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Annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Returns to Bay City
State Recreation Area August 5th Through The 6th

girl using duck call14JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Frank N. Anderson Foundation will host the 22nd annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Aug. 5-6 at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at Bay City State Recreation Area, 3582 State Park Drive, in Bay City.
Activities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. A Recreation Passport is required for each vehicle that enters the park for the festival. Passports are $11 for those who have not gotten them with their vehicle registration and can be purchased at the park the day of the festival or at any state park prior to the festival. 
The weekend’s festivities include the Hunting and Outdoor Recreation Expo, the Michigan Duck and Goose Calling Championship, the 2018 Michigan Duck Hunters Association Michigan Duck Stamp Competition, adult and youth duck-calling clinics, a wildlife arts and crafts show, and a wildlife carving and duck decoy carving show. 
Special guest exhibitors include wildlife artist Heiner Hertling (host of TV series “Your Brush With Nature” and 1992 Michigan Duck Stamp artist), wildlife taxidermist Kathy Christensen, waterfowl carver and retired Conservation Officer Phil Babe, and wildlife photographer John Buckelew. 

Other activities include:

bullet Live animal presentations by Wildlife Recovery.
bulletA waterfowl ID trail.
bulletA chainsaw carving contest.
bullet Parent/youth canoe races.
bullet The Future Duck Stamp Contest for young artists.
bullet Opportunities to learn from featured artists.
bulletA wildlife photography contest with professional, amateur and junior divisions.
bullet The Quack-athlon competition for teams of one adult and two youths.
bullet Retrieving dog demonstrations and fun trials.
bullet Special presentations by the DNR, including a 2017-18 hunting season forecast, a hunter safety field day and programs on endangered and invasive species.
bullet Outdoor sportsmen conservation information booths, where kids can earn a Junior Ranger Patch by visiting selected booths.

Additional sponsors, who make the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival possible, include the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area, Michigan Duck Hunters Association, Cabela’s, Ducks Unlimited, Frank’s Great Outdoors, SC Johnson, the Bay Area Community Foundation the Dow Corporation.  

For more information about the 2017 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival, visit the Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival Facebook page or the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area website at www.friendsofpark.org or call the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at 989-667-0717. 

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Annual Report Highlights DNR Fisheries Division's 2016 Accomplishments and Activities

Cover of 2016 Fisheries Division Annual Report tri-fold14JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that the DNR Fisheries Division’s report highlighting various management efforts accomplished during Fiscal Year 2016 is available online at michigan.gov/fishing.
Again this year there are two components to the report: a 13-page document with full details of DNR fisheries management work completed in the past year and a 9-inch-by-12-inch printed trifold brochure (available as a PDF) that visually summarizes the content.
The 2016 Fisheries Division Annual Report focuses on the programs and work completed in the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016) by division staff in an effort to maintain and improve Michigan’s fisheries. The report categorizes work within the goals developed as part of the division's five-year strategic plan, published in March 2013.
Highlights of the report include dam removal efforts, habitat restoration work, prevention of aquatic invasive species, state-record fish, fisheries population changes, education and outreach efforts, partnerships, research, fish stocking, energy efficiencies and much more.

“We’re always pleased to present our annual report to provide a regular snapshot of the critical work Fisheries Division is doing to manage Michigan’s world-class aquatic resources,” said Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “These reports help us track our progress as we work toward completing our strategic plan and we are proud to share them with the public.”

Fisheries Division welcomes input from readers of the 2016 annual report. Comments may be shared via email to DNR-Fish-Accomplishments@michigan.gov

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Deer Private Land Assistance Network Grant Application Period Opens

14JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that the application period has opened for the Deer Private Land Assistance Network (Deer PLAN) grant program. It is designed to support private-land deer habitat improvement projects in the northern Lower Peninsula.  
The Deer PLAN program is funded by the state's Deer Range Improvement Program funds. In 2018, a total of $50,000 will be made available. The focus area will include private lands in the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle. Funds will be allocated across these six counties based on a competitive grant application scoring process.
“Having a focus area helps us concentrate habitat projects, and doing so will provide benefits to deer hunters in areas where we have identified habitat issues,” said DNR Deer Program biologist Ashley Autenrieth.
New this year is a stronger emphasis within the grant application on the Hunting Access Program, which recently was expanded to the northern Lower Peninsula. Changes have been made to encourage landowners to participate in the program, such as providing additional points toward their final application score if their property is enrolled in HAP. Additional HAP information is included in the grant application package.  

“HAP is the perfect program for landowners looking to earn income from their property and extra funding for deer habitat projects,” said Monique Ferris, DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator. “It is a great way to support Michigan’s hunting heritage by allowing public hunting on their land. Plus, if you live in one of the four core bovine tuberculosis counties, payment incentives have just increased.”
Proposals meeting the basic grant requirements and seeking between $2,000 and $10,000 in cooperative funding will be considered. A 25-percent match of funds – in the form of any one of more of the following: financial match, cost share, volunteer labor, material contributions or other in-kind support – also is required for each proposal.

Project applications are due by September 1st, and successful applicants will be notified by October 1st.  Proposed projects will be evaluated and competitively scored by a selection committee based on specific criteria. The complete grant application package is available online at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants, via the Deer PLAN link at the bottom of the page.

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Climb Aboard as the DNR Surveys Lake Sturgeon

By BOB GWIZDZ-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries assistant Jason Pauken Jason Pauken shows off a St. Clair River sturgeon.14JUL17-Fisheries managers have many high-technology tools available today – acoustic tracking, remote satellite imagery, environmental DNA – that might make old-timers shake their heads and think it all sounds like science fiction.
But old-fashioned techniques continue to provide fisheries managers with data that helps them make management decisions that benefit both the fisheries resource and anglers.
Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to managing the Great Lakes’ oldest denizens — lake sturgeon.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been monitoring sturgeon populations on the St. Clair River for the last 25 years with a technique that is as old as fishing itself.
DNR crews use set lines that are anchored to the bottom of the river channel and sport numerous hooks to catch and tag the mysterious prehistoric fish.
The DNR’s research vessel, Channel Cat spent much of June on the North Channel of the St. Clair River, above Lake St. Clair, setting and running what are essentially trot lines to monitor what’s going on with the Great Lakes’ most significant sturgeon population.

“This is the largest natural reproducing population of sturgeon in the Great Lakes,” said Todd Wills, who heads up the Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station. “We estimate the population in the St. Clair system at about 30,000 fish, 2 years old or older, with about 12,000 of them concentrated in the area being surveyed.”

Large sturgeon are tagged on the dorsal fin.DNR crews set lines Monday through Thursday and run those lines Tuesday through Friday throughout most of June. They set nylon rope lines 500 feet in length, with the middle section containing 25 hooks on tarred nylon leaders.
The single hooks – either 2/0 freshwater hooks or larger, size 4 saltwater hooks — are attached 10 feet apart and baited with dead gobies.
Smaller hooks help catch smaller fish, though it takes one of the larger hooks to hold the biggest fish, which can weigh 100 pounds or more.
The lines are set in deep water, from about 38 to 70 feet deep, running roughly perpendicular to the bank. They’re marked with large floats and kept on the bottom with large double-claw crab anchors.
The set lines are spread over approximately 4 miles of river where sturgeon traditionally have been caught. The set lines are the DNR’s most efficient method of monitoring sturgeon, though the crew also trawls for them on the lake in the summer.
“Trawling produces fewer fish, and it’s pretty variable by year,” Wills said. “Some years they’re harder to find.”
Typically, it takes a six-person DNR crew, as well as some volunteers, to work the lines. Occasionally, some special guests are invited to observe.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources research vessel Channel Cat crewmen work up a lake sturgeon.“We had Governor Snyder out last year,” Wills said.
The crew begins by hauling in the lines, hand-over-hand, netting any fish that have been hooked. The fish are transferred into a holding tank aboard the research vessel and are worked up as soon as the line is cleared.
DNR personnel record more data than a marketing firm. The fish are weighed, measured three ways – total length, girth at its widest, and commercial length (from the gill plate to the base of the tail) – and the number of visible lamprey scars is noted.
Crew members squeeze the sturgeon to see if they release eggs or milt, which is the only way to determine their sex, and crew members note anything unusual like missing barbels (whisker-like sensory organs found near the snout) or damaged fins.
Fish are injected with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags if they haven’t been tagged before and recaptures are noted. If the fish is longer than 40 inches, it’s also fitted with a numbered external tag on the dorsal fin. If the sturgeon is shorter than 40 inches, a pectoral fin ray is taken to estimate the age of the fish.
“Larger fish can’t be aged accurately with that technique,” Wills said.
After data are collected, the fish are released and the crew makes sure they swim off unharmed before moving along. The gear is stowed until the lines are reset after all lines have been run.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries assistant Jason Pauken, left, and DNR research technician Brad Utrup release a sturgeon.“It’s an all-day job to run and set lines if we’re successfully capturing numerous fish,” Wills said. “Any day you get 20 fish or more it’s a really good day.”
Wills said the data collected indicate the population can withstand a short recreational fishing season.
The catch-and-keep fishing season in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River is July 16 – Sept. 30 this year. Anglers can keep one fish between 42 and 50 inches annually. Harvested fish must be tagged by the angler and reported to the DNR.
“Our catch data from the set line survey shows about 80 percent of the population is protected with the current regulation, which allows the unique opportunity to harvest a fish for anglers who choose to do so,” Wills said.
“Harvest is usually low, with no more than a dozen fish taken each year. It’s largely a catch-and-release fishery enjoyed by a very strong contingent of anglers. It’s getting more popular.”
The catch-and-release fishing season in Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River continues from Oct. 1 – Nov. 30.
Roy Beasley, who captains the Channel Cat, says working the sturgeon survey is an enjoyable assignment.
“I think it’s the most fun,” he said. “It can be challenging when there are a lot of big boats around or high winds. But the fish are big and you don’t need a lot of gear.

Trawling, you’ve got winches and trawl doors and a big net – lots of bells and whistles – and you can get nets snagged up and torn up. With set lines you don’t have to deal with all that, and you don’t have to deal with big waves as you’re in the river.”
Chet Kilanowski, a retired letter carrier, is one of the volunteers who occasionally helps out on the Channel Cat.
“I always wanted to do something with fish and wildlife so I volunteered,” he said. “I’ve been helping out for 12 years. When we first started the DNR had a smaller staff and really needed the help. Now I go every once in a while, like if one of the crew is out. I fill in whenever they need me.
“There’s nothing wrong with volunteering when you’re retired.”

Get more information on lake sturgeon in Michigan at www.michigan.gov/sturgeon.

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

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DNR Conservation Officer Recruits Begin Rigorous Journey

Candidates will be pushed to their limits as 8th Recruit School begins Sunday

DNR recruit run13JUL17-Twenty-five candidates will try to make the grade as Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers when the 8th Conservation Officer Recruit School gets under way Sunday, July 16th, in Lansing.
Recruits face 23 weeks of intensive training that taxes their bodies, minds and spirits. This year’s class is composed of 18 men and seven women. Four candidates are from the Upper Peninsula, 18 are from the Lower Peninsula and three are from out of state.
The DNR will provide weekly blogs that offer a closer look at life in this year’s Conservation Officer Recruit School. The blogs highlight weekly training events and challenges. You can subscribe to the blogs, which also will be posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page.
“These men and women have the chance to be part of something special, but they have to earn it,” said Gary Hagler, chief of DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Anyone who wears the green and gray uniform of a Michigan conservation officer must carry on our 130-year tradition of service and excellence. Those who have what it takes can look forward to an exciting, rewarding career protecting Michigan’s natural resources and the people who enjoy them. But it all starts at Recruit School.”    

Recruits had to pass a stringent screening process that included a physical fitness test, a background investigation and two hiring interviews. While at the academy, recruits will be trained in skills such as firearms, survival tactics, vehicle operations, water safety, first aid, criminal law, fish and game law and enforcement, report writing, alcohol enforcement and computer use.
Recruits who complete the academy will graduate December 21st and then spend an additional 20 weeks training throughout the state before being assigned to one of Michigan’s 83 counties.
“The DNR has some of the country’s most challenging and comprehensive law enforcement training,” said Sgt. Jason Wicklund, Recruit School commander. “Our standards are high and the school is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. While we hope all of our candidates are successful, we know the challenges involved might prevent some from completing this training. But those who do will earn the right to join the ranks of an elite team that is dedicated to protecting and serving Michigan.”
DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community. They are certified peace officers with authority to enforce all of Michigan’s laws. As conservation officers, they also have unique training in a variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s residents, the environment and our natural resources. Conservation officers often are first to respond in situations such as medical emergencies, missing persons and public safety threats.

The DNR Law Enforcement Division is recruiting for future academies. For more information, contact Sgt. John Meka at mekaj@michigan.gov or 517-284-6499. To learn more about the hiring process and the role of a conservation officer, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Natural Resources Commission to Meet Thursday in Lansing

12JUL17-Deer hunting will be in focus this week as the Michigan Natural Resources Commission considers antlerless hunting license quotas, antler-point restrictions and deer management assistance permits at the commission’s next regular meeting Thursday, July 13, at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing.
The day begins with a 10:30 a.m. meeting of the Policy Committee on Finance and Operations, which will hear annual report overviews from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries, wildlife and law enforcement divisions. The committee also will receive on update on the DNR’s 2018 budget.
At 1 p.m., the Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will discuss all-species tournament fishing regulations, get updates on a fisheries order regarding state-licensed commercial fishing, and hear information on antler-point restrictions and deer management assistance permits.

The Committee of the Whole meets at 2 p.m. to receive updates on state parks and trails and the state forest road inventory, the Arctic grayling plan and the bear patch program. Presentations include 40-year service awards for volunteer hunter safety instructors and recognition of Conservation Officers Michael Evink and Ben Shively, who will be presented with Lifesaving Awards. The committee also will hear the regular DNR legislative report and other committee reports.
Immediately following the Committee of the Whole, the commission will receive public comments. Those wishing to appear before the NRC should contact Cheryl Nelson, executive assistant to the NRC, at 517-284-6237 or nelsonc@michigan.gov to register.
Following public comments, commissioners are expected to vote on deer regulations.
DNR Director Keith Creagh then is scheduled to announce decisions on several land transactions and 2018 camping, lodging and modification/cancellation fees.

For more information about the Natural Resources Commission, including full agendas and meeting minutes, visit www.michigan.gov/nrc.

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DNR Seeks Mentors for Outdoor Recreation at U.P. State Fair

Businesses and organizations can also sponsor shifts, volunteer as a group

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Pocket Park is located in Escanaba on the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds.12JUL17-This year’s fun-packed week of the Upper Peninsula State Fair is just around the corner, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for some youth mentors for outdoor recreation activities taking place at the DNR Pocket Park.
The DNR needs community volunteers interested in helping kids learn to catch fish or shoot a pellet gun or bow and arrow during the Aug. 14-20 week of the Upper Peninsula State Fair.
“This is a really cool opportunity to help guide youth in activities many in this region have come to consider as essential,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “Hunters, anglers, teachers and many others could all be very helpful to young kids who may be trying these activities for the first time.”
The DNR Pocket Park is a 1-acre site within the fairgrounds, off U.S. 2, that features a bluegill-stocked catch-and-release pond, archery and pellet gun ranges, a fire tower, and a waterfall in a serene wooded landscaped setting.
The park caters especially to youngsters who are seeking an outdoor adventure or to learn an outdoor skill. The U.P. State Fair draws almost 75,000 visitors annually and many visit the Pocket Park to participate in the activities or to enjoy a relaxing shaded spot to sit.

“We also need volunteers to help greet visitors, staff the fire tower or assist Smokey Bear,” said Jo Ann Alexander, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “This is a fun opportunity for those who love the outdoors to share their expertise or for someone who enjoys mentoring children to engage the next generation of hunters and anglers. No experience is needed as training will be provided.”
Businesses and organizations, clubs, and groups may also wish to sponsor shifts during the fair by having their employees or members volunteer as a group.
“Volunteering together is a fun way to give something back to the local community, and do some important team-building at the same time,” Dahlstrom said.
Recognition of the group or business will be prominently displayed and announced.
“We have received a few wonderful monetary donations to replace old and broken equipment, as well as a commitment for volunteer help from a couple of dedicated organizations,” Alexander said. “We are extremely grateful for their assistance, but we are still in need of a lot more help to fill over 200 time slots.”

Volunteer shifts during fair week run:

bullet4:30-9 p.m. Monday (fair opening day-Aug. 14)
bullet11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 3-7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday
bullet11 a.m.-4 p.m. and 3:30-8:30 p.m. Friday
bullet11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday (fair final day-Aug. 20)

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

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

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

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

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DNR Offers Bear Hunting Clinics in Cadillac this July and August

Dr. Phillip Berry with bear he harvested11JUL17-The Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy will offer bear hunting clinics in Cadillac, Michigan, Saturday, July 29th, Saturday, Aug. 5th, and Sunday, Aug. 6th, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Students will learn the ins and outs of bear hunting with experienced hunters and DNR educators. The class will cover habitat, gear, stand placement, baiting, rules and regulations, carcass care and hide care.
Participants will spend three to four hours in the classroom and then hit the trail to learn how to place a stand and bait in the woods.
Registration is required. The fee for the class is $30, which includes the clinic, door prizes donated by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, a Michigan DNR bear patch and lunch.
"The Michigan Bear Hunters Association has donated phenomenal door prizes each year. This year will be no different," said DNR park interpreter Ed Shaw. "Prizes will be announced closer to the date of the classes."
The clinics will be held at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center, located in Mitchell State Park at 6087 E. M-115 in Cadillac. A Recreation Passport is required for entry into the park.

For more information and to register, visit www.michigan.gov/huntfishcenter or contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321 or shawe@michigan.gov.

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

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DNR’s West U.P. Citizens’ Advisory Council Meets in Menominee Co.

A moose cow and two calves are shown in this aerial photo from Marquette County.11JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Western Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council is scheduled to hear a presentation on this past winter’s moose survey results, antler point restrictions, and updates on trails and western U.P. state parks when the group meets Wednesday, July 19 in Harris.
“This session will also feature updates on chronic wasting disease, and the work of the U.P. Habitat Workgroup,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “The council meetings consistently offer information important to those interested in DNR activities in the region and give members of the public a voice in those issues.”
The council meeting will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. CDT (6:30-8:30 p.m. EDT) in the Wolf Conference Room at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris.
Prior to the meeting, from 5-5:30 p.m. CDT (6-6:30 p.m. EDT), DNR staff members will offer division reports.
The public can participate in the session by offering comments to the discussion during two specified periods during the meeting (for instructions, see www.michigan.gov/upcac).

The DNR’s eastern and western Upper Peninsula citizens’ advisory councils are designed to provide local input to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies, identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive and offer insight and guidance from members’ own experiences and constituencies.
The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation interests. Agenda items are set by the council members and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

Anyone interested in being considered as a future council member should fill out the nomination form found on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/upcac. Meeting packets and agendas are also available online at www.michigan.gov/upcac.

For more information, contact the DNR Upper Peninsula regional coordinator’s office at 906-226-1331.

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DNR to Temporarily Close Boat Launch in Iron County

The boating access site at Indian Lake in Iron County, shown here, will be temporarily closed for installation of a new concrete boat ramp.11JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will temporarily close the Indian Lake boating access site in Iron County, beginning July 17, for installation of a new concrete boat ramp.
Indian Lake is in southern Iron County, southwest of Crystal Falls, off County Road 424 and Pentoga Trail.
“A DNR Parks and Recreation Division construction crew will accomplish the work and it is anticipated the project will be completed by Friday, July 21,” said Zachary Bishop, unit supervisor at the Escanaba DNR field office. “The site will reopen upon completion of the project.”
Indian Lake has no alternate boat launches.
This roughly $10,000 project is funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, a restricted fund derived from boat registration fees and the Michigan marine fuel tax, which is used for the construction, operation and maintenance of recreational boating facilities, harbors and inland waterways.
For more information or updates about this project, contact Zachary Bishop, unit supervisor at the Escanaba DNR field office, at 906-786-2351.

For more information on boating in Michigan, visit the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/boating.

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Fort Street Bridge Park Project More than Halfway to Goal of $600,000

Park location, site of Ford Hunger March of 1932, a significant part of state’s automotive and labor history

Fort Street Bridge, southwest Detroit. Black-and-white photo10JUL17-Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail – with its 1,273-mile hiking route and 791-mile bicycle route from Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula – not only connects communities from across the state, it also spotlights the state’s unique heritage and many historical milestones. One of those spots is in southwest Detroit, where the Fort Street Bridge crosses the River Rouge.

This location is one of international importance, because it’s the site of the Ford Hunger March of 1932.  The Ford Hunger March occurred during the Great Depression. Auto production had dropped from 5.3 million vehicles in 1929 to 1.3 million in 1932, and many automobile workers had lost their jobs. The march helped shape the future of unions in America and contributed to the formation of the United Auto Workers in 1935.

“Around midday, March 7, 1932, approximately 3,000 workers mustered near the intersection of South Fort Street and Oakwood Boulevard to prepare for the planned march to the Ford Administration Building,” said Lloyd Baldwin, a historian for the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The marchers crossed the Fort Street Bridge on the way to Miller Road, the route to the Ford plant.”

In the bitter cold, the unemployed workers and their family members crossed the bridge on a mission to deliver a list of demands to Henry Ford for jobs, food, fuel for heat and help with rent and mortgages. When the throng of people crossed into Dearborn, police fired tear gas into the crowd. Later, fire hoses were turned on the marchers, who responded by throwing clods of frozen dirt and rocks. Gunfire erupted from the police line. Four marchers were killed and a fifth died weeks later.

A recent view of the new Fort Street Bridge in southwest DetroitSixty years after the march, a Michigan Historical Marker was installed on the Operators’ House of the Fort Street Bridge in 1992 to commemorate the event. A dedication ceremony was held March 14, 1992, followed by a march to the union hall where additional ceremonies were held. The marker was decommissioned in 2013 when work began to replace the Fort Street Bascule Bridge, which is its focus. This year the Michigan Historical Commission granted permission to the UAW to reinstall the marker as a historic artifact at UAW Local 600 Hall in Dearborn. With the new bridge now in place, MDOT plans on installing a new interpretive panel at the bridge to mark the Ford Hunger March. That panel will be installed later this summer.

At the foot of the bridge, on the south side, is the site of a new pocket park being planned by the Fort Rouge Gateway Project, a partnership of 16 entities covering private enterprise, nonprofits, local government and education. Partners include the MotorCities National Heritage Area, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the city of Detroit, the city of Dearborn, Marathon Petroleum Co. LP, the Michigan Department of Transportation, United Auto Workers Local 600, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and additional groups and organizations.

The Iron Belle Trail’s hiking route follows Fort Street, from downtown Detroit south, across the historic River Rouge via the Fort Street Bridge, passing the site of the new park. The design elements of the interpretive park, tucked into the northeast corner of Fort and Denmark streets adjacent to the Rouge River, include bike loops, an entry wall, environmentally friendly landscaping, seating and a rain garden.

Park project more than halfway to fundraising goal

Earlier this month, Brian Yopp from the MotorCities National Heritage Area, announced that more than $300,000 has been raised – including $100,000 from Ford Motor Co. – toward the overall goal of $600,000 to build the park.
“We are still $260,000 from our $600,000 goal, but we are nibbling little by little,” Yopp said. “We are so proud to be part of this partnership. This group represents diverse backgrounds and unique motivations that have come together to accomplish a shared goal. This is an important site for the automotive industry and its history.”

People planting flowers and plants at Marathon Gardens Wildlife Habitat area, DetroitSome clearing for the park and on-the-ground work already has been completed. Earlier this year, on the Marathon Gardens Wildlife Habitat (a separate, but complimentary area to the park), for example, a stewardship day was held in which dozens of people came out to help plant flowers and plants and get rid of non-native species.
Planners hope to begin construction of the park yet this year.
“It is sites like this – and the partnerships formed to build them – that help make the Iron Belle Trail a showcase trail for Michigan,” said Paul Yauk, statewide trails coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“This is an important location, a site with a lot of historical significance,” he said. “Having it on the Iron Belle Trail is wonderful, because it marks another reason for people to get out onto the trail and explore all that Michigan offers. There are many other historically significant sites along the trail, from Belle Isle in Detroit, to the Mann House in Concord, to Hartwick Pines in Grayling, all the way to Ironwood. And summer is the perfect time to visit them.”
Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail is the longest state-designated trail in the nation, encompassing more than 2,000 miles of Michigan hiking and biking routes, allowing users to explore pristine forests and cool rivers while connecting big cities to smaller and diverse towns. The trail extends from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

For more information on the Iron Belle Trail, visit www.michigan.gov/ironbelle.

For more information on the Fort Street Bridge Park project and details on how to support the fundraising effort, visit www.motorcities.org.

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Bovine Tuberculosis – A Disease Still Worth Fighting

DNR continues to work to eradicate bovine TB; help needed

By Kelly Straka-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan white-tailed deer in the field.07JUL17-After more than two decades of study and testing white-tailed deer for bovine tuberculosis, Michigan has become world-renowned for its research and expertise on managing this serious contagious disease.
Over this time, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers have learned a great deal, including that continued assistance from hunters and others remains vitally necessary to make significant gains in battling bovine tuberculosis into the future.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious disease caused by certain bacteria that attack the respiratory system of animals and humans.
There are several types of tuberculosis, but bovine tuberculosis (bTB) can infect the widest variety of animals and is what wildlife managers have been trying to eradicate from white-tailed deer in Michigan.
“Michigan is one of the leading experts in management and information related to bTB,” said Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “We are the only state in nation that has bTB established in wild deer.”
Although originating and typically occurring in cattle, bTB can infect nearly any mammal, including humans. Bovine TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), which is part of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

A Michigan hunter takes to the field. Hunters and others in Michigan will continue to play a vital role in battling bovine tuberculosis.“This disease is contagious and can be debilitating to deer. Severely infected animals can struggle to even breathe,” Straka said. “By not eradicating this in the herd, we risk the spread of the disease to new areas of Michigan and into our wild elk herd.
“In addition, this is devastating to cattle producers. Trade restrictions, expensive testing and quarantines can lead to the loss of family farms and are a terrible burden on Michigan’s economy.”
Bovine TB is spread primarily through the exchange of respiratory secretions and saliva between infected and uninfected animals. This transmission can happen when animals are in close contact with each other.
Bacteria released into the air through coughing and sneezing can spread the disease when inhaled by uninfected animals. In addition, food items contaminated with the saliva of an infected animal can transmit bTB to uninfected animals when they eat the contaminated feed. This is the primary way that cattle and deer infect each other.
 

 


Michigan detected TB in the early years

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic disease that can take years to develop. The strains of bTB now present in Michigan are not native to North America, but were brought here by human movement of infected cattle from Great Britain in the 1700s and 1800s.
In the 1920s, nearly a third of cattle in Alpena and Alcona counties tested positive for bTB. In 1975, a single hunter-harvested white-tailed deer in Alcona County was found positive for bTB. At that time, it was thought that bTB couldn’t sustain itself in wild deer.
Nearly 20 years passed before a hunter harvested Michigan’s second bTB-positive deer in Alpena County in 1994.
Since 1995, Michigan has been testing white-tailed deer for bovine tuberculosis year-round. Michigan has the longest- running continuous wildlife TB surveillance program in the world.
“Most Michiganders, and even most policymakers, don’t realize how much we’ve learned about bTB in the last 20 years”, said Dan O’Brien, veterinary specialist with DNR’s wildlife disease lab. “The research we’ve done here in Michigan is respected around the world.
“Other countries dealing with similar outbreaks of bTB continue to watch our situation with great interest. At this point, we know what it will take to get rid of bTB. Whether we as a state will choose to make that happen though is still an open question.”

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

A map shows Deer Management Unit 452, a core area where 78 percent of white-tailed deer testing positive for bovine TB in Michigan were found.To date, nearly 900 of over 230,000 deer tested in Michigan have been positive for bovine tuberculosis.
Seventy-eight percent of these TB-positive deer have been from a core area — Deer Management Unit 452 — in the northeastern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where the counties of Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda and Alcona meet.
However, bTB is endemic (i.e. self-sustaining at a low level) across all four of those counties, and in Presque Isle County. Ninety-seven percent of all the bTB-positive deer ever found have come from that five-county endemic area.
Antrim, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Iosco, Mecosta, Osceola, Otsego, Roscommon and Shiawassee counties also have had deer test positive for bTB.
“We continue to commit time and resources to fighting this disease. This year, we are reinvigorating the message that we still need help,” Straka said. “This is a chronic disease, and we need all Michiganders to be on board for the long haul.”

An effective disease-management tool

Hunting has been the primary tool for managing bovine tuberculosis in Michigan.
“The majority (93 percent) of land in DMU 452 is private and is known locally as 'club country',” said Brian Mastenbrook, DNR wildlife field operations manager. “One of the primary reasons to own this land and be club members is to hunt deer. We work with as many of the clubs as we can on all aspects of deer herd management.

Technicians at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing examine a white-tailed deer.“We appreciate the cooperation of the club members and all the other hunters throughout DMU 452. Hunters have been responsible for reducing the disease prevalence by over 50 percent between the mid-1990s and now.”

Recently, the Michigan Hunting Access Program expanded into the northern Lower Peninsula specifically to open more land to deer hunting. The program leases private lands and makes those lands available to anyone with a valid hunting license.

“The Hunting Access Program, along with a couple of private land habitat grant opportunities, is a way for us to talk with more people about deer management in this area,” Mastenbrook said.
The DNR reminds all hunters to get their deer tested. A deer can look healthy and still have bovine TB.

"In fact, over 60 percent of the bTB-infected deer we’ve ever tested have had no signs of disease a hunter would recognize,” Straka said.
 

Working together for success

Despite many efforts over the years, bovine tuberculosis has not gone away. In 2016, 29 deer and six cattle herds tested positive for the disease.

“Since the first TB-affected cattle herd was discovered in June 1998, there have been a total of 69 cattle herds, five feedlots and three privately owned cervid facilities found to be infected with the Michigan strain of bovine TB,” said Rick Smith, assistant state veterinarian.

The agencies responsible for managing deer and cattle populations include the Michigan DNR, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Together these agencies are working collaboratively on new approaches to combat the disease.

Many of these new methods are implemented at the grassroots level; cattle producers are encouraged to strengthen bio-security practices at their farms, hunters are asked to harvest deer and private landowners are offered incentives to open their properties for hunter access.

Michiganders called to action

White-tailed deer infected with bovine tuberculosis may have multiple pea-sized tan or yellow lumps on the inside of the rib cage.The state agencies involved in bTB management are committed to doing their part, but cannot regulate the disease to eradication.
“Michiganders need to educate themselves about this disease, and find out ways they can help,” said Russ Mason, DNR Wildlife Division chief. “Whether you are a hunter submitting samples for surveillance, or a cattle producer fencing off feed to prevent cattle/deer interactions, it’s these everyday actions that can affect change over time.
“This is not a problem for just deer hunters, or cattle farmers, or even residents in the northern Lower Peninsula; this is a problem for everyone in Michigan.”
The DNR is urging hunters to submit heads for testing from all deer harvested in the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Huron, Iosco, Lake, Mecosta, Montmorency, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and Roscommon. The testing is offered free of charge.
Infected deer may not show chest lesions. Deer carcasses with chest lesions suspected to be evidence of bovine TB should be submitted from anywhere in the state. A list of DNR deer check stations is available at www.michigan.gov/deer.
DNR wildlife managers encourage anyone who sees a deer with this type of infection to contact the DNR so the carcass can be examined. Hunters may check their deer or elk TB lab results at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab

Field-dressing

There are signs of bovine tuberculosis hunters may observe when field-dressing a deer.
Lymph nodes in the animal's head usually show infection first and, as the disease progresses, lesions may begin to develop on the surface of the lungs and chest cavity. In severely infected deer, lesions can sometimes be found throughout the animal's entire body.
Deer with severe TB may have tan or yellow lumps lining the chest wall and in the lung tissue. Deer showing this type of infection should be submitted to the DNR for laboratory testing.
In the years since bovine tuberculosis was discovered in wild white-tailed deer in Michigan, much has been learned about this contagious disease.
The DNR and other agencies working to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from our state encourage Michigan residents to educate themselves about this affliction and do what they can as individuals and groups to help fight it.

For more information on bovine tuberculosis, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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Grand Rapids Workshop on Finding Value in Urban Waste Wood

07JUL17-Arborists, municipal tree care workers and forestry professionals are invited to participate in a workshop showcasing the use of urban wood for green building materials, lumber, sustainable energy and other value-added products. 
Participants will learn about better uses for removed trees, how to recognize and capture value in sawn logs from routine tree removals, and how communities across the country are incorporating these cost-saving practices in their tree maintenance programs.
Sponsored by Spalted Banjo Consulting, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council), the workshop is set for:

bullet Thursday, July 20
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blandford School, 3143 Milo St., Grand Rapids

To register, visit www.spaltedbanjo.com/event. The cost is $35 and includes a full lunch. Participants are asked to register by July 17. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the seminar.
"We’d like to encourage municipalities and tree care companies to explore options for capturing some value from wood material generated through routine tree care operations," said Kevin Sayers, DNR urban forestry program manager. "Diverting the most usable logs from the waste stream can help reduce disposal costs and give community trees a ‘second life’ in the form of furniture, lumber, paneling and a variety of other uses.” 
Much of the wood volume removed annually from the urban forest currently ends up in landfills or as mulch, Sayers said. Using the wood in other ways is not only more efficient, it also saves municipalities the cost of disposal fees.
“Trees in the urban forest provide multiple values,” said David Neumann, DNR forest utilization and marketing specialist. “Urban trees are beautiful and provide shade, habitat for wildlife, clean the air and filter water, and help save energy by shading buildings. However, trees may need to be removed for a variety of reasons including storm or insect damage, and when that happens they can have great potential for use as ‘green’ building materials."
Neumann also said that many of the tree species growing in Michigan cities and road rights of way can produce high-quality hardwood lumber, with interesting character or grain patterns sought after in furniture manufacturing.
For more information about the workshop, contact Margaret Miller, Spalted Banjo Consulting, at margaret@spaltedbanjo.com or 269-921-0592. 
The DNR is committed to the sustainable management of forest resources, and supports this workshop series as part of an effort to promote the use of wood in construction and other forest product industries. To find wood product manufacturers located in Michigan, visit the free Forest Products Industry Directory maintained by the DNR at www.michigan.gov/wood. For more information on the DNR’s urban and community forestry programs, visit www.michigan.gov/ucf.

Partial funding for this event is from the Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle grant project, which is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Celebrate Michigan Mammals Week at Michigan State Parks July 10th Through the 16th

Explorer Programs06JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will highlight the wonders of Michigan's mammals during Michigan Mammals Week July 10-16 in a handful of Michigan state parks. The family-friendly programs are free for campers and visitors. 

The annual program provides a fun and educational experience for the whole family. The week of hands-on programming will take place in 31 Michigan state parks and will feature hikes, animal tracking programs, games and much more.

Michigan Mammals Week and many other programs are led by state park Explorer Guides and park interpreters who work in the park and present a variety of outdoor education opportunities in more than 30 Michigan state parks Memorial Day through August. These enthusiastic, nature-minded folks lead hikes, activities and programming that shine a spotlight on each park’s unique resources.

To find a program in your favorite park, visit www.michigan.gov/natureprograms and click on the link “Michigan Mammals Week” under Special Programs and Activities. To see all available Explorer programming throughout the summer, view the interactive map or alphabetical list of parks.

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Fall Turkey Hunting Applications on Sale July 1st Through August 1st

05JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the fall turkey hunting application period opens Saturday, July 1st.  Applications will be available through August 1st.  The application fee is $5.  Applications and licenses may be purchased at any authorized license agent or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com.

The 2017 fall turkey season runs September 15th to November 14th.  A total of 51,350 licenses are available, including 4,650 general licenses and 46,700 private-land licenses.

Information about fall turkey hunting can be found at www.michigan.gov/turkey. Fall turkey drawing results and leftover license availability also will be posted on the Michigan DNR website August 14th, 2017. 

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St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Rivers Tested for Silver and Bighead Carp

Concern in Michigan is high after capture of a silver carp in the Illinois Waterway

05JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced environmental DNA (eDNA) sample results from the St. Joseph and Kalamazoo rivers show no signs of invasive silver and bighead carp. 
According to DNR fisheries biologist Nick Popoff, none of the 260 eDNA samples  collected May 1 and analyzed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated the presence of genetic material for silver or bighead carp. Results and maps of the 200 survey sites on the Kalamazoo River and the 60 sites on the St. Joseph River are available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest Fisheries website.
Video of eDNA sampling is available on the michigan.gov/invasivecarp website.
The eDNA surveillance program – a collaborative effort between the Great Lakes states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2013 – samples high-priority locations for the presence of bighead and silver carp genetic material.
“Invasive carp thrive and reproduce in large, warm-water rivers with ample flow,” said Popoff. “Michigan’s southwestern Great Lakes tributaries provide suitable habitat and sufficient food, in the form of algae, to support these species.” 
The Grand, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo rivers have two additional monitoring events scheduled this summer, with lab results expected in July and August. The eDNA monitoring program is a part of the early detection efforts outlined in Michigan’s Asian Carp Management Plan

“Along with our participation in the eDNA surveillance program, we continue to be diligent with early detection efforts, such as conducting fish population surveys, increasing awareness among anglers, and maintaining an invasive carp reporting website for anglers to share any suspicious catches or observations that occur during their outings,” said Tammy Newcomb, the DNR’s senior water policy advisor.
Concern about the possibility of invasive silver or bighead carp reaching Michigan’s waters was heightened by the June 22 capture of an 8-pound, 27-inch-long silver carp in the Illinois Waterway. The fish was netted by a commercial fisher participating in a scheduled Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee monitoring event.
The silver carp was caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan, some 27 miles beyond the electric barrier system meant to keep the fish from entering the Great Lakes.
If invasive carp prevention measures fail, the Great Lakes and Michigan’s waters could sustain major ecological changes, causing losses to the $7 billion commercial and sport fishing industry. The potential for injury to recreational boaters and swimmers from leaping silver carp also could negatively affect the state’s $38 billion tourism economy.
While Michigan plays an active role in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, the state only has jurisdiction and management authority over Michigan’s waters. The Illinois Waterway and the Chicago Area Waterway System are controlled by the state of Illinois, with the system’s locks operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. 
For this reason, the Michigan DNR supports the release of the Army Corps of Engineers’ delayed Brandon Road study on the feasibility of enacting additional invasive species controls in the Chicago Area Waterway System.  
“The potential for action is being deferred by the study’s retention,” said Newcomb. “At the same time, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a key support for invasive carp monitoring, control and prevention efforts, may be in jeopardy.”
Michigan’s commitment to protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of invasive carp has taken the form of a $1 million investment in innovation.  The Invasive Carp Challenge – michigan.gov/carpchallenge – will solicit ideas from around the globe to help stop invasive carp from entering Michigan’s waters. The challenge, offering cash prizes for feasible prevention methods, is scheduled to open in mid-July 2017 through InnoCentive, a leader in crowdsourcing for federal, state and private sector solutions.  
If invasive carp are detected in Michigan’s waters, the state is prepared to act with a plan of intensive monitoring to locate fish populations, netting and electrofishing to capture and remove the invasive fish, and if necessary, applications of rotenone, an aquatic pesticide.
“Controlling and eradicating aquatic invasive species is an extremely costly, difficult and long-term undertaking, with no guarantee of success. Preventing invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes is a far better prospect,” said Newcomb.

“Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness week is July 2-8,” said Popoff. “This is an appropriate time to remind everyone out on the water to keep an eye out for unusual fish and report potential invasive carp sightings to www.michigan.gov/invasivecarp.”

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These Flags Flew: Revisiting Michigan’s World War I Flags

Highlighting the state’s efforts to preserve historic battle flags

By ERIC PERKINS
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

03JUL17-In 1919, on a beautiful day in May, soldiers of Michigan’s 32nd Infantry Division marched through the streets of Detroit celebrating their homecoming from World War I.
The division served in the fighting in France and was memorialized by the French army with the nickname, “Les Terribles,” in honor of its ferocity in combat.

The 32nd Division marching in their return from World War I, marching in the Detroit parade.“In each successive battle, its fighting was better and its morale improved,” said Major-General William G. Haan, combat commander of the 32nd Division, in a May 6, 1919 news article on the front page of the Detroit Free Press. “It actually fought in the hardest of battles 35 days and as many nights, and smashed through the enemy lines for a distance of more than 25 miles and never gave away an inch.
“It successfully defeated 33 German divisions, not a few of which were rated among the best. From the famous 28th German division, known as ‘The Kaiser’s Own’ after three days’ hard fighting it took more than 400 prisoners and drove it from the field a broken organization.”
One French newspaper praised the performance of the divisions’ soldiers. After only a brief training period they, “made a magnificent showing when under fire…neither the French, who fought beside them, nor the enemy, whom they hurled aside, will dispute their right to the title of ‘terrible.’”
Another French reporter described the dangers the Michigan troops faced in combat, saying, “One can scarcely imagine the difficulties of the fighting in this country…with deep valleys…and honeycombed with holes making admirable machine gun shelters. These machine guns literally rain bullets.”
The reporter then illustrated the horrors of the poison gas used by the Germans, writing, “One does not die from effects of this gas, but one is so suffocated or burned that it is humanly impossible to hold the line, and unfortunately the (gas) mask is not an absolute protection.”

Now back at home, the men of the 32nd proudly marched behind their flags — a pair of banners, one resembling the stars and stripes, the other bearing the national crest with an eagle holding a bundle of arrows and an olive branch.
Each flag was emblazoned with the regiment’s number. These flags, and others, are currently on display at the Michigan History Center in Lansing, a division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.A museum visitor studies a World War I flag of the 32nd Division, now on display on the first floor of the Michigan History Center in Lansing.

“The young men of the division are coming home strong and clean, smiling and happy, ready to re-enter into competition in civil pursuits,” Haan said. “They ask for no charity. They know there is awaiting them a square deal in a fair field in God’s own country, the beauty and glory of which they have learned to appreciate.”
Although Michigan’s World War I soldiers did not carry their regimental flags into battle, as their Civil War predecessors did, their flags were important symbols representing each regiment’s shared sacrifice and heroism.
According to a post-war memo from Michigan’s adjutant general, 186,000 Michigan soldiers served in “The Great War,” with 4,552 casualties.
During the Civil War, soldiers started painting the names of important battles onto their flags. First World War flags bear the battle honors of their regiments in the form of streamers attached to the tops of the staffs.
“This is similar to today’s military flags,” said Eric Perkins, historian with the Michigan History Center. “These flags become much more than simple symbols of patriotism to soldiers. You can literally read their history on the flags.”
Before they left France, the 32nd Division soldiers attended a victory ceremony where over 200 men were presented the Croix de Guerre for bravery by their former French commander, General Mangin. Mangin also pinned medals on the division’s flags.

Afterwards, Mangin spoke to the assembled men.

"I am very happy to be among you once more, and proud that this meeting of ours is taking place on the other side of the Rhine,” he said. “The occasion of this reunion is to bestow upon you a few decorations, meager tokens of the gratitude which the French Republic, the People of France, and the soldiers feel towards you, for the brilliant conduct and splendid courage you displayed…which will place in history the glorious deeds of the 32nd Division.”

All the historic flags at the Michigan History Center in Lansing lie flat and are covered with acid–free tissue. Today, Michigan’s historic World War I flags are housed at the Michigan History Center, where staff from the Michigan History Center and the Michigan Capitol Committee cares for them.
From now until January 2018, a selection of Michigan’s World War I flags are on public display at the center.
The Michigan Battle Flag collection contains 56 flags from World War I and another 184 flags from the Civil War and Spanish-American War.
Michigan’s flag collection was started more than 150 years ago when Civil War veterans turned many of their battle flags over to the state in a July 4, 1866 ceremony the Free Press called “The Grandest Celebration Ever Witnessed in Detroit.”
The event was attended by 70,000 people, including 16,000 to 20,000 revelers the railroad estimated were strangers in town.
“Of the impressive and unwonted scene presented, when the color-bearers of the three score and ten organizations which the Peninsular State sent to the field stood before the assembled authorities of the State, supported by their comrades in arms and surrounded by the thousands of their fellow citizens, holding those torn and smoke-grimed battle flags in their hands, no true or faithful picture can be given,” the newspaper said.

“There are lights and shades, and strong and tender feelings and memories, stirred which no words can tell or pencil portray. Rough, stalwart, sturdy men were there, just from the fields and workshops where they have employed themselves in the arts of peace since, a year ago, they laid their arms down and returned to home and its endearments.”
The paper continued to describe the scene.
“There were others worn and thin and wounded, scars marked their limbs and bodies, and not a few there were whose ‘empty sleeve’ hung limp and lifeless as did once the arm that fell shattered by shell or bullet; and some of these proudly bore the tattered banners in their remaining hand.
“Here too, were grouped in a single line banners and heroes from every regiment and organizations which bore them in the field. Here under the same ‘old flag’ that waved over them in the field, the trenches and the deadly breach, what memories returned and what scenes and battles were gone through again, what campfires brightened to the vision of weary, toiling, foot-sore and hungry men.”The World War I flag of the 126th Infantry.

From April 1861 to April 1865, Michigan furnished 90,747 men to the Civil War, not counting 1,982 men commuting and 4,000 Michigan men who served in the units of other states, according to the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
According to official regimental commander's reports, Michigan men engaged the enemy on more than 800 occasions. Of officers serving, 177 were killed, 85 died of wounds and 96 died of disease. Among the enlisted men, 2,643 were killed, 1,302 died of wounds and 10,040 died of disease.
In accepting the flags, Michigan’s Governor Henry Crapo pledged that, “They will not be forgotten and their histories left unwritten. Let us tenderly deposit them, as sacred relics, in the archives of our state, there to stand forever, her proudest possession.”
Following the dedication of the new Capitol in Lansing in 1879, the flags were placed, first in a military museum on the first floor, then, in 1909, moved to the Capitol's rotunda.
The flags remained there until the restoration of the Capitol from 1989-1992. At that time, an alarming discovery was made — the flags were deteriorating from the effects of constant exposure to light, fluctuating temperature, humidity and gravity.

“What years of battle damage could not do to the flags was actually being accomplished by these hidden enemies,” said Matt VanAcker, director of Capitol tours for the state of Michigan and co-chairman of Save the Flags. “The flags were removed from the Capitol and placed in a specially-designed archival storage unit in the Michigan History Center.”

Michigan’s battle flag collection is stored on special racks with acid-free pallets and special foam fittings to protect them.According to VanAcker, “One of the greatest successes of Save The Flags, our project to preserve, research and display 240 battle flags carried by Michigan soldiers in the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War I, has been its ‘adoption’ program.”
For a donation of $1,000 individuals, organizations, schools, families and communities can help with the preservation, research and display of the flags by “adopting” flags in the collection. To date, almost 150 flags — mostly from the Civil War — have been adopted, providing the project with much-needed funds.
With controlled climate and lighting and special acid-free storage racks, the flags are being preserved from further deterioration.
Flags from the 32nd Division and other military units like the 339th “Polar Bears” Regiment, whose members served in northern Russia, are being exhibited, one at a time, in a special viewing window.
Revisiting the state’s military flags, and preserving them properly for tomorrow, allows Michigan residents to connect visually with the past, adding depth and color to their appreciation of wars that gripped our nation and greatly changed Michigan and the country.
The Michigan History Museum is located in the east wing of the Michigan Library and Historical Center, on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard in Lansing.

For more information, call 517-373 3559 or visit the museum webpage at michigan.gov/museum.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles.

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DNR Confirms Cougar in Lower Peninsula; Photo taken Clinton County

03JUL17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of a cougar -- also referred to as a mountain lion – in Bath Township, Clinton County. This is the first time the presence of a cougar has been verified by the DNR in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

On June 21, 2017, a Haslett resident took a photograph of an animal from his vehicle in Bath Township near the DNR’s Rose Lake State Wildlife Area. The individual reported that he spotted a large cat in his headlights as the animal attempted to cross a road. He captured the photograph as the cougar turned back from the road into an area of thick vegetation.

The picture was made available to the DNR June 26. A field investigation ensued. DNR biologist Chad Fedewa and biologists from the DNR’s Cougar Team reviewed the photo and visited the site where it was taken, determining that the animal in the photo was a cougar. 

“Even with this verification, questions remain, especially regarding the origins of the animal,” said Kevin Swanson, DNR wildlife specialist and member of the agency’s Cougar Team. “There is no way for us to know if this animal is a dispersing transient from a western state, like cougars that have been genetically tested from the Upper Peninsula, or if this cat was released locally." 
Cougars originally were native to Michigan, but were extirpated from Michigan around the turn of the century. The last time a wild cougar was legally taken in the state was near Newberry in 1906. Over the past few years, numerous cougar reports have been received from various locations throughout Michigan. Until this time, all confirmed sightings or tracks have been in the Upper Peninsula. Since 2008 a total of 36 cougar sightings have been documented in Michigan’s U.P. To date, the DNR has not confirmed a breeding population of cougars in Michigan.
Cougars are protected under the state Endangered Species Act and cannot be harmed except to protect human life.
Interested landowners within the area of the recent Clinton County sighting may wish to place trail cameras on their properties. The DNR encourage citizens to submit pictures of possible sightings for verification. Observations should be reported at mi.gov/eyesinthefield. If you find physical evidence of a cougar such as scat, tracks or a carcass, do not disturb the area and keep the physical evidence intact. Please include any photos with your report.

The odds of encountering a cougar in the wild are very small, and attacks on humans are extremely rare. Should you encounter a cougar: 

bulletFace the animal and do not act submissive. Stand tall, wave your arms and talk in a loud voice.
bulletNever run from a cougar or other large carnivore. If children are present, pick them up so they cannot run.
bulletDo not crouch and get on all fours.
bulletIf attacked, fight back with whatever is available. DO NOT play dead.
bulletReport the encounter to local authorities and the DNR as soon as possible.

To learn more about cougars, visit mi.gov/cougars.

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Early Detection Critical in Control of MI Aquatic Invasive Species

Yellow floating heart03JUL17-A team of technical experts is poised and ready for action whenever a call or email reports a potential sighting of one of Michigan’s Watch List invasive species. These experts are a part of Michigan’s Invasive Species Program, a collaborative effort of the departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development. 
“Preventing invasive species from entering the state is the first goal of the invasive species program, but when invaders slip through the cracks the next step is early detection and response,” said Sarah LeSage, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Department of Environmental Quality.
This process involves finding, reporting, confirming and then choosing a course of action to manage new or emerging invasive species that pose a significant threat to Michigan’s environment, economy or human health. 

Michigan’s Watch List

High-threat invasive species are classified on Michigan’s Watch List. There currently are 28 species on the watch list:

bullet10 aquatic plants.
bulletSix terrestrial plants.
bulletFive fish.
bulletThree insects.
bulletOne tree disease.
bulletThe red swamp crayfish.
bulletThe nutria (a mammal).
bulletThe New Zealand mudsnail.

Of the 10 aquatic plants on the watch list, six have been detected in limited areas in Michigan. Plants including yellow floating heart, water lettuce, European frogbit and parrot feather have been found by staff during monitoring activities, as well as by members of the public, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area staff and lake management companies. 

Sightings of aquatic plants on the watch list are reported to the DEQ’s Aquatic Nuisance Control office or through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network’s website or smartphone app, found at www.misin.msu.edu.

Early detection and response

DEQ staffer with boat on water, surveying for invasive plantsOnce a watch list species is reported, staff begin the early detection and response process. The report is investigated, and photos or specimens are examined by experts. If identification is positive, a site visit is made to determine the extent of the invasion. For aquatic plants, a boat survey of the waterbody and connecting waters usually is undertaken. 
The state’s aquatic invasive plant early detection and response team has been active since 2011 with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. “The team conducts investigations and responds to positively identified detections by assessing the risk posed by the invading plant, reviewing response options and, if feasible, planning and implementing a response,” said LeSage.
A story map, Aquatic Invasive Species: Early Detection in Michigan, displays locations where surveys for aquatic watch list species have occurred and describes response actions that were taken when positive identifications were confirmed.
Responses are tailored to the situation. A large infestation, such as the widespread areas of European frogbit along the Lake Huron shoreline, may require multiple partners like Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, volunteers and contracted pesticide applicators working together over time to manage it. A smaller discovery, like the 2016 detection of European frogbit in Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, may provide the opportunity to eradicate the plant from the area using chemical application.

“Early detection and response is truly a statewide effort,” said LeSage. “It relies on detection and reporting from citizens across Michigan, as well as monitoring and management support from the local management areas, landowners, local governments and the private sector.” 

Awareness, identification are key

Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed July 2-8, 2017, as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week. Everyone can help in early detection of invasive species by becoming familiar with Michigan’s Watch List and other invasive plants, insects and animals and reporting any sightings. 
Descriptions of watch list species can be found at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. Short identification tutorials for many invasive species are available at www.misin.msu.edu.

MDEQ Minute is a new video series designed to help identify aquatic invasive species. Get a 60-second tutorial on yellow floating heart or New Zealand mudsnail by visiting the Invasive Species website media center.   

To report aquatic invasive plants, call or email DEQ Aquatic Nuisance Control at 517-284-5593 or DEQ-WRD-ANC@michigan.gov. Online reporting is available at www.misin.msu.edu, or download the MISIN app to your smartphone. 

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Guided Bike Tours Take Cyclists Through U.P. into Michigan history

Man in DNR shirt points out sights to group sitting on rock overlooking town03JUL17-Registration is open for the Michigan Iron Industry Museum's popular Iron Ore Heritage Trail bike tours. Offered July 14, 21 and 28, the tours take cyclists on an approximately five-hour, 16-mile journey to explore historic sites and discover stories of the Marquette Iron Range.
Tours begin and end in Negaunee at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum, site of the Carp River Forge, where iron mined on the Marquette Range first was forged in the 1840s. Led by museum historian Troy Henderson, the tour pedals to the Jackson Mine and then continues into Ishpeming, making several stops along the way, including Old Towne Negaunee and the site of the Pioneer Furnace.
“Iron mining on the Marquette Range is a big story to tell,” said Henderson. “The tour combines traditional museum interpretation with visits to sites where the history actually happened. Folks on the tour get the best of both worlds.” 
Tours start at 9 a.m.; pre-registration is required. A $25 fee includes the guided tour, lunch provided by Negaunee’s Midtown Bakery and Café, a Michigan Iron Industry Museum souvenir and a viewing of the museum’s documentary “Iron Spirits: Life on Michigan's Iron Ranges.” More information and a registration form are available on the museum’s Iron Ore Heritage Trail Bike Tours webpage. 

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is a nationally accredited museum located at 73 Forge Road in Negaunee, eight miles west of Marquette; enter off 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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Forest Tent Caterpillar Feeding is Over in Northern Lower Michigan

Forest tent caterpillar defoliation03JUL17-The forest tent caterpillar made life miserable for homeowners and woodlot owners across much of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula this spring as it fed on oak, aspen and sugar maple trees. The good news is that caterpillar feeding has come to an end for this season.
Widespread outbreaks occur in Michigan every 10 to 15 years. Past outbreaks peaked in 1922, 1937, 1952, 1967, 1978, 1990, 2002 and 2010. While caterpillar activity statewide can remain high for up to five years, outbreaks in any one locale normally last for two or three years. Outbreaks decline suddenly once parasites and other natural enemies become active.
“Trees rarely die from forest tent caterpillar defoliation unless they’ve been seriously weakened by drought, late spring frost or other stressors,” said Roger Mech, a forest health specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Heavily defoliated trees will develop a second set of leaves a few weeks after being stripped. These new leaves are often smaller than normal.”
Once caterpillar feeding stops, mass flights of forest tent caterpillar moths can occur in late June and early July. Adult moths do not feed. They will mate and die over the course of a few weeks.
Adult moths have a wingspan of around an inch, are buff-colored and have a broad brown band across the front wings. They are night fliers and often attracted to lights in large numbers.

The forest tent caterpillar is native to Michigan, where it has evolved with the state's forests over the centuries. Fortunately, natural controls also have evolved, helping to prevent widespread damage following outbreaks.

Forest tent caterpillarOne insect in particular, commonly known as the ‘friendly fly,’ is an effective parasite that lays its eggs on forest tent caterpillar cocoons, preventing them from developing into adult moths.
“These large, slow-moving flies do not bite, although they can be a nuisance for a few weeks when their numbers are high,” said Mech. “Just remember, they’re one of the good guys.”
Homeowners with trees that have been heavily defoliated should make sure those trees receive at least one inch of water per week during the growing season. Applying a slow-release tree fertilizer in the fall also will help trees recover quickly and prepare them for any defoliation that might occur next summer.
Now that caterpillar feeding is over, spraying insecticides is not an effective method of control. When caterpillars are small, spraying Bt – a biological insecticide – on the leaves can help protect foliage without affecting natural enemies of the forest tent caterpillar.
Woodlot owners should focus on keeping their forest healthy by periodically removing trees that are dead or in poor condition. This increases the amount of sunlight available to remaining trees and reduces competition for water and nutrients.

A professional forester or consultant can help develop a management plan that will ensure your woodlot is healthy and thriving. Contact your local conservation district or extension office for a list of area foresters. [Friendly Fly (Sarcophaga aldrichi) pictured at right]

For more information on forest pests and diseases, visit www.michigan.gov/foresthealth.

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DNR Dedicates Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area to Former DNR Director Dr. Gordon Guyer

DNR Director Keith Creagh and Guyer's family pose by Dr. Gordon Guyer Augusta Creek Wildlife Area sign03JUL17-Earlier today, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources rededicated the Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area in Kalamazoo County in honor of Gordon Guyer, a tireless advocate for Michigan’s natural resources who died last year at the age of 89.
Recently, the area was renamed the Dr. Gordon Guyer Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area as a tribute to Guyer, who served as the director of the DNR from 1986 to 1988 and was involved in the discussions and evaluation of dedicating the Augusta Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area. Guyer was raised in Augusta and was an enthusiastic hunter, angler and conservationist.
“Dr. Guyer was not just a mentor and a friend to me and many others, but he represented the best of Michigan’s conservation ethic and heritage,” said Keith Creagh, DNR director. “The legacy he left this state will continue for many years. Dedicating this wildlife area in his name is one small way of memorializing that lasting legacy so that future generations of Michigan citizens will know the positive mark Dr. Guyer left on our world-class natural resources.”
In addition to Creagh and other DNR employees, members of the Guyer family and other friends and partners attended the rededication ceremony and helped celebrate Guyer’s contributions. Pheasants were released on the wildlife area as part of the ceremony.

“Michigan’s natural resources, as well as the DNR, played such a key role in the life of my father, both recreationally and professionally, and additionally were truly the basis upon which our wonderful, fulfilling and complete father-son relationship was built, making this dedication and recognition so extra special,” said Dan Guyer, Gordon Guyer’s son. “This is a wonderful honor of my father to have this state game area here in the locale where he grew up, and in recognition of his contributions to, and passion for, this great state of Michigan.”
The Dr. Gordon Guyer Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area, purchased with assistance from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, comprises approximately 386 acres and is dedicated to fishing and hunting.
“With my father’s continual desire to support youth opportunities, hopefully this will be a location where young people can come and take part in some of the pleasures he enjoyed and – as was true for him – gain respect for Michigan’s great natural resources as well as positively influence their futures,” Dan Guyer added.
Guyer graduated from Michigan State University, receiving his bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctorate in entomology. He joined the MSU faculty in 1953 and held many leadership roles on campus. He was the director of MSU Extension from 1973 to 1985, vice president for Governmental Affairs, and MSU president from 1992 to 1993. He held director positions at the DNR, Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Kellogg Biological Station. Guyer traveled extensively for scientific research and led one of the first American scientific groups allowed to visit China in the mid-1970s. He later traveled to Africa under United Nations' sponsorship to develop plant-protection education and research efforts in eight countries.

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U.P. History at Michigan Iron Industry Museum Summer Series

03JUL17-From ghost towns to World War II to the origins of the Michigan State Police, Upper Peninsula history is in the spotlight once again this summer at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee. The museum’s annual Tuesday Afternoon Program Series features authors, scholars and historians offering in-depth presentations that highlight the rich and varied history of the U.P. The weekly series begins Tuesday, July 11, at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
“There are many people researching, documenting and writing stories about the Upper Peninsula,” said museum historian Troy Henderson. "There are even more people – from tourists to longtime residents and others – who are hungry to learn about our U.P. heritage and its role in Michigan history.

“The museum’s program series has become a much-anticipated venue for sharing and learning about these interesting stories.”

This year's Tuesday Afternoon Program Series features:

bulletJuly 11, “Ghost Towns in the Upper Peninsula” by Daniel Truckey
bulletJuly 18, “Magnificent Mansions and Courtly Cottages in the Upper Peninsula” by Sonny Longtine
bulletJuly 25, “Wolf’s Mouth: Upper Peninsula P.O.W. Research Behind the Novel” by John Smolens
bulletAug. 1, “Lake Superior is Truly Superior” by Dr. James Surrell
bulletAug. 8, “Eight Tons a Day: The Soft Ore Mines of the Negaunee District” by Allan Koski
bulletAug. 15, “The Labor Sport Union in the Upper Peninsula” by Dr. Gabe Logan
bulletAug. 22, “Origins of the Michigan State Police in the Upper Peninsula” by Dr. Russell Magnaghi

The complete schedule also is available on the Michigan Iron Industry Museum’s Tuesday Afternoon Program Series webpage.
The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is a nationally accredited museum located at 73 Forge Road in Negaunee, eight 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 to Highlight Safe Boating June 30th Through July 2nd

National campaign seeks to reduce boating under the influence

Operation Dry Water logo - never boat under the influence30JUN17-As the July Fourth holiday approaches, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers will focus on keeping boaters safe through heightened awareness and enforcement of boating under the influence laws. The initiative is part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign, which runs June 30-July 2.
The annual campaign is launched just prior to the July Fourth weekend, when more boaters take to the water and alcohol use increases. It is in coordination with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partners. Through this stepped-up enforcement, the DNR is raising awareness of the hazards associated with boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and is working to decrease the number of accidents attributed to impaired boating and other unsafe boating practices.
“Alcohol and boating don’t mix,” said the DNR's Lt. Tom Wanless, Michigan’s boating law administrator. “Using alcohol impairs reaction time and judgment, just as if you were driving a car. In fact, the effects of alcohol and certain medications are increased on the water due to added stress factors such as the sun, heat, wind, wave motion and engine noise. So be smart and stay sober when boating, and don’t put yourself and others at risk.”

In Michigan, operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol – which means the person has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more – or under the influence of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $500, community service and up to 93 days in jail. It also can result in the loss of boating privileges for at least one year.
If a person is killed or injured due to a driver operating a boat while under the influence, the driver could be charged with a felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.

Boaters can do their part to stay safe on the water by:

bullet Boating sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drug use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
bullet Wearing a life jacket. Eighty-five percent of drowning victims in the U.S. were not wearing life jackets.
bullet Taking a boating safety course. The DNR recommends a safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft. Classes are offered at different locations throughout the state and online, making it convenient and affordable.

Learn more about boating regulations and safety in Michigan at www.michigan.gov/boating.

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 Michigan’s criminal laws. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Saginaw County Man Sentenced in Illegal Deer Baiting Case

20JUN17-A Saginaw County man was fined heavily, ordered to serve jail time, probation and community service, and had his hunting privileges revoked when he was sentenced recently for deer hunting violations he committed during the fall 2016 firearm deer hunting season.
Dexter James Sysak, 40, of Merill was convicted by a District Court jury in April of multiple hunting violations, dating back to Nov. 29th.  He was sentenced June 21st.Sugar beets are shown spread over the field where illegal baiting took place in November 2016.

“Sysak had taken a dump truck of sugar beets and two dump trailers of corn and placed them on his hunting property,” said Michigan Conservation Officer Joseph Myers, who investigated the case. “The actual measure of bait was impossible to count but was estimated at two-and-a-half tons.”
Myers said conservation officers were alerted to a complaint of over use of bait via an anonymous tip to the DNR Report All Poaching hotline (800-292-7800) on Nov. 27th.
The following day, officers went to the area, which turned out to be an old golf course —property owned by Sysak near the Gratiot-Saginaw county line. Myers said he found access to the site using a county road easement.
“I saw a hunting blind on the right and I could see an orange object through the trees,” Myers said. “It was a grain trailer full of corn with the door broken off and about 100 gallons of corn on the ground.”
Corn was spread over a wide area. Myers said he kicked a hard object while walking, which was a sugar beet.
“There was a 150-yard cobblestone road of sugar beets making a J-shape around the blind,” Myers said. “It looked like an individual had drove onto the property and just dumped the sugar beets out of a truck.”

With no name on the blind and no one at the site, Myers didn’t know who owned the land or the property. He decided to return the next day, Nov. 29th.
“There was a truck parked there. I walked up to the blind and there were four individuals in the blind,” Myers said.
Myers said he saw Sysak pick up a hunter orange vest as Myers approached the blind.
After interviewing Sysak, Myers determined the bait, far in excessive of the 2-gallon limit, had been in the area for some time.
“Sysak also admitted to me that he had taken a 9-point buck over the illegal bait, making it an illegal deer,” Myers said. “I seized evidence and cited the suspect.”
Myers said Sysak showed him the gun he used and where he shot the deer from. He also told Myers which meat processor the deer had been taken to, a place just a couple miles down the road.
Myers contacted the processor and recovered the deer meat and antlers.

Sysak pleaded not guilty.
A jury trial was held April 28th in District Court 65B in Ithaca in Gratiot County, where Sysak was found guilty by the panel of six jurors on all three charges against him. Those misdemeanors included an over limit of bait, failing to wear hunter orange and taking a deer by an illegal method.

Myers said Sysak admitted the facts necessary to prove the case during his testimony at trial. He also admitted he had rented a dump truck to place the bait on the property.
Sysak was sentenced June 21 to serve 45 days in jail, fined roughly $15,000, including $6,500 reimbursement for the deer and ordered to serve 90 hours of community service to the DNR once his jail sentence is served. He was banned from all DNR activities during his 2-year probation term. All sport license privileges were revoked through 2022.
The meat from the deer will be given to needy families in the community.
There were extensive terms set for Sysak’s probation. If any of those terms are violated, it would be grounds for Sysak serving up to 1 year in jail and potential lifetime revoking of his hunting license privileges.

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

Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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DNR Seeks Input on Draft Cheboygan State Park Management Plan

Cheboygan State Park's beach20JUN17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on a new draft general management plan for Cheboygan State Park. The DNR will host a public meeting Thursday, July 13th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cheboygan Area Public Library, 100 S. Bailey St. in Cheboygan.
The draft general management plan defines a long-range (10- to 20-year) planning and management strategy that will assist the DNR Parks and Recreation Division in meeting its responsibilities to 1) protect and preserve the site’s natural and cultural resources, and 2) provide access to land- and water-based public recreation and educational opportunities. 
A link to the Cheboygan State Park draft general management plan and additional information on the DNR’s general management plan process can be found on the DNR’s General Management Plan website at michigan.gov/parkmanagementplans.
Cheboygan State Park is located on the shores of Lake Huron and Duncan Bay, approximately four miles east of the city of Cheboygan, at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This 1,345-acre state park features a swimming beach, carry-in boat launch and seven miles of hiking, biking and ski trails that provide access to scenic Lake Huron vistas and glimpses of rare wildflowers. Visitors have a choice of lodging, including modern camping, tepees, rustic cabins and a modern lodge. In addition, the majority of the park is open to hunting, and plenty of fishing opportunities are available in Duncan Bay and Elliot Creek  a designated trout stream that flows through the park.

The July 13 meeting will begin with a short overview presentation of the draft plan. The public is welcome to attend at any time during the two-hour period to review the planning materials, provide comments and talk to DNR staff. Comments also may be sent via email through July 21 to DNR park management plan administrator Debbie Jensen at jensend1@michigan.gov.

For more information about the public input meeting or the proposed plan, contact Jensen at 517-284-6105 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) or jensend1@michigan.gov. Anyone with disabilities who needs accommodations for the meeting should contact Jensen at least five business days before the meeting.

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DNR Partners ‘Working for Wildlife’ in SW MI Oak Savanna Restoration

30JUN17-Picture yourself in a beautiful park-like setting with scattered, sprawling oak trees framed against a brilliant blue sky. As you bring your eyes toward the ground you see a blanket of wildflowers punctuated by clumps of grasses as far as the eye can see.
The air is sweet with nectar, and you see countless butterflies and notice deer and turkeys foraging in the distance. You hear the sweet trill of a multitude of birds and feel a breeze through the leaves of the bur oak in front of youA large tree and an open savanna is shown..

This is how one settler described walking through an oak savanna in southern Michigan.
“Tallgrass prairie and associated savanna were at their continental boundary in southern Michigan when white settlers arrived and had largely disappeared before scientists could describe them,” Kim Alan Chapman and Richard Brewer, of the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University, said in their scientific paper on the history, classification and ecology of prairie and savanna in southern Lower Michigan.
Chapman and Brewer said the historical extent of upland prairie, wet prairie and savanna in Michigan was estimated to be 2.23 million acres, with savanna constituting 78 percent.
“Today over 99 percent of these original savannas are gone,” said Ken Kesson, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties. “This is unfortunate, as many wildlife species use savannas for all or part of their life cycle.”
Savannas provide valuable habitat for many wildlife species such as Karner blue butterflies, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, upland sandpipers, prairie voles, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and fox squirrels.

“Savanna, a fire-maintained plant community co-dominated by herbaceous plants and trees, was called oak openings or oak barrens by European settlers, depending on the type of soil and tree species,” according to Chapman and Brewer. “…Given the historical abundance and modern rarity of prairie and savanna in Michigan, their ecological status is of great scientific and conservation interest.”

Check out a community abstract on dry-mesic prairie, associated with oak savanna, in southern Michigan from the Michigan Natural Features Inventory. (For print readers, find this story and link online at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories)

In southwest Michigan, the DNR Wildlife Division has identified savannas as a priority ecosystem for habitat restoration and management. Consequently, savanna management is occurring on many of the state game areas and sites on private lands throughout the area.

An elegant-looking yellow swallowtail butterfly is sitting on a purple flower.One example of work being done on public land is the Preston Road Savanna Project at the Three Rivers State Game Area in western St. Joseph County.
This unique project highlights how partners from the private and public sectors can work together to complete an excellent restoration project that benefits wildlife species, provides a valuable boost to Michigan’s economy and offers exceptional recreational opportunities for state game area visitors.
The Preston Road savanna was historically a black oak savanna.
“In evaluating the site during the summer of 2015, DNR staff identified scattered, large, open-grown oak trees and several savanna indicator species in the understory,” Kesson said. “These observations indicated the site may respond positively to restoration and management efforts.”
During the spring of 2016, Northrop Logging, a local timber company, approached the DNR about the possibility of harvesting hardwood chip material from state-managed lands.
DNR staff recognized the opportunity to work together with the timber company and capitalize on the new, local market demand for chip material to remove trees that had invaded the Preston Road savanna site.
“It’s nice to have the opportunity to work close to home with the local land managers,” said Al Northrop, owner of Northrop Logging. “It saves us money in trucking and provides a good product that we need.”

The harvested wood chips eventually will be used by another local company from Holland, Michigan to create wood pellets for heating homes across the Midwest.
“The DNR strives to work with local companies and organizations to achieve mutually beneficial goals,” Russ Mason, DNR Wildlife Division chief, said. “Partnerships such as this enable us to accomplish projects that otherwise may be impossible or too costly to complete independently.”A group of bright yellow western sunflowers is shown.

The timber harvest and chipping process was completed this spring, and further restoration efforts have been initiated. The process of clearing the woody debris left from the timber operation is currently underway.
At the same time, the DNR realized an opportunity, through another partnership, to enhance wildlife habitat in at the Crane Pond State Game Area in neighboring Cass County.
The agency worked with Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. and Pheasants Forever to leverage mitigation funds from an Enbridge pipeline replacement project to receive additional funding to favorably impact the site.
“With funding from Enbridge Energy and Pheasants Forever we were able to improve local habitat conditions in the same area where habitat was impacted by pipeline replacement – thereby balancing local impacts with local improvements,” said Mark Sargent, DNR Wildlife Division southwest region supervisor. “This was an excellent example of preparation meets opportunity, and in 2016 the project began.”
The site soon will be treated to combat invasive species. Previously farmed openings will be planted to generate a high-quality savanna restoration mix of plant species. Areas that have plants that could potentially help rejuvenate seed banks will be allowed to regenerate.

Habitat rehabilitation at the site will require continued management for several years, but in the end, the result will be a quality oak savanna for the people of Michigan to enjoy and visit for generations to come.
“The project would not have been possible without strong partnerships involving the private sector to accomplish the clearing work, and through the generous support of Enbridge Energy and coordination through Pheasants Forever,” Kesson said.

A large, blue Projects like the Preston Road savanna work demonstrate how strong partnerships can be used to affect quality management of state lands.
There are many other projects in the DNR’s southwest region that also highlight how the DNR is working for wildlife by cooperating with conservation partners, local communities, businesses and organizations.
Habitat destruction has a major impact on game and non-game animals, including threatened and endangered species. Strengthening ecosystems, in this case oak savanna, through habitat work is critical to the survival of Michigan’s wildlife.
Chapman and Brewer said, “Michigan’s extensive savannas defined much of southern Lower Michigan and were characterized by a complex interaction of fire, tree canopy cover, and herbaceous plant diversity.
“Soils, landscape setting, drought, and other disturbances influenced these interactions. The oak grubs found in Michigan’s savannas and described by early writers are now understood as essential for perpetuating the tree canopy of fire-maintained savannas.
These remnants represent less than 0.1 percent of Michigan’s historical prairie and savanna acreage.”

 

In their “Prairie and Savanna in Southern Lower Michigan: History, Classification, Ecology” — which was published in the Michigan Botanist — Chapman and Brewer said, given this historic loss of habitat, “any remnant should be protected, but especially the oak openings, which were a dominant ecological feature of southern Lower Michigan.
“Since oak openings existed on a large scale, small reserves are insufficient to represent former ecological processes and encompass the majority of animal and plant species characteristic of oak openings.”
The writers urged conservation groups and natural resource agencies “to identify, protect and restore large blocks of oak openings in southern Michigan, especially those that contain other prairie and savanna plant communities.”

For more information on DNR “Working for Wildlife” projects, visit www.mi.gov/workingforwildlife.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles.

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Ann Arbor Seminar Focuses on Timber Uses for Mid-rise Construction

30JUN17-Architects, engineers and contractors are invited to participate in a seminar showcasing the use of wood and other renewable materials in the construction of mid-rise buildings in Michigan.
Participants will learn about the variety of mass timber products available, including glue-laminated timber, cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber and other engineered systems. The seminar also will provide information about building codes for mid-rise wood-frame buildings, including fire resistance and safety.

Sponsored by WoodWorks and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the seminar is set for:

bullet Tuesday, July 11, 2017
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, 1401 Briarwood Circle
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

To register, visit www.woodworks.org/events. The cost is $20 and includes lunch. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. Attendees can earn professional development credits through the American Institute of Architects and Professional Development Hours for Engineers.
"Mass timber products are cutting-edge technology in the forest products and commercial building industries," said David Neumann, DNR forest products utilization and marketing specialist. "They are examples of responsible architecture, building design and engineering, in addition to providing opportunities to showcase the use of renewable natural resources.” 
Around the world, interest in the use of mass timber products in structural framing of mid-rise buildings has been increasing due to the environmental and aesthetic benefits of wood. As one of the leaders in the production of certified wood products in the Midwest, Michigan is poised to be near the front of a trend toward sustainable construction.
“Mass timber construction can often be less expensive than non-wood alternatives for comparable aesthetic and functional designs. Pre-fabricated components allow for faster construction and lighter equipment,” Neumann said. “In addition, mass timber buildings are more energy-efficient. They cost less to insulate, reduce our carbon footprint and are made possible through an entirely renewable resource.”

The DNR is committed to the sustainable management of forest resources, and supports this workshop series as part of an effort to promote the use of wood in construction. To find wood products manufacturers located in Michigan, visit the free Forest Products Industry Directory maintained by the DNR at www.michigan.gov/wood.

About WoodWorks

WoodWorks - Wood Products Council provides free project assistance as well as education and resources related to the code-compliant design, engineering and construction of non-residential and multi-family wood buildings. WoodWorks technical experts offer support from design through construction on a wide range of building types, including mid-rise/multi-residential, educational, commercial, retail, office, institutional and public.

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Michigan Duck Stamps and Prints Available Now

2017 Michigan duck stamp, featuring pair of northern shovelers30JUN17-The Michigan Duck Hunters Association, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, introduces the 2017 collector's edition Michigan duck stamp and prints.
The Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program, established in 1976, has become an icon for waterfowl hunters and wetland conservation enthusiasts. During the past 41 years, the program has gained popularity with collectors and conservation groups throughout the United States.
The Michigan Duck Hunters Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waterfowl and wetland conservation, coordinates the program in partnership with the DNR. Proceeds from stamp sales will be used to fund Michigan Duck Hunters Association projects, with 10 percent used to match DNR funding for purchasing, restoring and enhancing wetlands.
The 2017 Michigan duck stamp features a striking pair of northern shovelers, painted by Guy Crittenden. Crittenden, a wildlife artist from Richmond, Virginia, has won the Virginia duck stamp competition four times since 2005.  He won the Connecticut and the Michigan duck stamp competitions in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and has placed as high as fifth in the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

Purchasing Michigan waterfowl stamps and prints helps to ensure continued conservation of wetlands and waterfowl habitat. To learn more about the Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program and supporting conservation efforts in Michigan through the purchase of limited-edition signed and numbered prints and collector's edition stamps, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl (under Additional Resources and then Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Program). Purchasing the stamps is voluntary and does not replace the state waterfowl hunting license.  

MDHA also will mail individuals who purchase a 2017 waterfowl hunting license a free copy of the stamp (subject to availability) if they send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a copy of their Michigan waterfowl hunting license to: MDHA Waterfowl Stamp Program, P.O. Box 186, Kawkawlin, MI 48631

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National Experts Return to U.P. Trappers Association Convention

30JUN17-Fur trappers Les Johnson from “Predator Quest” and Lesel Reuwsaat, who has been a frequent guest on the F&T Freedom Outdoors television program, will be among the demonstrators at the Upper Peninsula Trappers Association convention and outdoor expo in Escanaba.

Lesel Reuwsaat is all smiles as he poses with some beautiful coyote and fox pelts that are ready for market. (Photo courtesy of Lesel Reuwsaat).The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, June 30 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at the U.P. State Fairgrounds, which is located along U.S. 2 in Escanaba.
“These gentlemen will join an all-star line-up of outdoor experts who will be giving presentations on the trapping and hunting of furbearers,” said Bob Steinmetz, National Trapping Association director.
Johnson, from Nebraska, is regarded as the “best coyote caller” in the world. He produces his own television show, Predator Quest, for the Sportsman’s Channel. His action-packed videos are well-known to trappers.
He has been honored with numerous awards including the Coyote Calling Triple Crown and he has been named Sportsman of the Year numerous times.
“Les is always a big hit at our convention” said Jeremy Lundin, secretary and treasurer of the U.P. Trappers Association’s District 3. “Along with the sharing of his skills, he is very personable and friendly toward those who attend his demos.”

Reuwsaat is from South Dakota and is a professional trapper and lure maker. Each year, he captures over 400 coyotes and 300 raccoons, along with big numbers of fox and badger.
His reputation is well-known and he is well-respected among the ranks of trappers.
“Lesel has been here before and does a great job,” said Duane Halvas, a longtime U.P. Trappers Association member. “We welcome him again and hope he continues to return to our convention.”
In addition to Johnson and Reuwsaat, the convention will feature presenters John Chagnon, Rusty Johnson, Harry Nestell, Rich Clark, Jeff Dunlap and Greg Schroeder.
The convention is expected to draw over 3,000 attendees. Activities for children are planned, including a fishing pond, mini raffles and games. Food and refreshments will be available. In addition, a wide variety of items will be for sale from vendors and tailgaters.
“The list of vendors and tailgaters just keeps on growing. The wide variety of items for sale or swap available is sure to offer things of interest to everyone” said Roy Dahlgren, president of U.P. Trappers’ Association’s District 3. “Great prices, no shipping charges and availability of needed items are sure to please attendees.”
Dahlgren said the convention is a great preview of what’s to come with the National Trappers Association Convention being held in the Upper Peninsula in 2018.
For more information, including biographies of the presenters, visit www.uptrappers.com.
Admission to the convention is $5 each day, with kids age 12 and under admitted free of charge. Camping on the grounds is available.

For more information contact Roy Dahlgren at (906) 399-1960, or trapperroy@outlook.com.

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

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DNR Crystal Falls Field Office to be Remodeled

Office will continue to serve customers over the 6- to 8-week renovation project

30JUN17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will soon be updating the Crystal Falls field office in Iron County — the first time the office has been substantially renovated since the building was constructed in 1970.
“The field office will undergo a complete interior remodel,” said Tim Melko, the DNR’s western Upper Peninsula administrative area manager. “This will include new carpet, paint, furniture, improved conference rooms, and lobby redesign to improve customer service.”The lobby area shown here will be enlarged as part of the remodeling project.

During the renovation, the office will remain open to the public from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CDT weekdays.
The remodel is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete.
“We will begin the full-scale renovation process Wednesday, July 5,” Melko said. “Phone and walk-in customer service, including information and license sales, will be available at the Crystal Falls field office with no anticipated interruptions.”
“We are looking forward to completing this remodel of the field office at Crystal Falls,” Melko said. “The updated accommodations will provide a better place to greet the public and address their questions or concerns, while also giving us an improved working environment for our DNR employees.”
The DNR’s Crystal Falls field office is located along U.S. 2, just west of the intersection with U.S. 141. The office is staffed with 10 employees representing the DNR forest resources, fisheries, wildlife, law enforcement and facilities and operations divisions.
For more information, contact the Crystal Falls Field Office at 906-875-6622.
The DNR maintains offices providing customer service in the Upper Peninsula at Baraga, Marquette, Newberry, Crystal Falls, Ishpeming, Escanaba, Gwinn, Naubinway, Norway and Sault Ste. Marie.

To find out more about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, visit the DNR’s website at: www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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State Terminates Independent Contractor Analyzing Line 5 risks

DNV GL failed to follow conflict of interest rule; second contractor’s alternatives report continues

29JUN17-The State of Michigan today terminated a contract with Det Norske Veritas, Inc. (DNV GL), the firm preparing a risk analysis report on the Line 5 pipeline below the Straits of Mackinac. The contract was terminated prior to the draft report being delivered to the state’s project team.
Within the past month, the state’s project team became aware that an employee who had worked on the risk analysis at DNV GL subsequently worked on another project for Enbridge Energy Co., Inc., which owns the Line 5 pipeline, while the risk analysis was being completed. This is a violation of conflict of interest prohibitions contained in the contract.
“We took the initiative to terminate the contract based on our commitment to the complete integrity and transparency of this report.  Ultimately the state will have to decide how to proceed with Line 5 and we can’t do that if there is any doubt regarding the nature of the information,” said C. Heidi Grether, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
“The evaluations of Line 5 were supposed to be independent, not tainted by outside opinions or information, but that’s not what happened. Instead, our trust was violated and we now find ourselves without a key piece needed to fully evaluate the financial risks associated with the pipeline that runs through our Great Lakes, this is unacceptable,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “Terminating the contract is the only option we have to maintain the integrity of the risk analysis.”
DNV GL was hired by the state in 2016 following an extensive request for proposal process including review and selection by a team with diverse technical backgrounds. The contract requires that DNV GL employees working on the risk assessment maintain complete independence from any other project involving Enbridge during the term and length of the contract.
At the same time it hired DNV GL, the state also hired a separate firm, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems, Inc., to prepare an alternative analysis report on the Line 5 pipeline. 
“The State put strict rules in place that required both contractors to avoid any appearance of impropriety. We are disappointed that those requirements were not followed by DNV GL, as that rendered the work essentially unusable to us,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “That led to us making today’s decision to terminate the contract.”
Dynamic Risk Assessment System’s draft report is proceeding and will be delivered to the state project team by the end of this month. Their draft alternative analysis will be posted on the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline website, www.mipetroleumpipelines.com, for public review and comment by the end of the month.
“Public discussion of the alternatives analysis will help inform next steps regarding the risk analysis on Line 5,” said Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Fundamental to the state’s actions is a shared commitment to protecting our Great Lakes.”
Representatives from Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems will present their findings to the public on July 6, 2017, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Holt High School, 5885 Holt Road, Holt, Michigan, 48842. Later in July, the state will hold three public feedback sessions on the report: July 24 in the Lansing area and Traverse City; and July 25 in St. Ignace.

The State of Michigan commissioned the two independent contractors to complete risk and alternative analyses on the Line 5 pipeline following a recommendation in the 2015 Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report.  

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Appreciating Your Neighborhood Canada Geese

DNR offers tips for avoiding problems with beautiful but plentiful birds

Canada goose in flight28JUN17-Perhaps one of the most recognizable birds in Michigan is the large, regal-looking Canada goose. Once a rare sight in Michigan, Canada geese now are very plentiful in the state – so plentiful that some people tend to think of them as pests. The Department of Natural Resources reminds Michigan residents that, with a little patience, understanding and perseverance, homeowners can learn to respect and appreciate these beautiful birds.
The subspecies of goose that is most plentiful in Michigan is the giant Canada goose. Because they are so abundant, many would never suspect that the giant Canada goose subspecies nearly was extinct in the 1950s because of unregulated, excessive hunting and wetland habitat loss.
In recent years, the giant Canada goose has experienced population explosions in areas throughout North America due, in part, to the success of wildlife management programs and the adaptability of these birds. In Michigan today, the number of giant Canada geese counted each spring is well over 300,000. They nest in every Michigan county, but are most common in the southern third of the state, where 78 percent of the goose population is found.
Geese are herbivores and prefer grass shoots, aquatic vegetation, seed heads and various grains. Adult Canada geese have very few predators.

“In general, geese have benefited from the way humans have altered the landscape,” said Holly Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “Canada geese are attracted to areas that provide food, water and protection. Urban and suburban areas with lakes and ponds and neatly manicured lawns offer all the resources that geese need to survive.
“During the summer months, Canada geese can be a problem for some property owners, as they are very adaptable creatures and can live close to humans.”

These simple tips can help keep geese away from your yard:  

bulletMake your yard less attractive to geese by allowing the grass to grow long and refrain from fertilizing or watering it.
 
bulletUse scare tactics like bird-scare balloons, loud noises and mylar tape to make unwanted geese leave the area.
 
bulletApply repellents to the lawn to deter geese from feeding on the grass. Grape concentrate is useful for yards and turf.  
 
bulletIn June and July, Canada geese are unable to fly because they are molting. Construct a temporary barrier between your yard and the water to keep flightless geese out.
 
bulletDo not feed Canada geese. Artificial feeding can habituate them as well as harm their digestive system. Bread products are not beneficial to waterfowl survival.
 
bulletBe aware of your surroundings when visiting parks and areas near water. Canada geese are protective of their nests and hatchlings. Do not disturb them or get too close.

Vaughn said that the key to success is using a variety of techniques to keep the geese guessing, as they will get accustomed to just one scare tactic. Some sites have good luck with hiring a contractor that specializes in goose control, including using dogs to scare birds away when they first arrive in the spring. If multiple techniques have been tried and have been unsuccessful, the DNR offers a Resident Canada Goose Program that can permit nest and egg destruction and roundup and relocation by a licensed contractor in some areas of the state.

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. To learn more about goose hunting, visit michigan.gov/waterfowl.

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DNR Partners with Schoolcraft County to Improve Wildlife Area

28JUN17-This spring and summer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife division staffers are improving the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County, with the help of county community corrections workers.
The 100-acre wildlife area is situated about 7 miles northwest of Manistique, off Wawaushnosh Drive in Hiawatha Township. The site has a walking trail and elevated observation platform offering great opportunities for watching eagles, trumpeter swans, a variety of migrating songbirds, ducks and other wildlife.

Recent improvements at the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County include covering a trail with cedar chips and reworking landscaping.Recently, the 93rd District Court Community Corrections Program of Schoolcraft County helped DNR wildlife division workers place cedar wood chips and mulch along the 800-foot-long pathway, and picked up garbage throughout the area.
The District Court includes Schoolcraft and Alger counties and Judge Mark Luoma presides over court cases from those two jurisdictions.
Magistrate David Maddox said the court is pleased to assist the DNR with this type of project. Community corrections workers are expected to continue to help the DNR throughout the summer at the site.
“Judge Luoma continues to value the role that community service plays in the judicial process, and projects like this highlight that commitment,” Maddox said. “We look forward to collaborating with the DNR on similar projects in the future.”
DNR wildlife biologist Cody Norton, who works at the Cusino field office in Shingleton, said additional work at the wildlife viewing area being completed this year includes clearing saplings from in front of the viewing platform, repairing rotting or broken lumber on the viewing platform and kiosk, and re-doing the landscaping around a memorial located at the site.

A map from an interpretive display shows the layout of the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area in Schoolcraft County.“The community corrections workers have been a big help in our efforts to make repairs and improvements at the Rainey Wildlife area,” Norton said. “We greatly appreciate their help on this cooperative project.”
The walking trail at the site is accessible to all, including the lower platform at the viewing area, with scenic boardwalk areas and a crossing over a wetlands area. From the platform, Smith Creek, Indian Lake and Smith Slough are visible.
Check out more information on the site at www.visitmanistique.com/rainey.shtml.
In 1984, the Michigan Conservation Foundation received a gift of 100 acres from the Roland Dorothy Hoholik and Donald and Cecile Hoholik families. The land was deeded to the DNR by the foundation, with a stipulation the project would be funded by the foundation, with help from the Rainey family, in memory of Gary L. Rainey (1954-1981), who was an avid outdoorsman.
The wildlife area is one of many vacation, recreation and nature attractions in the area.
“Southern Schoolcraft County is a great part of the Upper Peninsula to visit,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “In addition to the fantastic bird watching available at the Rainey Memorial Wildlife Area, Indian Lake State Park, the sites and shops of Manistique, with its picturesque Lake Michigan boardwalk, and the state’s largest free-flowing spring at Palms Book State Park are all here.”

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More Peregrine Falcons Find a Home in Southeast Michigan

peregrine falcon perched on top of building27JUN17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have released a report highlighting nearly 40 years’ worth of monitoring data on peregrine falcons in southeast Michigan. These data show that the southeast Michigan Peregrine falcon population has expanded from five young birds, which were reintroduced in 1987, to 15 nesting pairs that reared 30 young in 2016 – a remarkable recovery for a species once listed as federally endangered.
The complete report includes a history of peregrine falcons in Michigan, status and trends of nesting birds from 1987-2016, and management and research needs into the future. 
Peregrines are considered endangered in Michigan, though they are no longer federally endangered, so monitoring them is important as their population recovers from a major decrease in the 1960s. The Peregrine falcon population declined precipitously as the shells of peregrine eggs became extremely fragile because adult birds had accumulated DDT, a pesticide that interfered with calcium metabolism. By 1968, the entire U.S. Peregrine falcon population east of the Mississippi was gone. 
Michigan began its peregrine recovery efforts in 1986. In 1993, the Peregrines in Michigan began reproducing successfully. In 2016, there were 54 nest sites in the entire state, and 29 of them produced young. Thirteen of the 29 sites that produced young were in southeast Michigan. There currently are 29 sites being monitored for Peregrine nesting in the southeastern part of the state.   

“The Peregrine falcon recovery in southeast Michigan is a true conservation success story,” said Christine Becher, southeast Michigan peregrine falcon nesting coordinator for the DNR. “One thing we must all remember is that we share the same ecosystem with Peregrine falcons, and if southeast Michigan is cleaner for Peregrine falcons, it is cleaner for all of us.”
Peregrines are crow-sized birds with a wingspan of 36 to 44 inches. Adults have slate-gray backs and barred breasts, while immature birds have brown backs and heavily streaked breasts. All Peregrines have prominent cheek ("moustache") marks on either side of their head. As is true in most species of birds of prey, the female is larger than the male – female peregrines average 32 ounces in weight, while males average only 22 ounces.
These falcons require large areas of open air for hunting, and are not found in areas that are heavily forested. The diet of the peregrine falcon includes a wide variety of small birds, including pigeons, seabirds, shorebirds and songbirds. Occasionally, they have been known to take small ducks, earning them the misleading name "duck hawks." Peregrines hunt by diving at their prey from far above and catching it in mid-flight. During these incredible dives, called "stoops," the birds can reach speeds of 180 miles per hour.

Learn more about peregrine falcons.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. 

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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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