Points North

Fridays at 6:45 a.m and 8:45 a.m

Points North is a show about the land, water and inhabitants of the upper Great Lakes.

Each week we look into what draws people to northern Michigan — the beaches, orchards, dunes and forests — and the deeper stories behind these postcard settings. 

How to listen: On the dial Fridays at 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.  | pointsnorthradio.org | the IPR app | wherever you get your podcasts

Max Johnston / IPR News

 

Grand Traverse Bay and inland lakes across Michigan, like Lake Leelanau and Torch Lake, will be ice-free by the end of the century if carbon emissions continue at current levels. 

 

  

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. 

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.

The Grand Haven lighthouse and waves get a good dose of what Todd and Brad Reed call, "magic light" during a November storm in 2015.
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

For most people, November isn’t a great time for a day at the beach. But Ludington photographers Todd and Brad Reed aren’t most people. They dream of capturing Lake Michigan at its gnarliest.


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.


Philip Hutchinson, provided by Terri Wilkerson

A group of tribal citizens and activists have uncovered a potential cultural site at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac from close to 10,000 years ago — the end of the last Ice Age. Researchers say it could be a major archeological find.

 

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?

 

    

 

Eric Calabro, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

 

In some inland lakes invasive plants grow so thick, motor boats get stuck and you can’t fish or swim. 


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.)

Field Guide: It's not the goldenrod

Sep 17, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

Cheryl Gross says a common misconception is “beautiful yellow goldenrod flowers” are the cause seasonal allergies. 

“They’re not,” says the president of Plant it Wild.

 

Gross says the real culprit is ragweed.  

 

It blooms at the same time as goldenrod, but isn’t very noticeable. It’s dull green with tiny dull green flowers.  

 

Ragweed doesn’t need to be flashy because it doesn’t need to attract insects. 

 

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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

Field Guide: tomato hornworms

Sep 4, 2020
Courtesy of Duke Elsner

While no gardener welcomes a tomato hornworm--they eat twice their weight in leaves each day--they are impressive creatures.

 

They pupate underground, six inches underground. Duke Elsner says that’s amazing since caterpillars aren’t really built to tunnel. Then they have to get back out as a moth.  

 

“It’s remarkable how many survive at all in this world,” says the retired MSU Extension educator.

 

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. 

Kaye LaFond

This week on Points North, democrats worry the controversial Line 5 pipeline is dividing labor,  environmental and tribal groups ahead of the Michigan primary.

Plus, hear how environmental policies could impact the presidential race in Michigan. 


Michigan likely needs realtor buy-in to pass a septic code

Feb 28, 2020
A man in jeans and a lightly-colored coat stands on a front porch dusted with snow.
Mike Krebs / Traverse City Record-Eagle

Realtors and interest groups opposed to regulation are shaping septic system policies in Michigan's state and local politics.

Realtors don't like the idea of inspections tied to home sales. Anti-regulation lawmakers don't like the alternatives.

Samantha York / Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry

This week on Points North: Grand Traverse Bay is freezing less and less, according to historical data.

Plus, making music that sounds like melting glaciers.

Ice cover on Lake Michigan is happening less and less, and that’s why Grand Traverse Bay hasn’t frozen this year. 

The bay had already frozen out to Power Island by this time last year and the year before.

Read the full story. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North: The foundation of the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort is crumbling.

High waters and waves cracked the barrier that protects it from Lake Michigan.

Plus, there are not many commercial fishers left in the Great Lakes.

In Michigan, they have long been at odds with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Now people who catch fish to sell say the state is attempting to put them out of business.

 

 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North we take a look at pollution in Charlevoix. Also, there's no immediate solution for excessive drinking on northern Michigan rivers. 

Plus, Little Traverse Bay is getting new ferry service. 

 


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