politician.” He went on to be Michigan’s longest-serving governor, make the state a national leader in environmental policy and leave a legacy of civility and bipartisan public service.

Watch a recording of the memorial event on Facebook. 

Lexi Krupp

Interlochen Public Radio welcomes Lexi Krupp this week as our new science and conservation reporter. Lexi comes to us from Gimlet Media, where she helped the “Science Vs” podcast team distinguish what’s fact from what’s not, and has written for a range of publications including Audubon and Vice.

 

She will lead IPR’s efforts to deepen the public’s understanding of the natural world, covering the land, water, forests, climate, wildlife and farms in upper Michigan.

Dear Listeners, 
 

“Think” with host Krys Boyd from KERA in Dallas is coming to northern Michigan.
 

Every weeknight at 8:00 p.m., listeners can expect thought-provoking and in-depth conversations with newsmakers from around the globe. Since launching in November 2006, “Think” and Krys Boyd have earned more than a dozen local, regional and national awards.
 

Potential new cormorant management plan

Jun 11, 2020
Sam Corden

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has crafted a new plan to address double-crested cormorant conflicts in the US.

 

It proposes killing as many as 77,000 of the migratory birds in the Mississippi and Central flyways each year. That covers 24 states, including Michigan.  The FWS estimates the population in the region is about 500,000 migrating cormorants, which nest in Canada, the Great Lakes and other parts of the upper Midwest. 

 

Gretchen Carr

Life in northern Michigan relies on the water, land, forests and other natural wonders of the upper Great Lakes region.  IPR is committed to journalism that deepens our understanding of the natural world. That world is changing and our journalism needs to keep up. 

 

Cheryl Bartz

On the guide this week, hear how 50 degrees is a threshold for all kinds of spring activity. Also the true and false morels, feasting warblers and the salamander migration.

 

 

What are you seeing?  Call us with your nature sightings at 231-276-4444.

 

Thanks to Cheryl Bartz, Larry Mawby and Leslie Hamp for production help.

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