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Can You Spot the Asian Longhorned Beetle?

The white spotted pine sawyer, left, often is mistaken for the invasive Asian longhorned beetle.

16AUG18-The Asian longhorned beetle is a highly destructive, invasive pest that can kill maple, birch, elm, willow and other hardwood trees. Since August is national Tree Check Month, people are encouraged to keep an eye out for this invader that is known to be in Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Ontario. Reporting sightings or signs of this pest can help prevent widespread tree loss in Michigan.    

A native of China and Korea, the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is considered an invasive species in the United States. Adult beetles have bullet-shaped bodies from 3/4 inch to 1-1/2 inches long. This beetle is shiny black with white spots and long, black-and-white-striped antennae.  Its legs and feet may be bluish in color. 

A similar beetle native to Michigan is often mistaken for the Asian longhorned beetle.

The white spotted pine sawyer (Monochamus scutellatus) has a distinctive white spot below the base of its head – between the tops of its wing covers. This, and it being brown or dull black in color, distinguishes the sawyer from the Asian longhorned beetle. 

Anyone who sees Asian longhorned beetle or its signs or symptoms is asked to report it. If you can capture the insect, look to see if it has a spot between the top of its wing covers – if so, it likely is a white spotted pine sawyer. If not, place the insect in a jar and freeze it. Take photos, note the location and report it as soon as possible by email to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at MDA-info@michigan.gov, by phone to 800-292-3939 or online to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network at misin.msu.edu

Get more details on the Michigan Invasive Species website’s Asian longhorned beetle page, michigan.gov/alb. 

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Expert Instructors Set DNR Outdoor Skills Academy Apart

Learn how to take stunning wildlife photos, like this one by Michigan photographer Tom Haxby, at an upcoming Outdoor Skills Academy class.

16AUG18-Michiganders looking to learn a new outdoor pursuit, or get better at one, have a unique opportunity with the DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy.

The Outdoor Skills Academy brings expert instructors to locations around the state for classes on a range of outdoor activities. Upcoming examples include an award-winning nature photographer who will teach a workshop on photographing birds and a collegiate coach and Olympic instructor who will lead an archery class.

“Outdoor Skills Academy classes are unique in that they explore these topics in-depth – for a full day or more, with knowledgeable and skilled instructors leading the way – at an affordable cost,” said Jon Spieles, DNR field manager for educational services.

Tom Haxby, a nature and wildlife photographer from Kingsley, Michigan, will teach a photographing birds workshop Aug. 18-19 at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. Haxby’s photographs (like the one above) have been chosen among the top 250 photos by the North American Nature Photography Association, among other awards, and have been published in numerous books, magazine covers and articles, and calendars. 

The class will cover effective use of photography equipment and techniques and will include time in the park to practice skills. 

Becoming an Expert Archer, a class coming to Ludington State Park Sept. 15, will feature instructor Nick Di Cresce, a professional archer, Wayne State University’s head archery coach and USA Olympic instructor.

Di Cresce will teach participants about the safe and correct way to shoot a bow and arrow and the various kinds of archery equipment. Participants will shoot at targets throughout the class and will finish the day with a competition for prizes.

For more information, visit michigan.gov/outdoorskills or contact Elizabeth Tillman at 231-798-3573 (bird photography workshop) or Alan Wernette at 231-843-9261(archery class). 

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DNR, NRC Honor Efforts of Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group

Several members of Michigan's Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group were honored for their efforts at the Aug. 9 Natural Resources Commission meeting

16AUG18-Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that has been confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer in six Michigan counties since the first confirmed positive in 2015. Last fall, the DNR and Natural Resources Commission created the CWD Working Group and challenged its members to identify more actions to substantially mitigate CWD in Michigan.

The group's members (representing agriculture, sportsmen, conservation and other related areas) talked with hunters, residents and others around the state, looked at research, and spent time developing several recommendations centered around communication, research funding, biosecurity and regional cooperation and management. 

Much of that work helped inform new regulations for the 2018 deer hunting season, which were approved last week at the Natural Resources Commission meeting. Several CWD Working Group members also were recognized for their efforts in a presentation at that meeting.

Learn more about chronic wasting disease at michigan.gov/cwd.

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Grants Totaling $80,518 Will Aid in Tree Planting Throughout State

The Michigan DNR, DTE Energy Foundation and ReLeaf Michigan partner to offer grants that make tree-planting efforts like this, in Hamtramck, possible.

16AUG18-Thirty-six communities and organizations across Michigan recently learned they’re getting a share of $80,518 to support their tree-planting efforts. The grants, from the DNR, the DTE Energy Foundation and ReLeaf Michigan, will support the planting of 1,600 trees along streets and in parks and other public spaces.

"Trees help to make our communities and neighborhoods beautiful, healthy and vibrant places,” said Kevin Sayers, DNR Urban and Community Forestry program coordinator. “This program promotes properly locating and planting trees to ensure they stay healthy for years to come.” The grants will support the purchase of a variety of trees to be planted this fall or next spring. 

The program is part of a long-term DTE Energy Foundation/DNR initiative to partner with communities, schools and nonprofits to take care of the environment. Since the program’s founding, nearly 40,000 trees and seedlings have been planted in 500-plus communities. The program, funded by the DTE Energy Foundation, is administered through a collaborative partnership between the DNR and the nonprofit ReLeaf Michigan to increase opportunities for community involvement statewide.

“The DTE Energy Foundation is committed to supporting nonprofit organizations focused on protecting Michigan’s natural resources,” said Lynette Dowler, DTE Energy Foundation president. 

“Our 22-year partnership with the DNR and, more recently ReLeaf Michigan, has helped more than 500 communities across the state become both more beautiful and more environmentally friendly,” she said. “This is a legacy of which we can all be proud.”  

Communities interested in launching volunteer tree plantings or educational events are encouraged to contact ReLeaf Michigan at 800-642-7353 or visit releafmichigan.org.

For more on the DTE Energy Foundation and its programs, contact Anne O’Dell 313-235-5555.

For a list of approved grants or information on the Urban and Community Forestry program, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898 or visit michigan.gov/ucf

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Get Michigan's wildlife – bear, elk, waterfowl and more – in K-12 classrooms

Michigan DNR's Elk University logo - the program is for high school students.

16AUG18-With the start of the school year fast approaching for many, don’t forget to include Michigan’s wildlife in your class plans. 

The DNR offers a variety of wildlife classroom curricula at the elementary, junior high and high school levels, and each program is developed to fit current state educational standards. Better yet, they're free to educators! Topics include:

  • Elk University. One hundred years ago, wild elk were brought to Michigan to re-establish the state’s elk population. High school students are put in the role of wildlife managers, while learning about this conservation success story through Elk University. These lessons also include Michigan history, forest management and social considerations for wildlife management.
  • A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear. Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students have the chance to learn all about black bears in Michigan – from their life history to how the DNR manages populations – in this curriculum. Students also get to “follow” black bear movements in Michigan by looking at actual location data from collared bears.
  • Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl. Middle schoolers can get an introduction to wetland habitats with this program. These lessons have activities about wetlands and the ducks, geese and swans that live in Michigan, and give students an opportunity to look at how different land uses affect wildlife habitats, including wetlands.
  • Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife. This curriculum introduces elementary-age students to a variety of species found throughout Michigan and their supporting habitats. Materials include sets of Critter Cards for each student to keep; however, those sets are limited and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis to Michigan educators who register. All registered educators will receive an electronic copy of the Critter Cards to use. 

For more information, including how to register, visit michigan.gov/dnreducation or contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678

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DNR's New Wildtalk Podcast: Raccoons, Hunting access

DNR Wildtalk podcast logo

16AUG18-On the DNR's Wildtalk podcast, wildlife staff chew the fat and shoot the scat about all things habitat, feathers and fur. With insights, interviews and listener questions answered on the air, you'll come away with a better picture of what's happening in the world of Michigan wildlife. 

In episode #3, find out more about the DNR's Hunting Access Program, which helps people find land to hunt throughout the state. Later in the show, learn what you should do if you discover a raccoon in your attic!

Questions about something you heard on the podcast? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453).

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Showcasing The DNR: Electrofishing For Answers

By CORY KOVACS and CARL CHRISTIANSEN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A crew uses a Lagler Class boom shocker in this undated photo.

16AUG18-On a rainy August morning, three men dressed in dark-shaded green chest waders and rain jackets slowly make their way upstream, through the chilly waters of the Rock River in Alger County.

Two of the men carry long white poles with rectangular boxed ends in one rubber-gloved hand and a fishing net at the end of a wooden pole in the other.

From each of the two men, a thick yellow electrical cord runs downstream to a blue or red equipment box in a small aluminum boat, which is being pulled up the river by the third man.

As the men move the ends of the white poles under the stream banks, and the wet alder trees overhanging the water, large and small brook trout begin to appear, floating sideways or upside down in the creek.

Quickly, the fish are netted and moved to a plastic bin filled with water that’s sitting in the bottom of the boat. The men pull the boat to the muddy shore and they begin measuring the fish and collecting information on each of them.

They work quickly because it won’t be long before the fish have revived and are once again darting under the banks of the stream, looking for places to hide. 

A DNR fisheries staffer takes a scale sample from a brook trout in Alger County.This process is called electrofishing, and it’s been around for quite a while. The men and women who perform this task for the state are fisheries biologists and technicians with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Within the DNR, the Fisheries Division is responsible for managing fish populations within the state’s streams, protecting and preserving these valuable resources for the public and posterity.

Because every stream is unique, each one requires attention to factors that may, or may not, have an impact on the fish community.

In every case, fisheries managers are trying to gather more data on fish populations to help guide management recommendations.

How it works

Electrofishing in Michigan got its start at the Hunt Creek Research Station in Montmorency County during the summer of 1942.

There, the electrofishing unit first used in Michigan was a 1-horsepower gasoline motor that powered a 500-watt generator. The electrical current was conducted to the water through a rubber-covered, two-wire cable using a pair of electrodes that were attached to wooden handles. The two electrodes used the water to complete the electrical circuit to the generator. 

Today the concept is still the same, although the equipment has come a long way since 1942. There are three main electrofishing tools used by the DNR in Michigan.

The first is called a backpack shocker. It is designed for small streams and is very portable. It runs off a 12-volt battery or sometimes a small generator.

The second type is called a stream shocker. These units are designed for larger streams that a backpack shocker cannot cover adequately, and they are what the fisheries team was using on the Rock River that rainy day in August.

Workers test a stream shocker in this undated photo.A stream shocker is made up of a small generator and a control box that can alter the amount of current being produced by the generator. The electric current flows from a positive to negative charged direction.

These components are put into a small boat or barge. There can be two or three anode (positive) electrodes on the boat (the red and blue boxes), allowing several people to “shock” the stream at the same time. These electrodes are often connected with cord reels, allowing the technicians to be able to move away from the boat to get to different areas of the stream. The boat acts as the other electrode (negative) or “cathode,” completing the electrical circuit in the water.

The final, and largest, electrofishing tool is the boom shocker. These tools are used on large rivers and lakes. They usually consist of a 16- to 20-foot, flat-bottomed boat equipped with large booms, a generator and a control box. The booms act as the anode (positive) electrode, and the boat serves as the cathode (negative) electrode. 

All three types of electrofishing gear options serve the same purpose. They produce an electric current in the water which temporarily stuns the fish, firing their muscles involuntarily, allowing technicians to collect the fish and collect biological samples.

The fish are netted and placed in temporary holding tanks to be sampled and then released back into the water of the stream or lake being surveyed.

A fisheries worker looks at an electrofishing probe in an undated photo.

Uses of the technology

For decades, fisheries managers have used electrofishing gear to grow their knowledge about the fish community that lives in each stream or lake.

The many uses for electrofishing gear, illustrating why it is a critical tool for fisheries managers, include:

  • Aiding in estimating the number and type of species living within fish communities.
  • Collecting wild fish for egg gathering. The eggs are taken to fish hatcheries and hatched. The fish produced from these eggs are used for stocking streams and lakes.
  • Providing data to help judge the effectiveness of fisheries management actions.
  • Monitoring important fish species or non-native, invasive species that can harm fish populations, water quality, recreation or economic concerns.

In the early 2000s, the DNR’s Fisheries Division developed a standard process for stream sampling to compare fish populations between different streams with similar habitat types. Electrofishing gear is used to collect information from the populations in these streams.

Typically, information fisheries biologists, technicians and managers are looking for includes length, fish species type and age. They often will take scale or spine samples to help determine age.

A DNR fisheries crew works to collect walleye below the Croton Dam on the Muskegon River.

Examples

Under a rotation plan – three years of stream sampling, three years without – the Rock River in Alger County, is sampled using the established standard method. The stream contains a wild population of brook trout.

By sampling within a 1,000-foot length of stream, a population estimate for brook trout is calculated from each sampling effort. From the information gathered, trends in brook trout abundance, mortality and growth can be identified, which are key components to fisheries management.

Every year during spring runoff, rivers rise, swollen with snowmelt. In Newaygo County, the DNR’s Fisheries Division organizes a fleet of electrofishing boats to head to the Muskegon River, below Croton Dam, in search of walleye.

The Muskegon River serves as one of two locations in Michigan where wild walleye brood stock (eggs used to grow fish populations) is collected. The second is Little Bay de Noc in Delta County.

Because of the high and fast water conditions of the Muskegon River during the spring spawning run, electrofishing boats are very effective at successfully capturing spawning walleye. This provides the number of eggs needed to meet targets for production at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Van Buren County.

Additionally, about one month later, on the east side of Michigan, electrofishing boats search the Detroit River for muskellunge during their spawning period. Great Lakes, or “spotted,” muskellunge have been the primary focus for DNR Fisheries Division production since 2010.

Electrofishing screen grab.Until inland brood-stock lakes become well-established with an acceptable population level of Great Lakes muskellunge, the DNR will rely entirely on the Detroit River to collect eggs for its statewide muskellunge stocking program.

In the early stage of this muskellunge program, efforts with other gear types were unsuccessful on this massive waterbody. Today the sole method for collection is with electrofishing boats.

Many times, anglers visiting a stream wonder, “Why does this stream have a different fish size limit than another stream just down the road?”

To answer this question, fisheries managers typically reply with some data, biological reasoning and information that may seem like it just came out of nowhere.

However, that information was most likely learned from data collected during electrofishing, which supported a need for a fish size restriction on one stream and not another.

Similarly, when a dam is removed after being in place for years, fisheries managers will want to know what effects the removal has had on the stream. Electrofishing gear most likely would be used to help evaluate the changes in the fish communities, upstream and downstream of the dam site.

Another instance to consider is invasive fish species and how the DNR and other entities identifies their occurrence or status. Invasive species awareness has been of the utmost importance in recent years and on the radar of every fisheries manager across the nation.

When someone reports seeing an invasive species to the DNR, field staffers often conduct electrofishing surveys to determine the presence or absence, and location, of the invasive species.

Responses to invasive species reports are relatively fast using electrofishing gear, since all the components of the tools typically are found within one unit, not requiring any significant amount of setup time.

Over the past three-quarters of a century, electrofishing has found its place in fisheries management and research. The original uses of this sampling equipment are still being applied today.

With the development, refinement and continued use of this technology, questions once thought to be impossible to answer are now able to be answered efficiently and confidently.

Electrofishing is a tool likely to remain important in helping to protect and preserve Michigan’s thriving stream and lake fish communities well into the future.

Get more information on fishing in Michigan at www.michigan.gov/fishing. To report potential invasive species, visit MISIN or contact the appropriate person for your area on the DNR’s invasive species website with photos attached.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email delivery at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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"Donna The Buffalo" to Headline August 24th - 26th at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

16AUG18-Three days packed full of music and fun are scheduled for the 14th annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in Ontonagon County.

The festival will be staged Aug. 24 – 26 at the winter recreation area (ski hill) at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located just west of Silver City.

The music festival is presented by the Friends of The Porkies, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, which represents all users of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

This activity is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. The festival made state history in 2005 by becoming the first music festival to be held in a Michigan state park.

Staffed by a handful of year-round volunteers and over 120 volunteers throughout the three-day event, the festival places the focus on a wide variety of musical styles such as bluegrass, folk, rock, blues, zydeco, country and more.

The event will be held rain or shine.

Headlining the festival this year are:

  • Friday, Aug. 24 – The Fred Eaglesmith Show, starring Tif Ginn: Eaglesmith is a veteran of the music industry and, at the same time, is about as far away from actually participating in today’s music industry as one could be. Never operating within anyone’s boundaries, he continues to set the standard for independent artists everywhere. Tif Ginn is a gutsy, amazing singer and a transcendent songwriter who has spent most of her life touring and playing music. Her impressive, sultry vocals and glorious harmonies with Fred, along with her multiple instrument additions to the show will have you in awe. This girl has it all, including Fred.
  • Saturday, Aug. 25 – Donna the Buffalo: Known as one of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America since 1989, Donna the Buffalo drew its original inspiration from a cherished part of the American heritage: the old-time music festivals of the south that drew entire towns and counties together. This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from The Michigan Council for The Arts Cultural Affairs, and the Crane Group.
  • Sunday, Aug. 26 – The Slambovian Circus of Dreams: Known for their electrifying live performances, the band has toured nationally and abroad, playing a moody, but upbeat, alt-roots rock. The band’s music is equal parts Washington Irving and Woodstock, tapping a broad palette of styles ranging from dusty Americana ballads to huge Pink Floydesque cinematic anthems.

Special guests throughout the three-day event include The Roosevelts, Old Salt Union and The Barefoot, along with the Ragbirds, Joshua Davis Trio, The Talbott Brothers, Wild Rivers, the Lucky Dutch, Shari Kane and Dave Steele, Kind Country and more.

Offering a more laid-back feel is the festival’s acoustic Busking Barn, where amateurs and professionals take the stage. Daily jam sessions are held. New this year is the Chalet Stage indoors, hosting performances during intermissions on the outdoor stage. The festival also offers children’s activities and performer workshops.

Tickets are $90 for a three-day pass, $35 for a single-day pass. Seniors over 60 and teens ages 13-17 receive $5 off regular prices. Tickets for children ages 7-12 are $10 for either a three-day pass or a single day pass. Children 6 and under receive free admission when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a popular tourist attraction, with a breathtaking 60,000 acres of natural beauty located in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Ontonagon County is Michigan’s largest by acreage, and is one of the least-densely populated counties in the state; laid back and picturesque, with wondrous natural surroundings. There are more than 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, named one of the cleanest beaches in America. The thousands of acres of state and federal land, a community lighthouse, an area rich in mining history and Native American history are all a part of the legacy of the area.

Ontonagon County also boasts Michigan's and the Midwest's largest span of virgin hardwood maple/hemlock forest located within the boundaries of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

For more information regarding the 14th Annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, visit www.porkiesfestival.org or call 1-906-231-1589.

For campers with questions on reservations at any of Michigan’s state parks, contact the DNR’s parks call center at 1-800-447-2757 or 1-800-44PARKS.

Inside Michigan’s Great Outdoors subscribers are always the first to know about reservation opportunities, state park events and other outdoor happenings. Subscribe now.

For more information, visit the DNR’s webpage at: www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Natural Resources Commission approves deer regulations related to chronic wasting disease 

A white-tailed deer. Michigan's Natural Resources Commission approved new hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

16AUG18-At the August 9th meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing, the commission approved a series of deer hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease. The action came after months of commission members and Department of Natural Resources staff hearing from hunters, residents and others interested in the long-term health of the state’s deer population, and a thorough review of the best available science on chronic wasting disease. 

“We hope that by setting these specific CWD regulations we can limit the movement of this disease in Michigan,” said Vicki Pontz, NRC chairperson. “We appreciate all the comments we have received from across the state. Michigan hunters are very passionate about deer and deer hunting, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to confront this threat to wildlife and our valued hunting tradition.”

CWD is a fatal neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in cervids – deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and produces small lesions that result in death. There is no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die. 

The disease first was discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in May 2015. To date, more than 31,000 deer in Michigan have been tested for chronic wasting disease, and CWD has been confirmed in 60 free-ranging deer in six Michigan counties: Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm.

The approved deer hunting regulations, which will be in effect for the 2018 deer seasons unless noted otherwise, include:

  • Reduced the 4-point on-a-side antler requirement on the restricted tag of the combination license in the 16-county CWD Management Zone. Under the new regulation, a hunter in the CWD Management Zone can use the restricted tag of the combination license to harvest a buck with antlers as long as it has at least one 3-inch antler. 
  • Created a discounted antlerless license opportunity in the CWD Management Zone on private land; if purchased, the license will expire Nov. 4, 2018. 
  • Effective immediately, a statewide ban on the use of all natural cervid urine-based lures and attractants, except for lures that are approved by the Archery Trade Association.
  • An immediate ban on baiting and feeding in the 16-county area identified as the CWD Management Zone. This area includes Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.
  • A ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula, effective Jan. 31, 2019, with an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements. The start date on this regulation is intended to allow bait producers and retailers time to adjust to the new rule.
  • Effective immediately in the CWD Management Zone and four-county bovine tuberculosis area (in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties), hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements can now use 2 gallons of single-bite bait, such as shelled corn, during the Liberty and Independence hunts.
  • Allowance of all legal firearms to be used in muzzleloader season in the CWD Management Zone.
  • A purchase limit of 10 private-land antlerless licenses per hunter in the CWD Management Zone.
  • Restrictions on deer carcass movement in the five-county CWD Core Area (Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties) and the CWD Management Zone.
  • Antlerless options on deer licenses/combo licenses during firearms seasons in the five-county CWD Core Area.
  • Expansion of early and late antlerless seasons in select counties.
  • Changes to regulations regarding wildlife rehabilitators.

In addition, the commission asked the DNR to move forward with:

  • An experimental mandatory antler point restriction regulation in a five-county CWD Core Area, including Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties. The restriction would begin in 2019, provided a survey of hunters shows support for the requirement and specific department guidelines are met. This is intended as a tool to evaluate the effects of antler point restrictions on the spread and prevalence of CWD, along with deer population reduction.
  • A hunter-submitted proposal for mandatory antler point restrictions in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. If hunter surveys support this regulation and specific department guidelines are met, it would be implemented in 2019.

These regulations come after much collaborative work to better understand the scope and pathways of CWD and best management actions. In October 2017, Michigan hosted a CWD symposium that brought together roughly 200 wildlife scientists and other experts from across the country.  

Recommendations and public outreach

Shortly after the symposium, the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission announced the creation of a nine-member Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group. This group was charged with developing recommendations on additional steps and actions to substantially mitigate CWD in Michigan, and in January presented initial recommendations centered around messaging, partnership funding, regional management, and the importance of continuing a solid science-based approach. 

Throughout April and May of this year, the DNR hosted a series of public engagement meetings in Bay City, Cadillac, Detroit, DeWitt, Gaylord, Houghton, Iron Mountain, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Newberry and Rockford. These meetings provided many opportunities for the DNR to share the latest information and recommendations about CWD, while encouraging the public to offer their best ideas on how to slow the disease. 

During this outreach period, more than 650 peopled attend public engagement meetings, and the DNR received comments and suggestions via 361 hard-copy surveys and 135 online surveys.

More information on regulations

Details on all regulations will be added next week to the online hunting digests on the DNR website, and DNR staff will be available at deer-check stations during the hunting seasons, too.  

More information about these regulations also will be posted next week to the michigan.gov/cwd website. For additional questions, contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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Follow The Journey of DNR Conservation Officer Recruits

A new crop of hopefuls has started the 23-week journey toward becoming DNR conservation officers

16AUG18

In case you missed it, the DNR's Conservation Officer Recruit School #9 got under way last month in Lansing. Twenty-two men and eight women have begun the 23-week academy, where they'll face a challenging series of physical, academic and natural resources training activities in their quest to join the ranks of Michigan's COs. 

Follow along by signing up for weekly installments of the department's academy blog. Candidates who successfully complete the academy then will be paired with veteran DNR conservation officers for an additional 18 weeks of field training. Learn more at michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Have A Say in How Your State Forests are Managed

forest with tall trees

15AUG18-Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forestland require a lot of careful planning to keep them healthy and thriving. That’s why the DNR finalizes plans for each forest management unit two years in advance of when any management activities – prescribed burns, timber harvests or tree thinning, for example – actually will take place.

This summer, forest management recommendations for 2020 are being presented at open houses within those forest management units, giving people the opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists and other resource professionals. Upcoming open houses include:

  • Roscommon Forest Management Unit – Sept. 12 in Roscommon

About a month after each forest management unit’s open house, a public compartment review meeting also will take place. That’s where the foresters will present their final decisions on management activities for that unit. Compartment review meetings coming up include:

  • Pigeon River Forest Management Unit – Aug. 15 in Vanderbilt
  • Escanaba Forest Management Unit Sept. 5 in Escanaba
  • Cadillac Forest Management Unit Sept. 11 in Cadillac

For more information – including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of forest management activities, and the forest open house and compartment review schedules – visit the public input section of the DNR’s michigan.gov/forestry webpage.

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Stewardship Volunteer Opportunities Abound in Michigan State Parks

DNR staffer shows stewardship volunteers a map

15AUG18-Each month, numerous state parks in both southeast and southwest Michigan host volunteer stewardship workdays.

In August, volunteers will help with prairie restoration (removing invasive plants such as spotted knapweed) and cutting invasive, non-native shrubs. These workdays are a great way to spend time in Michigan's great outdoors, while helping restore the state's natural ecosystems.

More information about volunteer stewardship workdays, including a calendar of opportunities, is available at michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers.

To volunteer, please register by completing and submitting the stewardship volunteer registration form.

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Plan Now for Fall Bird-Hunting Season

GEMS hunters with dogs

15AUG18-With bird hunting season just around the corner, it's a great time to plan a fall hunting trip.

Michigan has millions of acres of public hunting land, with excellent young forests that have made northern Michigan a destination for many.

GEMS and Mi-HUNT are two DNR-developed programs to help build a public-land hunting itinerary.

Nineteen GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management Sites) in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be available to explore this fall. GEMS are large blocks of land managed for young forests, with winding hunter walking trails that provide added comfort to those unfamiliar with an area or those with mobility challenges.

Visit michigan.gov/gems for an interactive map, information about individual GEMS, custom maps and information about local businesses showing support by offering discounts.

Mi-HUNT is another option for hunters who already know the general area they’d like to hunt but want specific stand and road information. Visit michigan.gov/mihunt to watch the tutorials that can help you use the mapping system to its full potential.

Michigan’s grouse season runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. Woodcock, a migratory bird, have an abbreviated season, Sept. 22 to Nov. 5. To hunt grouse and woodcock in Michigan, hunters only need a base license. To target woodcock, a free woodcock stamp is required. Licenses and stamps may be purchased online at E-License or at one of the many license agents across the state.

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Waterfowl Reserved Hunt Applications Now Available

waterfowl hunter aiming shotgun

15AUG18-Reserved waterfowl hunt applications are available now through Tuesday, August 28th.

To apply for reserved hunts on certain managed waterfowl areas, visit a license agent or michigan.gov/waterfowl. Applications are $5, and hunters may only apply once. Drawing results will be posted September 17th.

Reserved hunts will be held both mornings and afternoons of the opening weekend (October 13th and 14th) of waterfowl hunting season at Fish Point State Wildlife Area, Harsens Island and Shiawassee River State Game Area.

The maximum party size is four hunters. For morning hunts and the second-day hunts, successful applicants must have appropriate licenses and stamps and be accompanied by one to three other appropriately licensed hunters. Youth have a special opportunity because the opening-day afternoon hunts are for those 16 and younger. Successful applicants for the opening-day afternoon hunts can have up to two adults who are 18 years of age or older with appropriate licenses.

For more information about waterfowl hunting, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl.

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Take A Free Ride During Free ORV Weekend August 18th - 19th

ORVs at Silver Lake sand dunes

14AUG18-Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors can ride DNR-designated routes and trails Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19, without an ORV license or trail permit during the second Free ORV Weekend of the year.


Free ORV Weekend includes nearly 3,700 miles of off-road trails and the state’s five scramble areas –  St. Helen’s Motorsport Area, Black Lake Scramble Area, Silver Lake State Park, Bull Gap and The Mounds. All other ORV rules and laws still apply, and the Recreation Passport is required where applicable.


Throughout the year, fees generated through ORV licenses and trail permits ($36.25 for both) are reinvested back into the ORV system to help fund trail expansion, maintenance and infrastructure improvements. The funds also support safety and law enforcement and help address damage created by illegal ORV use

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Pre-Proposals Sought for $1.25 Million in Aquatic Habitat Funding

14AUG18-The DNR currently is accepting pre-proposals for the next round of Aquatic Habitat Grant Program funding. This program is focused on supporting projects that either protect intact aquatic habitat (the places where aquatic species live) or rehabilitate aquatic habitat that has become degraded.

The program this year is offering $1.25 million. Selected projects will emphasize:

  • Rehabilitation of degraded aquatic resources.
  • Development of self-sustaining aquatic communities that provide for continuing outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resource-based economies.
  • Development of strong relationships, partnerships and new expertise with respect to aquatic habitat protection and recovery.  
  • Projects can address issues on rivers, inland lakes or the Great Lakes.

    Important habitat work on the Au Sable River, supported by the Aquatic Habitat Grant Program administered by the Michigan DNRFunding is available to local, state, federal and tribal governments and nonprofit groups for single- and multiple-year projects and will be awarded through an open, competitive process. 

    Minimum grant amounts will be set at $25,000 with the maximum amount being the amount of funds available for the grant cycle. Smaller projects within the same region addressing similar issues and system processes can be bundled into a single grant proposal package in order to reach minimum grant amount requirements, if necessary.

    All applicants must complete and submit a three-page pre-proposal for review by the DNR’s Fisheries Division. Pre-proposals must be submitted by email to Chip Kosloski at kosloskic3@michigan.gov no later than Tuesday, Aug. 28. Applicants will be notified by Saturday, Sept. 29, and, if successful, will be invited to submit a full application. An invitation to submit a full application does not guarantee project funding.

    This program is funded by revenues from fishing and hunting license fees. The detailed program handbook (including timeline) and pre-proposal guidelines and forms are available at michigan.gov/dnr-grants. For more information, contact Joe Nohner at 517-284-6236 or Chip Kosloski at 517-284-5965.

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Michigan’s Registered Forester Program Moves to DNR

Michigan's Registered Forester program, managed by the DNR, is a great place for landowners to enlist help in caring for their forests.

14AUG18-Landowners who need help with their forests should soon find that Michigan’s Registered Forester program has an up-to-date online database and a new complaint review process.
Those changes are part of a restructuring process as oversight of the registered forester program moves to the DNR from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
“The new program is the ideal source for landowners to find highly qualified foresters to help them manage their forestland,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. Begalle will be responsible for appointing a seven-member board to oversee the program. 
The voluntary program has undergone a four-year restructuring process that includes required continuing education for registered foresters, appointment of the board and a moderate fee increase to help pay for maintaining and promoting the program. 
A bill introduced in 2014 in the state Legislature would have abolished the registered forester program, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed it after protest from foresters across the state. Snyder signed a law in April of this year to move oversight of the revamped program to the DNR.

“This is a voluntary program that encourages higher standards for Michigan’s foresters,” Begalle said. Nearly two-thirds of Michigan’s 20 million acres of forest are privately owned; the state manages an estimated 4 million acres of public forest. 

Learn more about the Registered Forester program at michigan.gov/forestry under Private Landowners. Questions on the current or future program? Email Brenda Haskill at haskillb@michigan.gov

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DNR Honored for Special Achievement in GIS Products & Services

The DNR's Open Data Portal offers new, technology-assisted looks at Trout Trails, state forests, shooting ranges and more.

14AUG18-The way people enjoy and manage natural resources is always evolving, but maybe at no faster a pace than in recent years, thanks to dynamic GIS technology. 
The DNR’s efforts in this arena recently were honored at the annual Esri User Conference, when the department earned a Special Achievement in GIS Award for its innovative application of mapping, data analytics and thought leadership.
The SAG Awards recognize organizations using GIS to solve some of the world's toughest challenges. Through the “science of where” – the technology of GIS combined with the science of geography – this year’s honorees demonstrated groundbreaking, transformative possibilities of GIS software.
“Within the past 20 years, the DNR has implemented an enterprise GIS system to support the growing needs and challenges of caring for Michigan’s natural resources and connecting the public to those resources,” said Dave Forstat, DNR GIS manager and chief data steward.
“As web GIS has become more prevalent, we’ve leveraged the benefits of increased communication and data accuracy to provide customers with the best possible data on trails, water, minerals, trees, wildlife, fish and other areas.”

This includes online tools – like the Open Data Portal, interactive maps, story maps and customized apps – aimed at connecting outdoor enthusiasts and natural resources professionals with the information they need.
“Through these tools, visitors can explore interactive maps and get information in a user-friendly, visually pleasing format,” said Brian Maki, GIS Support Unit supervisor, who accepted the award at the conference. “GIS has made it easier for people to enjoy outdoor recreation experiences and learn about the DNR and how we manage the state’s natural resources on their behalf.”
These applications and tools also have a positive economic influence on the state. GIS analysis assisted decision-makers at Arauco – a global producer of wood products – in choosing to bring a state-of-the-art chipboard plant to Grayling, Michigan. The $400 million plant is under construction and set to begin production in September, creating up to 210 new jobs.

Learn more by visiting michigan.gov/dnrmaps or contacting Dave Forstat at 517-420-8426.

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UPSA Honors Richardson as ‘Outstanding Conservationist’

J.R. Richardson, of Ontonagon, is UPSA's 'Outstanding Conservationist' for 2018

14AUG18-The Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance has honored J.R. Richardson of Ontonagon as the group’s 2018 “Outstanding Conservationist.”
The award was presented today at a quarterly UPSA meeting at the William Anderson Sportsman’s Club in Hermansville in Menominee County.
Richardson, a life-long resident of the U.P., is well-known for his service on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, which began in 2007, when he was initially appointed to the post by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
He was later reappointed to two additional terms by Gov. Rick Snyder. Richardson was appointed chairman of the commission in 2013. He currently is the sole U.P. representative on the commission, with his current term set to expire in December.
Richardson has worked to improve fishing opportunities for anglers, including helping to increase the daily bag limit for brook trout over roughly 40 streams across the U.P. and backing efforts to improve walleye rearing, stocking and distribution, especially within inland waters.
This past spring, he worked with trappers and the DNR to extend the beaver trapping season, given late winter, heavy snowfall.

“J.R. Richardson is a fantastic recipient for our Outstanding Conservationist award,” said Tony Demboski, UPSA president. “He always looks at all sides of a problem and any recommendations that are presented. He is a tremendous supporter of the natural resources across the entire state of Michigan.”

J.R. Richardson, right, shares a laugh with Don Ryan, host of “The Ryan Report.” Demboski said Richardson has provided extensive work and leadership to the U.P. Habitat Workgroup improving deer wintering habitat, formed the U.P. Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force to help generate policies best suited to the region and he has been very active with youth groups in the western Upper Peninsula.
Richardson led a 31-year career in the paper industry which ended in December 2007. He began as a union coal handler, paper machine laborer and recovery boiler operator in 1976 with Champion International Corporation.
Throughout his career, Richardson worked as a process engineer, engineering supervisor, production supervisor and quality and environmental manager.

Richardson ended his paper industry career as an operations and technical manager for Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation.
Since December 2007, he has worked for the New York-based TRAXYS Corporation, which creates renewable energy alternatives for producing power in the U.P.
A graduate of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Richardson holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and has completed course work toward a business engineering administration degree.
He has received numerous awards and accolades and is a member of many sportsmen’s groups. His community involvement includes service, from 1996 to 2004, on the Ontonagon Village Council and Economic Development Corp., and serving as a member of the volunteer fire department, the Marina Commission, and hazardous materials certified technician.
J.R. Richardson, center, is shown in discussions with the Upper Peninsula Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force. This is the second year the alliance has given the “Outstanding Conservationist” award. The 2017 inaugural recipient was Alan Ettenhofer of Escanaba, co-founder of U.P. Whitetails.
The Upper Peninsula Sportsmen's Alliance was formed in 1982 to unite sportsmen’s groups in the region for a common cause. Today, the group is composed of 57 clubs and businesses, representing 49,000 members.
The alliance’s mission is to be the voice of U.P. sportsmen and outdoors users to promote, foster and advance the outdoor recreation experience, encouraging conservation of natural resources and the environment to perpetuate the direction of management and use, for the benefit of future generations by educating UPSA’s members, youth and the general public.

The organization cooperates, when appropriate, with local, state and federal resource management agencies, encourages communication with the DNR on policy issues and respects the rights of landowners.

For more information, visit UPSA’s webpage at http://upperpeninsulasportsmensalliancewebsite.com/index.html

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Michigan Inland Lakes Convention this October in Grand Rapids

Two attendees at previous Michigan Inland Lakes Convention

26JUL18-Lake enthusiasts and professionals will come together Oct. 3-5 at the Crowne Plaza in Grand Rapids for the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention, held every other year. Registration for this year’s conference is now open. Discounts are available for early registration until Friday, Sept. 14, as well as for students and presenters.
The convention focuses on “Working Together for Healthy Lakes” and is being planned by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership and the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps).
Two days of educational presentations, discussions and in-depth workshops focused exclusively on Michigan’s inland lakes will be offered. Dozens of Michigan nonprofit and governmental exhibitors will showcase their projects and resources.
“We’re excited to be joined by two outstanding keynote speakers at the 2018 convention,” said convention coordinator Jo Latimore, with Michigan State University. “One will be Michigan native Lisa Borre, now a prominent inland lake researcher and writer from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York, to share her experiences in local to global collaboration for healthy lakes. We’ll also be joined by Bill Creal, former Water Resources Division chief of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, who is currently Research and Innovation director for the Great Lakes Water Authority. He will share his perspectives on effective partnerships to protect our waters.”

Lake researchers, water resource professionals, local leaders, residents and vacationers alike are invited to workshops and presentations that will engage, educate and empower. Participants can choose from a variety of concurrent sessions focused on specific issues such as natural shorelines, citizen science, invasive species, water law and natural resources management. On Friday, Oct. 5, attendees will have the option to participate in workshops on becoming Shoreland Stewards Ambassadors, citizen science for aquatic macroinvertebrates, remote sensing for algae concentrations in lakes, and a field trip to invasive species management areas on Reed’s Lake.
The convention is a cooperative effort between the many organizations that make up the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, including the Michigan Aquatic Managers Association, Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University Institute of Water Research and Northwestern Michigan College. Financial support for the convention is provided by the DNR and the Michigan Lake Stewardship Association.
The Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership promotes collaboration between locals, professionals, researchers and agencies in order to advance stewardship of Michigan’s inland lakes. For more information, visit www.canr.msu.edu/michiganlakes/convention/ or follow the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership on Facebook and Twitter (@Mich_Lakes).  

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DNR Conservation Officers Seize Record Amount of Illegal Crayfish in Southeast Michigan

25JUL18-More than 2,000 pounds of live, illegal red swamp crayfish recently were seized by Department of Natural Resources conservation officers – the largest aquatic invasive species seizure by the Michigan DNR.
Red swamp crayfish are prohibited in both Michigan and Canada. They burrow and create shoreline erosion, creating instability. Additionally, they compete with native crayfish, reducing the amount of food and habitat available for amphibians, invertebrates and juvenile fish.
Conservation officers in St. Clair County were notified Friday, July 13, by U.S. Customs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when a commercial hauler transporting red swamp crayfish was denied entry into Canada and would be returning to Michigan. The commercial hauler was stopped by Canadian officials at the Sarnia, Canada, border crossing in an attempt to leave the United States.
“Our officers have great working relationships with professional law enforcement partners across the U.S. and Canada. This is a fine example of how important those relationships are in protecting Michigan’s natural resources,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Assisted by customs officials, DNR conservation officers stopped the truck and obtained 55 bags of live crayfish. After interviewing the driver, the officers learned the truck originated from Canada and made stops in Maryland and Arkansas to pick up cargo prior to attempting its return to Canada. The driver did not have appropriate records, other than a few purchase receipts. DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Great Lakes Enforcement Unit is conducting further investigation. It currently is unknown if any stops or sales were made in Michigan. 
The first concern regarding red swamp crayfish in Michigan was in 2013, when conservation officers learned the illegal crayfish was being used as bait in southwest Michigan. The first live infestations in Michigan were detected and reported in 2017. Confirmed infestations include locations in southeast Michigan.
Native in southeast states of the U.S., red swamp crayfish are the most widespread invasive crayfish in the world, and often are used in classrooms as teaching tools and at food festivities such as crayfish boils. Any possession of live red swamp crayfish in Michigan is illegal. The DNR is working to increase awareness and reporting of the illegal crayfish, in addition to removing infestations from confirmed locations.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. 

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The Internet as a Pathway for Invasive Species

A quantity of red swamp crayfish, an invasive species intercepted by Michigan DNR law enforcement

24JUL18-We’ve all been told to be careful about internet use to avoid computer viruses like worms or Trojan horses – but did you know that internet shopping can introduce invasive species to Michigan, too? Going online to purchase new plants for your pond or a new aquarium pet is a good way to find a wider selection, but sellers outside of the state may be unaware that certain species (like red swamp crayfish, pictured here) are prohibited or restricted in Michigan.

If you shop online for exotic plants, pets or live food, it's good to be aware of the state and federal laws in place to prevent the introduction or spread of invasive species, and you should know which species these laws restrict. Check out the most recent issue of Michigan's Invasive Species Newsletter to learn more about these species and organisms and the trade pathway in Michigan. 

Questions? Contact Joanne Foreman at 517-284-5814.

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New Manual Showcases Latest in Forestry ‘Best Practices’

An updated manual on best practices in forestry is now available from the DNR.

24JUL18-Those interested in learning about current techniques and trends in caring for forests can check out the new manual, Michigan Forestry Best Management Practices for Soil and Water Quality.
The manual, updated from 2009, includes changes in procedures for endangered species assessment, estimating stream channel width and culvert diameters, and additional guidance on harvest operations. Sections covering forest roads, chemical treatments and use of pesticides also have been reorganized.
“These ‘best management practices’ contain legal requirements and voluntary practices that can help prevent sediment or other sources of pollution from going into lakes and streams during forest management activities such as a timber harvest, whether it’s on public or private lands,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR Forest Resources Division.
The revision process was a joint effort by the DNR, the departments of Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Michigan Forest Products Council. The DNR, DEQ and the Michigan Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee contributed money for printing.
“We sincerely thank our partners for their help in finalizing the new best practice manual. We could not have done it without them,” said Begalle.

Visit michigan.gov/forestry for more information about forestry and best management practices or contact David Price at 517-284-5891. 

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Cleanup Improves Health of Upper Peninsula’s Menominee River

An aerial view of the Menominee River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Photo courtesy Brian Holbrook, Bird's Eye Aviation.

24JUL18-A recent cleanup effort along a stretch of the Menominee River is expected to boost fish and environmental health in the area as the river recovers.
The Menominee River forms the boundary between the northeast corner of Wisconsin and the southern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with headwaters originating in both states and eventually emptying into Green Bay.
Federal Environmental Protection Agency and state specialists from Michigan and Wisconsin helped Lower Menominee River communities clean up the river by removing contaminants left by historic industry use, including manufactured gas, ship-building, paper and wastewater treatment companies. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds supported the cleanup.
“Restoration of sites like these makes an incredible difference for Great Lakes communities and natural habitat, as well as the outdoor recreation opportunities they support,” said Office of the Great Lakes Director Jon Allan. “Together, we’re achieving the goal of swimmable, fishable, drinkable waters that everyone can enjoy.”

The environmental effects of that historic pollution had earned the lower 3 miles of the Menominee River designation as an “Area of Concern" under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The residual impact of the release of coal tar, paint sludge and arsenic from those businesses led to serious ecological impairments for many area communities.
Thanks to cleanups like this, positive changes are happening. Michigan originally was tagged with 111 ecological impairments, which are defined as damage to the environment that keeps the ecosystem from properly functioning. This cleanup triggered the removal of Michigan’s 48th impairment from that original list. Office of the Great Lakes staff expect the Menominee River’s last two impairments, regarding fish and wildlife habitat and populations, to be lifted soon.
Although restoration of this site is almost complete, there is still much work needed to address environmental damage in Michigan. People can get involved in AOC cleanups through local Public Advisory Councils that work in partnership with Office of the Great Lakes coordinators. 
At this time,
advisories regarding quantities and species of fish remain and are updated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Properly cleaned and cooked panfish are considered best choices for eating.

To learn more about work to protect, restore and sustain Michigan’s waters, visit michigan.gov/OGL or contact Rachel Coale, 517-290-4295 or Stephanie Swart, 517-284-5046. 

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Stargazing This summer? Try a Michigan State Park

Michigan state parks are a great place to view the night sky. Here's a view at Tawas Point State Park on the Lake Huron shore.

24JUL18-Ask people what they enjoy about Michigan state parks in the hotter months, and many will talk about lazy days at the beach, fun family reunions and time spent exploring trails and forests. There’s another aspect of a state park trip that could make your visit even more memorable: night sky viewing.
“If you live in a big city or immediate suburb, it’s nearly impossible to get a good look at the night sky. There’s just too much competing light, but if you go into one of our state parks, the view changes dramatically,” said Ami Van Antwerp, a DNR communications specialist.
A big draw is the annual Perseid meteor shower, peaking this year Aug. 9-13. Several state parks – not just those in the Upper Peninsula or northern Lower Peninsula – will stay open late for “Meteors & S’mores” programs (with complimentary s’mores around the campfire) to mark the occasion, but every park offers great opportunities to camp under the stars.
According to Space.com, air pollution has made Earth’s atmosphere less transparent and more reflective, and an increase in light on the ground has created “a bright background light resembling a perpetual twilight” that makes it tough to see stars.

That’s where state parks – 103 locations from Detroit to Ontonagon, offering more than 352,000 acres of public land – can really steal the show.
“When you’re in a state park at night, definitely look up!” said Van Antwerp. “My family was at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park last summer around the same time as the meteor showers. Every night felt like our own private light show, whenever we stepped outside the tent.”
No special equipment is needed to view these meteor showers. The Perseids are among the brightest showers of the year and can easily be seen with the naked eye.

Designated viewing areas and times are specified at each park. Event dates are available at michigan.gov/darksky. Make camping reservations at midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS. Questions? Contact Elissa Buck at 989-313-0000. 

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DNR's Incident Management Teams are Ready to Respond

By TIMOTHY WEBB - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A heavy equipment operator works to repair a trail in Houghton County.

23JUL18-Most people in Michigan know the Department of Natural Resources plays a critical role in keeping people, homes, forests, fields and other resources protected when wildfires take off.  

Throughout the state, DNR staff members stand trained and ready for dispatchers to send them off to the next fire. What most people don’t know is how that same training prepares those firefighters for all kinds of other disasters.

The DNR Forest Resources Division supports four incident management teams, two each in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.

While their primary job is coordinating response to large fires, the teams’ training under the National Incident Management System also prepares them to assist in just about any other catastrophe.

Many team members attend workshops specifically geared to “all hazard” response. There, they run through simulations of tornadoes, floods and many other emergency situations.

Small incidents requiring only a few people, who are involved for a short length of time, don’t really need oversight from an incident management team. But when lots of people and multiple agencies get involved for more than a day or two, an incident management team can step in to coordinate the effort.

“Incident management teams help bring organization to chaos,” said Jim Fisher, the DNR’s fire section manager. “A team can expand or contract to fit the situation at hand. The more complex the incident, the bigger the team.”

DNR Director Keith Creagh visits with the incident management team in Houghton County.Team members on a large fire or other incident in Michigan might be responsible for requesting and checking in responders and equipment, developing strategies to attack the problem, coordinating tasks and communications among responding agencies, providing food, supplies and lodging for staff, producing incident maps and weather reports, collecting information for the media, and so on.

DNR teams are managed by the Forest Resources Division but include members from other DNR divisions who help with communications, finances and logistics.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 17, torrential rains sent emergency responders in Houghton County into action. The National Weather Service reported 7 inches of rain fell over nine hours.

The rainfall, coupled with the steep topography in and around Houghton and Hancock, resulted in dozens and dozens of roads, homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by flash floods, landslides and cave-ins.

According to plan, Houghton County’s emergency operations center mobilized its own incident management team.

At the same time, the storm-ravaged area recreational trails and boat ramps, elicited a response from DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.

Jeff Kakuk, western Upper Peninsula trails specialist for the DNR, started checking local trails later that same day. He quickly determined the task before him was enormous, well beyond what could be handled with local staff.

A section of trail is shown where floodwaters sliced through the underlying embankment.DNR officials soon decided an incident management team could help Kakuk and others start wrapping their arms around this overwhelming situation.

By Wednesday morning, team members began arriving from across the state. The Quincy-Franklin-Hancock Townships Volunteer Fire Department offered its fire hall for use as DNR’s incident command post.

Brian Mensch, DNR fire supervisor at nearby Baraga, stepped in as incident commander to lead the team.

“Our first job was to size up the damage to the local DNR trails and close off the damaged portions of the trail system as quickly as possible for public safety,” Mensch said.

During the next several days, DNR ground crews documented 150 washouts on about 60 miles of trails.

After putting up fencing and signs to close off critical trail access points, they started the lengthy process of repairing washouts and regrading eroded trail surfaces. Staff also dug out plugged culverts and delivered and spread gravel on storm-damaged trails.

Just 12 days after the rains, the DNR Forest Resources and Parks and Recreation divisions’ staffers had reopened more than 40 miles of trails and two boating access sites in the county, which needed only minor repairs. 

That’s about where the incident management team’s work ended. It had taken care of immediate public safety concerns, assessed the storm damage and got ground crews rolling on initial trail repairs.

A DNR crew works to repair a damaged portion of the Lake Linden Trail.Team members had engaged the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a private engineering firm to help plan repairs of the major trail washouts. Cost estimates had been delivered to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for potential federal disaster funding.

“At that point, the team handed things back over to Parks and Recreation Division staff to oversee and implement the long recovery process, with the goal of restoring the recreation infrastructure so important to the Copper Country economy,” Kakuk said.

Incident management team members returned to their home stations after spending just over a week at the incident.

It will take quite some time before things are back to normal in Houghton County, but the DNR’s incident management team members are back to their own normal – waiting for the next dispatch to a wildfire or whatever else nature throws in their direction.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at michigan.gov/dnrstories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email delivery at michigan.gov/dnr.

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Share Your Thoughts With the DNR at August Meetings

23JUL18-The Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan citizens the opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation opportunities. One important avenue for this input is at meetings of the public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also set policies for natural resource management.

The following boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public meetings in August. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific meeting locations and, when finalized, meeting agendas.

Please check these pages frequently, as meeting details and agendas may change and sometimes meetings are canceled or rescheduled..

August meetings

  • Accessibility Advisory Council – Aug. 21, 10 a.m., DNR Traverse City Customer Service Center. Meeting location is barrier-free and an interpreter will be present. (Contact: Mike Holsinger, 517-284-5946)
  • Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee – Aug. 16, 6 to 8 p.m., Flynn Pavilion, Bell Isle, Detroit (Contact: Renee Parker, 517-284-6135)

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Michigan DNR Lauds Senate Introduction of "Recovering America’s Wildlife" Act

Groundbreaking legislation provides critical funding for fish and wildlife in greatest need 

loon swimming

19JUL18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources strongly supports the introduction of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the U.S. Senate. Senators James Risch, R-Idaho, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. – along with their colleagues Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. – yesterday introduced groundbreaking legislation that provides a critical source of funding to conserve those fish and wildlife in greatest need across the country.
The bill will redirect $1.3 billion annually from energy development on federal lands and waters to the existing Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve fish and wildlife. This solution, recommended initially by the energy sector, complements existing natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs and will not require taxpayers or businesses to pay more, but instead allows all Americans to become investors in taking care of fish and wildlife.
Michigan’s Debbie Dingell, D-12th District – along with Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. – introduced the
House version of the bill in December 2017. It has gained strong, bipartisan support due to its innovative approach to solving America’s wildlife crisis. The current list of co-sponsors has grown to 75 members, including Michigan congressmen Jack Bergman, R-1st District, and Daniel Kildee, D-5th District.

“The funding model that this legislation will create is better for taxpayers, businesses and – most importantly – fish and wildlife that are in danger,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “It’s similar to the successful Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund program, which uses funding from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned minerals to conserve natural resources and provide public outdoor recreation. Since 1976, the Trust Fund has awarded more than $1.1 billion to help every county in our state acquire land, improve outdoor recreation and strengthen the economy of local communities." 

two juvenile lake sturgeon in palm of hand

If the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is fully funded, Michigan would receive an additional estimated $31 million per year in federal funding for at-risk fish and wildlife. This money could be used for efforts such as restoring habitat, fighting invasive species, reintroducing native species and monitoring emerging diseases.
“Michigan’s hunters and anglers have been the primary funders of wildlife conservation efforts in the state until now,” said Russ Mason, chief of the DNR Wildlife Division. “This funding will complement the contributions of sportsmen and women to keep our fish and wildlife thriving well into the future.”
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will support Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan, developed as a proactive and strategic approach to conserving the state’s rare fish and wildlife, which is being implemented by partners in government agencies, businesses and nongovernmental organizations across the state.
“States are well-suited to manage fish and wildlife, and we have proven successful with recovery efforts for species like lake sturgeon and Kirtland’s warbler,” said Jim Dexter, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division. “Additional funding will allow us to expand our ongoing efforts to ensure healthy fish and wildlife populations – those that are hunted and fished as well as those that aren’t.”

More than 300 different wildlife species in Michigan need proactive measures to be taken to prevent them from becoming endangered.
“Currently there is little funding available until wildlife is in dire straits, and at that point it’s harder and much more expensive to recover the species,” said Dan Kennedy, DNR endangered species coordinator. “This legislation will fund work to help at-risk wildlife before they need the ‘emergency room’ measures of the Endangered Species Act.”
States also will be able to use a portion of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act funds to enhance outdoor recreation such as wildlife viewing, nature photography and trails, as well as for wildlife education programs in places like nature centers and schools.

Those interested in supporting passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act are asked to visit OurNatureUSA.com for more information about the legislation and to contact their U.S. senators and representatives.

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DNR Needs Volunteers to Mentor Youth in Outdoor Recreation Activities at The UP State Fair in Escanaba

Sign-up for a volunteer shift; opportunities for groups, business sponsors

18JUL18-If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity to help a young person experience outdoor recreation – helping instill in them a sense of Michigan’s great natural resources heritage and traditions – then the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for you.

Youth mentors are needed to help staff the DNR’s Pocket Park during the August 13th - 19th week of the Upper Peninsula State Fair. Activities volunteers assist with include helping kids catch and release bluegills in the U.P.-shaped pond, shoot pellet guns or bow and arrow, staff the fire tower or greet visitors.

“Most folks who volunteer at the Pocket Park find it to be a very rewarding experience, with many returning to offer their help again this year,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “The park attracts big crowds, which means we have a lot of available shifts for volunteers to fill.”

The DNR Pocket Park is a 1-acre site, located off U.S. 2, within the fairgrounds. The park caters especially to youngsters who are seeking an outdoor adventure or to learn an outdoor skill.

The U.P. State Fair draws more than 80,000 visitors annually, many of whom visit the Pocket Park to participate in the recreation activities, experience nature programs, visit with conservation officers or to enjoy a relaxing shaded spot to sit, in a natural resource setting. The Pocket Park has a wooded landscape and a small waterfall.

“Volunteering at the Pocket Park is a positive and rewarding experience all the way around,” said Jo Ann Alexander, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “Youth enjoy a fun experience, parents get to introduce their kids to potentially new activities, with the help of others, and the volunteers gain the satisfaction of knowing they are helping guide youth in recreation activities that may help shape their future interests.”

Businesses and organizations, or clubs and groups may wish to sponsor shifts during the fair by having their employees or members volunteer as a group. Recognition of the group or business will be prominently displayed and announced.

Volunteer training for all activities is provided.

Shifts during fair week include:

  • 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 3-7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
  • 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and 3:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday
  • 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday (final day of the fair – Aug. 19)

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old (unless under special pre-approved circumstances) and pass a background check. A meal, T-shirt and a small gift will be provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331 or dahlstromk@michigan.gov or Jo Ann Alexander at 906-789-8200 or alexanderj7@michigan.gov.

The Pocket Park is open Memorial Day to Labor Day by appointment to host family gatherings, picnics, youth organizations, school groups, sports associations, scouting campouts, and public events that include some introduction to fishing, shooting or outdoor recreation.

Those interested in booking an event at the Pocket Park can call 906-789-0714 or 906-786-2351 to reserve a date.

For more information on outdoor recreation in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at: www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Reconnecting Upstream River Habitat in Northern Lower Peninsula

Two undersized culverts on Milligan Creek in the northern Lower Peninsula will be replaced this summer with a new 35-foot-wide plate arch

17JUL18-Construction is set to begin this month on a project to connect 14 miles of upstream habitat on Milligan Creek, a tributary of the Upper Black River in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. The water is home to several species of fish, particularly those looking for colder water.
The project aims to replace two undersized culverts with a new 35-foot-wide plate arch. This effort is being spearheaded by Huron Pines and supported by the DNR’s Aquatic Habitat Grant Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Walters Family Foundation and the Cheboygan County Road Commission. 
DNR fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski said this work should improve fish passage (a fish’s ability to move up and down stream without barriers in the way), as well as help prevent future flooding, sediment buildup and pollution – all good news for anglers who visit this area.
“The Black River watershed is a big draw for brook trout fishing, and of course Milligan Creek enters the Black River in the sturgeon spawning grounds,” Cwalinski said. “Milligan Creek is fished by anglers, but overall this watershed is a key trout fishing location in Michigan.”

Other Aquatic Habitat Grant Program-supported projects in Antrim, Barry, Dickinson, Ionia and several others counties have helped to restore water flow and connectivity and fish movement.
A temporary bridge has been installed at Waveland Road to divert traffic during the Milligan Creek project construction, expected to finish in August. These reconnected stream miles will support a healthy river corridor, which promotes fishing, birding, hiking, kayaking and scenic views. 

For more information, contact Tim Cwalinski, 989-732-3541, ext. 5072 or Colby Chilcote (Huron Pines), 989-448-2293, ext. 10

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Watering Tips Can Help Drought-stressed Trees

Stressed trees, like this one, are common during sustained drought conditions.

17JUL18-Hot, dry conditions across much of the state are leaving many trees drought-stressed and in need of water, a situation the DNR says can lead to challenges for trees now and in the future. 

“Drought stress might not kill trees outright, but it weakens them and makes them more susceptible to other problems such as winter injury or secondary disease and insect problems,” said Kevin Sayers, manager of the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program. 
 

In most cases, it’s easy to tell if your trees have drought stress. Symptoms include:

  • On deciduous trees (those that shed their leaves every year), leaves may curl or droop, turn brown at the margins (scorching), fall prematurely or exhibit early autumn color.
  • Evergreen needles may turn yellow to red and eventually brown. 
  • Leaves may drop prematurely or become brown and stay attached. Twigs or branches may die back.

Sayers said that when watering trees, it’s best to: 

  • Make newly planted trees and high-value trees a priority.  
  • Provide long, slow soakings to saturate the soil to at least 10 to 12 inches deep.  
  • Water newly planted trees weekly and established trees every two to three weeks. 
  • Water under the tree’s dripline (from the trunk to the edge of the tree canopy).
  • Retain water by applying 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch under the tree canopy, but not touching the trunk.
  • Not water in the middle of the day or use mist sprinklers; they lose water through evaporation. Watering frequently and lightly doesn’t benefit trees much, either. 
  • Not use fertilizer. It can injure tree roots when conditions are dry. 

To learn more about taking care of trees, visit michigan.gov/ucf or contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898. 

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Online Map Helps Public Explore, Comment on Forest Road ORV Opportunities

The DNR's forest road inventory map is available online, making it easier for the public to share their opinions on what should be open to ORV use.

17JUL18-A new, interactive map available on the DNR website provides information on access to state-owned lands, while welcoming the public’s involvement in the management of state forest roads. 
The map allows users to view state forest road locations, see which roads are open or closed to ORV use, and submit comments about specific roads. 
It’s easy to navigate on the map to an area of interest, click to view a road segment, and then provide your comment on that segment. The current map accepts comments for the northern Lower Peninsula. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, comments will be accepted for the Upper Peninsula and southern Lower Peninsula, too.
This new forest road inventory map is part of the DNR’s implementation of Public Act 288 of 2016, and it ensures continued public access and involvement in the forest road inventory process. PA 288 encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing ORV opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula and southern Lower Peninsula. 

PA 288 also requires that state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula be inventoried and legally designated as open or closed to ORV use. The inventory and designation process is finished for the northern Lower Peninsula, but is still under way in the U.P. and southern Lower Peninsula. PA 288 requires a full, completed inventory by year’s end. 
“This tool ensures easy access to important information for accessing and using public lands. It also facilitates involvement by interested members of the public in the forest road inventory process,” said Bill O’Neill, DNR natural resources deputy director.
Comments submitted via the forest road inventory map by Aug. 31 of each year will be reviewed to determine what, if any, action is needed. Proposed changes to state forest road status for ORV or conventional vehicle use will be available for public review and comment in the fall. After review, the DNR director will make a decision at a Natural Resources Commission meeting. New maps showing state forest roads and whether they’re open to ORV use will be published by April 1 each year.

The interactive map is available at michigan.gov/forestroads. Printable maps (updated annually) also are available at this website.

Learn more about designated trails in Michigan and sign up for email updates at michigan.gov/dnrtrails. For more on the forest inventory map, contact Kerry Wieber at 517-643-1256.

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Charter Fishing a Great Option for Novice and Experienced Anglers

A trip on a charter fishing boat is a great way to spend a day on the water

17JUN18-Looking to spend a few hours or a whole day fishing this summer? Michigan’s waters offer plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish, and summer is an ideal time to try. Charter fishing businesses throughout the state offer a great way to explore Michigan’s world-class fisheries. 
Licensed charter captains provide the boats and all the equipment, plus the knowledge needed for a fun half-day or day on the water. Charter businesses in Michigan help children and adults have memorable fishing experiences – whether it’s reeling in a fish for the first time or trying your hand at catching a new species.
“Last year 72,000 anglers in Michigan participated in more than 18,000 charter fishing trips on the Great Lakes and other navigable waters,” said Donna Wesander, a DNR fisheries technician who tracks charter fishing data. “These anglers caught nearly 300,000 fish that included a variety of salmon and trout, walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and muskie.” 

When hiring a professional charter, customers need only to provide personal supplies and fishing licenses. Those licenses can be purchased online (mdnr-elicense.com) or through a DNR customer service center or license agent.  
Find a fishing charter for a specific location by searching online for charter operators and regional charter fishing organizations, contacting the local chamber of commerce or city tourism office, or visiting the Michigan Charter Boat Association website at
michigancharterboats.com

For more information, contact Donna Wesander, 231-547-2914, ext. 223 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

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Bear Hunting Clinics are One Way the DNR Teaches Outdoor Skills

Learn the ins and outs of bear hunting from the experts at upcoming clinics in Cadillac.

17JUL18-As part of an effort to help people connect with the outdoors more by honing their hunting, fishing and other skills – known as the Outdoor Skills Academy – the DNR will run a series of bear hunting clinics over the next few weeks.
The clinics, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac July 29, Aug. 5 and Aug. 11, offer an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of bear hunting with experienced hunters and DNR educators. The $30 class, which includes lunch and door prizes (donated by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association), will cover habitat, gear, stand placement, baiting, rules and regulations, carcass care and hide care. 
In previous years, more than 150 students from around the state – many of them new to hunting for bears – have attended this series of bear hunting clinics.
Former student Eric Lardi called the class “an excellent introduction to hunting for my grandkids,” and said he used what he learned at the clinic during a later bear hunt in Canada, when he took a bear weighing over 300 pounds.
“The guides in Canada reinforced everything said,” he added. “The conservation officer’s experience was invaluable to us, as to bear behavior and what to expect.”

The Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities at locations around the state. Other upcoming classes will cover photographing birds, archery, hiking, downhill skiing and snowboarding.
“Whether you need some help getting started with a new outdoor activity or want to brush up on your skills and learn some tips and tricks, we can help,” said Jon Spieles, DNR field manager for educational services. 

Learn more about the Outdoor Skills Academy at michigan.gov/outdoorskills.

For more information about the bear hunting clinics, contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321.

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DNR Crews Continue Work Amid New Flooding in Houghton County

A DNR crew from Grayling works to improve the Lake Linden Grade this week near Hancock.

16JUL18-Heavy rain showers fell over parts of Houghton County this week, prompting new flooding concerns and re-assessment of the local state-managed trail system.
The latest rains came nearly a month after a Father’s Day storm dumped 7 inches of rain on some parts of Houghton County over a nine-hour period. Damage to state-managed facilities in the area was assessed at just under $20 million.
Since that time, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been working to restore trails, remove hazards and close areas unsafe to travel.
Initial reports received late Thursday indicated runoff from this week’s rainfall had undermined progress made over some parts of the trail system, while in other areas, repairs made had withstood the latest rainfall event.
“We are currently re-evaluating some of the sites that could have potentially received additional damage due to the recent heavy rainfall,” said Rob Katona, central Upper Peninsula trails specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “We are expecting to find some additional damage, primarily to sites that were previously damaged during the June flood event and have not yet been restored.”

Crews are working diligently on assessing conditions and restoration efforts.
Analysts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reviewing damage assessments for the area. Gov. Rick Snyder declared parts of the Upper Peninsula, including Houghton County, a disaster area after the June storm and flooding.
DNR officials are awaiting the outcome of the FEMA review to see whether federal funding will be granted to aid the area.

An example of the significant trail damage along the Lake Linden Grade in Houghton County.Trail closures remaining in effect include the Freda Grade Route, the Chassell to Houghton Trail and the Lake Linden Route south of Normand Road.
The Hancock to Calumet Route is open with local reroutes. The Bill Nicholls Trail is open south of Obenhoff Road.
“We understand how important ORV and snowmobile trails are to the tourism economy of the Copper Country and we are working to re-open trails as soon as it becomes safe to do so,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator. “However, we will undoubtedly have some trail closures continuing throughout the winter. The damage in many of these areas is tremendous and will take manpower, money and time to repair.”
Complicating the trail restoration effort is the illegal dumping of household refuse found over recent days along the Lake Linden Route.
“Dumping or littering of any sort on the trails is illegal and law enforcement will be issuing tickets to violators,” Katona said. “Trash and larger household items dumped along the trails is an eyesore for trail users and, more importantly, those items have been known to block trail infrastructure, such as culverts, causing them to not function properly or even fail, which may potentially result in significant new trail damage and damage to adjacent property.”

Area residents should consult their local waste management authority to determine where they can bring refuse and damaged household items to be disposed of properly.

A map of the latest trail status in the Houghton area.Looking ahead, the DNR has several trails work plans in place:
Construction crews have completed some restoration and bank stabilization work on the Lake Linden Route west of Hubbell. They continue to work in the Ripley area, which once completed will reopen the trail from Hancock to Dollar Bay.
Crews are working on stabilizing damaged bridge sites along the Lake Linden Route to prevent further damage from occurring.
Within the next couple of weeks, crews will begin working on the Bill Nicholls Route, starting between Canal Road and Old Mill Hill Road, to install culverts and repair numerous washouts.
Despite the recent heavy rains, the DNR is tentatively planning on performing ORV dust control treatment next week at the typical residential sites throughout the area where the ORV routes are currently open. Several days of dry weather are needed, with no standing water on the trails, to complete the treatment.
Visitors to F.J. McLain State Park, north of Hancock, will need to reach the park from the north along M-203, because of a washout south of the park. 

However, all state parks and state forest campgrounds in the area – including Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Keweenaw County – remain open and operating.
Initially, the DNR was forced to close about 60 miles of state-managed recreation trails in Houghton County. Some of the trail segments which had less damage were repaired, graded and re-opened.
The Lily Pond, Boston Pond and Boot Jack boating access sites were damaged significantly in June and remain closed.
Elsewhere, some damage and washouts had occurred on the Forest Islands Trail and Route in Menominee County, during the Father’s Day weekend flood event. The damage resulted in closures. However, the DNR has since repaired the damage and that entire trail system is now open.
For the latest status updates on trails and other DNR facilities closures visit Michigan.gov/dnrclosures.

Learn more about Michigan’s trails at
www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

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DNR Provides Alternate Potable Water Supply at Van Riper State Park

16SEP18-In preparation for a water system improvement project, drinking water at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County was tested and found to contain arsenic in levels slightly above government health standards.
Park staff was notified Wednesday by the Marquette County Health Department that the arsenic concentration at the facility was 14 parts per billion, 4 parts above the standard. The water remains safe for hand-washing and showering.

A truck is available to provide potable water to campers at the park. The upgrade to the park’s water system is slated to take place in September, which is expected to alleviate the problem.
Because of this inconvenience, campers who would like to cancel their reservations, may do so without penalty. Currently, reservations are being charged at the semi-modern rate: 30-amp sites are $20 per night and 50-amp sites are $24 per night.
Rate changes are being handled by park staff. Cancellations are being addressed by the DNR’s reservation system, CAMIS, internally. CAMIS can be contacted at 1-800-447-2757.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. A large source of total arsenic comes from the food we eat. However, most of the arsenic in food is in an organic form, which is much less harmful than the inorganic arsenic found primarily in groundwater. Some foods also contain inorganic arsenic, but the main exposure to inorganic arsenic is normally from consuming water.
There are several potential sources of arsenic in drinking water, including the erosion of natural deposits.

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Construction Work Set for F.J. McLain State Park in Keweenaw

13JUL18-A new toilet and shower building has been completed at F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County and is open for use. Meanwhile, construction crews are continuing to work on a new section of campground at the park.
Lake Superior erosion at the park over the past few years forced the closure of some campsites and other features at the park. A plan was developed, with input from the public, on shifting some of the park's layout and making numerous improvements to equip the park for the future.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources park staffers anticipate the new campground sites will be available to use starting with the 2019 camping season. Work on a new campground entrance at the park is scheduled to begin August 1st.

In addition, F.J. McLain State Park will be undergoing a major construction project starting in September 2018. A variety of safety concerns will force the DNR to close the campground during that time. Consequently, no new camping reservations will be made for camping between September 4th to November 11th, 2018.
"We thank visitors for their patience and understanding as we undergo these park improvement projects," said Jamie Metheringham, unit supervisor at the park. "We anticipate these renovations will enhance the park visitor experience and provide facilities campers can enjoy for years to come."  

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Bird Photography Workshop with Wildlife Photographer Tom Haxby

blackburnian warbler photo by Tom Haxby

29JUN18

Learn the ins and outs of photographing birds with an upcoming workshop at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park’s
Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center in Muskegon Saturday and Sunday, August 18th and 19th.

Taught by Tom Haxby, an award-winning nature and wildlife photographer from Michigan, this class will cover effective use of equipment, photography techniques and an introduction of raw processing. Saturday afternoon will be spent in the park, practicing skills, and there will be an optional Sunday-morning session for those wanting more one-on-one help.

Cost is $125, which includes lunch Saturday and all workshop materials. Register for the workshop.

This class is part of the Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy.

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Discover the Great Lakes, World Water in Traveling Museum Exhibits

A scene from the Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibit, which will make stops in six Michigan communities.

26JUN18-A national exhibit on water is likely to create waves of interest across Michigan now through spring 2019. The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibit, highlighting ways that water intersects with our environment, history, economy and culture, will make stops in six communities. 

The Michigan Water Heritage Project will travel with Water/Ways, adding a Great Lakes focus and sparking conversations about why healthy waters matter. 

The exhibits opened Saturday at the Beaver Island Historical Society, where they'll be hosted through August 5th. 

“It's really special to be able to host the Michigan premiere of these exhibits in a community located in the heart of the Great Lakes,” said Lori Taylor-Blitz, director of the Beaver Island Historical Society.  

Other hosting locations include:

  • Raven Hill Discovery Center, East Jordan, Aug. 11-Sept. 23.
  • Artworks, Big Rapids, September 29th - November 11th.
  • Alcona Public Library, Harrisville, Nov. 17-Dec. 30.
  • Niles Public Library, Niles, Jan. 5-Feb. 17.
  • Shiawassee Arts Center, Owosso, Feb. 23-April 7. 
     

The Smithsonian exhibit is supported by the Office of the Great Lakes in partnership with the Michigan Humanities Council, Cranbrook Institute of Science and Michigan State University. The Michigan Water Heritage Project is funded by a grant from the Erb Family Foundation.

Learn more about the exhibits by contacting Rachel Coale with Office of the Great Lakes, 517-290-4295.

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Wanted: Sightings of State's Largest Trees for Big Tree Hunt

Residents are asked to be on the lookout for Michigan's largest trees in this year's Big Tree Hunt

21JUN18-Whether you’re out in the woods or skateboarding through city streetscapes this summer, keep your eyes open – you may spot one of Michigan’s largest trees!

The 14th Big Tree Hunt runs through September 3rd, 2019. Started by ReLeaf Michigan in 1993, it takes place every two years and helps catalog the state’s biggest trees. Your assignment: Seek out the most majestic trees in your area and report them, because tree-spotters can earn certificates and prizes.

“This is a really fun reason to get out and enjoy nature,” said Melinda Jones, executive director of ReLeaf Michigan. “It also helps raise awareness and enjoyment of the trees in our landscape.” 

The Big Tree Hunt is one way to discover candidates for the National Register of Big Trees, which so far includes 19 Michigan trees. The biggest tree spotted on the last hunt is a sycamore in Lenawee County with a 315-inch girth.

ReLeaf Michigan is a nonprofit that encourages planting trees. Additional Big Tree Hunt sponsors include the DNR, the Arboriculture Society of Michigan, the Consumers Energy Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Michigan Botanical Club. Learn more about the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program at michigan.gov/ucf.

Entries, either online or hard copy, will be accepted until September 3rd, 2019. Find out how to participate by visiting bigtreehunt.com, calling 800-642-7353 or emailing ledwards@ReLeafMichigan.org 

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Map Shows Where Firewood Can be Gathered on State-Managed Land

With a fuelwood permit, you can gather firewood from state-managed land, in order to help heat your home this winter.

21MAY18-Willing to work for your warmth this winter? Apply now for a fuel wood permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Where can you cut? A new, interactive map highlights state forest areas in the northern Lower Peninsula where Michigan residents are allowed to collect up to five standard cords of wood from downed, dead trees. Upper Peninsula residents also may get fuel wood permits from their local state forest management unit offices

“The new map will help people who want to cut wood decide where to go,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Then we encourage people to visit potential collection areas to determine what wood is down and available.” 

You can obtain a permit in two ways: Visit a DNR office in person or download a mail-in permit order at michigan.gov/fuelwood. The site also includes the interactive map and a map of DNR offices that offer fuel wood permits. 

Permits cost $20 each and are good for 90 days. All permits expire December 31st, 2018. The department issues as many as 3,500 fuel wood permits each year. Wood cut on a fuel wood permit is intended for personal use and cannot be sold. 

To help prevent the spread of invasive species such as the emerald ash borer or oak wilt, the DNR advises against moving firewood around the state. Learn more about firewood rules and recommendations on the Michigan Department of Agriculture’s website

For more information, contact Doug Heym, 517-284-5867.

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Public News is published here as a courtesy and does not represent the views or intent of the ownership of Carroll Broadcasting.

Copyright © 2018 Carroll Broadcasting, Inc., All rights reserved.

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