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Fishing Regulations Changed at September 14th NRC Meeting

20SEP17-At its last meeting Thursday, September 14th, in Lansing, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved several fishing regulation changes regarding the Big Island Lakes Complex in Schoolcraft County, reptile and amphibian possession and ice shanties.
The regulations are part of multiple Fisheries Orders the Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses to protect the state’s aquatic resources. The Fisheries Orders include 201, 224 and 251.
Fisheries Order 201 sets fishing regulations on waters within the Big Island Lake Complex in Schoolcraft County. The approved change moves the northern pike minimum size limit from 42 to 24 inches and increases the daily possession limit from one to two fish, removes reference to the muskellunge harvest tag and changes the muskellunge possession season to the first Saturday in June through Nov. 30. This Fisheries Order takes effect April 1st, 2018.

Fisheries Order 224 established regulations for Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians. The approved changes are administrative modifications that result in no regulation changes for anglers. This Fisheries Order takes immediate effect.

Fisheries Order 251 is a new order developed to regulate the use of ice fishing shanties in Michigan. The order mirrors ice shanty regulations already listed in statute. This Fisheries Order takes immediate effect.

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DNR Seeks Candidates for 2018 Conservation Officer Recruit School

Twenty-three week academy pushes recruits academically, physically

2018_applications_reduced20SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking candidates for its 2018 Conservation Officer Recruit School, a 23-week training academy that is the first step in becoming a conservation officer.
Recruit School #9 runs July 15-Dec. 21, 2018, at the training academy in Dimondale, near Lansing, Michigan.
“The academy demands total effort and commitment,” said 1st Lt. Steve Burton, training section supervisor in the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It challenges recruits academically and physically. But those who succeed are on the path to an exciting, fulfilling career as a Michigan conservation officer. Not just anyone can wear our gray and green uniform. Only the finest men and women should apply.”
The DNR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity among its applicants. During the academy, recruits become state of Michigan employees and are paid biweekly. After graduation, they become probationary conservation officers and spend several more months training throughout the state before being assigned to one of Michigan’s 83 counties, in which they will live. The entire training process, which includes the academy, takes one year before candidates become full-fledged conservation officers, due to the high quality and diverse nature of the training.

An applicant must:

bullet Be a U.S. citizen.
bullet Be at least 21 years old before graduating from the academy.
bullet Become a resident of Michigan by completing the Probationary Training Program.
bullet Be allowed to lawfully possess a firearm in Michigan.
bullet Possess a valid Michigan driver’s license.
bullet Possess a satisfactory driving record.
bullet Possess a clean criminal record absent of any felony convictions.
bullet Submit to a thorough background investigation measuring the applicant’s suitability for law enforcement work.
bullet Pass the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) physical fitness test.
bullet Complete and attach the Job Fit Questionnaire, Location Preference Sheet, a cover letter and resume when applying.

A detailed guide to the application process is available at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers. For more information contact Sgt. John Meka at mekaj@michigan.gov or 517-284-6499.

This year’s Recruit School is under way, with graduation scheduled in December. For a look at life in the academy, subscribe to the weekly conservation officer academy blog, which also is posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page. View previous blogs from Recruit School #8.

DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community. They are certified police officers with full authority to enforce all of Michigan’s laws. As conservation officers, they also have specialized training in a variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources. This includes extensive training in fish, game and trapping enforcement; recreational safety and enforcement, as well as firearms, precision and off-road driving, survival tactics and first aid. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers

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Over 25 Million Fish Stocked in 2017, Plenty of Fishing in Michigan

individuals harvesting a walleye pond for stocking19SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the totals from its spring and summer fish stocking efforts. The DNR stocked a total of 25,470,199 fish that weighed more than 320 tons and consisted of 11 different species and one hybrid.
To complete this task, it took more than 380 stocking trips to nearly 760 stocking sites, more than 103,000 miles traveled over the course of 3,052 hours using 19 specialized stocking trucks.
"We had excellent spring and summer stocking seasons that will bring significant benefits and fishing opportunities to Michigan anglers," said Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager. "With the hard work and dedication of our staff, fish were reared and delivered to stocking sites in excellent condition. The numbers produced and stocked were right on target for most areas."
The number and type of fish stocked throughout the year varies by hatchery, as each location's ability to rear fish varies depending on the source and temperature of the rearing water. In Michigan there are six state and two cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed by fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered at a specific time and location for stocking to ensure their success.

Each hatchery stocked the following fish this spring:

bullet Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 629,361 yearling lake trout, brook trout and splake (a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout) that in total weighed 63,802 pounds. This hatchery stocked a total of 113 inland and Great Lakes sites.
bullet Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 874,612 fish that included yearling steelhead and spring fingerling Chinook salmon. These fish weighed 123,430 pounds in total. This hatchery stocked 59 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
bullet Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 598,602 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 103,601 pounds. This hatchery stocked 139 inland and Great Lakes sites.
bullet Harrietta State Fish Hatchery (in Harrietta) stocked 1,289,024 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that in total weighed 105,629 pounds. This hatchery stocked 312 sites (the majority located inland).
bullet Platte River State Fish Hatchery (near Honor) stocked 1,976,582 fish that included yearling Atlantic salmon and coho salmon and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 124,346 pounds. This hatchery stocked 49 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
bullet Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (near Kalamazoo) stocked 1,164,008 fish that included yearling steelhead and spring fingerling Chinook salmon, as well as channel catfish obtained from the Ohio DNR, that in total weighed 107,053 pounds. This hatchery stocked 65 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
bullet A cooperative teaching hatchery at Lake Superior State University (in Sault Saint Marie) stocked 28,482 Atlantic salmon weighing 4,104 pounds into the St. Marys River.

Included in this year’s total fish stocked were 18.9 million walleye spring fingerlings and fry. These fish are reared in ponds by the DNR and tribal partners with extensive support provided by local sporting organizations. These fish were stocked at 140 inland lakes and rivers and 20 Great Lakes sites.
Fish stocking is a critical activity of the DNR. These efforts help pump between $2.4 billion and $4.2 billion into the state's economy through the sport fishing industry and associated businesses. As a frame of reference, 2016 stocking efforts totaled more than 33 million fish.
Fish are reared in Michigan's state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.
It should be noted that some hatcheries will provide fish for a few additional stockings (consisting of brook trout, Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon and muskellunge) to be made this fall. The lake sturgeon will come from the DNR's other cooperative hatchery in Tower that is operated with Michigan State University.

The public is welcome at any of Michigan’s state fish hatcheries to see firsthand the fish-rearing process. For more information, visit michigan.gov/hatcheries.

To find out where many of these fish were stocked, check out the DNR’s Fish Stocking Database at michigandnr.com/fishstock

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DNR Adopts Updated Five Year Strategic Plan to Help Guide Parks and Recreation System Management

PRD strategic plan cover19SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently adopted a new, updated five-year strategic plan to guide the future management of the state's parks and recreation system. The plan was developed through statewide engagement with members of the public, advisory groups, stakeholders, other state agencies and DNR staff.
The DNR Parks and Recreation Division manages 103 state parks and recreation areas, totaling 306,148 acres across Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas. It also oversees the state’s boating program, the state motorized and non-motorized trails system and 138 state forest campgrounds.
"In Michigan, our diverse natural, cultural and recreational resources play a defining role in residents' quality of life and the future of this state,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “This plan will serve as a compass for the next five years and help ensure proactive management and connection to these resources for future generations."
The plan identifies goals, objectives and strategies to address the key issues affecting the state’s parks and recreation system. It is the culmination of an 18-month collaborative effort to define where resources will be focused to carry the state parks and recreation system beyond its centennial milestone in 2019.

The plan, titled Parks and Recreation Division Strategic Plan 2017-2022: Connections, is an overarching document that will guide the division in carrying out its mission to "acquire, protect and preserve the natural and cultural features of Michigan’s unique resources, and to provide access to land- and water-based recreation and educational opportunities” over the upcoming five-year period. The plan is available at www.michigan.gov/prdstrategicplans.

For more information about the strategic plan, contact Vicki McGhee at 517-284-6081 or mcgheev1@michigan.gov.

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Cannons Will Roar at Civil War Encampment, September 30th at Michigan Iron Industry Museum

School group watches as flame shoots from cannon during re-enactor demonstration19SEP17-“Iron Ore and the Civil War,” a Civil War encampment, returns to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township Saturday, Sept. 30. The free event runs 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
Museum visitors can experience the sights and sounds of the Civil War during the event through costumed interpreters, artillery demonstrations, period music, a blacksmith forge and children’s games. In addition, the museum will show “The Better Angels of our Nature,” the last episode of “The Civil War” documentary series by Michigan native Ken Burns. The screening of the hour long episode begins at 1:30 p.m. in the museum auditorium.
“This is a family-fun event for people to experience everyday life of the Civil War, and to learn about Michigan’s role during the conflict,” said Michigan Iron Industry Museum historian Troy Henderson. “Museum guests will be able to enter a campsite and interact with the costumed interpreters to learn about the lives of soldiers during the 1860s.”
Battery D, First Michigan Light Artillery from Jackson will re-create Civil War army life with artillery and small-arms drills, camp cooking and soldiers’ pastimes. Dan and Deborah Choszczyk of Champion will be on the museum grounds demonstrating blacksmithing. 

At least 90,000 Michiganders enlisted in Union forces during the Civil War, with more than 14,000 losing their lives. In addition to manpower, the Upper Peninsula’s iron ore resources were instrumental in helping to preserve the Union as wartime manufacturing expanded to meet the needs of the military, the civilian population and international trade.

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is a nationally accredited museum located at 73 Forge Road in Negaunee, 8 miles west of Marquette; enter off of U.S. 41. For more information, call 906-475-7857 or visit www.michigan.gov/ironindustrymuseum.  

The Michigan History Center is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment, and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. It includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan.  Learn more at www.michigan.gov/michiganhistory.

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DNR Announces Surplus Salmon Available to Public Again This Fall

18SEP17-The public again this year is invited to purchase surplus salmon that has been harvested at Michigan Department of Natural Resources weirs located in the northern Lower Peninsula.
Seasonal salmon runs include large numbers of fish returning to their native streams to spawn and die. The DNR maintains multiple sites (weirs) where fisheries biologists and technicians collect eggs and milt (sperm) from Chinook and coho salmon for use in state fish hatcheries. Once egg-take needs are met, fish in prime physical condition are made available to the public by American-Canadian Fisheries, a private vendor which assists the DNR with the salmon harvest.
ACF harvests the salmon for human and pet-food markets, as well as excess eggs for bait and caviar markets. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon and eggs collected. They then make suitable-quality fish available wholesale to distributors who market the fish. All of this year’s distributors are located in the northern Lower Peninsula.
"We work closely with ACF to maintain a professional approach to dealing with the returning salmon and to ensure the harvest is done in the most environmentally friendly way," said Aaron Switzer, the DNR’s northern Lower Peninsula hatchery manager. "The number of fish returning to our rivers is large enough that the DNR needs the assistance of private partners like ACF to help in this area of fishery management."
The price of the available fish is set by each individual retailer, not the DNR. The DNR recommends that those who are interested in purchasing salmon contact the respective vendors (listed below) directly to determine when a purchase can be made and for how much.
The Michigan Department of Community Health recommends using caution when eating certain kinds and sizes of fish from Michigan lakes and streams. For current advisories, the Eat Safe Fish Guide should be consulted. It is available online at michigan.gov/eatsafefish or by contacting MDCH at 1-800-648-6942.

Here is the list of Michigan retailers this year selling salmon harvested at DNR weirs:

bulletAndy’s Tackle Box
14573 Coates Highway 
Brethren, MI 49619
231-477-5737
 
bullet AuSable River Store
680 W. River Road
Oscoda, MI 48750
989-739-5332

 
bulletHank and Sons
16441 Coates Highway
Brethren, MI 49609
231-477-5450
 
bullet Lixie’s Fish Market
2699 Lixie Beach
East Tawas, MI 48060
989-362-5791
 
bulletPappy’s Bait & Tackle
17092 Caberfae Highway
Wellston, MI 49689
231-848-4142
 
bulletR & J Resort
3070 Keith Road
Brethren, MI 49619
231-477-5549
 
bulletTippy Dam Campground
17974 Old House Road
Wellston, MI 49689
231-848-4448
 
bullet Wellman’s Bait & Tackle
410 S. State St. #309
Oscoda, MI 48750
989-739-2869

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Michigan Trails Week, September 23rd - 30th, a Great Time to Discover Your Next Outdoor Adventure

18SEP17-When it comes to trails, there’s no place like Michigan. With trails that cater to a variety of passions – from biking, hiking and snowmobiling to off-roading, paddling and horseback riding – Michigan has a trail for you. Michigan Trails Week, September 23rd - 30th, is the perfect time to hit the trails for the first time or try your hand (or feet) at a new trail adventure.
“If you want to get out and really enjoy the great outdoors, Michigan is the place to be,” said Paul Yauk, statewide trails coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Our trails take you to every corner of the state, with stops at some of the most picturesque locations in the country, a number of fascinating historical sites and attractions, and more than 100 state parks.”
Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of designated state trails that connect communities and provide real health and economic benefits. No matter where in Michigan you are, chances are you can find hiking and biking trails, equestrian trails, snowmobile trails, off-road vehicle trails and even water trails that will link you to many areas of the state.

In his proclamation declaring this year’s Michigan Trails Week, Gov. Rick Snyder cited “Michigan’s rich network of trails throughout the Upper and Lower peninsulas” that “provide residents and visitors with scenic spaces in which to explore nature, appreciate wildlife, experience solitude or enjoy time with family and friends.”

Those are pretty good reasons why Michigan is cementing its reputation as The Trails State, said Yauk. Michigan also offers:

bulletThe Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, is a 2,000-mile journey winding from Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit, crisscrossing more than half of Michigan’s counties along both hiking and biking routes. Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail showcases many of the state’s natural and cultural resources, from national lakeshores to historic industrial areas. 
 
bulletThousands of miles of ORV trails that are constantly being upgraded through funding generated by the sale of ORV licenses and trail permits. These dollars help fund the restoration of many existing trails and the ability to link more communities across the state.
 
bulletThe largest statewide rail-trail system in the nation, with more than 2,600 miles of old railroad lines that have been converted for recreational use.
 
bulletThousands of miles of equestrian, snowmobile and water trail opportunities throughout the state, strengthening Michigan’s position as the nation’s Trails State.

The DNR again is partnering with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, and communities throughout the state to offer trails information and opportunities during Michigan Trails Week and all year long. 
Michigan Trails Week concludes Saturday, September 30th, which is National Public Lands Day, traditionally a day for volunteer-led efforts to beautify and build awareness about the value and breadth of U.S. public lands. In fact, more than 30 percent of America’s land is public.

For more information about Michigan’s trails system and Michigan Trails Week opportunities, community resources and events throughout the state, visit the DNR website www.michigan.gov/trailsweek.

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Michigan’s Parks, Trails and Waterfalls Provide Great Settings for Leaf-Peeping Fall Color

By CASEY WARNER
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A beautiful fall color view of the Dead River in Marquette County from a bridge popular with fall leaf peepers.18SEP17-As we put away our flip-flops for the season and get ready to don our sweaters, many Michigan residents and visitors are eagerly awaiting the state’s stunning annual display of fall foliage.
“Leaf peeping” – a term for travel geared around fall color viewing – has become a popular pastime nationwide, and Michigan is no exception.
As one of the most wooded states in the country, with more than half of its 36 million acres of land forested, Michigan offers plenty of opportunity to see trees put on their fall color show.
One notable example is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, where visitors can take in some of the Upper Peninsula’s best fall foliage views in a unique way – from chairlift rides at the park’s ski hill.
“Ride the chairlift to the top of the ski hill and either hike or ride the lift back down for some great scenery overlooking Lake Superior,” said Bob Wild, Michigan Department of Natural Resources park interpreter at the Porcupine Mountains. “Don’t forget to bring your camera.”
Last year, four or five of the park’s busiest days occurred during the fall color season.
With a variety of tree species, the Porcupine Mountains fall color displays present a patchwork of color, dazzling to see.

DNR staffers at state parks have a variety of good suggestions for places visitors in search of eye-catching autumn scenery might want to check out – by car, foot, kayak, horse or off-road vehicle, as well as by chairlift.
In addition to Porcupine Mountains, which she said is “very popular with the chairlift rides,” Kelly Somero, at Baraga State Park in the western U.P., recommends local waterfalls as fall color viewing destinations.
Popular spots include the series Presque Isle River falls in the Porkies and Ontonagon County’s Bond Falls and Agate Falls.
Fort Wilkins (State Historic Park) is really cool as well,” Somero said. “There is a lot to see in the Keweenaw (Peninsula) for fall colors – Brockway Mountain Drive, the Fort, Isle Royale, lighthouses – and the drive itself is scenic.
“For a unique twist, the Bill Nichols Trail with the triple trestles over the Ontonagon River is a great fall destination for ORV touring.Bond Falls is among the popular destinations in the western Upper Peninsula throughout the year, autumn is no exception.

Twin Lakes State Park can be used as a base camp, with its lodge and mini cabin, there is golfing nearby and the Porkies and Fort Wilkins are about an hour each way for additional color touring by vehicle along with other ORV routes to explore western U.P. areas.”
Melanie Brand at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County also suggested Bond Falls, especially for hikers, and Twin Lakes State Park in Houghton County for ORV trail riding as well as camping, hiking and paddling.
“For camping, hiking and boating/paddling, I also would say Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County, which is already at around 5 percent of color (as of early September),” said Brand.
There are plenty of options for those seeking fall colors south of the Mackinac Bridge too.
“I’d suggest the Black Mountain area – Black Lake State Forest Campground or Cheboygan, Hoeft, Onaway and Aloha state parks are close by,” said Jeremy Spell, unit manager at Aloha and Onaway state parks.
Spell said that Black Lake State Forest Campground in Cheboygan County, whose Upper Campground is open to ORVs, and other state parks in the northeastern Lower Peninsula offer proximity to ORV, equestrian and non-motorized trails, all in the Black Mountain area.

“There’s also the inland waterway for a water trail, Stoney Creek Equestrian Trail Camp and the north spur of the Shore-to-Shore Trail, which is adjacent to the Lee Grande Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) property (a popular area for hunting) with non-motorized trails and a good potential for elk viewing as well,” Spell said. “Also, the North Eastern, North Central and Northwestern state trails – lots of great spots for fall colors.”

Backwoods roads can get busy during fall color season, like this section of County Road 510 near Big Bay in Marquette County.These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities for seeing fall foliage in Michigan. Get more fall color touring trip ideas from the Pure Michigan website at www.michigan.org/fall.
Fall color is predicted to peak throughout October, depending on location. Check out Pure Michigan’s fall travel peak season map, to find out the best times to visit different areas of the state.
As the days start to get shorter in the fall, trees stop producing chlorophyll, the substance that helps plants change sunlight into sugar (glucose) through photosynthesis and gives leaves their green color.
Chlorophyll production slows down as trees start preparing for winter, and we see the other natural pigments in the leaves emerge.
Leaf colors vary by tree species – for example, oaks turn red or brown, aspen turn golden yellow and dogwood, purplish red. Maples turn scarlet, orange-red or yellow, depending on species.
As you travel the state in search of the changing autumn leaf colors, fall camping is a great accommodation option at the end of the sightseeing day.

State parks and recreation areas and state forest campgrounds offer a variety of fall camping experiences, from modern and rustic campsites for tents, recreational vehicles and popup campers to lodging in the camper cabins, yurts, cottages and lodges available in some state parks.
While traditionally a summer activity, camping comes with some unique advantages during autumn.
“We find that camping reservations are much easier to find in the fall,” said Doug Barry, supervisor at Van Riper State Park. “Campers can reap the benefits of less crowded campgrounds and the beautiful colors of fall foliage, especially during weekdays.”
 

To check availability or make a camping reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

Events and activities in state parks aren’t reserved for summer either, with a variety of fall programs scheduled.

Many Michigan state parks and recreation areas host fall harvest festivals in September and October. These family-friendly “Harvest and Haunts” events include hayrides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume contests, haunted trails, cider and donuts, and horse-drawn carriage rides.A family on a fall camping outing at the Pinckney Recreation Area, which is located in Livingston and Washtenaw counties.

The fall calendar also features hikes, races, paddling events and more. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrcalendar for details.
Fall is also the perfect time to take advantage of the state’s abundant trail opportunities – there are miles and miles of good reasons Michigan is known as “The Trails State” – from biking and hiking to equestrian and ORV trails.
Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.
“Our trails take you to every corner of the state, from some of the most picturesque locations in the country, to historical areas to state parks,” said Paul Yauk, DNR statewide trails coordinator. “Fall is a great time to get outdoors and spend some time on our trail system.”
The DNR will join other organizations around the state in celebrating Michigan Trails Week September 23rd - 30th.
“There are some unbelievable places in Michigan to see, and our trails system takes you there,” said Yauk. “There’s an adventure everywhere, no matter what type of trail you are on.”

Explore Michigan trail options at www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

Whether your winding down a U.P. backroad, walking a trail in the Lower Peninsula, kayaking, taking a chairlift ride, biking or camping, the brilliant fall color season in Michigan is one of nature’s truly amazing displays not to be missed.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories.

Michigan’s Recreation Passport provides access to 103 state parks and state recreation areas, 138 state forest rustic campgrounds, and numerous free family-friendly events, as well as parking for hundreds of miles of trails and fee-based state boat launches.

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Seats for Free Chronic Wasting Disease Symposium, October 3rd & 4th in East Lansing, Available to Public on First-come, First-served Basis

14SEP17-The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development will host a chronic wasting disease symposium Oct. 3-4 in East Lansing, Michigan. The symposium will highlight CWD research and management from across the country. 

“An impressive list of experts who are internationally known for their research of the disease will be speaking,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “There are representatives from multiple universities, including Georgia, Colorado State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Midwestern and Michigan State.”

In addition, the symposium will feature speakers from state agencies representing Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as nongovernmental organizations and government agencies, such as the Quality Deer Management Association, the North American Deer Farmers Association, the United States Geological Survey and the United States
Department of Agriculture. 
The format of the symposium includes speakers fielding direct questions from the audience. Attendees will be able to hear firsthand about the disease and how it is being studied and managed across the country. 

When:
Tuesday, Oct. 3 – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 4 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(On-site check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. each day.)

Where:
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Michigan State University
219 S. Harrison Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824

Cost: Free – there is no registration fee.

Note: Lunch is not provided. A food truck will be available for attendees to purchase lunch.

Those interested can register at http://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/0AymgU. Seating is limited. There are approximately 100 spots available, and registration will close as soon as seating is filled. The event will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.

Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the cervid family, including deer, elk and moose. It attacks the central nervous system of infected animals, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. There is no recovery.
In 2015, Michigan’s first free-ranging CWD-positive deer was confirmed. Since the discovery of that animal, the DNR has sampled more than 13,800 deer from around the state. A total of nine of those animals have tested positive for CWD.

For more information, visit the DNR website mi.gov/cwd.

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DNR Announces Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club’s 8th Annual "Trapping Workshop September 30th in Ontonagon County

Participants enjoy the Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club’s Trappers’ Workshop in Ontonagon County in 2016.14SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club will offer its eighth-annual Trappers Workshop Saturday, Sept. 30 at the club’s facilities in Ontonagon County.

The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. EDT (9 a.m. CDT) September 30th.  Lunch will be provided.  The club is located 1.5 miles east of Silver City at 31433 W. M-64.

“This workshop is designed to give participants a basic understanding of how to begin trapping or, for those seasoned trappers, to get updated on new techniques and to rub elbows with other trappers,” said Don Harris, workshop instructor and one of the club’s directors.

The workshop will cover the ethics of trapping, safe trap handling and basic trap sets for water and land animals including coyotes, raccoons and beavers. Additional topics to be discussed include proper equipment, fur prices, lure use, fur types and many aspects of how to start, or get back into, trapping.

The club will be drawing winners for its five-gun fundraiser at 1 p.m.

Additional information to consider:

bulletAdmission is free.
bulletWorkshop is open to the public.
bulletExperienced and inexperienced trappers are welcome.
bulletChildren younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
bulletParticipants will be given some trapping “goodies” as well as an assortment of literature on trapping.
bulletCamping and lodging are available nearby.
bulletPre-registration is suggested.

To pre-register for the Trappers Workshop, or for more information on the event, call Don Harris at 906-885-5245.

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 on trapping, visit the DNR webpage.

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Northern Lower Peninsula Landowners Can Enroll Property in Hunting Access Program

HAP offers landowners the opportunity to make money, control wildlife damage, help boost hunter participation

young hunter holding rifle in snowy field with man in background13SEP17-Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest and longest-running dedicated private-land public-access programs. Since 1977, the Hunting Access Program has enabled landowners to make the most of their property by allowing hunters to access private land for hunting.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources currently is accepting HAP applications from landowners in the northern Lower Peninsula with at least 40 acres and containing a minimum of 5 percent wildlife habitat.
“You can help promote wildlife population management, support the local economy, reduce wildlife conflicts, improve your land and get paid to do it,” said DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator Monique Ferris. “Wildlife habitat improvement funding may also be available for habitat projects if you are enrolled in the program.”
HAP-eligible counties in the northern Lower Peninsula include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and parts of Wexford. Beginning this year, there are additional enrollment incentives for those who live in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency or Oscoda counties. Landowners should contact the local conservation district in those counties to learn more about the earning potential for their land.

HAP enrollment will remain open through September.

Benefits to the landowner include:

bulletAn annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover and type of hunting the landowner chooses to allow.
bulletThe chance to help promote and support Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
bulletBetter management of wildlife on the landowner’s property.
bulletLiability protection for the landowner through Public Act 451.
bulletControl over types of hunting allowed on the property and maximum number of hunters on the property at a time, as well as the option to allow youth and apprentice hunting exclusively.

There are no extra costs for hunters to use HAP lands, but they are responsible for reviewing information for the land they plan to hunt, checking in before each day of hunting and respecting the landowners’ private property.

For more information on enrollment in the Hunting Access Program, visit michigan.gov/hap.

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Living Resources Patches Available Through End of September

2016-2017 Michigan's Living Resources American robin patch12SEP17-The 2016-2017 Michigan’s Living Resources patch featuring the American robin, along with several patches from previous years, will be available for purchase on the Michigan e-store through the end of September. 
The Living Resources patch program has raised awareness of Michigan's non-game species for over 40 years, with the first Living Resources patch issued in 1975 featuring the Kirtland’s warbler.
Proceeds from the sale of these patches goes into the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund, which provides a source of funding for projects vital to the needs of Michigan's endangered, threatened and non-game animals, plants and their habitats.
Funds for these important management efforts also have been raised through voluntary check-off contributions on the state income tax form, sales of the wildlife habitat specialty license plate and direct donations. 
Today, those interested in contributing can support the fund through purchase of a wildlife habitat license plate, making a tax-deductible donation or purchasing a patch.

Those who would like to request a mail-in order form can contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453).

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First 2017 Bear Season Starts Today

2017 Michigan Bear Hunting Digest cover image11SEP17-Michigan’s first bear season of 2017 starts today in a few counties of the northwestern Lower Peninsula, with seasons in other locations opening September 10th and 17th. 
For the 2017 hunting season, 7,140 bear licenses were available across 10 different bear management units in Michigan. Close to 56,000 hunters applied for either a preference point for future license drawings or a bear hunt unit – 4,500 more than in 2016. Drawing results were available to applicants starting June 26th. 

See a video about how the bear preference point system works.

Since 1925, hunting has been part of the state's bear management program, with several different hunting structures seen over the years. The majority of Michigan’s bear population resides in the Upper Peninsula, with an estimated adult black bear population of nearly 10,000. The Lower Peninsula’s adult black bear population is estimated at over 2,500. 

“Our diverse habitat in Michigan produces excellent bear hunting opportunities,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources bear management specialist Kevin Swanson. “Millions of acres of public land give unlimited locations for hunters to target. You just have to keep in mind where bear are traveling now and the food they’re after this time of year.”

Learn more about what great bear habitat looks like in the DNR's bear habitat video.

The 2017 bear hunting regulations can be found in the Bear Hunting Digest or by calling a DNR Customer Service Center for assistance.  Hunters are responsible for knowing all hunting regulations.

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Vandals Deface Sanilac Petroglyphs, a Sacred Site in Sanilac County

11SEP17-Earlier this year, Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff at Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park discovered that vandals had broken in and carved three images on the rock that holds carvings made hundreds of years ago.
“We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, which interprets the petroglyphs for the public at this state park near Cass City, Michigan. “The petroglyphs were created by people who lived in what is now Michigan centuries ago. They are part of all of our history, and they have a deep spiritual meaning for many Anishinabek who live in the Great Lakes Region today.”
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan partners with the state in interpreting the petroglyphs, which are called ezhibiigaadek asin (“written on stone”) in the Anishinabemowin language.
“The Sanilac Petroglyphs are one of the most important connections we have to our past within the region,” said Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. “The stories that are handed down from generation to generation thread our past to the present. We need to preserve diba jimooyung (‘telling our stories’). 
“Pictures, stories and our language are all we have that identifies our Anishinabek people,” he added. “Without proper protections of these ancient treasures we run the risk of losing precious sacred information. My community needs these treasures protected and secured. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan will do everything we can to partner with the State of Michigan to assist with this.”    
The DNR and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan ask that anyone with information concerning the individuals who defaced the Sanilac Petroglyphs call or text the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800. Information also may be shared via the DNR web-based RAP reporting form.
Individuals may qualify for a reward, provided by the Michigan History Center, if they submit information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.
(photo of defacement to right)

"We urge the public to be our added eyes and ears in the field to assist Michigan's state parks and recreation system in protecting these and other cultural treasures from such senseless acts of vandalism," said Ron Olson, chief of DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Please alert park rangers and staff if you witness any suspicious activity that may threaten this area."

The Michigan History Center is an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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Black Bears and Humans: What You Should Know

By KEVIN SWANSON and JOHN PEPIN
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

For many people, seeing a Michigan black bear in the wild, like the one shown here, is an amazing experience.08SEP17-For many people, the opportunity to see a Michigan black bear in the wild is an amazing experience.
Black bears are Michigan’s only bear species. These animals prefer large hardwood or pine forests, intermixed with wetlands, and they can be colored black, brown or cinnamon.
Males live in areas that can be larger than 100 square miles, while females — which give birth to an average of two to three cubs every other winter — stay in smaller areas ranging from 10 to 20 square miles. Adult female black bears typically weigh 100 to 250 pounds.
Bears have sharp claws on their padded feet, used for climbing trees and searching for food, like tearing open rotted stumps and trees for insects.
Many wildlife watchers have a natural curiosity about bears, and the chance to see bears from a safe distance, especially when a sow is accompanied by cubs, often produces moments most people don’t soon forget.
Anglers, campers, hikers and others enjoying the outdoors in Michigan may also encounter a black bear. Typically, bears will run or walk away from humans if they become aware of their presence.
However, in some instances, bears do not run. In these cases, an adult male Michigan black bear — which can weigh more than 400 pounds and stand 5 feet tall — can present an imposing obstacle.

Bears have padded feet and sharp claws for climbing trees and helping to locate food, like tearing open rotted stumps to find insects.“When bears stand their ground, people should do the same thing,” said Kevin Swanson, a wildlife specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' bear and wolf program. “In these kind of encounters, you should make loud noises and back away from the bear slowly, giving the bear plenty of room to leave the area. Do not run from a black bear or play dead if one approaches.”
In rare cases, black bears can attack. If they do, fight back with a stick, a backpack, similar available items, or your bare hands.
Fatal black bear attacks are extremely rare.
According to the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota, black bears have killed 61 people across North America since 1900. Bear experts there say your chances of being killed by a domestic dog, bees or lightning are vastly greater.
According to the center, “Most attacks by black bears are defensive reactions to a person who is very close, which is an easy situation to avoid. Injuries from these defensive reactions are usually minor.”
In Michigan, while cases of black bear attacks — like that of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked and injured while jogging at dusk in Wexford County in 2013 — remain rare, reports of bear nuisance complaints are relatively common.
DNR bear nuisance complaints in the Upper Peninsula tallied a bit over 100 for each of the past two years, down from the peak of nearly 250 in 2004.

Researchers working on the Upper Peninsula predator-prey study examine a bear cub found in a den with its mother and two siblings in February 2017.However, in the northern Lower Peninsula, bear complaints in 2016 numbered over 200, a new record for the region. Previously, complaints had peaked in 2003 in that part of the state at more than 160.
Numerous factors affect bear complaints, including available food sources and public attitudes toward bears over time as population numbers increase.
Many black bear nuisance complaints involve encounters between humans and bears, that were prompted by human behavior.
“Black bears eat plants and animals and seek out a number of different food sources, such as sedge, juneberry, blueberry, acorns, beechnuts, and animal protein that includes insects and occasional deer fawns,” Swanson said. “Bears also have big appetites, an excellent sense of smell and can remember the locations of food sources from one year to the next.”

Check out a DNR video on black bears.

Problems typically occur when humans feed black bears, intentionally or unintentionally. Bears eat foods left near campsites, garbage, or foods left out for pets or wild birds.

“The best way to avoid issues with black bears is to never feed them,” said Brian Roell, a DNR wildlife biologist in Marquette. “It is very important that bears maintain their natural fear of humans. Bear problems are far more likely to occur when bears become used to finding food provided by humans.”

A DNR information flier on Michigan black bear details some helpful tips for avoiding conflicts with bears around homes and camps:

bulletNever intentionally feed bears.
bulletRemove potential food sources, like bird feeders, from your yard. Do not feed wild birds in the spring, summer and fall, when bears are most active.
bulletKeep pet food inside or in a secured area.
bulletKeep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often and cleaning the can or other container used for garbage.
bulletKeep garbage in a secured area or in a secured container with a metal, lockable lid until it is picked up or taken away.
bulletKeep grills and picnic tables clean.
bulletBee hives (apiaries), fruit trees and gardens can be protected from bears by electric fencing.

There are additional tips for hikers and campers:

bulletKeep a clean camp, limiting food odors and garbage.
bulletFood and toiletries should never be kept in tents. Store these items in air-tight containers in a vehicle trunk or suspend food in burlap or plastic bags or backpacks from trees. Hang these bags or backpacks 12 feet off the ground, 10 feet away from the tree trunk and 5 feet from the nearest branch.
bulletAlways cook at a distance from your campsite and wash dishes and utensils shortly after eating.
bulletDon’t sleep in clothes that have cooking odors or blood on them.
bulletStore garbage as you would food. Burning or burying garbage attracts bears.
bulletTravel in groups and make noise when hiking to avoid surprising a bear.
bulletCarry bear spray.

A sow and two black bear cubs investigate a grassy area where garbage has been left.“All of us who live and enjoy the outdoors in bear country share the responsibility of not doing things that will intentionally or unintentionally attract bears and create the potential for bear problems,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “As human and black bear populations grow in some areas, the possibility of human-bear interactions becomes more likely, making this shared responsibility even more important.”

Watch
trail camera footage of a black bear at a backyard bird feeder.

Bear populations throughout Michigan are currently stable or are increasing, depending on region. Bears are found across roughly 35,000 square miles of suitable habitat, mostly in the northern two-thirds of the state. The Upper Peninsula is home to most of Michigan’s black bears.
According to the DNR’s Statistical Catch-At-Age analysis – which uses bear sex and age data collected since 1992 – bear abundance in Michigan was most recently estimated at a total of 11,811 sub-adult and adult bears.
This estimate includes 9,699 black bears in the U.P. and 2,112 in the northern Lower Peninsula. Those figures were calculated before the 2015 bear hunting seasons.

Michigan DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell gets ready to weigh a black bear at the DNR’s Marquette Customer Service Center in fall 2016.As a comparison, the pre-hunting season figures for 2014 showed a total of 10,754 sub-adult and adult bears, with 8,721 in the U.P. and 2,033 in the northern Lower Peninsula.
While the analysis estimates the bear population in the Upper Peninsula has increased about 1 percent since 2000, in the northern Lower Peninsula, bear numbers have risen an estimated 47 percent over that same time frame.
Swanson said state wildlife biologists have worked to balance requests from the public for more bears with local bear population densities and numbers of bear nuisance complaints.
“Due to previous concerns expressed by DNR biologists and a wide array of hunters and bear hunting clubs, license quotas and the bear harvest were decreased significantly beginning in 2012,” Swanson said. “The current DNR goal is to increase and then stabilize bear numbers according to how many bears the habitat can support comfortably, without surpassing social tolerance.”
In Michigan, hunting helps keep bear populations at acceptable levels. Bear hunting is a long-standing tradition in the state, enjoyed by those who hunt over bait or pursue bears with dogs.
Recreational hunting of Michigan black bear began in 1925. Nearly 100 years later, the DNR continues to carefully manage bear populations and habitat.

A bear tagged at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources check station in Marquette in fall 2016.“DNR officials staying connected with stakeholders and constituents, and setting license quotas based on appropriate population goals, will help manage a healthy Michigan black bear population,” Swanson said.
This year, more than 56,000 hunters applied for 7,140 available bear hunting licenses, up more than 9 percent from 2016.
Bear hunting seasons open across Michigan in September and, depending on the bear management unit, largely continue into October. Some days of the hunt are restricted to bait-only hunting, while bait and dogs may be used during the remainder of the seasons.
Non-resident licenses in Michigan are capped at 5 percent this year, an increase from a previous cap of 2 percent. This year, 310 out-of-state residents were granted bear hunting licenses from the 7,140 issued.
With black bear numbers currently approaching 12,000 adult black bear statewide, there are excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and bear hunting in Michigan.
“The U.P. landscape is prime habitat for black bear due to the large connected tracts of forestland that grow over various soil types, which creates abundant food sources and cover for this normally solitary animal,” Swanson said. “But a rising population is causing more conflict with people, especially in the northern Lower Peninsula, where bear bluff charges, domestic dog kills and general nuisance complaints are rising.”

Black bear nuisance complaints in the U.P. become increasingly common in years when natural food sources, like blueberries, are harder to find. However, any bear will take advantage of an easy meal, like seeds from backyard wild bird feeders and household garbage.
“Keeping these potential bear foods safely stored away, especially when bears have been reported in the area, will help minimize negative interactions with black bears,” Roell said. “Michigan black bears are fascinating wild animals that should be respected as such, never fed and viewed from a safe distance.”
Under Michigan law, black bears can only be killed by a licensed hunter or when human life is in danger. Anyone who is experiencing problems with bears should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

Get more information on Michigan black bears at www.michigan.gov/bear.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories.

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Free Tours Offered in Northern Michigan of Fall Fisheries' Egg-take

Employee pushing fish through the egg-take process at Little Manistee River Weir07SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources again is offering the public the opportunity to see Great Lakes fish up close. The public and school groups can take part in free tours this fall at the Boardman River Weir in downtown Traverse City, the Little Manistee River Weir in Manistee County and the Platte River Weir in Benzie County. Tours are available during part of September and throughout October.
Weirs are structures that block upstream fish passage on a river. The DNR uses a weir on the Boardman River each September and October to harvest surplus Chinook and coho salmon. At the same time, a weir also is used on the Little Manistee River to harvest the Chinook salmon that support the DNR’s fish production efforts. Staff collect fertilized eggs from this key fish species for the DNR hatchery system. At the Platte River, weirs are used for the fall harvest of coho salmon in order to collect fertilized eggs for the continued production of this prized species at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery.
The fall tours are conducted by staff from the DNR’s Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center and Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center. Students and visitors will learn about salmon biology, how weirs and fish ladders work, invasive species, state fish hatcheries, and the DNR’s annual egg-collection efforts and their impact on Michigan’s fisheries. The programs tie in components of history, ecology, biology and stewardship.

bulletPlatte River Weir tours will run during the egg-take season, slated for Thursdays during October (12, 19 and 26). Weir activity can be checked by calling 231-325-4611, ext. 21. To sign up for a tour, visit michigan.gov/huntfishcenter and click on the Platte River Weir 2017 Programs link.
bulletGuided tours will be offered at the Little Manistee River Weir Oct. 3-4 and 10-11. To check the status of activity, call the weir hotline at 231-775-9727, ext. 6072. Group tours are available by appointment. The timing of the egg-take efforts will be dictated by the readiness of the fish – it’s best to call the weir hotline to determine activity level. To book a tour here visit michigan.gov/wolflakevc and click on the Little Manistee River Weir 2017 Programs link.

Please note that all tour dates are subject to change based on the progress of this year’s salmon runs

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Invasive Japanese Stilt Grass Found Near Ann Arbor

Be on the lookout for this new invader

People removing Japanese stiltgrass 05SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that Japanese Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum), an invasive plant originating in Asia, recently has been positively identified on private property in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. This identification, confirmed by the University of Michigan Herbarium, is the first detection of this species in Michigan.
Japanese Stilt Grass has been on Michigan’s invasive species watch list since 2015 due to the grass’s presence in nearby states including Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. The species is believed to have arrived in the U.S. from Asia in the early 20th century, when it was used as a packing material for fine china. It is now widely distributed along the East Coast and in southern states.

Why be concerned?

“This annual grass is considered highly invasive, taking hold in areas of disturbed soil along banks, roadways and woods,” said Greg Norwood, invasive species coordinator for the DNR’s Wildlife Division. “Seeds can be transported by water or on animals, and seeds can remain viable in the soil for three to five years. Because deer don’t feed on Japanese Stilt Grass, it often takes over in areas where deer browse on native plants and leave open patches of soil.” 

What is being done?

The DNR is collaborating with The Stewardship Network, a nonprofit conservation group based in Ann Arbor, and other partners to identify the extent of the infestation. To date, small “satellite” populations have been located on the original property and a nearby site. The primary infestation was treated with herbicide, and plant material was burned. The small patches of grass at the satellite locations were removed by hand and disposed of.    

How can you help?

The DNR is asking landowners, land managers and anyone spending time in the outdoors to be on the lookout for Japanese Stilt Grass and to report the location and photos of any suspected findings to Greg Norwood at norwoodg@michigan.gov
close-up view Japanese stiltgrassJapanese Stilt Grass looks like some native grasses, so it may not appear out of the ordinary to the general observer. Here is what to look for: 

bulletA thin, bamboo-like grass with jointed stems and well-spaced leaves.
bulletSmooth green leaves 2 to 3 inches long and one-half inch wide, tapering to points at both ends, often with an off-center silver stripe or mid-rib.
bullet1- to 3-foot-high beds of grass, with some stems running across the ground and others shooting upright.
bulletRoots, both at the base and stem joints, that are weakly attached to the soil and easy to pull up.
bulletOne to three slender, green flower spikes at the stem tips, appearing in August or September.

Look-alike species

There are a few common plants in Michigan that easily may be mistaken for Japanese Stilt Grass. These include:

bulletSmartweeds (Polygonum spp.), with tiny, white to pink flowers on a short spike and a tell-tale dark blotch near the center of each leaf. 
bulletWhitegrass (Leersia virginica), which is well-rooted in the soil and has longer, thinner leaves than stiltgrass, with no mid-rib stripe. 
bulletNorthern shorthusk (Brachyelytrum aristosum), with fine hairs on the top, bottom and edges of its leaves and stems, and leaf veins in a pattern resembling an irregular brick wall.    

More information about invasive species, including identification information for Japanese stiltgrass, can be found at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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New Website Makes it Easy to Find Michigan Historical Markers

By SARAH LAPSHAN/Michigan Department of Natural Resources
and TOBI VOIGT/Michigan History Center

01SEP17-On the M-109 loop that runs between Empire and Glen Arbor in Leelanau County, along the Lake Michigan shoreline – near an area once touted as the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC’s “Good Morning America” show – stands a stately sign that marks the forward-thinking of more than a century ago that recognized Michigan’s need for a statewide parks system.
This particular sign commemorates the creation of D.H. Day State Park (now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore) and Michigan’s post-World War I movement to preserve other scenic sites as public outdoor recreation destinations.
These green-and-gold signs, known as Michigan Historical Markers, dot buildings and landscapes, sharing snippets of Michigan’s rich history.
Just about anyone who’s traveled the state’s byways and highways over the last 50-plus years likely has encountered a marker or two, and for good reason – Michigan’s historical marker program is among the nation’s oldest.

close-up view of the green-and-gold Kirtland's warbler markerSince it was authorized by the Legislature in 1955, the program has approved and placed more than 1,700 markers throughout the state, as well as in several other states (for example, in Kentucky at the Perryville Battlefield State Park, honoring the Michigan soldiers who aided the Union in this pivotal Civil War battle) and in Europe (at the home of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the French explorer who founded Detroit).
Although a marker can’t tell the full story – after all, the text is limited to a few hundred words – it does provide a great starting point to learn more.
“Michigan Historical Markers capture the stories of our state’s significant places, events and people in and around the locations where they happened or lived,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that manages the marker program. The Michigan Historical Commission approves the markers and their final texts.

Historical markers originally were placed at highway rest areas, in state parks, and at locations where historic events occurred. Today, historical markers can be found nearly everywhere, including the sides of buildings, the yards of residences and businesses, and at schools.
Clark said that Michigan’s earliest markers focused on European settlement, geology, geography, Native peoples and military conflicts, but, as the program grew, it began to commemorate historically significant architecture, the contributions of individuals, and other milestones.
Stop in at the I-75 rest stop south of Grayling and you can read, briefly, about one of Michigan’s greatest wildlife conservation stories. The “Return of Kirtland’s Warbler” historical marker explains how the bird nearly became extinct in the mid-20th century as logging and other industries damaged its natural habitats, but then successful habitat restoration and conservation efforts turned the tide. The marker reads, in part:

close-up view of the Houghton historical marker“… Guided by research to mimic natural fire processes, government agencies and private conservationists began harvesting older jack pine stands and replanting the trees to restore the warblers’ habitat. … From an all-time modern low of 167 nesting pairs in 1974 and 1987, the summer population of the warbler rebounded to more than 1,700 pairs in 2007. The recovery of the species testifies to the effectiveness of habitat restoration efforts. …”

Visitors to Eagle River on the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw Peninsula can see the “Douglass Houghton” marker that honors the man who served as Michigan’s first state geologist. It was an 1841 report from Houghton, describing the U.P.’s copper country, that convinced hundreds of people to flood the Keweenaw in search of copper fortunes. The marker also highlights several of Houghton’s other contributions, including studying smallpox among the Chippewa Indians, serving as a correspondent for the Detroit Journal, and recording more than 200 plants.

One of the newest markers, installed just this past July, highlights the civil unrest in Detroit in 1967. The marker was placed on the site where the rebellion and riot began, now occupied by Detroit’s Gordon Park, on the 50th anniversary of the uprising. It sets the scene:

“In July 1967 the civil unrest that had been spreading across the United States reached Detroit. In the early morning hours of July 23, Detroit police officers raided a blind pig, an illegal after-hours bar, where patrons were celebrating the return of Vietnam War servicemen. …”

Clark says it’s this diversity of moments, milestones and memories in our state’s history that makes the markers compelling reading for both historians and citizens. Now, with the launch of a new web-based tool, Clark hopes even more people will get in on the hunt for the markers.

view of crowd surrounding the Detroit July 1967 historical markerUntil recently, curious Michiganders have relied on a list or a book – and a lot of good, old-fashioned exploring – to find the state’s historical markers. Then staff at the DNR and the Michigan History Center put their expertise together to find a way to make it easier than ever for folks to find and learn about the markers and the history they honor.
The result? A new, interactive website (www.michigan.gov/markers) that can be accessed by phone, computer screen or tablet – no special app required.
“The Michigan Historical Commission originated and pushed for this project, and DNR technical and history staff made it happen,” said Clark. “We hope this historical marker database will pique the curiosity of Michiganders, help Michigan travelers better connect to the communities they visit, and inspire everyone to keep learning more about the real stories that make up Michigan’s fascinating past.”
Once on the website, visitors will find an interactive map that shows marker sites across the state. A search box at the top right corner of the map makes it possible for users to find markers near their homes, businesses or vacation spots.
On the map, each marker is represented by a small green icon. When a visitor clicks on an icon, a menu box with title and address information pops up. The pop-up box includes clickable links that enable a visitor to zoom in on the map, learn more about the marker, or get driving directions to the marker using Google maps.

The detail link provides specific information about the marker, including its location and installation dates, an image, and the marker text. Visitors also can download a PDF copy of the marker information.  
But the website is much more than just a map, said Mary Patrick, Michigan Historical Marker program coordinator.

screen shot showing map of Michigan dotted with historical marker locations“This research tool is full of features that make it practical for students, researchers, trip planners and other explorers to find historical marker information that will interest them,” she said.

For example, the filter feature (located below the map) enables visitors to pull out map results by county, theme or time period. Clark said the theme filter is particularly handy for planning road trips around topics of interest.

“If someone is interested in the early auto industry, they can select that filter to find all the markers related to that topic and use the directions feature to plan the ultimate Michigan automobile road trip,” she said.

The website also includes the ability to customize the view. Visitors can switch the style of the map by clicking on different options – from road to topographical – in the basemaps feature.

The map defaults to show only the markers, but visitors also can add state parks and campgrounds, as well as Michigan’s network of rail trails, making it easy for families planning a Michigan vacation to map out a trip incorporating visits to historical markers close to where they will be traveling.

Ortonville resident JoAnne Brodbeck is one such traveler.

“My 11-year old son has become a big history buff,” Brodbeck said. “This summer we took a trip to Mackinac Island, and read every marker he stumbled upon. I showed him this website, and he was very excited. It will make it possible for him to find and map out markers before our next vacation.”

four young boys standing in front of Mackinaw Island historical markerBrodbeck said she also plans to keep the website in mind when looking for history topics for school projects.
The Michigan Historical Marker website also was built with researchers and marketers in mind. The database upon which the map is built is available as a free download (either as a KML or CSV file) on the marker main page. It is made available as part of the DNR’s Open Data project (http://gis-midnr.opendata.arcgis.com/), which provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.
Patrick said that although the marker website is live, there still is information to add, particularly photographs of all the markers. DNR staff are field testing and updating the database this fall, continuing to add photographs and verify information.
Michigan History Center staff also would love to hear how others are using the website.
"We encourage visitors who don’t see a marker in an exact GPS location to look around and see if it’s nearby,” Patrick said. “If they can’t find it, we hope they will let us know.” Patrick said the best way to share that information is by using the contact form link at the top of the marker website’s main page.  

“There’s something fitting, and exciting, about using the latest technology to help share the pieces of our past, making these important stories more accessible to more people,” said Clark. “As information is added or updated, it will be right at users’ fingertips – we’re putting history in your hands.”

For more information, visit the historical marker website at www.michigan.gov/markers.

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Michigan’s Draft Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Available for Public Review; Comments Due October 2nd

01SEP17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that its draft 2018-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan is available for public review on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants
The DNR will accept comments on the draft plan through 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. Feedback submission options include via survey from the DNR grants website; email to DNR-SCORP-Comments@michigan.gov, or mail to SCORP c/o Cheryl Nelson, Michigan DNR, 525 W. Allegan St., P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, MI 48909.
“Our chief goal with the new five-year plan is to create new and better ways to leverage Michigan’s wealth of diverse natural and cultural resources to meet the fun, relaxation and health needs of more Michigan’s residents and visitors, as well as the economic development needs of the state and local communities,” said Marc Miller, DNR regional initiatives deputy. “Public feedback is critical to a process like this. To ensure we’re on the right track, we are hoping to hear from a broad cross-section of our natural resources and recreation stakeholders.”
The draft 2018-2022 SCORP includes seven key objectives and several dozen targeted action items designed to help the state and its public and private outdoor-recreation partners achieve this goal. The seven objectives include:  

bullet Foster stewardship and conservation: Natural and cultural resources are protected and residents and visitors are effective stewards of those resources.
bullet Improve collaboration: Outdoor recreation stakeholders collaborate and cooperate to ensure that Michigan’s recreation system meets the needs of residents and visitors.
bullet Raise awareness: Residents and visitors are aware of the variety of outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan and have access to relevant information to connect with these opportunities.
bullet Improve recreational access: Recreation opportunities are connected and accessible to residents and visitors of all backgrounds, abilities, means and geographic locations.
bullet Provide quality experiences: Michigan’s outdoor recreation system provides users with quality experiences in balance with resource management and conservation.
bullet Enhance health benefits: Outdoor recreation increases physical activity and the health of Michigan’s residents and visitors.
bullet Enhance prosperity: Outdoor recreation advances economic prosperity and supports a high quality of life as well as talent retention in Michigan’s communities.

In developing the draft plan, the DNR sought substantial input from Michigan’s parks and outdoor recreation stakeholders in a variety of ways, including online surveys of local public officials, park districts and outdoor recreation industry representatives, 13 focus groups in different regions of the state, and discussions with relevant state advisory groups (such as the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee). Additionally, a statewide phone survey of 1,550 Michigan residents was conducted to gather information about users’ recreation preferences and satisfaction with local outdoor recreation resources and opportunities.
The DNR creates these five-year plans to meet a requirement of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a funding source the department uses both for the development of park and recreation lands and the administration of pass-through grants to local units of government for outdoor recreation projects. 
The Land and Water Conservation Fund requires each participating state to have a comprehensive outdoor recreation plan to ensure wise use of grant funds. This federal fund was created in 1964 and, since that time, the DNR has received more than $135 million to support over 1,800 outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state. To be eligible for funding, the DNR must submit its final 2018-2022 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan to the National Park Service by Dec. 31, 2017.

Learn more about the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other grant programs on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

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Goose Season Begins Sep. 1st; Be Aware of New Aggregate Bag Limits 

01SEP17-It’s time to head to Michigan’s lakes, fields and marshes to hunt geese starting tomorrow. The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that big changes to regulations this year include a dark goose and light goose aggregate bag limit. 
Canada geese, white-fronted geese (or speckle bellies) and Brant are now part of a dark goose aggregate daily bag limit. From Sept. 1-30, the dark goose aggregate daily bag limit for Canada geese, white-fronted geese and Brant is five, only one of which can be a Brant. After Sept. 30, the daily limit for dark geese is five, only three of which can be Canada geese and only one of which can be a Brant. 
In simpler terms, hunters can harvest five dark geese per day in September, only one of which can be a Brant. All five dark geese harvested could be Canada geese. After Sept. 30, hunters still can harvest five dark geese per day; however, only three of those can be Canada geese, and only one can be a Brant. Three Canada geese can be harvested daily after Sept. 30, and the remainder of the aggregate daily bag limit can be filled with two white-fronted geese or a white-fronted goose and a brant. 

An aggregate bag limit is also in place for light geese, including snow, blue and Ross’s geese. Hunters may harvest 20 light geese per day during goose seasons. 
While at first it may sound confusing, the dark goose aggregate bag limit was put in place to provide more opportunity for goose hunters. While few other goose species besides Canada geese are harvested in Michigan, this regulatory change allows hunters to take these species if they have the good fortune of seeing them. The seasons for all goose species (dark and light) now completely overlap in every hunting zone, making it easier for hunters. 
Goose season runs Sept. 1-Dec. 16 in the North Zone. Middle Zone dates are Sept. 1-30 and Oct. 7-Dec. 22. In the South Zone, dates run Sept. 1-30, Oct. 14-Dec. 10, Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 27-Feb.12, 2018.
The areas of the former Saginaw and Tuscola County goose management units now have the same season dates as the South Zone. Designated goose management units in Allegan and Muskegon counties have different dates. Allegan County GMU season dates are Sept. 1-10 and Nov. 11-Feb. 15, 2018. Muskegon County GMU season dates are Oct. 17-Nov. 14 and Dec. 2-19.  
Goose hunting in Michigan helps to keep goose populations in check. Michigan regularly ranks in the top three states in the nation for Canada goose hunters and harvest. The plentiful geese provide excellent opportunities for goose hunters. 

The DNR encourages hunters, before they head into the field this year, to make time to review the season dates and new regulations. Waterfowl hunting regulations, dates and bag limits can be found in the 2017-2018 Michigan Waterfowl Hunting Digest. Digests are available at DNR Operation Service Centers, wildlife field offices and license agents or on the web at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.  

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State Agencies Call for Immediate Repair of Coating on Straits Pipeline

31AUG17-The Michigan Agency for Energy, Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources and the Michigan State Police expressed concerns today about new information confirming there are gaps in the protective coating on a portion of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, at least one of which was apparently caused during the installation of supportive pipe anchors.
In response to the findings, the state called for the immediate inspection of areas around every anchor on Line 5, a report to the DNR and DEQ of any findings from the inspections, a copy of the video of the recent work performed on the pipeline, and repair within 30 days of any damage to the pipeline’s coating.

“The possibility this loss of coating occurred during the anchor installation process and was not immediately addressed is completely unacceptable," said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director C. Heidi Grether. "As we continue to review the current permit application to install more anchor supports, I plan to ask Enbridge to provide additional information regarding previous installations, including at a minimum, any available video footage of the installation activities. I want a greater assurance that the integrity of all aspects meant to protect the Great Lakes is the company’s utmost priority.”
Michigan DNR Director Keith Creagh said, “This recent finding raises concerns about the actions Enbridge is taking to protect the waters of the Great Lakes. We need to ensure that all appropriate risk mitigation measures have been put in place by Enbridge. Until that happens, we, as a state, will not be satisfied.”
While there is no indication that the gaps create an immediate concern to the health and safety of the Straits, given that the exterior cathodic protection (CP) system is reportedly operational, the results point to larger issues.
“While the hydrostatic test results give us confidence that the pipeline is not in imminent danger from these gaps, the fact that human error, not a mussel, created them is something that raises real concern,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy.  “Human error was a major factor in Enbridge’s spill into the Kalamazoo River. These coating gaps point to other areas where human error, not the environment, are creating problems.”
“Enbridge should quickly repair the damaged pipeline covering to provide the extra protection,” said Capt. Chris Kelenske, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “It is imperative that the company do the right thing for the residents of Michigan and prove they can be good stewards in protecting the natural resources all Michiganians hold dear.”

Line 5 is a 645-mile pipeline built in 1953 and runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Canada. It transports up to 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids.

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Gov. Rick Snyder Visits DNR Conservation Officer Recruit School

Governor offers encouragement to class and observes training

31AUG17-Gov. Rick Snyder today visited the Michigan Department of Natural Resources 8th Conservation Officer Recruit School in Lansing, offering encouragement to the class and observing a training scenario.

Governor's DNR visit. copyTwenty-four recruits from across Michigan and out of state are in the seventh week of the 23-week academy. They were selected from more than 500 applicants. Snyder and DNR Director Keith Creagh offered words of motivation to the class, which faces several more weeks of rigorous academic and physical challenges before graduating in December.
“The job of a conservation officer is challenging, because they have a unique role within Michigan’s law enforcement community,” Snyder said. “Whether it’s protecting our natural resources or serving as first responders, conservation officers are vital to the safety of our residents and the well-being of our state.”
Michigan conservation officer candidates face some of the longest and most comprehensive law enforcement training in the nation. In addition to general law enforcement training, recruits must learn specialized skills and areas such as conservation law. Recruits who graduate from the academy still aren’t guaranteed the right to call themselves conservation officers. Graduates serve in a probationary capacity for one year, which includes additional specialized training. In all, it takes about 52 weeks before recruits officially make the grade.
To date, recruits have been trained in areas such as precision driving, self-defense tactics, communications, water safety, conservation law, computer use and report writing. During his visit, the governor observed recruits as they practiced evidence-gathering techniques.

Creagh said the governor’s support of the DNR and its conservation officers benefits Michigan’s natural resources. For example, the fiscal year 2018 state budget contains funding for additional conservation officers to conduct Great Lakes enforcement activities, which includes the battle against invasive species; and additional detectives to conduct special investigations.
“We’re fortunate to have a governor who is committed to the protection of our natural resources, and who appreciates the recreational and quality of life value they provide,” Creagh said. “In partnership with the governor, Legislature and our many stakeholders, the DNR is proud to continue its leadership in the professional management of Michigan’s natural resources for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.”
Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, expressed his gratitude for Gov. Snyder’s commitment to natural resources protection and for his visit to the academy. He also commended recruits for their success to date and offered his appreciation to academy instructors for going above and beyond their routine duties.
“The academy is staffed by conservation officers from every corner of the state,” Hagler said. “Despite the hardships of extended time away from their homes and families, these men and women volunteer to serve as instructors and help shape the next generation of conservation officers. That says a lot about their dedication to duty and each other.”

Follow the recruits’ journeys through the academy by subscribing to the weekly conservation officer academy blog, which also is posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page. View previous blogs from Recruit School #8.

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace officers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Michigan Environmental and Outdoor Education Celebrates 30 Years

Annual conference set for Oct. 6-8 in Mt. Pleasant

Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education logo31AUG17-The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education will celebrate 30 years this fall with its annual conference at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant October 6th through the 8th.
“The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has long been a sponsor and supporter of the organization and the conference,” said Kevin Frailey, DNR Education Services manager. “It is simply the best network in Michigan for anyone interested in this area of education.”
MAEOE President Ashlie Smith thinks this will be a conference to remember.
“We look forward to being in the geographical center of Michigan, which gives many formal and non-formal educators an opportunity to participate,” Smith said. “In addition, CMU is known for its outdoor education-related programs, some of the best in the state.”
Co-conference chair Cindy Fitzwilliams-Heck is excited about the conference agenda as well.
“The program is very diverse, with a combination of workshops, 45-minute breakout sessions and plenty of half-day field trips to choose from,” said Fitzwilliams-Heck. “These include everything from a tour of the Ziibiwing Center to learn about Michigan’s Native American heritage to a canoe/kayak trip down the Chippewa River.”

A snapshot of the conference and what it has to offer is available at www.maeoe.com. Registration is now open.
Although the conference officially begins Friday morning, Oct. 6, several preconference workshops will be offered Thursday morning, including environmental educator certification training and Red Cross courses.
Frailey, who will be conducting a DNR session with live sea lamprey Friday afternoon, thinks this conference is critical for educators, both formal and non-formal, to keep up with education and natural resources trends.
“Networking with other educators and experts in the field makes us all better at our jobs. Michigan has an incredibly rich tradition of being a national leader in both environmental and outdoor education,” Frailey said.
“Teachers, college students and anyone with an interest in our variety of sessions are welcome. This is a conference you don’t want to miss.”
The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a professional association supporting and advancing environmental and outdoor education statewide. Established through the merger of two previously existing professional organizations for environmental and outdoor educators, MAEOE was officially incorporated in 1987. 

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DNR Law Enforcement Division 2017 Report Available Online

Highlights include recreational safety, educational outreach initiatives

LED cover.reduced30AUG17-An annual report highlighting program accomplishments of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division is available at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
The 2017 Annual Programs Report is based on calendar year 2016 information. It illustrates the division’s successes in protecting Michigan’s natural resources and citizens and in educating outdoor enthusiasts on recreational safety.
The report includes a statewide map of Law Enforcement Division districts, a statistics table showing the number and types of interactions between conservation officers and the public, the number of students certified in hunter, boating, snowmobile and off-road vehicle safety, and a summary of each program area.
“We’re pleased to share this information and we hope it enhances the public’s understanding of our accomplishments, goals and mission,” said Gary Hagler, Law Enforcement Division chief. “It’s also a valuable tool for our team as we chart our progress in meeting the division’s objectives. Protecting our state’s natural resources is a shared responsibility and we’re proud of our partnership with the people of Michigan. We encourage all who are interested to browse the report and learn more about the Law Enforcement Division’s work.”
Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace officers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

/Note to editors: An image of the 2017 Annual Programs Report cover is available below for download.

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October Beyond BOW Outings Set for Backpacking and Steelhead Fishing

Craig Lake State Park in autumn.29AUG17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Program is offering separate Beyond BOW backpacking and steelhead fishing workshops for women.
Both workshop events are scheduled for October 27th - 29th. The backpacking outing will be at Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County and the steelhead clinic will be held at the famed Two-Hearted River in northern Luce County.
A registration deadline for the workshops is October 1st. Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow. Both workshops will be rain, shine or snow events.

Backpacking
The backpacking trip is open to 12 participants. Craig Lake State Park is the most remote of Michigan’s state parks and accessing it can be an adventure. The park contains six lakes and a variety of wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, black bear, beaver, common loons and moose.
Participants will hike about two miles, with full backpacks, to a wonderful 14-bed rustic cabin. The cabin is heated with a stone fireplace, and also has a woodstove with a cook top. This is a base-camping trip, which means participants will backpack to the rustic cabin, staying in the same location both nights.

This is will be a beginner workshop, no experience necessary.

The trip will start with a gear check/trip orientation at Van Riper State Park in Champion at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27. From there, participants will drive to the trailhead and head out backpacking. The road to the trailhead can be pretty rough, with slow travel.

The mouth of the Two-Hearted River in Luce County.“We hope to be in camp with plenty of time for dinner and an evening of relaxation,” said Sharon Pitz, DNR BOW coordinator. “Saturday will provide a variety of options such as a day hike, of up to 8 miles, fishing and more relaxation.”
Cost for this event is $135.

Steelhead fishing
The Two Hearted River steelhead fishing workshop will include overnight accommodations at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park lodge. This event is open to eight participants.
“This Beyond BOW fishing event is designed to introduce or further enhance your steelhead (lake run rainbow trout) fishing skills in a wild, remote river setting,” said Michelle Zellar, assistant DNR BOW program coordinator. “Beginners are welcome, but some sort of prior basic fishing experience is preferred. There are new skills to be learned, great fun to be had, all amongst the beautiful outdoors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
Class will start promptly at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park Headquarters conference room, which is located directly across M-123 from the lodge.

“We will cover history, identification, equipment set-up, regulations, casting practice and first-hand experience fishing for steelhead on the Two Hearted River with our passionate and experienced instructors,” Zellar said.
Saturday will be spent fishing along the river with lunch cooked over an open fire at the Two Hearted State Forest Campground. S’mores included.
Participants must be 18 or older. Those attending the workshop are responsible for their own Recreation Passport, which is required for entry into state parks and recreation areas. A Michigan fishing license is also required.
Cost for this workshop is $110.

For further information on either of the workshops, contact Michelle Zellar at 906-293-5131 ext. 4004, email zellarm@michigan.gov or Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561 or email at pitzs@michigan.gov.

For more information on Becoming and Outdoors-Woman, visit the DNR’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/bow

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Antlerless Deer License Application Results Now Available

29AUG17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that antlerless deer application results are available beginning today. Application results and leftover license availability can be found at mi.gov/deer
Any leftover antlerless deer licenses not issued in this drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Tuesday, September 5th, at 10 a.m. EDT until license quotas are met.
The 2017 antlerless deer license quotas for each DMU also can be found at mi.gov/deer. Please note, DMU 333 has unlimited antlerless licenses that may be purchased without application beginning September 5th at 10 a.m.

For additional information, the 2017 Michigan Antlerless Deer Digest is available online at mi.gov/dnrdigests.

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Three Osprey Chicks Now Sporting GPS Satellite Backpacks

DNR wildlife biologist Julie Oakes holds osprey chick with GPS backpack28AUG17-Michigan’s osprey population – nearly absent from much of the state due to the effects of DDT, other pesticide use and habitat loss – continues to rebound. In southern Michigan, monitoring efforts are in place to track the revitalization of this species. 
This year, four osprey chicks from area nests were outfitted with “backpack” GPS telemetry units funded by DTE Energy, Huron Valley Audubon, Lou Waldock and Michigan Osprey member Barb Jensen. The GPS backpacks help scientists track the young birds’ daily movements and seasonal migration patterns.
The chicks were hatched on platforms at Michigan State University’s Lux Arbor Reserve in Delton, at Kensington Metro Park in Milford and on Fletcher’s Pond near Alpena. 
“We are very excited to have this opportunity to place GPS units on several ospreys this year,” said Julie Oakes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. “This will not only provide the DNR with information on what migration routes the birds take, but will also give us insight into the perils they must endure on their migration.”
One of those perils is predators like great horned owls. Just a few days after the transmitter was placed on the Kensington Metro Park Osprey chick, the youngster became prey, probably for a great horned owl. The backpack was retrieved and will be used again next year.   

DNR wildlife biologist Ken Kesson climbs up to retrieve osprey chick from nest Approximately 60 percent of the osprey chicks hatched each year do not make it to their second birthday. Factors that commonly cause mortality in young chicks include predation, collisions with buildings and other structures, weather, and shooting of birds in Latin America. 
Fortunately, a chick that was outfitted with a backpack in 2014 returned to the Midwest in 2016. Ozzie, a young female chick that hatched at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, spent two winters in Colombia before returning to the U.S. and spent last summer in West Virginia. 
The exciting part is that anyone can follow along and find out where the birds have been just by looking at the Michigan Osprey website – www.michiganosprey.org. Move the cursor along the route to see GPS coordinates and time and date information for each leg of the osprey’s journey. The youngsters will begin their migration in early to mid-September, so log on to watch their travels. 
In 1998, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began to relocate ospreys to southern Michigan. The program, supported by donations to Michigan's Nongame Wildlife Fund, removed chicks from active nests in northern Michigan and reared them in man-made towers in southern Michigan, a process called “hacking.” Relocation efforts occurred over a span of 10 years. In 2016, the DNR, along with volunteers from Michigan Osprey, identified at least 60 active nests in southern Michigan – a substantial increase from the single active nest reported in 2002.

"This is a true wildlife success story," said Oakes.  "Each year we have new nests, and we have already exceeded our original goal of 30 active nests by 2020. We have been able to remove ospreys from the threatened species list to a species of special concern and restore their numbers in Michigan."
Partners in this tracking and monitoring project include the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center, Huron Clinton Metroparks, the Detroit Zoological Society, Michigan Osprey and the Huron Valley Audubon Society. 

Anyone who observes a nesting pair of osprey in southern Michigan is asked to report the sighting to Michigan Osprey online at www.michiganosprey.org

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Government, nonprofits & Corporations Collaborate to Fight Oak Wilt

28AUG17-The Oak Wilt Coalition is a new partnership between private, nonprofit and governmental organizations to help increase awareness about the serious threat of oak wilt disease in Michigan.
Led by the Arboriculture Society of Michigan, the partnership also includes representatives from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan State University, ReLeaf Michigan, and various electric utility companies and tree-care companies.
Oak wilt is a fungal disease that is spreading among trees in Michigan and many other states. It has been confirmed in much of the Lower Peninsula and in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula, as shown in this 2016 oak wilt map.

This disease is lethal to many oak species, including red oaks, pin oaks and black oaks. It can be transmitted by insects moving to fresh wounds on trees, including those caused by pruning. The fungus also can spread through root systems, causing death of nearby oak trees.
"Oak wilt initially causes wilting of leaves, ultimately killing otherwise healthy trees within a matter of weeks," said DNR forest health specialist Roger Mech. "The effects can be dramatic and costly when mature trees die and are removed, especially in highly maintained landscapes, parks and recreation areas." Mech said that prevention and management are possible with disease awareness, proper identification and timely response.
The coalition’s goal is to coordinate and promote a unified information campaign describing oak wilt, its threat and impact in Michigan, and to provide science-based advice aimed at prevention and management. Information will be developed and housed online at www.michiganoakwilt.org and is for everyone from homeowners and landowners to foresters and tree-care professionals.
By coming together and creating a coordinated message about this tree and forest health issue, the Oak Wilt Coalition believes that Michigan’s citizens and the professional tree-care industry will be better informed to make proper management decisions helping to prevent the spread of this disease and ensuring the health of oak trees in Michigan.  
Current research at MSU aims to understand oak wilt specifically in Michigan and lend scientific data to guide oak wilt management decisions. To find out more, visit: www.michiganoakwilt.org.

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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.

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