all those who love to ride the trails and know how to do it safely – you
could be the right fit for the Department of Natural Resources off-road
vehicle safety education program. The DNR is recruiting instructors for
this volunteer opportunity that lets ORV enthusiasts share their love and
knowledge of the sport with new riders, while emphasizing safe,
responsible ORV operation for a great experience.
All volunteer ORV instructors must attend a three-day training academy:
Dates: Friday, June 7 through
Sunday, June 9 (attendees must attend all three days)
Location: Upper Peninsula
State Fairgrounds, 2401 12th Ave. North, Escanaba
Cost: Academy, lodging and
meals will be provided if candidates use the DNR-provided
Volunteer ORV instructors must:
Have a love for riding trails and know how to
do it safely.
Be at least 18 years old.
Be a high school graduate or have a GED.
Have no felony convictions.
Have no misdemeanor convictions within the past
Have no convictions that resulted in the
revocation of ORV-operation privileges within the last five years.
(Other convictions of natural resource law violations are subject to
review and may result in the rejection of an application).
Maintain a high moral, ethical and mental
Those interested should download and complete a recreation
education training instructor application and
fax the completed application to 517-373-6816 or mail it to:
Law Enforcement Division – Recreation Education Program
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 30031
Lansing, MI 48909
Application deadline is Friday, May 31.
For more information about volunteering as a
recreational safety instructor, go to the volunteer
recreational safety instructor page.
Another Year, Another Bigmouth Buffalo
State Record Broken
this month, Tyler Fisher of St. Charles, Michigan, caught a
record-breaking bigmouth buffalo, unseating the previous state-record fish
that was caught in 2017.
Fisher caught his fish – weighing in at 32.01 pounds and measuring 38
inches – while bow fishing in the Shiawassee River in Saginaw County.
Kathrin Schrouder, a DNR fisheries biologist out of Bay City, verified the
Roy Beasley of Madison Heights, Michigan, held the previous bigmouth
buffalo state record, a 27-pound, 35.25-inch fish he caught while bow
fishing on Monroe County’s River Raisin in May 2017.
Over the last 10 years, anglers have caught 14 state-record fish in
Michigan – a tribute to the growth and health of the state’s world-class
fisheries and the long-term management efforts that help sustain them.
According to a
recent MUCC study, an estimated 1.1 million
licensed anglers a year contribute $2.3 billion to Michigan’s economy.
Plentiful opportunities to fish a variety of species continue to draw both
new anglers and accomplished veterans to Michigan waters.
State-record fish are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state
record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight, and
identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.
The DNR reminds anglers who bow fish to properly
dispose of all specimens they harvest. See the current roster of
record-setting fish at
Reel in a Marked or Tagged Fish? Let Us Know
you fish the Great Lakes and catch a marked and tagged fish, the DNR wants
to know. Since the 1980s, the DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to
mass mark various trout and salmon species in Michigan. Mass marking
provides critical data as fisheries biologists assess the value of
naturally reproduced versus stocked fish, as well as lake-wide fish
The program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is
invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish with a
coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small,
fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed.
Anglers who catch these tagged fish can then
record needed information (like where and when the fish was caught,
details from the tag, and the species, length and weight of the fish),
remove and freeze the fish’s snout and drop it off at designated
A statewide list of drop-off locations is available on the DNR website.
The DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and other state agencies, places coded-wire tags in the snout and
removes the adipose fin from lake trout, rainbow trout (steelhead) and
chinook and Atlantic salmon stocked in lakes Huron and Michigan.
Learn more about the DNR’s mass marking efforts
John Clevenger, 231-547-2914 or
Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.
Creel Clerks to Collect Angler Information
this year’s open-water fishing season gets underway, anglers at many
lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports may encounter DNR fisheries staff
collecting data about their fishing experiences.
DNR creel clerks are stationed at boat launches and piers around the
state asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips.
Information will be requested on trip length, target species and number
and type of fish caught. In some cases, the clerks may ask to measure or
weigh fish and to take scales or other body parts for aging – data that is
key to helping the DNR manage state fisheries.
“The information we gather from anglers helps us get a clearer picture
about fish health, movement and population trends throughout Michigan,”
said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Claramunt. “We really appreciate
anglers taking a few minutes to talk with us.”
These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a
long-term monitoring program that estimates the amount of time people
spend fishing and how many of each species of fish are caught and kept or
released in Michigan waters. This is one of the most comprehensive angler
survey programs in the country, with DNR creel clerks interviewing upward
of 50,000 anglers in most years.
Information about where creel clerks are stationed and the data they
collect is available on the DNR website or by
Tracy Claramunt, 517-282-2887 or
Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.
New Stamp & Go Guide a Fun Way to Log State
Park, Hatchery Visits
by this year’s state parks centennial celebration, the DNR has released an
all-new Stamp & Go Guide to help visitors log and plan their visits to
state parks and hatcheries all over Michigan.
The guide features photos and descriptions of each state park and fish
hatchery, maps, kid-friendly activities and more.
Visitors can get their guides stamped at more than 100 locations. Stop by
campground offices or check with local facility staff to find out where
guides are being stamped.
You can pick up a guide at most Michigan state parks and recreation areas
or at the Oden and Wolf Lake state fish hatchery visitor centers for just
$5. Guides purchased during 2019 (the state parks centennial year) will
include a special gold commemorative sticker.
Looking for ideas on where to start? Check out
Places to Go on the DNR website
Michigan.gov/DNR and explore your options for
state parks, state fish hatcheries and other great destinations. For more
state parks centennial information – including special events, podcasts,
historical stories, videos, a geocaching tour and more – visit
Ami Van Antwerp, 517-927-5059 or
Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.
Keep Fire Safety in Mind During Summer
Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of summer fun in
Michigan, complete with campfires, cookouts, fireworks and other outdoor
But spring and summer also are key times for wildfires in Michigan, and
most of these are started accidentally by people. So far in 2019, the DNR
has fought more than 140 wildfires on nearly 800 acres around the state.
“Just a little bit of precaution and planning can reduce the risk of fires
and keep outdoor activities fun and safe,” said Paul Rogers, a DNR fire
prevention specialist. “Michigan’s late spring this year means that some
trees and plants are still in a dry winter state, and more likely to burn
when hit by a stray spark or ember.”
DNR’s new fire safety page, available in the
Safety Information section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/DNREducation
webpage, offers tips on:
Campfire safety. Always douse your fire
thoroughly with water before leaving it.
Debris burning. You need to get a permit to
burn debris at
Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or by phone at
866-922-2876 if you live in the northern Lower Peninsula or the Upper
Peninsula. People in other locations should check with local
municipalities. Keep your fire at least 10 feet away from logs, stumps
or other debris and make sure no branches are hanging overhead.
Firewise landscaping. This type of landscaping
protects your home or cabin by minimizing the number of shrubs, leaves
and trees that are close to the house. You can learn more about Firewise
landscaping from the
National Fire Protection Association.
Paul Rogers, 616-260-8406.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer Helps DNR Cut Ribbon on Michigan State Parks’
Next 100 Years
Governor announces Michigan’s new Office of
Outdoor Recreation Industry
the Michigan state parks centennial celebration ramping up and the
Memorial Day holiday weekend – the unofficial kickoff to Michigan’s
camping season – just around the corner, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today
joined the DNR at Grand Haven State Park to highlight a century of parks
growth and ceremonially “cut the ribbon” on strategic investments and
infrastructure improvements geared to provide the best visitor experiences
for the next 100 years.
Gov. Whitmer, DNR Director Dan Eichinger and DNR Parks and Recreation
Chief Ron Olson gathered with Grand Haven State Park staff and supporters
near the park’s beach house area to share their thoughts on the state
parks system’s remarkable history, the scope of the centennial celebration
and a look at future development.
“It’s so great to be able to celebrate a century of Michigan’s
award-winning state parks,” said Whitmer. “This is what Pure Michigan is
all about, opening up our great outdoor spaces so people from all over the
world can enjoy our Great Lakes, inland lakes, forests, and trails. I’m
excited to cut the ribbon on the next century of outdoor recreation here
in Michigan, and I’m proud to partner with the DNR to continue preserving
our state parks.”
Introducing the Office of Outdoor Recreation
Building on that commitment to better, broader recreation opportunities
for more Michigan residents and visitors, Whitmer took the opportunity to
announce the new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, which will be
housed within the DNR under a partnership with the Michigan Economic
The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will work in partnership with
MEDC and the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council to expand Michigan’s
strong outdoor recreation economy and build greater awareness about the
importance and value of the businesses, both large and small, that make up
“Our state parks serve as both outdoor recreation destinations and as a
key driver of Michigan’s tourism industry,” Whitmer said. “I think it is
fitting to announce this new office at an event that celebrates the
incredible history, evolution and contributions of Michigan’s state parks
Outdoor recreation generates more than $26
billion a year in consumer spending, 232,000 direct jobs, $7.5 billion in
wages and salaries, and $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue. The
Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will work to find more opportunities
for collaboration around that economic strength in order to elevate
outdoor recreation activities and opportunities across the state. Learn
more about the office at
Showcasing infrastructure investment, greater
accessibility in state parks
Just prior to the event’s start, Gov. Whitmer and
Director Eichinger spent time talking with and passing out s’mores kits to
dozens of youth from the Pursuing a Dream Foundation who, earlier in the
day, had enjoyed a
Get Hooked fishing program at the park. Some
of those children helped the governor with the ribbon-cutting. The
foundation is a unique West Michigan organization that empowers children,
teens and adults with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors in a setting that
breaks down barriers.
Eichinger said Grand Haven’s accessibility enhancements are just one
example of the state park’s commitment to visitor-focused investment that
helps deliver a Pure Michigan outdoor experience to every visitor.
“With more than $6 million invested in accessible playground enhancements,
new LEED-compliant campground restroom and shower facilities, a complete
replacement of the channel restroom building, a renovated park entrance
and the completion of beach parking resurfacing that has increased parking
capacity by more than 100 additional spaces, Grand Haven is a testament to
the future of Michigan state parks.”
During this centennial year, Eichinger said the DNR is planning for more
than $18 million in infrastructure investments that will target several
areas, including electrical upgrades, sewer and drain field replacement,
trail maintenance and the addition of full hook-up campsites.
Chief Olson, who has led DNR Parks and Recreation since 2005, reflected on
the progress and opportunities the state parks system has enjoyed since
that inaugural year.
“Digging into the history of our state parks – how they came to be, how
visitor numbers have soared – really drives home that the actions we take
today will have a true and lasting impact on the state parks of tomorrow,”
Olson said. “That’s true for us as the overseers of state parks, as well
as for the millions of visitors who enjoy our parks year after year. We
truly appreciate our campers’ and day-use visitors’ commitment to taking
care of state parks.”
Olson also cited the support of state park friends’ groups, legislators,
statewide parks and trails organizations, and the many other volunteer
organizations that help with everything from trail grooming and recreation
programming to conservation work and serving as campground hosts.
“Michigan state parks mean a great deal to a great many people,” he said.
“Michigan state parks are where our favorite friends-and-family moments
happen, where people connect with the outdoors, and where anyone can work
on restoring their physical and spiritual health. I can’t wait to see
what’s in store for the next hundred years.”
In addition to the aforementioned infrastructure investments, Olson said
that during the state parks centennial year, he and his staff will focus
Ensuring that accessibility is an integral part
of all new or updated facilities in state parks, from beach access and
campsites to boat launches and piers.
Continuing the department’s commitment to
natural resources protection, including the volunteer park stewardship
program that last year contributed 88,000 volunteer work hours on
important projects including native seed collection and invasive species
Completing restoration projects – including
roof replacement, engineering studies and remediation efforts – on some
of the more than 800 archaeological sites and nearly 400 historical
structures under the protection of the state parks system.
Get the latest information about this year’s
state parks centennial celebration – including special events and
programs, merchandise and keepsakes, celebratory videos and volunteer and
donation opportunities – at
Michigan.gov/StateParks100. Anyone sharing
their centennial stories and posts is encouraged to keep the conversation
going with the hashtag #MiStateParks100.
Visitors invited to share their
memories of the northern Michigan destination, plus ideas and support for
20MAY19-From 1929 to 1995, visitors to
Hartwick Pines State Park entered through a
large, two-story “log cabin” located just steps from M-93. Called the
“Memorial Building” to honor Grayling native and lumberman Edward Hartwick,
who died in World War I, it provided a grand introduction to the park’s
pristine natural landscape. Generations of visitors marveled at the large
stone fireplace, climbed stairs to see exhibits on the mezzanine and took
in views of the park’s old growth forest from its wide porch.
Now, after a 24-year closure, visitors will get
their first glimpse of initial changes at the landmark building as it
reopens to the public Memorial Day weekend for guided tours following a
partnership repair and cleaning effort by the
Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division,
Michigan History Center and
Friends of Hartwick Pines.
the years, visitors have shared so many stories about how they remember
walking through the building with their parents and grandparents. Having
the Memorial Building open to the public once again means families can
revisit old memories and create new ones,” said Craig Kasmer, park
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 24, Saturday,
May 25 and Sunday, May 26, guests to the park can tour the building with a
guide who will provide information on the history of the park and
building. To join a tour, visitors must enter through the park’s main
entrance (please do not park on M-93.) A
Recreation Passport is required for vehicle
The Memorial Building will be open for tours throughout the summer,
depending on staff and volunteer availability. Call the Visitor Center at
989-348-2537 for the current tour schedule.
reopening of the building coincides with another big Michigan milestone:
100-year anniversary of Michigan state parks.
“We wanted to reopen the building this year, because 2019 is the state
parks’ centennial year,” said Denise Dawson, park supervisor. “It was
important for us to commemorate this important anniversary by sharing
Hartwick Pines' unique history.”
Hartwick Pines became Michigan’s eighth state park in 1927, when Karen
Hartwick purchased more than 8,000 acres of land, including 85 acres of
old-growth white pine, just northeast of Grayling. The next day, she
donated the land to the State of Michigan for a memorial park to be named
for her husband, the late Major Edward E. Hartwick. Edward Hartwick, a
Grayling native, successful lumberman and officer in the U.S. Army, died
of cerebrospinal meningitis in 1918 while serving in France during World
Hartwick included the construction of the Memorial Building in the deed
agreement with the State of Michigan. It was built in 1929 from red pine
logs that were cut nearby.
In 1934 and 1935, a Civilian Conservation Corps work crew located
within the park made improvements to the interior of the Memorial Building
and built two log structures to house a logging museum.
As part of the state parks centennial
celebration, the public is invited and encouraged to share their memories
of the Memorial Building and park all year long. Visitors can share their
memories of the historic structure while touring the building, or post
them on the state parks centennial memory map at
the building has been maintained and monitored over the last two decades,
its age and composition have created preservation challenges. A 2016
inspection revealed a powder-post beetle infestation in the building’s
wooden structure and interior. While still structurally sound, the
building’s walls and exhibit cases were being damaged by the wood-eating
insects. In 2017, the DNR completed a successful fumigation that
eliminated the infestation and ended the destruction.
“The inside of the building had been untouched since 1995,” said park
historian Hillary Pine. “All the exhibits were still inside. It was almost
like a time capsule. Unfortunately, they were in bad shape from the insect
damage and needed to be removed. But now we have an opportunity to create
something new in this impressive space.”
The freshly cleaned building now offers a blank slate for future use.
Renovations and improvements are still needed, such as upgrading
electrical and plumbing systems, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act
guidelines and replacing porch beams that have rotted after 90 years of
exposure to the elements.
also want to put new exhibits and attractions into the building that share
the history of the forest, of Karen and Edward Hartwick and of the
generations of families who have enjoyed the park,” said Kasmer. “We need
help not only with ideas, but also in donations.”
There are two easy ways to give. Visit Hartwick Pines State Park and
donate at the Memorial Building or text “Memorial” to 80888 to receive a
link to a dedicated donation site.
For more information about renovations, exhibits,
and tour and support opportunities at Hartwick Pines State Park and the
Memorial Building, contact historian Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537 or
Applications Accepted by June 7th for NRC Youth
people with a passion for protecting and improving Michigan’s natural
areas, meeting new friends, gaining leadership experience and having fun
outdoors are encouraged to apply for a spot on the Michigan Natural
Youth Conservation Council.
The Department of Natural Resources is accepting
applications from youth ages 14 to 18, and
all applications must be postmarked or emailed by June 7th.
Council members will explore Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities,
work as a team to develop ideas to get other youth outside and discuss
solutions to natural resource challenges – all under the guidance of the
“The council is a great opportunity for young people to discuss and share
their unique perspective on all aspects of Michigan's outdoors,” said Ray
Rustem, Youth Conservation Council advisor. “These youth get to make new
friends that have similar interests, too. Several of our first members
tell me they still maintain social media connections with members they met
on the council. It is these associations that will grow and be a base for
continuing our state’s remarkable outdoor tradition.”
A council appointment lasts two years, and members will be expected to
participate in two to three meetings each year. During the meetings,
members participate in discussions, conduct research and brainstorm ideas
about ways to protect, promote and enhance outdoor recreation and the use
of Michigan's natural resources. During their time on the council, members
will meet with local department personnel to enhance their learning
In addition, members will be expected to:
Attend a Natural Resources Commission meeting.
Write and submit three articles on outdoor
activities for the Youth Conservation Council blog.
Help develop and participate in local events to
encourage kids to get outdoors.
council is continuing to explore how to use social media to engage youth,
and already has developed a
Facebook page, established
a youth blog and an
Instagram account (#yccoutdoors) to share
their favorite outdoor experiences.
“If spending time working with other young people who care about
Michigan’s woods and water and the future of natural resources sounds like
your kind of thing, please apply today,” Rustem said. “One of the best
things about the Youth Conservation Council is the new faces and new ideas
that join the conversation every year. These young people are helping
shape the future of our outdoor landscape.”
Applications are available on the DNR
website, along with frequently asked questions that offer more detail
about the Youth Conservation Council.
Applications can be emailed to
email@example.com. Physical applications
must be postmarked by June 7 and can be mailed to:
NRC Youth Conservation Council
ATTN: Raymond Rustem
P.O. Box 30028 Lansing, MI 48909
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. The Youth Conservation Council is an important part of
reaching these goals. For more information, go to
Governor Whitmer Approves $26 Million in Outdoor Recreation Development
and Acquisition Grants
Gretchen Whitmer today signed legislation creating more opportunities for
quality outdoor recreation by authorizing $26 million in Michigan Natural
Resources Trust Fund grants.
“Creating more avenues for people to connect with Michigan’s beautiful
outdoor spaces encompasses what Pure Michigan means. Investing in
Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces can help economic growth while
providing a physical and mental health boost to Michiganders,” said Gov.
Whitmer. “Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund support is critical to
opening up more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.”
House Bill 4244, sponsored by Rep. Phil Green, approves funding for 64
recreation development projects and land purchases recommended by the
board. It is now Public Act 12 of 2019.
The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies
for development projects and land acquisitions that will increase the
quality and quantity of public outdoor recreation opportunities. This
round of grant funding reflects continued support of:
Trail systems, specifically those – like the
Iron Belle Trail – with broad regional and statewide impact.
Acquisitions of high-quality, unique natural
resources including scenic river frontage, geologic features, wildlife
habitat and Great Lake access.
An extensive range of development projects that
expand opportunities across Michigan for camping, fishing, biking,
hiking and snowmobiling.
This year the board recommended $18.6 million in acquisition grants and
nearly $7.4 million in recreation development grants. Of the $18.6 million
recommended to fund acquisition projects, $12 million would be awarded to
local units of government, while the remaining $6.6 million would be
awarded to the Department of Natural Resources to support diverse projects
The acquisition of an improved riverfront trail
way along the Detroit River in Wayne County. This critical expansion –
the West Riverfront Park Trail Connection – will link the east and west
portions of the riverfront into the future Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
Centennial Park. This collaborative project includes funding from the
Department of Transportation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.
A new Tahquamenon River access site, providing
even more water-based recreation opportunities at this popular eastern
Upper Peninsula destination.
In the northern Lower Peninsula’s Presque Isle
County, the acquisition of roughly 80 acres of primarily upland aspen
forest, 1,680 feet of Little Ocqueoc River corridor, 12 acres of
wetlands and excellent winter deeryard and habitat for a variety of
wildlife. The property, which will be part of the state forest system,
will consolidate state land management in this area, will be managed for
timber and wildlife and fisheries habitat, and will offer prime natural
resources-based recreation opportunities including hunting, fishing,
trapping, hiking, camping, snowmobiling and wildlife watching.
Of the $7.4 million recommended to fund development grants, $6.8
million would support 30 local government projects and $540,000 would
support four DNR projects.
Collectively, the $26 million of Trust Fund grants is matched with nearly
$16 million of additional funding for a total of $41.9 million being
invested in land acquisition and development projects across the state.
“I am proud that this legislation authorizing Trust Fund grants enjoyed
such strong, bipartisan support throughout the Legislature,” said DNR
Director Dan Eichinger. “This action sends the message that Michigan
places a high value on quality, outdoor recreation opportunities, and that
we’re committed to protecting our beautiful, natural spaces for everyone’s
use and enjoyment.”
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was
established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of land for
resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor
recreation development projects. It is funded through interest earned on
funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals, primarily
oil and gas, and can only be used for public outdoor recreation. Over the
past 40 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to local
units of government and the DNR to develop and improve public outdoor
recreation opportunities in Michigan.
The Trust Fund board's recommendations go to the Michigan Legislature for
review as part of the appropriation process. The Legislature then forwards
a bill to the governor for her approval.
Descriptions of the
development projects and
acquisition projects approved by Gov. Whitmer
are available at
Conservation Officers Offer Important ORV
and reckless driving are the primary contributing factors for off-road
vehicle accidents, with 24 percent of all ORV accidents reported in 2017
resulting from people driving too fast, and 16 percent of riders not
wearing a helmet.
Michigan DNR conservation officers are seeing more ORVs hitting the trail
earlier in the season. They're also seeing more accidents, which easily
could be avoided by keeping safety in mind.
Most ORV accidents can be avoided by riding at a safe speed, riding sober,
riding on the right side of the trail, easing up around corners, being
familiar with the terrain and riding within the ORV’s limits.
“There may be designated ORV speed limits on public roadways approved for
ORVs,” said Conservation Officer Ben Shively, who patrols Oceana County.
“And while there are no posted speeds on trails, riders can receive a
citation for excessive speed or reckless riding.”
It’s also important to wear a helmet and to remember that there are many
ORVs on the trails, including a growing number of side-by-side vehicles.
“We want to remind riders to take corners easy and ride on the right
side of the trail,” said Conservation Officer Josiah Killingbeck, who
patrols Lake County. “Side-by-sides are wider than dirt bikes and quads,
taking up more room on the trails. You never know what’s around the
Conservation officers are seeing a big increase in ORV users drinking and
driving, according to Killingbeck.
“ORV riding is a great sport,” he said. “Families and youth are enjoying
it – please be responsible and ride sober so everyone can continue to
enjoy this sport.”
To learn more about ORV safety and rules or
to view an interactive, printable map of state roads available for ORV
use, go to
For more information, contact
Cpl. John Morey, 989-732-3541.
You Found a Fawn on its Own; Now What?
happens every spring. You're outside walking, enjoying the fresh air,
blooming flowers and budding trees, when you spot it – a tawny, wide-eyed
fawn, curled up in the grass. What should you do? Nothing.
In case you missed it, the DNR recently shared some information about
this very scenario, including some facts about how deer care for and place
their babies in seemingly "abandoned" areas:
A thicket, a patch of tall grass and a quiet spot in your back yard
– all places that fawns have been found. For the first few weeks of a
white-tailed deer fawn’s life, its mother will hide it in secluded
locations. This behavior helps reduce the potential of predators finding
While fawns may seem abandoned, they rarely
are. All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way.
Read the full story here.
Oden Hatchery Readies for 10,000 Arctic
plan to reintroduce Arctic grayling to state waters is taking a big leap
forward, courtesy of some generous donors and partners.
Plans are under way to install an ultraviolet water disinfection system
at the DNR’s Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County. The system, which
should be in place by mid-August, is critical for both cultivating Arctic
grayling and other fish broodstock – mature fish used for breeding – and
ensuring that waters receiving those fish are protected from potential
pathogens (things that can cause disease).
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support to bring this upgrade to
Oden State Fish Hatchery, where protecting water quality is key to
sustaining healthy fisheries across the state,” said Ed Eisch, manager of
the DNR Fish Production Program.
The state of Alaska is providing Michigan with three “year classes” of
wild Arctic grayling eggs. A year class is a group of fish of the same
species and strain that hatched in the same year. Michigan’s first year
class of eggs was collected a week ago at the Ruth Barnett Sport Fish
Hatchery in Fairbanks, Alaska, with fish caught out of the Chena River.
The eggs were collected by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with
assistance from Michigan DNR staff. Michigan State University PhD
candidate Nicole Watson will be bringing back enough eggs – roughly 10,000
– to run her second year of experiments and produce the state’s first year
class of broodstock.
eggs initially will be reared in isolation at the Oden hatchery. Once
cleared by fish health testing, they’ll be transferred to Marquette State
Fish Hatchery. During broodstock development, scientific evaluations will
continue on the Manistee River and begin on the Jordan, Maple and Boardman
rivers to determine suitability for reintroduction.
More than $350,000 was raised to upgrade Oden’s isolated rearing
facility, including engineering and construction costs. Major gifts were
granted by Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Little River Band
of Ottawa Indians, Trout Unlimited, the DNR, Rosso Family Foundation,
Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Oleson Foundation,
Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed
and supporters of the Little Traverse Conservancy.
Learn more about the initiative at
Ed Eisch, 231-922-6055 or
Archie Martell (Little River Band of Ottawa
A Photography Moment, Outside the Door, at the Side Of The Road
By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing,” – Pete Seeger
through the bucolic countryside on some forgotten copper-claim byway, I
glanced over my shoulder as I crested a small hill.
When I saw what I saw I pulled the car into the crunching gravel at the
side of the road. I turned around and headed back, parking on the
Just beyond a shallow ditch was a house set back off the road. There was
an old, leafless apple tree to the side of the front yard. The gnarled,
gray fingers and upturned arms of this old matriarch reached wide to
protect a sublime treasure lying beneath.
Around the sides of a big, knobby tractor tire were dozens and dozens of
blooming crocuses, white, purple and even a handful colored yellow, bright
and bold like buttercups. I had never seen so many crocuses in one place –
it was like a sea of purple and white, moving slowly with bursts of wind
that blew across the brown grass of the yard.
I wanted to take some close-up photographs of this wonderful spray of
heaven. I turned to approach the house to knock on the door to ask
permission. When I did, I stood shocked to see that not only was no one at
home, but the house was dark, broken and abandoned.
house was a green, metal, put-together kind of structure with white pines
standing tall in a row behind. An old car was left in the back. Some
animal had chewed through the screens that covered the doors.
The concrete foundation had big holes in it. The roof line was busted
uneven, and the steps were gone from under a sliding glass door that sat
about midway down the length of the house. No sidewalk, pathway or trail
through the grass was discernable.
All kinds of questions were swirling around in my head, basically
amounting to, “What happened here?”
By the look of things, this house had once indeed been a home. There had
been someone here to drive the old car, to likely walk out to the mailbox
on a warm summer’s day and sit underneath the pines on a cool autumn
And there was someone here who obviously admired the simple and profound
magic produced by mixing sunlight, rich earth, a little bit of rain and a
few flowering plants. I wondered whether this unknown gardener was here
long enough to witness for themselves the exquisite crocus garden beneath
the twisted branches of the apple tree.
someone die, lose a job, divorce, go to jail or endure some other
hardship? I saw no toys or swings or other signs of children around the
place. I was reminded of something Bob Dylan wrote: “I see the screws
breaking loose, I see the devil pounding on tin, I see a house in the
country being torn apart from within.”
Did these people maybe just leave to be gone for good? Gone from the
hardscrabble living a lot more than a few people find within these remnant
locations – scatterings of bleak houses, situated between rusted railroad
tracks, broken-down, left-behind schools, country stores and the cracked
pavement off blacktopped county roads that inevitably lead to nowhere
There was no way to know, at least not from where I was standing.
John Fogerty wrote, “Looking out across this town, kinda makes me wonder
how all the things that made us great got left so far behind. This used to
be a peaceful place, decent folks, hard-working ways.”
That spring day, I was like most people, I suspect.
I was on my way to another thing, in another place, with my watch
running slow amid the relentless crush of demands of this world, and its
nagging “Where-are-you?” technology, tugging at the corner of my jacket.
It felt like someone had a hold of my arm, leading me away from this
lonesome and quiet place where I could have sat all afternoon, just
I left, I did take several photos of the dazzling spring crocuses.
I wanted to bring with me a little bit of that garden out from under the
shadows of that apple tree and whatever happened to those folks in the
I wanted to shine for these people a little bit of the light they’d left
behind in their presumed misfortune – that magnificent blanket of flowers.
And so, I share this story and photos to try to spread around the beauty
left outside the door, at the side of the road.
Of course, I could have this whole thing wrong.
Maybe the people who once lived here found a big payday somehow – a la
“Kinfolk said, ‘Jed, move away from there.’” I want to hope that’s what
happened – “swimming pools, movie stars” – however unlikely.
At the very least, I hope they made out alright someplace else, in
another state, country or atmosphere.
Maybe right now, there’s a lady on her knees in the green, spring grass,
with a garden spade, digging a hole in the ground.
In the distance, there’s an old man approaching. He’s taking a good long
time to get there because he’s trying to roll a big, knobby truck tire in
a straight line. He’s going to roll that wheel until it falls over on its
side next to the lady, under the shade of an aging apple tree.
In the skies above, swallows tip and turn, the breezes are warm and light.
Back up on their new porch, with the green-metal roof, the couple will
later sit and sip something sweet while the sun falls behind the pines.
Cool air descends, bringing down the purple night.
Those tough times they might have had trying to make a life living in the
Michigan north woods exist now only in their dreams and memories, a long
time gone. Maybe there’s a picture of their Michigan crocus garden hanging
on their wall.
Meanwhile, that old house, with the torn screens and sagging frame, sits
alongside the road with the howling elements of nature pounding a little
harder on the roof and walls each year – sensing weakness in the
structure, the inevitable decay and demise.
But under that tree remains, a delight for the eyes and the soul – a
promise of renewal, regeneration and revival – the purple and white
crocuses, with a few dashes of yellow sprinkled in.
No more than a few inches tall, they have the unlikely power to stop a
passing car whirring along the roadside, to make a man get out with a
camera to wonder and to think.
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR
stories in our archive at
Michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing
articles, sign up for free email delivery at
During the DNR's new
Wetland Wonders Challenge (now through July
14), visitors are invited to visit one of Michigan's Wetland Wonders, snap
a photo by the official challenge sign and then submit it for a chance to
win a gift card. Scattered across the state, these areas provide great
year-round recreation opportunities like birding, boating, fishing, hiking
and hunting, not to mention capturing great photos.
Eight Projects to Share $1.25 Million in
DNR's Aquatic Habitat Grants
and other aquatic species need healthy habitats in order to grow,
reproduce and support Michigan’s valuable fisheries, but degraded habitat
threatens their populations throughout the state. Through its Aquatic
Habitat Grants Program – which annually provides $1.25 million to fund
habitat conservation projects around the state – the Department of Natural
Resources supports the efforts of its partners to protect and restore fish
populations and habitat.
Nonprofit organizations, local governments and state government
agencies this year submitted a total of 24 pre-proposals requesting $4.66
million in grant funding. The DNR reviewed these requests and will fund
eight projects through the program.
“These projects are critical to protecting and restoring the aquatic
habitats that produce our world-class fisheries and support healthy
aquatic ecosystems throughout the state,” said Jim Dexter, chief of the
DNR Fisheries Division.
Applicants receiving Aquatic Habitat Grant funding this year include:
Conservation Resource Alliance, $210,000 to
remove two undersized culverts to allow fish passage on the Pere
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, $37,185 to
restore approximately 200 feet of degraded shoreline on Lake Charlevoix
(Charlevoix County) using bioengineering techniques that will serve as a
demonstration for the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership’s
contractor training program and an example of shoreline bioengineering
in an area with high wave energy.
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, $93,238 to
replace a road/stream crossing on the Crooked River (Emmet County) with
a channel-spanning bridge allowing fish and aquatic organisms to migrate
from Pickerel Lake into the Crooked River watershed.
Huron Pines, $50,000 to remove an obsolete and
partially failed dam on the Middle Branch of the Cedar River (Clare
Trout Unlimited, $180,000 to improve
road/stream crossings on Big Devil, Boswell and Peterson creeks
(Kalkaska, Manistee and Wexford counties) that served as barriers to
fish and aquatic species in the Manistee River watershed.
Golden Lotus, Inc., $91,115 to implement Phase
III of its project to rehabilitate the Pigeon River at the site of the
former Song of the Morning dam (Otsego County). This dam was removed in
2016, and the current project will mitigate erosion occurring within the
former impoundment and rehabilitate the stream into a more natural
Columbus Township, $449,750 to rehabilitate
over 2,000 feet of the Belle River (St. Clair County) for native mussels
and anadromous fish (those that are born in fresh water, spend most of
their life in the sea and return to fresh water to spawn).
The Marquette County Conservation District,
$138,712 to replace a culvert on Norwald Creek and restore 650 feet of
The Aquatic Habitat Grant Program is funded by revenues from fishing
and hunting license fees. This funding will be available in the next cycle
through the new Fisheries Habitat Grant. The DNR will announce the request
for proposals for this grant at the end of July.
Learn more about these programs and other grant
Public Comments Response Summary Available;
Dredging Work Set to Begin at Buffalo Reef in the Keweenaw
Project backed by Great Lakes Restoration
dredging work set to start off the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior,
the Buffalo Reef Task Force has prepared a summary responding to public
comments made on a
Draft Preliminary Alternatives Analysis
issued earlier this year.
The alternatives analysis issued in February briefly described 13
strategies for managing historic copper mine tailings threatening to
destroy spawning habitat and recruitment areas important to Lake Superior
whitefish and lake trout in and around Buffalo Reef.
The reef is situated off the mouth of the Big Traverse River in Houghton
Mine tailings, called stamp sands, were dumped a century ago into Lake
Superior at Gay, Michigan, during processing of copper ores from the
Mohawk and Wolverine mines. Since that time, with wave action, the sands
have moved south along the shoreline toward the reef.
The task force sought public comment on whether there are additional
management strategies the group should consider and whether any
adjustments should be made to the management strategies or risks described
in the draft analysis. The public comment period closed March 8.
Responsiveness Summary compiled by the task
force is now available.
“The comments we received will be incorporated into the draft,” said
Stephanie Swart, a Buffalo Reef Task Force Steering Committee member and
lake coordinator with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes
and Environment. “Our next steps are to finish the Preliminary
Alternatives Analysis by including cost estimates and a tentative ranking
of the alternatives.”
Swart said the task force plans to release the completed Preliminary
Alternatives Analysis in June and hold a public meeting in July in Lake
Linden. The analysis will be used to select the top two to four best
alternatives. Detailed analysis of those options will then begin in the
fall of this year.
Meanwhile, dredging of the Grand Traverse Harbor and the “trough” area,
situated north of Buffalo Reef will begin in the next week or two and is
expected to continue into July.
This project is being executed in cooperation between the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Keweenaw Bay Indian
Community, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan
Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to save the 2,200-acre
To find out more about the effort to save Buffalo
Reef, including media photos, visit
Happy 100th Birthday, Michigan State Parks!
Belle Isle in Detroit, all the way to the "Porkies" in the west end of the
Upper Peninsula, Michigan is home to 103 state parks that offer the best
in outdoor recreation, nature programming and gorgeous green spaces.
It all started in 1919 with the creation of the Michigan State Park
Commission, and this year (officially May 12) marks the 100th anniversary
of the state parks system. Many campers already have booked their spots to
be a part of this historic weekend, but there's a full year of special
events and programs planned to celebrate this milestone, too, including:
Campfire storytelling dates
throughout the summer.
Happy Little Trees (with Bob Ross
Inc.) tree-planting events.
A centennial geo-caching tour
Special events (yoga on the beach,
learn to fish and more).
Centennial-themed T-shirts, hats
and other gear that gives back.
Plenty of volunteer opportunities
to show your state park love!
Learn all about the state parks
find your favorite way to celebrate.
Schedule of events:
Saturday, June 22nd at Interlochen State Park
Saturday, July 10th at Van Riper State Park
Saturday, August 17th at the Outdoor
Adventure Center in Detroit
New Wildtalk Podcast: Birds, Skunks,
Wetlands & More
month the DNR Wildlife Division releases a new episode of the
a fun and interesting look inside the world of Michigan's wildlife and the
people who help take care of it.
In the May episode, you'll find out what DNR wildlife staff have been
up to around the state, talk birds and the MI Birds partnership with Erin
Rowan, and hear listener questions – on topics ranging from skunk removal
to salt blocks to fawns found alone – answered in the mailbag segment. The
episode wraps up with a discussion about activities on public land and the
Explore MI Wetland Wonders Challenge.
Questions? Contact the
DNR Wildlife Division
ICYMI: Need-to-Know Info for
Wild Mushroom Season
hunt for wild mushrooms is on in Michigan, and people are searching the
forests for these coveted, tasty treasures – both for their own enjoyment
and for selling to others.
Before you join the hunt, though, there are some important things to
keep in mind when it comes to properly identifying mushrooms, choosing
ideal locations to search and understanding Michigan's Food Code
requirements governing who sells hand-picked mushrooms.
In case you missed it, the Michigan
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently wrote about wild
mushroom season and things for consumers and restaurateurs to know.
Read the full story before
beginning your mushroom hunt! For additional information, check out the
DNR's newly updated Michigan morels webpage at
On The Road Again: DNR Fish Stock Trucks
07MAY19-If you’ve been driving Michigan’s highways and back roads in
recent weeks, you might have spotted DNR fish-stocking trucks nearby. The
department is right in the middle of its spring stocking season, which
means there’s a good chance of coming across one of these trucks releasing
its prized recreational cargo – thousands of fish – at hundreds of
locations throughout the state.
Stocking is a valuable tool used by fisheries managers to restore, improve
and create fishing opportunities in Michigan’s inland lakes and streams
and the Great Lakes.
The DNR accomplishes this task by rearing fish at its six fish-production
facilities, cooperatively managing up to 29 rearing ponds and six Great
Lakes imprinting net pen/pond locations and maintaining a fleet of 18
specialized fish-stocking vehicles.
Every year, the DNR stocks more than 20 million fish weighing more than
350 tons. Species stocked include steelhead; Atlantic, chinook and coho
salmon; splake, brown, brook, lake and rainbow trout, plus muskellunge and
walleye. Beginning in mid-March and ending in early June, DNR trucks will
travel well over 100,000 miles to stock more than a thousand locations.
For information on local fish-stocking locations,
Steve VanDerLaan, 269-668-2696, ext. 26.
MI Cultural Treasures Preserved, Protected and Shared by the DNR
By SUZANNE FISCHER - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
03MAY19-Most people already know that the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources manages elk herds and stands of pine – but how about
historic photos, a 1957 Corvette and a historic fort on the Keweenaw
All these things are part of Michigan’s cultural resources, also managed
by the DNR.
For more than a decade, the DNR has committed in its mission to
preserving, protecting, stewarding, and sharing cultural resources – as
well as natural resources – for the people of Michigan.
“Cultural resources are the state’s treasures that were made by people in
Michigan and are evidence of their lives and stories,” said Sandra Clark,
director of the Michigan History Center in Lansing. “Like natural
resources, they are held in trust by the DNR for the people of Michigan,
to make sure that the state’s history and culture are documented,
preserved and shared.”
Cultural resources give lives meaning. They’re the things that tell
stories of who we were and how and why and where we live and lived.
They’re historic houses, stores, offices, sawmills and blast furnaces.
“Cultural resources, like the Sanilac Petroglyphs in Sanilac County, are
gifts from Michigan’s first peoples to their current descendants,” said
Stacy Tchorzynski, archaeologist with the State Historic Preservation
Office. “They’re tools and ceramics uncovered to help reconstruct a
community’s daily life.”
objects, tens of thousands of them – from Civil War rifles and satellite
dishes to lead service pipes from Flint – that tell stories of our state.
“Cultural resources include millions of records of the births, deaths,
naturalization, imprisonment and freedom of Michigan’s people,” said state
archivist Mark Harvey. “They’re the official records of state and local
government and the hand-written diaries and letters of famous and everyday
Cultural resources are images of Michigan, the historic photos that allow
us to see into the past.
Several DNR divisions manage Michigan’s cultural resources.
The Michigan History Center takes care of, and provides access to, the
state’s historic objects, documents and photographs. Within the center,
the Michigan History Museum collects artifacts that relate to the history,
culture and people of Michigan.
“These collections include more than 130,000 artifacts ranging from farm
tools to elegant 19th-century textiles and streamlined 20th-century
automobiles,” Clark said.
The Archives of Michigan is responsible for preserving the records of
Michigan government and other public institutions. With documents dating
back to 1792, the archives house much of Michigan's recorded heritage.
“We have more than 120 million state and local government records and
private papers, 10 million photographs and 50,000 maps, plus films and
audio tapes are available for research,” Harvey said.
The Michigan History Center collaborates with the DNR’s Parks and
Recreation Division to interpret and preserve historic sites at eight
state parks in Michigan.
Among these sites are Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County, with
its astonishingly complete 19th-century iron-processing company townsite
located on the Garden Peninsula; Cambridge Junction State Park in Lenawee
County, home to the historic Walker Tavern; and Fort Wilkins Historic
State Park, a site in Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula
that dates back to the days of the mid-1840s Copper Rush.
Friends groups associated with the historic state parks collaborate
with the Michigan History Center and the DNR to preserve and share these
one-of-a-kind cultural resources with a broad public.
“The DNR is not only responsible for managing the state’s great natural
resources, but also many of the state’s unique cultural resources,” said
Bob Wild, park supervisor at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper
Harbor. “Partnering with entities like friends groups and the Michigan
Historical Center helps the DNR to best preserve these wonderful cultural
The DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division’s Stewardship Unit also manages
cultural resources found within Michigan’s 103 state parks, from Fresnel
lenses in Michigan’s historic lighthouses to historic structures of all
a state park toilet-shower building can be a cultural resource. During in
the 1930s and 40s, enrollees in the Civilian Conservation Corps built a
great deal of state park infrastructure in Michigan, including roads and
bridges, picnic pavilions and decorative stone walls and gates – like the
ones at Bewabic State Park in Iron County – and these historic
Mackinac State Historic Parks, another DNR division, manages historic
sites, structures and objects relating to the history of the Straits of
Mackinac on Mackinac Island and in Mackinaw City.
The state’s buried cultural resources, the archaeological evidence of
people’s lives as seen in pottery, fire-cracked rock and bottles of
medicine, are managed by the Office of the State Archaeologist, housed in
the State Historic Preservation Office at the Michigan State Housing
This office manages objects found in the ground as well as objects found
underwater, on the “bottomlands” of the Great Lakes, where shipwrecks have
come to rest. The Center partners with the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration in managing the Thunder Bay National Marine
Sanctuary in Alpena.
While cultural resources may not be the first thing many people think
of when they think of the DNR, the department’s role as steward of our
cultural heritage cannot be diminished.
From photographs and maps to personal records, historic forts and sunken
ships, Michigan’s cultural treasures are the ingredients that help people
and communities find, learn and share their own stories.
Get more information on Michigan’s cultural
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
Michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to
upcoming Showcasing articles, sign up for free email delivery at
State Park Stewardship Volunteers Needed
DNR will host a number of volunteer stewardship workdays in May at state
parks in southeast and southwest Michigan.
Volunteers are needed to remove garlic mustard, an invasive plant that
threatens native habitats. Workdays are an enjoyable way to spend time
outdoors while restoring Michigan's ecosystems and learning about its
Workday details (including meeting
locations, the stewardship
volunteer registration form
and links to individual park maps and directions) are available on the DNR
Volunteers are asked to register either by using the form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
May stewardship workdays:
Saturday, May 25:
Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 25:
Holland State Park (Ottawa County), 10 a.m. to noon
Saturday, May 25:
Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 25:
Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 26:
Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Friday, May 31:
Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Find more information about these and other
volunteer opportunities on the
DNR’s volunteer events calendar.
Help the DNR Plant 'Happy Little Trees'
around the world are familiar with the work and personality of Bob Ross,
the American painter, art instructor and television host who in the ’80s
and ’90s shared his love for painting and the environment with millions of
viewers on the public television show, “The Joy of Painting.” Ross was
known for demonstrating seemingly simple brushstrokes that brought
gorgeous landscapes – full of happy little trees – to life on the canvas.
Inspired by the state parks centennial
celebration, the DNR and Bob Ross Inc. are partnering on the
Happy Little Trees
tree-planting program in state parks. The program helps campgrounds
recover from the effects of emerald ash borer and other forest pests by
planting native trees with local genetics to help repopulate these areas
with appropriate trees for the environment. These trees are grown
specifically for replanting at state parks in the same region.
Volunteers are needed to help plant this year’s family of Happy Little
Trees. Though it’s too soon to finalize planting dates, the DNR has
selected planting locations.
Sign up to be a volunteer,
select your location(s), and you’ll be notified about event specifics as
they are set for May and June. (Please note that space is limited at each
location; signing up does not guarantee a volunteer spot.) Each volunteer
will get a Happy Planting T-shirt featuring Bob Ross.
Give 100: Help Raise Funds for Your Favorite
100 years, Michigan state parks have forged family traditions, solidified
friendships and been part of countless lifelong memories.
During the Michigan state parks
centennial year, the “Give
100” fundraising effort
gives people who love the parks a chance to contribute toward improvements
at their favorite state parks and be one of the first 100 people to give
$100 to one of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks.
Make a donation at
or by texting GIVE to 71777 to help raise these important funds.
for Tomorrow" is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership
with the DNR, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest. Hundreds
of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the
spawning season (mid-April through early June) to report suspicious
activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish. Volunteers also
can play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see.
Register to volunteer.
science programs provide essential information for scientists working to
better understand wildlife – they can’t be everywhere all the time, and
they depend on nature lovers and backyard biologists to report what you
see! Birds are especially easy to observe because they are far more
conspicuous than other wildlife, and spring is a great season to get
involved in helping monitor them. There are several bird-related
community science opportunities
in Michigan this spring. Contact your local DNR office to see if you
can help or click on the link in this article.
Anglers Help Protect Michigan’s Waters from Invasive Mud Snails
By JOANNE FOREMAN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
of anglers across the state are poised to dip their waders into cold-water
Michigan lakes, rivers and streams beginning Saturday, looking to tempt a
prize "brookie", a colorful rainbow or sleek German brown trout.
As they move from one spot to the next, anglers can unknowingly help
spread a devastating invasive species, the
New Zealand mud snail.
“If you are going to fish different
streams, be sure to clean your waders and boots,” said Jeff Gerwitz, a
member of the Vanguard Chapter of Michigan Trout Unlimited, supporting
Oakland County’s Paint Creek. “Some people don’t think it’s a big deal or
concern, and they don’t take the time to clean and inspect between sites,
but now we’re finding these mud snails in more and more places.”
New Zealand mud snails were first discovered in the U.S. in Idaho’s Snake
River in 1987. Since then, infestations have spread throughout the western
states and into areas of the Great Lakes.
Their discovery in the Pere Marquette River in August 2015 marked the
first detection in a Michigan inland waterway. Within the next year, mud
snail populations were confirmed in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers.
By 2017, they were found in the Manistee River and the Pine River near
the Tippy Reservoir.
Potter of Marshall has been involved with Trout Unlimited’s Kalamazoo
Valley chapter for over 25 years and until recently served as the
organization’s state education director. He is worried about the impacts
of New Zealand mud snails in Michigan.
“Any time we change the environment, it’s going to do something,” he said.
“Mudsnails affect the lower end of the food chain for fish, edging out
insects and larvae that fish eat. We’re going to see effects from that.”
These tiny, brown to black snails can reproduce asexually, by cloning. A
single snail can produce over 200 offspring in a year, leading to dense
populations in a short time.
“When I first heard of the New Zealand mud snails on the Boardman, I
visited a friend who lives on the river,” said Frank Simkins, a long-time
angler and member of the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited, serving the
Traverse City area. “I waded out and the snails were really thick, on
every rock and stick. That part of the river was changed, with silt and
snails rising like clouds when you walked through it.”
With funding from the
Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program,
Dr. Scott Tiegs and graduate researcher Jeremy Geist at Oakland University
set out to track mud snail populations in Michigan.
Over the past two summers, Geist and a
team of undergraduate researchers have documented a dramatic increase in
density of New Zealand mud snail populations in the Au Sable River.
Engaging citizen scientists
Tiegs and Geist were eager to expand their search to other river
systems, but standard survey methods were difficult and time-consuming.
In the lab, the project team designed a method for citizen scientists to
collect environmental DNA samples, which can provide an early indication
of the presence of New Zealand mud snails in a waterway before the snails
themselves might be seen.
The method involves collecting stream water in a large syringe fitted with
a special filter that collects DNA shed from organisms.
Citizen scientists complete a training session then follow the
protocols to fill the syringe five times, until one liter of water is
passed through the filter. The whole sampling kit is then returned to
Oakland University to test for mud snail eDNA.
Now, through a partnership between Oakland University, Grand Valley State
University, Michigan Trout Unlimited and Anglers of the Au Sable, citizen
scientists like Gerwitz, Simkins and Potter are putting on their waders to
test rivers and streams across the state.
“The volunteer base of Trout Unlimited puts a lot of effort into assuring
our rivers and streams in Michigan are healthy and self-sustained,” said
Geist. “Reaching out to these anglers who are committed to the resource
was a logical step.”
Many of the volunteers were already involved in an Adopt-a-Stream program,
which monitors macro-invertebrates – insect larvae and snails that make up
most fish diets.
have proven to be good indicators of water quality and stream health.
Testing for mud snail eDNA was a simple addition to the volunteer sampling
To date, no detections by eDNA sampling efforts have been verified on
rivers or streams beyond the Pere Marquette, Boardman, Au Sable and
Stopping the spread
Once introduced into a river system, New Zealand mud snails tend to
travel downstream with the current and occasionally make their way
upstream, possibly by being eaten and then deposited by fish. The snail’s
hard shell and closeable hatch, called an operculum, help it resist
digestion, providing no nutritional value to fish.
On their own, the snails do not move far. It takes human help to introduce
them to a new water body. New Zealand mud snails likely were introduced to
Michigan rivers by anglers who had fished in infested waters out west,
then traveled to the state without knowing that a small snail or two had
hitchhiked a ride on their gear. The mud snail’s ability to seal its shell
means that it can survive out of water for several weeks.
Now that the mud snails are in five rivers in Michigan, there is the
potential for them to spread to many other locations. The only way to
prevent their spread, and the damage they cause to the environment and
fish populations, is for anglers and vacationers to take precautions.
The Oakland University team compared products and methods to determine the
best way for fly fishers to decontaminate their waders. Their results
indicate that a spray treatment of Formula 409 was effective in killing
New Zealand mud snails.
Clean your gear
Based on this study, the team developed a simple protocol that all
anglers should use before traveling to a new water body. Note that this
should be done away from the water’s edge:
and remove any visible debris and sand.
seams and laces using a brush.
freezing, drying or other means, including spraying on Formula 409 and
leaving it on for 20 minutes.
Drain and rinse
the waders with clean water.
Dry the waders
before next use.
short video shows just how easy it is to clean waders using this method.
A kit including a scrub brush, a
bottle of Formula 409 and a gallon of water is all that is needed to
“The process is quick and can be done at home if you aren’t visiting
another stream,” said Gerwitz, “but it’s very important to do it in the
field if you are heading to another location.”
Spread the word
Trout Unlimited’s Michigan Trout magazine has published several
articles encouraging anglers to adopt decontamination practices to avoid
spreading New Zealand mud snails.
Tiegs and Geist are visiting Trout Unlimited chapter meetings to share
information about the invasive snail and demonstrate the wader-cleaning
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division
is reaching out to anglers, handing out mud snail information cards at
boat landings and talking with anglers to gauge their level of
understanding about mud snails and decontamination practices.
The consensus is that much more needs to be done to raise awareness and
“People’s habits just aren’t changing as fast as they should be,” said
Simkins. “Anglers and boaters are out there because they are nature
lovers, but they often just don’t want to take the time to clean their
During the upcoming trout season please be sure to take time to inspect
and clean your gear – make it a new habit. When the opportunity arises,
spend a moment telling your friends and fellow anglers how they can help
protect the sport they love by preventing the spread of New Zealand mud
For more information about invasive
species and preventing their spread, visit
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Backpacking Workshop & Overnight Experience
June 7th, June 15th-16th
24APR19-Friday, June 7th and
Saturday/Sunday, June 15th and 16th at Eddy
Discovery Center in Chelsea
Learn the basics of backpacking – like what and how to pack, meal
planning and safety – in a preparatory class. Then, during
an overnight backpacking experience the following weekend, hike the
Waterloo-Pinckney Trail and learn about tent setup, meal preparations and
backcountry camp stove basics, to go along with a campfire and a comradery-filled
evening. Cost is $40 per family, which includes dinner and breakfast.
Register for Backpacking Workshop and Overnight
Attracting Butterflies with Native Plants
June 8th, at Gillette Visitor Center in Muskegon
This class, including outdoor sessions with native plantings, will
cover the basics of butterfly identification, life cycles and habitat
needs; how to use native plants to attract butterflies and other
pollinators; and how to start your own butterfly/pollinator garden. Cost
is $50, which includes lunch, a field guide and other native plant
Register for Attracting Butterflies with Native