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Updated 09/11/19

 

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Small Game Hunting Opens Sunday Statewide

A smiling young hunter, dressed in camouflage and hunter orange, holding a pheasant by the feet, black hound at his side10SEP19-Hunters around Michigan are getting ready to get outdoors! Sunday, September 15th, marks the statewide start of hunting season for cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, fox and gray squirrel. Woodcock season, also statewide, follows less than a week later on September 21st.

Before hitting the forests and fields, every small game hunter needs to have a Michigan base license. A resident base license costs $11 and is valid as a small game license.

The base license allows hunters to hunt for rabbit, hare, squirrel (fox and gray), pheasant, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, woodchuck, woodcock, quail, crow, coyote (Michigan residents only) and waterfowl during the open season for each species.

Hunting for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock or waterfowl? Remember these extras (all of which are available via e-License:

  • Pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse require a free endorsement.
  • Woodcock hunters need a free woodcock stamp.
  • Waterfowl hunters 16 and older need a federal migratory bird hunting stamp (also known as a federal duck stamp) and a Michigan waterfowl hunting license.

Hunters coming from out of state also have options for a three-day or seven-day nonresident base license. Base licenses can be purchased online or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

Before you go, get additional season dates and regulations information in the 2019 Hunting Digest or visit Michigan.gov/Hunting.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453

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What's a Weir? Free Tour During Fall "Egg Take" and Find Out

School kids watch through the hatchery window as fisheries technicians collect eggs from fish during the annual fall egg take

10SEP19-If you’ve ever wondered how the DNR gets the eggs it uses for fish production or wanted to see big Great Lakes fish up close and personal, think about catching a tour of one of the northern Michigan weirs.
The Boardman River Weir in downtown Traverse City, the Little Manistee River Weir in Manistee County and the Upper Platte River Weir in Benzie County will be open for free tours to the public and school groups from mid-September through the end of October.
This is the perfect time to see these weirs – structures that block fish from passing upstream – in action, because all three will be used to aid fall fish collection. The DNR will be collecting surplus Chinook and Coho salmon at the Boardman River Weir. Chinook salmon harvested at the Manistee River Weir support the DNR’s work to collect fertilized eggs for this key fish species. Additionally, the weir at Platte River State Fish Hatchery helps staff collect Coho salmon in order to extract fertilized eggs for continued production in the hatchery system.

During the tours, students and visitors will learn about salmon biology, how weirs and fish ladders work, invasive species, state fish hatcheries and the impact of egg-collection efforts on Michigan’s fisheries. The programs tie in components of history, ecology, biology and stewardship.
Tours will begin Friday at the Boardman River Weir, October 2nd at the Little Manistee River Weir and October 16th at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery. Group tours are available by appointment.
Schedule a group tour now.

To learn more about state hatcheries and weirs, visit Michigan.gov/Hatcheries. Check for updates at two of the weirs throughout the season by calling their hotlines:

  • Platte River: 231-325-4611, ext. 21
  • Little Manistee River: 231-775-9727, ext. 6072

Questions? Contact Tracy Page, 517-284-6033.

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Join in Stewardship Day at Shiawassee River

10SEP19-Help keep our waterfowl and other birds safe by removing trash from an Important Bird Area in Saginaw County Saturday, September 21st, World Cleanup Day. Join MI Birds, the DNR and Michigan United Conservation Clubs' On the Water program and volunteer at the fall stewardship day at Shiawassee River State Game Area.

Pitch in for National "Public Lands Day"

10SEP19-Celebrate something we all share: our public lands. Join hundreds of thousands of people at sites throughout the country and take part in National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 28th, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Enjoy the outdoors and lend a hand to help ensure these spaces stay beautiful for all.

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Find Your Trail During Michigan Trails Week, September 22nd-29th

view from behind, a woman wearing flannel and a knit hat, walking down a trail and walkway, surrounded by green forest10SEP19-Whether it’s on foot or on horseback, a mountain bike or a snowmobile – or even in a canoe – Michigan has a trail for you.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared September 22nd-29th as "Trails Week" in Michigan, a great opportunity to hit the trails for the first time, revisit familiar favorites or try out a new trail adventure.
With more than 12,500 miles of designated trails, including more rail-trail miles than any other state, Michigan has earned its reputation as the Trails State.
“It doesn’t matter the season, it doesn’t matter where you are in the state, Michigan has your trail,” said Paul Yauk, state trails coordinator with the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “It’s unbelievable the number of trails available across the state. They’re a great resource to help people stay healthy and active, explore history or just have fun.”
Michigan also boasts the Iron Belle Trail, the longest state-designated trail in the nation. With two distinct routes – one for hiking and one for biking – the 2,050-mile Iron Belle Trail is a catalyst for communities across Michigan to connect to each other. The trail stretches from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Trails Week not only celebrates trails on land, but also water trails. Earlier this year, Michigan announced its first-ever designated water trails and launched the Pure Michigan Trails and Trail Towns program, which recognized six trails and four trail towns for having broad community support and a sustainable maintenance and marketing plan and providing users with a quality trail experience.
“Michigan’s vast and diverse trails system plays a big role in stimulating tourism and encouraging healthy lifestyles for all ages,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief. “We deeply appreciate all of our trail partners who are critical to sustaining quality trails throughout the state.”

Learn more at Michigan.gov/TrailsWeek or Michigan.gov/DNRTrails.

Questions? Contact Paul Yauk, 517-331-0111.

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Open House to discuss Cuts, Prescribed Burns & More-State Forests

loading logs onto truck10SEP19-Activities such as prescribed burns, timber harvests and tree thinning all are planned regularly to help keep Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest thriving.
The DNR finalizes plans for management activity in each forest management unit two years in advance. This fall, recommendations for 2021 are being presented at open houses in several locations. At open houses, people can talk to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals regarding these plans.

Open houses coming up during September include:

  • Gwinn Forest Management Unit: 2-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 18th, at the Marquette Operations Service Center, 1990 U.S. 41 South, Marquette.
  • Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit: 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, September 17th, at the Naubinway Field Office, W11569 U.S. 2, Naubinway; and 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Kinross Township Hall, 4884 W. Curtis St., Kincheloe.
  • Shingleton Forest Management Unit: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, September 26th, at the Wyman Nursery, 480 N Intake Park Road, Manistique.

See a full open house schedule.

About a month after each open house, a public compartment review meeting also will take place. That’s where foresters present their final decisions on management activities. Upcoming compartment review meetings include:

  • Escanaba Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Thursday, September 12th, at the State Office Building, 305 Ludington St., Escanaba.
  • Roscommon Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 17th, at the Roscommon Customer Service Center, 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon.

See a full compartment review schedule.

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of all forest management activities, visit the public input section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/Forestry webpage.

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Making Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation More Accessible

By DIANA PAIZ ENGLE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

men instructed on how to use the luge at Muskegon State Park

09SEP19-Nine seconds.
That's all it took. Flat on my back, head raised slightly, core muscles straining as I rode a sled 20 miles an hour down the summer luge track at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park in West Michigan.
Nine seconds to travel 300 feet is fun for just about anyone. Speaking for myself, as someone with a disability, it was more than fun – it was a thrilling personal first.
The truth is that people with physical disabilities don't often have opportunities to experience speed independently. People who use wheelchairs encounter a lack of both adaptive equipment and barrier-free environments.
People who are blind, as I am, face challenges that are not physical, but obstacles of people's misconceptions.
My first summer luge experience took place after last week’s meeting of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Accessibility Advisory Council, whose members, appointed by the DNR director, represent disability communities, recreation organizations and industry, and other state government departments.

I was there as a member of the DNR Accessibility Team, an internal team that serves as a liaison between the department and the council. The council had gathered at Muskegon State Park to hear from park supervisor Greg Sherburn and Jim Rudicil, executive director of the winter sports complex, about existing accessibility features and future improvement plans.

kayaker uses accessible launchNow in its 10th year, the summer luge is the world’s first universally accessible wheel luge track. It includes three different ways for people to transfer from a wheelchair or other mobility device to a sled at the top of the track.
"We want to meet the needs of all customers," Rudicil said. "It's an important part of our mission. We embrace the philosophy of universal accessibility and work to solve obstacles."
This fall brings construction projects at the winter sports complex and the park that will enhance visitor experiences for everyone in 2020.
Work on a dual zipline breaks ground in October. Rudicil said that his team's commitment to universal accessibility led to a final design that added 300 feet to the original 1,000-foot length.
"Now, when it debuts next year, the zipline will be an even more exciting, accessible experience for everyone," he said.
The winter luge also will be lengthened to improve accessibility. Rudicil feels that luge is a sport where people with disabilities can compete alongside athletes without disabilities.

"Luge requires upper body strength, position and memory,” he said. “These are attributes that, for example, might already exist in someone who uses a wheelchair or someone with a sight impairment."

track chair user and friends on park pathwayThings are not standing still in the park outside of the sports complex.
The channel campground – the larger and more popular of Muskegon State Park's two campgrounds – has closed early for the demolition of two restroom buildings.
"The channel campground has accessible campsites but, at roughly 50 years old, the toilet buildings were not accessible," Sherburn said. "With the opening of two modern facilities next spring, we'll be able to fully meet the needs of all channel campers."
A “Brock Dock” – a hard, level path on the beach – gets people of varying mobility levels close to the water's edge. Like many features created to improve accessibility, it also is used by the general public.
"People who don't want to burn their feet in the sand appreciate the ‘Brock Dock’ too," Sherburn said.

The dock is not the only way for people with mobility challenges to get to the lake.

Muskegon State Park has received one of five track chairs donated to the DNR by Kali's Cure for Paralysis Foundation. These battery-powered chairs can go off road, handling trails, sand, snow and up to 8 inches of water.
The other track chairs donated by Kali's Cure are available to use free of charge at Belle Isle Park, Mayberry State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park and the Waterloo Recreation Area.

Watch a video about how the track chairs work.

wheelchair user leaving observation raft at Big SpringIn May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined DNR Director Dan Eichinger and DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson at Grand Haven State Park in a ceremonial kickoff of the state parks centennial.
With more than $6 million spent on accessibility and infrastructure there, Eichinger said that the park exemplified DNR visitor-focused investment.

"Grand Haven," he said at the ceremony, "is a testament to the future of Michigan state parks.”

Well, as they say, the future is now.

Cindy Burkhour of Access Recreation Group is a longtime member of the Accessibility Advisory Council. Among the myriad projects she has been involved with over the years, she helped design the transfers for visitors with disabilities at the summer luge and at a DNR-led project at Ocqueoc Falls, the nation's first accessible waterfall.

Check out a video of Ocqueoc Falls in Presque Isle County.

"I have seen a cultural, attitudinal shift," she said. “More and more people see how accessible features like raised firepits, adaptive picnic tables and accessible toilet/shower facilities benefit everyone, not just people with disabilities."
Burkhour credits creative thinking and considering accessibility at a project start with elevating accessibility within the DNR.
"Michigan is far ahead of other state parks systems," she said.

visitor in floating chair and family in lake

Wilderness State Park at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, has been seeing an increase in visitors of varying mobility levels in the campgrounds and the day-use area, park supervisor Burr Mitchell said.
At the same time, he was confronting aging infrastructure at the park and was approached by Eagle Scouts looking for a project.
With funds from sources including the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Disabilities Network of Northern Michigan and park visitors, Wilderness State Park debuted a host of accessibility enhancements this summer.
The park now boasts a barrier-free campground registration building and toilet/shower building in the Lakeshore Campground and a wide range of barrier-free rustic, modern and full-hook-up campsites developed to provide a wider range of camper amenities.
"Having a disability doesn't change what you want your camping experience to be from what anyone else wants," Mitchell said.

That includes the desire to splash around and have fun in Lake Michigan. This summer, the park added Mobi mats that offer a portable, steady surface across sand to the water's edge.
But another piece of adaptive equipment has made an indelible impact on park visitors and staff – the floating chair. With someone safely strapped in the seat, the chair can go into the water, as the armrests and wheels allow it to float.
"Twice this summer, we witnessed visitors able for the first time to be in the water, enjoying it together with their friends and family," Mitchell said. "Everyone was in tears."

More information about accessible parks, beaches, trails, hunting, fishing and more is available at Michigan.gov/DNRAccessibility.

You can make a donation to improve accessibility at your favorite state park at App.MobileCause.com/VF/Michigan.

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 Upcoming Meetings

09SEP19-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 next month. 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 this page frequently, as meeting details and agendas may change and sometimes meetings are canceled.

September:

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Preserving Michigan's Underwater Heritage

By CASEY WARNER
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

In 2018, Conservation Officer Sean Kehoe and other Michigan DNR conservation officers recovered stolen shipwreck timber from the Metropolis.05SEP19-With a nickname like the Great Lakes State, it’s clear that Michigan has strong ties to the four mighty lakes that surround it.
For hundreds of years, these inland seas have provided a transportation route for people living, playing and doing business in Michigan.
Vessels from canoes to steamers to schooners and modern ore freighters have sailed the Great Lakes through the years. Many ships sank before reaching their destination due to storms, shoals and human error.
An estimated 6,000 vessels have been lost on the Great Lakes, about 1,500 of them in Michigan waters. These shipwrecks remain remarkably preserved by the lakes’ cold, fresh water, offering a unique look at Michigan’s maritime history.

Cold storage

“Shipwrecks in the Great Lakes are very uniquely situated, and they’re preserved incredibly well compared to most shipwrecks in marine environments. It’s basically because there’s no salt in the water and there are no critters in the water that directly eat these kinds of things,” said Wayne Lusardi, state maritime archaeologist with the Michigan History Center, in the documentary “Sunken Treasure,” produced by the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council, Inc. The council is a private, nonprofit organization that manages a system of state-designated underwater preserves created to protect and interpret Michigan’s shipwrecks.

A researcher studies the shipwreck of the steam barge Messenger.The cold, clear waters of the Great Lakes have preserved the most intact collection of wooden shipwrecks in the world, and Michigan’s waters hold the greatest concentration of those wrecks, according to Ron Bloomfield, who serves on the council and works as collections manager/faculty with the Museum of Cultural and Natural History/Museum Studies Program at Central Michigan University.
“In salt water, wood disappears fairly rapidly,” Bloomfield said. “There are many vessels in Michigan’s waters that still have viable wood surviving after almost two centuries on the bottom.”
Though the Great Lakes waters preserve the shipwrecks, some with their masts still upright, bringing parts of the wrecks to the surface compromises them – iron rusts, wood dries out and crumbles, paper yellows and fades.

Read a sidebar story about the sinking of the Selvick.

 

Until about 40 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for divers to take artifacts from the wrecks to keep as collectors’ items.
“Each shipwreck is a time capsule representing a specific, sometimes tragic moment. To see them, whether through a clear-bottom canoe or diving goggles, is to sense the lives of people from the past,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, part of the Department of Natural Resources. “Because Michigan wants future generations to explore, research and enjoy them just as we do now, we have protected them.”
In 1980, Michigan adopted laws protecting the shipwrecks on its Great Lakes bottomlands – no one can bring anything up from them without a  permit, issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, based on a clear plan for how the item will be preserved and shared with the public.
In recent years, recognizing the importance of protecting the shipwrecks’ historic resources, Great Lakes divers have fostered a dive ethic known as, "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but bubbles."

Michigan’s underwater preserves

Dan Friedhoff of the Michigan Underwater Preserves Council dives on the wreck of the Sandusky.Also in 1980, a system of volunteer-managed underwater preserves was created. Today there are 13 preserves around the state, from the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve at the tip of the Upper Peninsula to the Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve near the state’s southern border. These preserves include approximately 7,200 square miles of Great Lakes bottomland – an area larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
One of the preserves, Thunder Bay in the northeastern Lower Peninsula, was designated a national marine sanctuary in 2000. The
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, managed through a state/federal partnership between the Michigan History Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the only freshwater sanctuary in the national system.
Thunder Bay features the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, a free visitor center with exhibits and activities, and the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail along northeast Michigan’s Lake Huron shoreline.

Settlement connections

“One of the best things about our preserves is the tie-in with various stages of Michigan's history of settlement. From the earliest Mackinaw boats and wooden schooners, through changes in sail configuration from square-rigged sails to fore-and-aft schooners, the development of swinging keels to allow entry into shallow harbors, and on to the first under-powered side-wheel steamers, then to propellers, the changes from small hatches between masts to the clear deck plan on the modern bulk freighter, and the transition to iron and steel vessels,” said Dan Friedhoff, who serves on the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council and on the board of directors for the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve.

Great Lakes shipwrecks like that of the J. J. Audubon, a brig lost in a collision on Lake Huron in 1854.There are examples of each of these stages of shipbuilding advances within Michigan’s underwater preserve system, sometimes all within a single preserve.
“Some areas also have interesting geologic dive sites, with clay banks, rock mazes, or underwater cliffs and waterfalls from ancient river systems,” Friedhoff said.
Bloomfield agrees that the resources contained within the preserves – including other cultural and natural features as well as shipwrecks – provide a unique historical perspective.
“They are a capsule history of Michigan’s settlement, growth, and prosperity. In one preserve alone – Straits – you have a large modern freighter lost in 1965 (Cedarville) resting not too far from a 110-foot-long brig that was lost in 1856 (Sandusky),” he said. “The rest of the collection includes vessels of many shapes and sizes that traversed the waters of the Great Lakes from the early settlement of Michigan through the present day hauling goods, foodstuffs, people and their possessions, and raw products like iron ore and wood, both significant to Michigan’s economic wellbeing.

"This juxtaposition of older and more recent wrecks is found in most of the other preserves as well.”
Small items, such as plates, bells, ships’ rigging, cargo and other artifacts that often remain where they were left many years before, also help tell the stories of the shipwrecks and their times.
“The shipwrecks here that are from the middle 19th century, some are literally intact just as if they can still sail again if you took the water out of them. The masts are still standing, the rigging is still in the mast, the artifacts may be distributed about the deck or in the cabin,” Lusardi said in “Sunken Treasure.”

“And it’s a fantastic opportunity to see the vessels like this that are so well preserved.”
It’s an opportunity that brings divers from far and wide to visit Michigan.

Divers’ delight

A diver at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary near Alpena photographs the wreck of the German freighter Nordmeer.“Our preserves are known to hold some the finest dive sites in the world – including intact wooden wrecks, unheard of in saltwater diving – drawing in divers from around the globe,” Friedhoff said. “Photos from Michigan preserves are featured in dive magazines worldwide, and when people travel this far to dive our wrecks, they often extend their visits to experience shipwrecks in multiple preserves, to the benefit of nearby businesses and tourist attractions.”
Most of the underwater preserves have dive charter services. There are boat ramps, marinas and other facilities for divers with their own boats. Shore-access diving also is available from many preserves.
Many of the popular dive sites are marked by buoys that volunteers with the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council have placed.
The Michigan Underwater Salvage and Preserve Committee, which advises the DNR and other state agencies on policies and permits concerning shipwrecks on Great Lakes bottomlands, has been working to secure funding and permits to put more buoys on wrecks for the safety of the wrecks and divers.

The Great Lakes’ most famous shipwreck – the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which lies at the bottom of the southeastern portion of Lake Superior (just over the border in Canadian waters) – is protected from diving as a gravesite. Visitors can see some of the ship’s artifacts on display, and learn more about this and other wrecks, at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in Paradise.

A view from above

For those who prefer to stay dry, there are glass-bottom boat tours, museums and interpretive trails that tell the dramatic and sometimes tragic stories of sailors and their ships.
The Underwater Salvage and Preserve Committee also is working with DNR to create an online map for armchair shipwreck explorers and to build a strategy to connect more people, including kayakers, snorkelers, glass-bottom boat tourists, divers and people exploring museums and heritage trails on land, to Michigan shipwrecks and underwater preserves.
“We believe that people value what they know about and preserve what they value,” Clark said of this planned outreach effort.
The culture preserved through the remains of these vessels – ship construction, shipboard life, cargo – provides a tangible link to the past for the diver to experience firsthand and the nondiver to experience through imagery and video.
“You do not have to be a diver to truly appreciate the history and significance of a shipwreck in the Great Lakes,” Bloomfield said. “There are many terrestrial archaeological sites in the state of Michigan; however, there are no places on land that I know of where you can see a brig that was built in 1848 still relatively intact and upright. In Michigan, you can see one preserved in 70 feet of Lake Michigan water to the west of the Mackinac Bridge.”
Many of the thousands of Great Lakes shipwrecks have been found, but it’s likely that many more will be discovered with the availability of modern technology that makes it easier to scan the bottomlands and to remotely dive to greater depths.

Find more information about Michigan shipwrecks and underwater preserves at
Michigan.gov/Shipwrecks.

Anyone with information about the illegal removal, alteration or destruction of shipwrecks and associated artifacts can call or text the DNR Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

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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Citizen Tips Lead to Gladwin Man with Illegal Panfish

Two Michigan conservation officer kneeling behind confiscated panfish taken from a Gladwin man's freezers.05SEP19-After receiving multiple tips from local anglers about possible over-fishing on Gladwin County’s Lake Lancer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers spoke with the suspected man twice in one day while he was at the lake. The second contact of the day led to a voluntary search of the 67-year-old Gladwin man’s garage freezers, where officers discovered a significant number of panfish – ultimately issuing a ticket for illegally taking more than 1,400 panfish.
Conservation Officer Mark Papineau said he had received many reports about a fisherman who frequented the lake.“The angler’s vehicle often was spotted in the parking lot of a private boat launch and the angler himself was witnessed fishing Lake Lancer several times per day,” Papineau said. Based on the leads, Papineau and Conservation Officer Joshua Wright conducted a marine patrol at the lake the morning of August 14th.

When the officers arrived at the boat launch, they saw a vehicle with a boat trailer that matched the reported vehicle description. During their patrol, the officers contacted an angler . The angler presented a fishing license and was found to have 13 panfish in his possession – he was within the daily limit of 25 panfish.
When the officers returned to the boat launch later that morning, the suspect’s vehicle and boat trailer were gone. Checking the area later in the day, Papineau and Wright noticed the angler’s vehicle and boat trailer had returned. After about an hour, the man returned to the dock. Spotting the officers, the Gladwin man immediately said, “I’m not over my limit.” Wright asked him how many fish he had, and he repeated that he was not over his limit.
The conservation officers continued talking with the man and learned that he was in possession of 24 panfish. The angler confessed to the 13 panfish he caught earlier in the day, too, and invited the officers to follow him to his residence to obtain those fish as evidence.
At his Gladwin residence, the man consented to let Papineau and Wright search his garage chest freezers, which held the 19 panfish caught earlier in the day – six additional fish to what the man had originally claimed. Additionally, the officers found more than 70 bags of filleted panfish. The legal panfish daily limit includes 25 per day, in addition to two days’ worth of processed fish. In total, the man exceeded the limit by more than 1,400 fish.
Papineau and Wright confiscated the fish and issued the angler a ticket. Once the fish is no longer needed as evidence, it will be donated to a local food bank or church.
“Thank you to the anglers who reported the suspicious activity to Conservation Officer Papineau,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It’s because of honest people like this that Michigan’s natural resources can be protected for and enjoyed by future generations.”

If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7, at 800-292-7800. Learn more about the work of Michigan’s conservation officers at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

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ICYMI: See How Grant Dollars are Helping Fight Invasive Species

Yellow Floating Heart removal04SEP19-You’ve probably heard about the problems caused by invasive species, but do you know what is being done to fight them in Michigan?

In case you missed it, the state of Michigan recently released an online story map that lets people explore ongoing projects across the state that aim to protect Michigan’s forests, waters and open spaces from invasive species.

Since 2014, the Michigan Legislature has provided $3.6 million annually to support projects dedicated to preventing and managing invasive species through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. Now, you can learn more about all of those projects in one place. Read the full story here.

 

 

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Park Rangers Recognized for Exemplary Lifesaving Actions

Park rangers lifesaving awards Aug. 8 NRC04SEP19-The lifesaving actions of four DNR park rangers this year were recognized by the department at the Aug. 8 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing:

  • Andrew Lundborg helped rescue a kite surfer at Grand Haven State Park July 18. After a visitor noticed the victim in distress and being swept away by the current, Lundborg entered the water with a life jacket and successfully threw a rescue line. Upon pulling the victim into shallow water, he helped the fatigued man to shore. Lundborg's actions kept the man from being pushed into the rocks of the pier or taken farther away from shore.
  • Nick Sparks and Chad Cook immediately took action to help a park patron who encountered trouble while kayaking July 25 at Sterling State Park. The kayaker was overpowered by strong waves in Lake Erie, and the kayak was taking on water. Sparks and Cook launched a rescue boat and located the kayaker after a thorough search.
  • Zachary Bierlein helped save a Holly Recreation Area visitor on the evening of May 31. Bierlein found a young woman at Heron Beach unresponsive after overdosing on heroin. After the woman's breathing became labored and her pulse started to decline, Bierlein began CPR upon a 911 responder’s instruction. He performed CPR for 10 minutes until paramedics arrived. Paramedics said that if Bierlein had arrived five minutes later, the woman would have died.

"I believe we have some of the most dedicated park rangers within Michigan state parks," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. "These men and women not only ensure that our parks run smoothly, but they address just about any issue that arises."

Learn more about the important work of park rangers and other DNR staff at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs.

Questions? Contact Ron Olson, 517-284-6135.

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Rock Reef Fish Spawn Habitat Restoration Underway Saginaw Bay

Rock reef restoration - Saginaw Bay04SEP19-It’s been more than 20 years in the making, but this month a fish spawning habitat restoration dream becomes a reality for Saginaw Bay. The DNR and Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy have built a coalition to restore a 2-acre rock reef at the Coreyon Reef site, about 11 miles northeast of the mouth of the Saginaw River. 

The restoration project focuses on the trailing edge of a historic rock reef complex that existed naturally in the bay until it was heavily degraded by sand and sedimentation from long-standing erosion in the watershed. 

Restoration efforts began this month and should be completed by early fall. Once done, the restored reef will be roughly 2 acres and reach a peak of about 5 feet off the bottom in 18 feet of water. The rock, placed by Great Lakes Dock and Materials, LLC from Muskegon, is crushed limestone and glacial cobble. In all, approximately 22,500 tons of rock will be used to build the reef, carefully placed in precise positions and dimensions by barges and cranes.

“Many fish species use critical and limited rocky habitats, like cobble and gravel, to spawn on because it can protect their eggs from predators and ensure they get enough oxygen to incubate,” said Dave Fielder, a DNR fisheries research biologist.

“Walleye, lake whitefish and lake trout are expected to benefit the most from this habitat restoration – but other fish may use the reef, including cisco, which are being reintroduced in the bay through a new stocking program, or smallmouth bass," Fielder said. "We hope the reef restoration will promote a more resilient fish population for the future.”  

Principal funding for the project came from a $980,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, with funds originating from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The final project total is $1.379 million and includes $25,000 from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative and various agency funds from within EGLE. 

Questions? Contact Dave Fielder (DNR), 989-356-3232, ext. 2572 or Bretton Joldersma (EGLE), 517-256-1773. For more information on this project, including a list of involved partners, visit MichiganSeaGrant.org/SaginawBayReef

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New Story Map Documents Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program Accomplishments

Screen shot of MISGP story map21AUG19-Since its inception in 2014, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program has allocated over $18.5 million in grants to universities, non-profits and units of government to prevent, detect and manage invasive species in Michigan.
Now, you can see all 112 grant-funded projects in one place with the
MISGP story map, a digital multimedia tool that allows you to explore efforts in your area and across the state to protect our forests, waters and open spaces from the effects of invasive species. You can access the story map on the MISGP website at Michigan.gov/MISGP.

What's in the story map?

The story map tracks MISGP progress through program metrics and includes an interactive funding dashboard that allows users to cross-reference grant funding by project category, recipient type and grant-to-match ratio.

Funnel trapThrough MISGP funding, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas now provide technical assistance to public and private landowners in every county of the state. CISMAs are groups of non-profit and government agencies, businesses and volunteers working together to tackle invasive species in their regions. The story map is an easy way for users to explore local CISMA projects and access CISMA services.
Summaries of grant-supported studies on managing invasive species including Eurasian watermilfoil, phragmites and oak wilt are available on the story map, with links to final project reports. Local and statewide prevention and outreach efforts also are featured, with easy access to project results.

What is the MISGP?

The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development. Total program funding is set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.
Local, state, federal and tribal units of government, nonprofit organizations and universities may apply for funding through the MISGP to support invasive species projects conducted in Michigan. The 2019 request for proposals can be found at
Michigan.gov/MISGP. Full project proposals are due by Sept. 3.

Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

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Harrison Boy Scouts Honored with DNR Partners in Conservation Award

Kristin Phillips, Stan Smith, Dan Eichinger21AUG19-For 20 consecutive years a Boy Scout troop from Harrison, Michigan, has spent one weekend a year volunteering to guard lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the fish species’ annual spawning run. For its dedication to this species, and to Michigan’s natural resources, Scouts BSA Troop 645 earned the Department of Natural Resources Partners in Conservation award during the August Natural Resources Commission meeting. 
“Troop 645 epitomizes the goal of involving the next generation in our state’s conservation efforts,” said Kristin Phillips, chief of the DNR’s Marketing and Outreach Division, in honoring the group with the award. “The example this group of young people is setting today will leave a lasting mark on our state’s natural resources.”

Every spring, mature lake sturgeon – a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States – become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River.
In 1999 a group of local conservationists formed the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow. Their efforts focused on helping the DNR protect and restore sturgeon populations in northern Michigan lakes and streams. One of the primary efforts has been to coordinate an annual “sturgeon watch,” where hundreds of volunteers stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season (mid-April through early June) to report suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish.
When the troop learned about the project, it began a partnership with Sturgeon for Tomorrow, said Stan Smith, assistant scout master for Troop 645. This year has marked two decades of that partnership.   
“We travel to the area and camp on state forest land each Mother’s Day weekend,” he said. “The kids had a blast that first year, and we have enjoyed the event every year since.”
In addition to the time the scouts dedicate to guarding the sturgeon, they also spend an afternoon working on a service project that protects the Black River.
DNR Partners in Conservation awards are given six times a year to individuals or organizations for exemplary contributions to conservation in Michigan. Award nominations are made by DNR staff members.

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11th Grader Wins 2019 Bear Cooperator Patch Contest

Bear Patch Winning Design 300px20AUG19-At the August 8th Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association announced 11th grader Annie J. Laurenz of Wheeler Township as the 2019 bear cooperator patch design contest winner.
Each year, MBHA coordinates the Michigan bear cooperator patch program and conducts a patch design contest for K-12 students.
“An important thing that we’ve been able to do with the Bear Patch Program is to give people a perspective of the importance of what the bear hunter can do for the resource,” said Michael Pedigo, vice president of the Michigan Bear Hunters Association. “Keeping kids involved is a very important aspect of this program as well.”
K-12 students from public, private and home schools around the state are eligible to submit their design. Contest entries for the 2020 bear management cooperator patch design are due by December 1st.

First-, second- and third-place winners are invited to the annual MBHA convention and receive $100, $50 and $25 awards, respectively.  
Proceeds from the sale of bear cooperator patches provide resources about black bears for students throughout the state as well as other informational and educational materials.
Anyone with an interest can purchase bear cooperator patches. Patches are $5, including postage and handling. Hunters 10-17 years old with a valid bear hunting license may receive a free patch.

Visit the Michigan Bear Hunters Association website to order a bear patch and for contest information. 

Questions? Call the DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453.

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Pocket Park Offers Opportunities of a Lifetime

By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A young boy reacts to his target practice results.16AUG19-Underneath a stand of tall pine trees, tucked into the northeast corner of the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, sits a magical place – a place where discoveries to last a lifetime can be found.
Just a week ago, a couple of young boys from Alabama, ages 8 and 9, discovered this unassumingly.
In Delta County to visit friends, the boys came to the fairgrounds with one of their contemporaries and found the Pocket Park – a place where the boys caught bluegills from a pond shaped like the Upper Peninsula.

“The two kids had never caught a fish before and had the best time,” said Jo Ann Alexander, a co-organizer of events at the facility. “By the time they left the park, they knew how to bait a hook, set the hook and take a fish off the hook.”

A target shooter takes aim at the pellet gun range at the Pocket Park.The same week, two youth from Texas had a similar experience, taking their first shots with bows and arrows and a pellet gun.
In 1998, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources renovated an old maintenance area to build the park, with the help of a $250,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. That same year, construction of the fishing pier and pond began.
In 1999, the public was first welcomed to the park, which sees its highest numbers of visitors during the U.P. State Fair week every August. Each year, the park draws thousands of visitors.
The DNR Pocket Park caters especially to children, but adults will find many things to explore here as well. During fair week, many DNR staffers – including conservation officers, wildlife and fisheries biologists and others – are on hand to answer park visitor questions.

From 2000-2005, construction at the park included the archery and pellet gun ranges, a fire tower display, 11 native plant gardens – featuring hundreds of plantings – and the planting of about 150 native trees.

A red-phased Eastern Screech Owl was one of the recent special guests at the Pocket Park.In 2006, another trust fund grant was received in the amount of $178,300 to renovate an existing maintenance facility into a classroom and an accessible restroom. That renovation was completed in 2008.
Last year, a $150,000 appropriation from the state’s general fund was received to address priority maintenance and repairs at the park, including repairing a leaking roof and replacing structural supports on the porch of the classroom building.
“We know that without some kind of connection to the natural world, the next generation will be less likely to carry forward all of our gains toward resource protection,” said Jon Spieles, facility manager of the park. “The DNR Pocket Park demonstrates our interest as an agency in connecting with all of Michigan by exposing families and kids to the shooting sports and fishing to make that connection.

Smokey Bear breaks up the action at the fishing pier with a personal appearance.“We try like crazy to help fairgoers and visitors throughout the year understand the great opportunities to recreate in the outdoors and to feel confident and comfortable when they go.”
The park’s classroom is used for numerous educational activities, including off-road vehicle and hunter safety training.
Alexander said many year-end school trips were taken to the park in May and June.
“For many kids, it was their first time at the park,” she said. “After they learned it would be open all summer long, a lot of kids have been coming, and we have seen much higher attendance.”
In fact, July attendance hit a record at the park and June wasn’t far behind, said Bryn Beauchamp, field and maintenance manager at the park.
“It’s primarily family groups and a lot of grandparents with their grandkids,” Beachamp said. “The average age of the kids is around 7 or 8.”

In addition to the main attractions, the park also offers numerous exhibits and information booths during fair week.
Exhibits this year include live hawks and owls from the Chocolay Raptor Center, Michigan reptiles provided by the U.P. Children’s Museum, two local taxidermists and a Native American education demonstration.
In addition, booths will be staffed by the Girl Scouts, the DNR’s Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program, DNR conservation officers and fire prevention specialists, with Smokey Bear celebrating his 75th birthday at the park.
There will also be an “Ask the DNR” question booth and booths for selfies, including one with a moose mount.

A young archer gets ready to pull the string back on his bow.Volunteers make the world go around at the Pocket Park, especially during fair week, when roughly 200 time slots must be filled to cover the open four-hour shifts. Entry to the fair, a free meal, T-shirt and gift bag are provided in return.
Sportsmen and sportswomen, DNR staffers, clubs, various groups, individuals and families volunteer to help others – some for several shifts or days, with many returning each year.
“All of them truly enjoy seeing the delight on children’s faces when they catch a fish, shoot an arrow at a 3-D bear or deer target, or hit the bull's eye with a pellet gun,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, Alexander’s counterpart in organizing activities at the Pocket Park during fair week. “It is surprising how many children today have not experienced these types of outdoor recreation, and with families and long-distance relatives coming to the fair together, it is a great way to introduce children to these fun activities in a true U.P. outdoor setting. The DNR Pocket Park is also a place where people of all capabilities can participate.”

During the off-fair part of the Memorial Day to Labor Day season, the park’s fishing pond and archery and pellet gun ranges are available for use by supervised groups. The park is open to the public daily, and by appointment to host family gatherings, picnics, youth organizations, school groups, sports associations, scouting campouts, meetings and public events.
There is no charge to visit the Pocket Park.
Two decades after the park was first opened, it remains an important place in Delta County – an oasis located just off the fairgrounds midway, where there are benches for a rest, picnic tables to eat lunch and a fun and nurturing space where young visitors can find valuable first fishing and hunting experiences.
Perhaps best of all, it is a place where the sounds of children laughing, playing and enjoying life abound.

To learn more about the DNR Pocket Park, contact either Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331 or dahlstromk@michigan.gov or Jo Ann Alexander at 906-786-2351 or alexanderj7@michigan.gov.

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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Great Lakes Region Ruffed Grouse Hunters Needed!
Submit Your Birds for Testing

15AUG19-The ruffed grouse West Nile virus surveillance project will enter year two this fall. The collaborative study began in 2018, between Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study group.
The study is being conducted to learn more about West Nile virus (WNV) exposure and infection in ruffed grouse in the Great Lakes region. Recently, WNV has become a topic of interest due to a rise in ruffed grouse testing positive for the disease. A study in Pennsylvania recently reported that WNV may have contributed to population declines in areas of lower-quality habitat or where habitat was scarce.  In 2017, WNV was identified in 12 ruffed grouse in Michigan. The virus was confirmed in one ruffed grouse in the early 2000s in Minnesota and detected in Wisconsin ruffed grouse in 2018.

“Evaluating various impacts on grouse populations from influences like weather to the effects of disease is valuable information. By testing birds from key areas in the state, we hope to learn the extent to which ruffed grouse are being exposed to West Nile virus, and how it may be affecting them,” said laboratory technician Julie Melotti from the Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Lab.
Participation from grouse hunters in the region will be an important component of the study. We encourage grouse hunters to voluntarily submit birds for testing.
Each state has a targeted sampling region and goal. During the 2018 grouse season, Michigan received 209 of the 400 desired samples, from select counties in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Additionally, the Michigan DNR has not documented any unexpected declines in grouse populations across the state and has no data to suggest the state’s populations are in peril. Further information on WNV in ruffed grouse and how to obtain sampling kits in Michigan can be found on the
Michigan DNR’s WNV and Ruffed Grouse FAQ sheet.
Minnesota collected 273 sample kits of its 400-sample goal. This year, Minnesota is broadening the sampling area to include the statewide ruffed grouse range. Sampling kits will be made available on Sept. 3. For more information on obtaining a sampling kit, please visit the Minnesota grouse hunting webpage.
In 2018, Wisconsin confirmed its first three cases of West Nile Virus in ruffed grouse. The Wisconsin DNR received 238 ruffed grouse samples last year and plans to release 500 sample kits this year. Hunters interested in assisting the DNR in the surveillance study can obtain test kits from their local wildlife biologists. Contact information for the Wisconsin DNR and additional information regarding ruffed grouse is available online at Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse webpage
The final test results from the first year of surveillance still are being analyzed and are expected by early fall. It is important to understand that many factors influence annual variations in grouse populations in the Great Lakes region.
The multi-year, multi-state design of this surveillance project is its strength, and we are grateful to have the collaboration of our neighboring states on this effort.  These data, once received, will be looked at in the broader context of other variables over time.

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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 © 2019 Carroll Broadcasting, Inc., All rights reserved.

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