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Issues Of The Environment: Protecting Washtenaw County's Threatened And Endangered Species

Apr 24, 2019

Brian Klatt, director of the Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Credit Michigan Natural Features Inventory / mnfi.anr.msu.edu

A recent survey determined that there are approximately 150 species in Washtenaw County listed as threatened or endangered.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks to Brian Klatt, director of the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, about why these plants and animals are in danger and what needs to be done to protect them.


Overview

  • The theme for Earth Day 2019 was “Protect Our Species.”  According to Earthday.org, “We are amidst the largest period of species extinction in the last 60 million years.  Normally, between one and five species will go extinct annually.  However, scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, with multiple extinctions daily” 
  • The Michigan Natural Features Inventory provides an “authoritative source of information on biodiversity that is widely used to conserve Michigan's unique natural heritage for current and future generations.”  This resource maintains a list of all the species listed by the Endangered Species Act of the State of Michigan, as well as species of special concern that are likely to require this protection in the future. The list is searchable by county.
  • Some of the most pressing concerns for endangered species in Southeast Michigan include habitat loss (changes to the natural environment that reduce or eliminate the resources a species needs to survive and/or reproduce), diseases introduced from foreign vectors, competition for resources from introduced species, over-hunting, and climate change.
  • Brian Klatt, Director, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, highlights some of the endangered species in our listening area, provides information about the challenges they face, and offers ideas for helping them rebound.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu