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Public Meetings on Proposed Deer Antler Point Restrictions


21SEP18-The Thumb Hunters for APRs organization will host two public meetings to explain and answer questions about its proposal for new deer antler point restrictions (APRs) for Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair and Tuscola counties.

The meetings will take place:

  • Monday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Yale High School, 247 School Drive in Yale
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Ubly Heights Golf Course, 2409 East Atwater Road in Ubly

The proposal seeks to require that all antlered deer harvested in those five counties have at least four antler points on one side. The restriction will be considered for implementation starting with the 2019 deer season. Antlerless deer regulations within the proposed area would continue to be determined by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Under guidelines adopted by the Natural Resources Commission, mandatory regulations proposed by sponsoring organizations will be implemented only when a clear majority of 66 percent support among hunters in the proposed area is documented. Support will be determined by a DNR survey mailed to a random sample of hunters who indicated on the 2017 DNR deer harvest survey that they hunted deer in one of the five counties.

“This group has brought forward a proposal in line with our current APR initiation guidelines,” said DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart. “These public meetings are one of the final items to complete before a survey moves forward to gauge support for the regulation.” 

Landowners in the proposed counties who would like to offer input about the proposal may email their comments to DNR-wildlife@michigan.gov.

The survey will be mailed starting in December 2018. Survey results will be available in the spring of 2019 and will be presented to the NRC for consideration. While the NRC retains full authority over decisions to implement APR and other harvest regulations, the proposal review process provides valuable information to inform those decisions.

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Volunteers Prove Michigan Cares for Tourism at Fort Wilkins

By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Volunteers drill holes in park bench boards at Fort Wilkins.

21SEP18-Not long after the early morning sunlight broke Monday over the gray-shingled roofs at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, the dizzying sounds of a swarm of activity began to fill the skies from behind the pointed stockade fence.
Hammers rang. Power drills whirred. There were also the soft, wispy sounds of paint brushes being pushed and pulled over wood-plank surfaces. There was activity everywhere.
Amid it all were the voices of the young and old – talking, sharing instruction, support and laughs – because at the heart of all this effort were people.
These individuals, from cities and towns across the state, passionate and kind, made up a powerful all-volunteer workforce nearly 160 strong.
They assembled for a couple of days near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula under a single banner proclaiming “Michigan Cares for Tourism.”

Beginnings

“We started the program in 2012, partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Travel Michigan, Indian Trails, Grand Valley State University, an organization called Tourism Cares that did similar events on a national level and a marketing company by the name of Driven,” said Patty Janes, volunteer coordinator for Michigan Cares for Tourism and a professor of hospitality and tourism management at Grand Valley State University.

Patty Janes, right, talks with Doug Rich of the Michigan DNR at Fort Wilkins.

“So, the six of us came together and said, ‘Could we bring the tourism industry together to donate time, resources and effort to help restore our historic attractions in Michigan,’ knowing full well that the 260 (attractions) that the state managed, for an example, had a maintenance deficit in the millions of dollars?”
The answer was “yes.”
Over the past six years, the organization has empowered 2,365 volunteers over 10 projects, including seven multiple-day efforts.
This week’s work at Fort Wilkins was backed by the in-kind and financial contributions of more than 60 businesses and organizations.
“It’s a zero-base budget project. We don’t have money,” Janes said. “The only way the projects work is if the industry cares.”
A board of 20 organizes the group’s projects, taking on one each autumn. The group has previously worked in the Upper Peninsula at Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County.

Ezra Swanson of Shelby peels bark from fence poles at Fort Wilkins.Personal contributions

At Fort Wilkins, some of the volunteers drove 12 hours to get there. Seventy came on Indian Trails buses from Grand Rapids and Detroit. The other 90 traveled on their own. They averaged four nights spent in the region.
Ezra Swanson drove up to Copper Harbor with his dad and his sister from Shelby in the western part of the Lower Peninsula. Swanson is 16 and his sister is 18.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a pretty good thing to do. It’s pretty neat,” Swanson said, who was participating in his first volunteer effort with the organization. “Especially, I love history so it’s nice to see that people are still taking care of that, trying to preserve history.”
In the morning, he was involved in rebuilding the stockade fence. Afternoon found him standing in a pile of wood shavings, helping to strip bark from logs for new posts.
Swanson said he would recommend the organization to others.

“It’s nice to be working with your hands,” he said. “I grew up on a farm, so I work with my hands a lot, but it’s nice to be doing more of that, meeting other people, more Michiganders, more Wolverines, so it’s nice to do that too.”
Corrina Kostrzewa, 19, of Jackson is in her third year studying at Michigan Tech in Houghton. She came to Fort Wilkins to volunteer with her dad.

Mark and Corrina Kostrzewa of Jackson work on preparing a fence post for the stockade at Fort Wilkins.

“I just heard about it through my dad, and he’s done it for multiple years and so I figured I’d want to join,” she said. “And since coming up to Michigan Tech, the U.P. has become my home. So, anything I can do to restore a historic site in the area, that’s pretty awesome.” 
Corrina’s dad, Mark Kostrzewa, works as a front desk manager at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek.
“This is my fifth event with Michigan Cares,” he said.
He has helped pour concrete and paint at a picnic shelter at Belle Isle Park, cleared brush and helped remove invasive plant species near Roscommon, and shoveled and hauled limestone to help lay a pathway in Saugatuck.
He first heard about Michigan Cares for Tourism years ago when one of his work colleagues went to the governor’s conference on Mackinac Island and heard about it.
“We signed up the first year, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” he said. “This year, FireKeepers has four people here.

 So, we’ve been slowly growing the group that we bring because we think it’s a great effort.
“I think it’s great that we leave something behind.”
At Fort Wilkins, crew leaders were hoping a stockade fence would be finished by the end of the day. Instead, the crew came within four or five posts of finishing the work by lunchtime.
“Because it takes so much to take care of these facilities and the DNR has a lot on their hands, I know myself, I think everybody else takes pride in the ability to come and give back to areas that matter to Michigan,” Kostrzewa said.

Some of the Michigan Cares for Tourism volunteers enjoy lunch at Fort Wilkins.

A third of the volunteers had to take a day off work to come to Fort Wilkins.
More than half had to pay for housing or other items out of their own pockets to volunteer. A $50 fee is paid to reserve a spot on the volunteer roster, with that money used to buy T-shirts and other items of appreciation given back to the workers. 
“That’s been the fascinating model for me. People just give, and when people are giving like that, how does that not become the perfect world?” Janes asked, rhetorically. “They’re giving for something bigger than themselves, and they are spending their time to come all this way to give to others.”

More benefits

Though the cultural-historical impact is the mainstay of the Michigan Cares for Tourism effort, there are additional benefits realized.
Volunteers have a fun and enriching experience, networking together while they work, which can aid in development of other projects and other efforts taking place with other organizations across the state.
They also gain first-hand knowledge about Michigan’s historic and cultural attractions.

Kyle Loup, a park ranger at Van Riper State Park, was working as a foreman in charge of a staining project, leading a crew of seven, enjoying his first opportunity to volunteer with the group.

Volunteers clear brush along the edge of Lake Fanny Hooe at Fort Wilkins.

He started working for the DNR as a summer ranger at Fayette Historic State Park. He loves history.
“With the history and the tourism, that sparked my interest,” he said. “It was five summers at Fayette, so to come up here kind of brings back memories.
“In general, this is a great experience because, just for the fact that you get to meet a lot of different people, (who) come from different cultures, all different backgrounds and all areas of the state.”
The group’s stay has an economic impact on the local community, and the work to improve the park will help increase the number of annual visitors, which feeds back into the community’s economic good fortune.
Doug Rich, western U.P. district supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division, said local business folks are aware Fort Wilkins is the iconic attraction bringing visitors to Copper Harbor.
“If we improve this, it improves the entire business climate of the community because it’s all connected,” Rich said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all one big team.”

Proof in the pudding

Bob Wild, acting park supervisor at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, said Monday’s work at the fort was his first involvement with the organization. He called it a “pretty amazing effort.”
“They’re accomplishing everything from redoing our ADA-accessible paths to helping to paint some of the toilet-restroom buildings in the campground. A lot of the focus is on the historic fort complex,” Wild said. “We’re painting exterior walls, we’re painting interior, re-decking, replacing stockage walls, we’ve got crews out doing trail restoration work, lots of trimming work going on, there’s a lot of projects going, replacing picnic tables and park bench boards, a lot of crews out there working various different projects.”
Wild, who has worked as a park interpreter at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan’s largest state park – said the volunteer effort fills a distinct need, important to any park.

Volunteers work to rehabilitate a porch at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.

“It’s a lot of work that’s really difficult for park staff to get to because a lot of this kind of work requires a lengthy period of time where you can have uninterrupted, focused work,” he said. “There’s going to be 1,000 hours with all these people working a full day’s shift of uninterrupted, focused work.
“It’s a huge time saver for the park and a great benefit for the park and the public who are going to come here and see the results of all this work.”
Barry James, a historian at Fort Wilkins, agreed.
“Through the (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division and the Michigan History Center, we established a priority list of projects to be done by Michigan Cares for Tourism here at Fort Wilkins, and we were able to come up with 23 projects that we thought could be completed during their six to seven volunteer hours in one day at the fort,” James said.
“They’ve been able to get to some projects that have been on a to-do list for several years. So, to have this amount of volunteer labor and to be able to get to some projects that probably wouldn’t have been reached or gotten to in several years is great, not only for the site, but for the preservation of the buildings and to prepare and move on for the future.”

James said the work involved “primarily routine maintenance projects, like painting and clearing brush through view sheds, historic view sheds, to open those up for the public to be able to see vistas that the soldiers and miners saw almost 175 years ago.”
Rich said park staffers who may have initially been skeptical of what the effort might produce, at the cost of a lot of preparation for the visit, were converted, having seen the “proof is in the pudding.”

Volunteers work to resurface a roof at Fort Wilkins.

Rich said he had seen it before and came to Fort Wilkins a supporter of the group.
“It’s just amazing how much work, how much excitement is involved with it,” he said.
Janes said she got goosebumps when a ranger who has worked at the park for 42 years told her staffers there never would have been able to find the time to accomplish these projects.
“That’s what the industry wants to know, that we did something that just wasn’t ‘you’re going to get it done next week and you’re just having us do it,’” she said. “No, this is stuff that adds value and visitors have a better experience (and) our industry is better educated. I call it the perfect educational model.”

Going green

While the volunteers worked, another effort was under way all around them, one that benefitted the project from an environmental perspective.
Jessica Loding, director of events and strategic partnerships for Schupan Events Recycling of Kalamazoo, was working to help the volunteers reduce their environmental impact.
“We provide sustainability services for carbon off-setting, recycling, food composting and waste diversion for Michigan Cares for Tourism,” Loding said.
Her job is to help the group recycle, use and compost what they can and then send the rest to the landfill.

Jessica Loding, director of events and strategic partnerships for Schupan Events Recycling of Kalamazoo

“Last year, in Roscommon, we had a 74 percent diversion rate, meaning 74 percent of all the material generated from the event was diverted from the landfill through recycling or reuse programs,” Loding said. “…We like to minimize our environmental impact on the areas in which we travel to restore for the DNR and the state and things like that, and so we’re just trying to do our little part.”
Loding runs the sustainability division at her company, which has about 80 clients in Michigan. She works with events, entertainment venues, communities and within the tourism industry to make things green.
NASCAR events in Michigan and the Detroit International Jazz Festival are two examples.

The Fort Wilkins work bee resulted in a 63 percent diversion rate, with a 67 percent rate over the past two Michigan Cares for Tourism events.

“We had about 70-75 people take the bus up here from Grand Rapids and Detroit, and as a result of not having them bring their cars up here, it off-set about 36,000 pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide),” she said.

Looking ahead

Next fall, Michigan Cares for Tourism will travel to Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse to help make operations there run solely on solar power.
“People are working so hard,” Janes said, looking at volunteers clearing brush along the shore of Lake Fanny Hooe at the fort. “These people run their own businesses, they are hard-working, super-passionate. We get the best of the best that come because they’re willing to invest all that time.
“I am very proud of our industry, very proud of these folks and all the people that have come before them – thousands now – to make a difference. You can choose a lot of other ways to spend your day.”
To find out more about Michigan Cares for Tourism, visit michigancares4tourism.com/
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at michigan.gov/dnrstories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email delivery at michigan.gov/dnr.

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What Happens to Surplus Salmon After Fall Egg Take Efforts?

Following the fall salmon runs, surplus salmon like this will be available for sale at a handful of northern Michigan retailers.

18SEP18-Michigan's seasonal salmon runs are a busy time for DNR fisheries staff. During the runs, large numbers of chinook and coho salmon return to their native streams to spawn, and afterward they die. 
The DNR maintains several sites (weirs) to block these fish and then collect their eggs and milt (sperm) for use in state fish hatcheries.
“Egg collection is one of the most important things we do to support an ample, healthy salmon population,” said Aaron Switzer, manager of the DNR’s northern Lower Peninsula hatcheries. “But once our egg-take needs are met, the salmon in prime physical condition are available for sale to the public.”

When fall salmon runs are done and egg collection is completed, Switzer said that people will be able to purchase the surplus salmon from a small number of retailers in the northern Lower Peninsula. These are fish that have been harvested by the DNR at weirs in the same area.  
The preparation and sale are handled by American-Canadian Fisheries, a private vendor that assists the DNR with the salmon harvest. 
ACF harvests the salmon for human- and pet-food markets, as well as excess eggs for bait and caviar markets. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon and eggs collected, and then makes suitable-quality fish available wholesale to distributors who market the fish. This year’s retailers are located in the northern Lower Peninsula. 

Interested in purchasing some of the surplus salmon? The DNR recommends directly contacting individual retailers to confirm the timing and pricing of a purchase.  

For more information, contact Aaron Switzer, 231-325-4611, ext. 15 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

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Michigan Trails Week, September 22nd - 29th, Explore Outdoors

Michigan Trails Week is a great time to explore outdoors, like on this trail at Waterloo Recreation Area in  southern Michigan.

18SEP18-When it comes to quality trails, many Michigan residents already know there’s no place like home. With more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails that connect communities and provide health and economic benefits, it’s easy for hikers, bikers, equestrians, snowmobilers, off-roaders, mountain bikers and even kayakers to find a trail just about anywhere in the state.

Michigan Trails Week (proclaimed this year by Gov. Rick Snyder as Sept. 22-29) is a perfect time for first-time trail users and seasoned outdoor explorers to get out and enjoy the Trails State. Here are just a few reasons why:  

  • Michigan's Iron Belle Trail, the longest designated state trail in the nation, is a 2,000-mile hiking and biking journey from Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle Park in Detroit, connecting more than half of the state’s counties. 
  • A growing partner-based water trails program, building on the popularity of paddle sports as one of the fastest-growing recreation activities, as well as Michigan’s thousands of miles of rivers and streams and more miles of Great Lakes coastline than any other state. 
  • Thousands of miles of ORV trails that are continually upgraded through funding generated by the sale of ORV licenses and trail permits. 
  • More than 2,600 miles of rail-trail (leading the nation), old railroad lines that have been converted for recreational use. 
  • Thousands of miles of equestrian, snowmobile and water trail opportunities in some of the state’s most scenic areas. 
  • The Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation program, announced earlier this year, highlighting some of the state’s best trail resources.

“Michigan offers four full seasons of opportunity to enjoy trails,” said DNR state trails coordinator Paul Yauk. “Michigan Trails Week is a good time for people to start out autumn on the right foot, celebrating the thousands of miles of scenic trails statewide.”

Michigan Trails Week ends Saturday, Sept. 29, which is National Public Lands Day – traditionally a day for volunteer-led efforts to beautify and build awareness about the value and extent of the country’s public lands. 

Learn more about events and opportunities at michigan.gov/trailsweek or michigan.gov/dnrtrails or contact Doug Donnelly at 517-284-6109. 

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Two Invasive Species Identified as New Threats to Michigan

Spotted lanternfly, a leaf-hopper native to China and India, has been added to Michigan's invasive species watch list

18SEP18-Spotted lanternfly, a leaf-hopper native to China and India, and Japanese chaff flower, a plant from East Asia, have been added to the state’s invasive species watch list due to the threats they pose to agriculture and the environment.
Already found in Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia, spotted lanternfly is spreading through eastern Pennsylvania. Nymphs (immature insects) and adults suck sap from stems and leaves of more than 70 plants and crops including grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and other hardwood trees.   
Japanese chaff flower displaces native plants by forming large, dense stands in floodplains, forested wetlands and disturbed habitat. It currently is found along the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers, reaching counties in nine states including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Spotted lanternfly nymphs are wingless and beetle-like, with black and white spots, developing red patches as they mature. Adults are roughly 1 inch long. Their folded wings are gray to brown with black spots. Open wings reveal a yellow and black abdomen and hind wings that are bright red with black spots transitioning to black and white bands at the edge. 
Though spotted lanternflies cannot fly long distances, they lay eggs on nearly any smooth surface, including cars, trailers and outdoor furniture. Freshly laid eggs have a gray, waxy, putty-like coating, while hatched eggs look like rows of brownish, seed-like deposits.

Japanese chaff flower, a plant from East Asia, has been added to Michigan's invasive species watch list

“If you’re visiting areas known to be infested with spotted lanternfly, just be sure to thoroughly inspect vehicles or anything left outside before returning to Michigan,” said Joanne Foreman, invasive species communications coordinator with the DNR.
Japanese chaff flower grows up to 6 feet tall, with opposite, simple leaves and a bottle brush-shaped green flower with no petals. Deer heavily browse this plant, and seeds spread by attaching to animals and clothing.  
“Spotted lanternfly and Japanese chaff flower aren’t known to be in Michigan, but because they’re confirmed in nearby states and because of the potential damage they can cause, early detection is vital,” Foreman said.  

For more information on identifying invasive species or to report sightings of spotted lanternfly or Japanese chaff flower, visit michigan.gov/invasives or contact Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814.

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Coordinated Effort Aiding Houghton County Storm Recovery Effort

By DOUG DONNELLY and JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

An aerial photograph shows Houghton, Hancock and the Portage Canal the day after the Father's Day storm.17SEP18-The state’s coordinated ongoing rebuilding and restoration efforts are producing positive results in the wake of a 1,000-year flood that ravaged Houghton County in June.
This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved a request from Gov. Rick Snyder for a physical and economic disaster declaration for Houghton County, clearing the way for affected residents and businesses to apply for financial assistance, including low-interest loans.
“Getting our communities and businesses back on their feet is essential,” Snyder said. “The availability of these loans will bring some relief as they work to recover and rebuild.”
Previously, Gov. Snyder had declared a “state of disaster” for Houghton, Menominee and Gogebic counties, freeing up access to state resources. In early August, President Donald Trump declared a “major disaster” for the three counties, at the request of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration agreed to provide public assistance but denied Calley’s request for individual assistance. Snyder appealed the decision, which was denied.
A severe trail washout along a trail near Lake Linden in Houghton County.Damage

Meanwhile, the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources continue to work together to remove threats to health, safety and welfare, while racing against the calendar to re-open trails before the upcoming snowmobile season.
Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator, said the damage to the trail network in the Copper Country was devastating.
“It’s by far the worst we have ever had,” Yesney said. “We have counted 158 washouts in our trail system alone – some small, some massive. Our focus now is identifying the places where we have washouts and working to remediate those that have health and safety implications. We’re moving forward in a positive way.”
The June 17 Father’s Day storm dumped 7 inches of rain on some parts of Houghton County over a nine-hour period. Damage to state-managed facilities in the area was assessed at just under $20 million.
Initially, the DNR was forced to close about 60 miles of state-managed recreation trails in Houghton County.

DNR and DEQ staff members work on flood response plans in Houghton.Teamwork

Since that time, crews have been working diligently on assessment and restoration efforts. An incident command center was set up and DNR response crews from across the state have been working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to make area trails safe.
The DNR – including the Parks and Recreation, Fisheries and Forest Resources divisions – has worked with the DEQ on clean-up and restoration efforts. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget also has contributed staff.
“We’ve had people here continuously to help on the project,” Yesney said. “The response has been massive, and it’s been a tremendous sharing of resources, expertise and efforts.”
Steve Casey, Upper Peninsula district coordinator for the DEQ’s Water Resources Division, agreed.
“We have worked long and hard this summer,” Casey said. “Together, we protected health and safety of Houghton County residents, and took steps to prevent transportation disruptions and additional property damage. It has been rewarding work.”
A worker tries to unplug a storm sewer in Houghton County.

Slopes 

The steep topography in and around the Houghton-Hancock area worked to enhance the damage produced by the rain and runoff during the June storm and an estimated 100-year storm that followed on July 12th.
“Our focus now is to stabilize the slopes as much as possible and to prevent further erosion next spring,” Yesney said. “We want to get the trails improved to the point where we can use them, but health and safety comes first.”
Much of the trail damage occurred along old railroad grades that have been converted to recreational trails. They run across the face of the steep slopes. In many places, homes and businesses are situated below the grades.
Stabilizing damaged slopes will help ensure that when fall rains, or the spring thaw occurs, the resulting runoff doesn’t further deteriorate the trails and cause damage to communities.
Casey said 100-year-old storm sewers have deteriorated and are partially filled with sand and debris and no longer have their original hydraulic capacity to move water.

A DNR crew works to repair a trail in the wake of the Father's Day storm in Houghton County.

“Railroad grades typically had relatively small culverts that backed up high flows behind the grades during big storms,” Casey said. “This reduced peak flows that went to municipal storm sewers. Where the grades have washed out, peak flows in municipal sewers will increase.”
Casey said that until the materials that washed out from railroad grades are stabilized, they will continue to wash into the storm sewers and plug them.
“Municipalities (townships) have budgets as low as $200,000 a year,” he said. “They do not have the capacity to clean, let alone replace, their storm sewers.”
Response crews have re-opened culverts and pulled back highly unstable banks at washouts.
“The initial focus of these projects was health and safety. This was accomplished by preventing additional grade washouts above towns,” Casey said. “Now that we’ve been able to achieve that goal, or will shortly achieve that goal, we’re looking to prevent future property damage.
“This is done by stopping the erosion of sand and rock from washing into municipal storm sewers, so they don’t plug, flooding towns.”

A contractor pulls dirt and rocks away from a clogged storm sewer in Houghton County.

Trails

About 20 of the trail washouts have been repaired. DNR staffers estimate there are at least 15 washouts considered “massive,” meaning they are more than 30 feet deep and will cost $550,000 or more to fix. Ten culverts have been repaired in the aftermath of the storm, but dozens remain damaged.
Trail closures remaining in effect include the Freda Grade Route, the Houghton to Chassell Trail and the Lake Linden Route south of Normand Road.
The Hancock to Calumet Route is open with local reroutes. The Bill Nicholls Trail is open from Old Mill Road in Houghton to Greenland in Ontonagon County.
“Some trails will likely not be open this winter, although every effort is being made to safely get trails open for ORV and snowmobile season in the Copper Country,” Yesney said. “Restoration and bank stabilization work, as well as stabilizing damaged bridge sites, are among the other priorities.”

The Lily Pond Boating Access Site before repairs after the Father's Day storm.

Doug Rich, western Upper Peninsula supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division, said staff hopes to create spurs off the Hancock to Calumet trail to Dollar Bay and Lake Linden in time for the snowmobile season.
“We’ve been making progress, day by day, moving forward to remedy the situation,” Rich said.

Reaction

Rich recently assumed the role of liaison officer within the Houghton County incident command team, helping to process FEMA funding applications and interacting cooperatively between the command team and officials from local communities.
Franklin Township Supervisor Mary Sears characterized the response as “absolutely amazing.”
She said the DEQ has been “right on target” in its actions, with staffers “at their best” reacting to the disaster.

The Lily Pond Boating Access Site after repairs were made.

“They have stepped up and been a shining star through all of this,” Sears said. “You couldn’t ask for a better response from these guys.”
Schoolcraft Township Supervisor Joel Keranen agreed the response has been good, with DEQ and DNR staff staying put to help when they are undoubtedly needed elsewhere.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” Keranen said. “People have come to the area expecting a lot worse and I tell them, ‘Well, a lot of that has been stabilized now.’”

Boating

The DNR recently re-opened the Lily Pond boating access site, which had been damaged severely during the storm.
DNR Parks and Recreation Division construction crews completed the work. Materials for the repairs cost $50,000, funded by Michigan boater registration and gas tax revenue from the DNR’s Waterways Fund.

From left, Elle Gulloty of the DNR, Steve Casey of the DEQ, contractor Brian Bonen and Mitch Koetje of the DEQ.

The Boston Pond and Boot Jack boating access sites closed in the aftermath of the storm are now also open.

Boots on the ground

Elle Gulotty, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division’s habitat management unit, said from her perspective, the DNR and DEQ working together meant there were more staffers on the ground who know how streams function, understand infrastructure, care about other people and are prepared to help.
“It’s a special place. Neighbors were helping neighbors before we got there,” she said. “DNR and DEQ had tools and expertise that allowed us to tackle problems of greater magnitude and complexity.
“Working collaboratively, DNR and DEQ were able to protect health and safety as circumstances on the ground rapidly changed.”
She said her experience as part of the response was very positive.
“We were all on the same team,” Gulotty said. “There was a shared respect among DNR and DEQ staff, and for the folks we interacted with throughout the response.” 

A house lies in direct line of stones from a creek had the culvert plugged and flooded.

Gulotty said it meant a lot to her personally that people who had been through such hardship were looking out for the needs of others first.
“That’s how I strive to be, and I was so thankful to be working with such deserving and authentic people,” she said. “I admire their grit. They might not live next door to me, but these folks are my neighbors.”
Gulotty said when heavy equipment was running, it didn’t matter much to residents which agency was overseeing the work. The letters “DNR” or “DEQ” were less important than being there.

A shining moment

In the weeks following the initial storm, the DEQ entered into contracts for $1 million of work to protect life, health and safety and prevent future disruption of public transportation disruption and property damage.
Crews on these DEQ-funded projects were primarily made up of 75 percent DEQ staff and 25 percent DNR.
The highlight of this work was the removal of a 100-foot abandoned railroad grade that crossed a small creek above Ripley, a small unincorporated community in Franklin Township, situated along M-26, just east of Hancock.
After the Father’s Day flood, the embankment partially failed.
“It was made with watermelon-sized rocks,” Casey said. “The stone arch culvert was broken and highly susceptible to plugging.”
If the culvert plugged, the embankment would wash out, sending thousands of tons of rocks down a very steep stream channel into Ripley. The ravine runs parallel to Michigan Tech’s Mont Ripley Ski Area.
One house was situated directly in line and certainly would have been hit by rocks.
“Removing that embankment was the best thing we did,” Casey said.
Additional notable projects in the DEQ portfolio include pulling back banks and making a channel through debris on G Street in Lake Linden and 8th Street in Hubbell.

Looking ahead

With the number of days until winter arrives winding down quickly, DNR and DEQ staff members remain dedicated to making as much progress as possible on restoration efforts before the snow flies.
“Like the people of Houghton County, we’ve pulled together to respond to a disastrous set of circumstances presented by Mother Nature,” Rich said. “We’re all doing the best we can. It will take time, but we’ll get there.”

For the latest status updates on trails and other DNR facilities closures visit michigan.gov/dnrclosures.

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

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

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Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club’s 9th Annual Trapping Workshop Set for September 29th in Ontonagon County

14SEP18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club will offer its ninth-annual Trappers' Workshop Saturday, September 29th at the club’s facilities in Ontonagon County.
The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. EDT (9 a.m. CDT) September 29th. Lunch will be provided. The club is located 1.5 miles east of Silver City at 31433 W. M-64.
“This workshop is designed to give participants a basic understanding of how to begin trapping or, for those seasoned trappers, to get updated on new techniques and to rub elbows with other trappers,” said Don Harris, workshop instructor and one of the club’s directors.

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

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

Additional information to consider:

  • Admission is free.
  • Workshop is open to the public.
  • Experienced and inexperienced trappers are welcome.
  • Children younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Participants will be given some trapping “goodies” as well as an assortment of literature on trapping.
  • Camping and lodging are available nearby.
  • Pre-registration is suggested.

To learn more about trapping in Michigan, visit the DNR's website.

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Give Us Your Input on State Forest Planning

forester preparing to mark trees for timber sale

11SEP18-Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest land require a lot of careful planning to keep them healthy and thriving. That’s why the DNR finalizes plans for each forest management unit two years in advance of when any management activities – prescribed burns, timber harvests or tree thinning, for example – will take place.
This summer and fall, forest management recommendations for 2020 are being presented at open houses within those forest management units, giving people the opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists and other resource professionals. Upcoming open houses include:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit – Sep. 18th in Naubinway and Sep. 19th in Kincheloe
  • Gwinn Forest Management Unit – Sep. 26th in Ishpeming
  • Crystal Falls Forest Management Unit – Oct. 3rd in Crystal Falls
  • Shingleton Forest Management Unit – Oct. 4th in Shingleton
  • Newberry Forest Management Unit – Oct. 16th in Newberry
  • Grayling Forest Management Unit – Oct. 17th in Grayling

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

  • Roscommon Forest Management Unit – Sep. 27th in Roscommon
  • Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit – Oct. 2nd in Naubinway
  • Gwinn Forest Management Unit – Oct. 17th in Ishpeming
  • Shingleton Forest Management Unit – Oct. 23rd in Shingleton
  • Crystal Falls Forest Management Unit – Oct. 25th in Crystal Falls
  • Newberry Forest Management Unit – Oct. 30th in Newberry
  • Grayling Forest Management Unit – Nov. 8th in Grayling

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

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Help Clean Up Michigan’s Waters

man and woman cleaning up river

11SEP18-Are you passionate about Michigan’s waters?

Consider joining a local public advisory council if you live near one of Michigan’s “Areas of Concern” – waterways that are recovering from historic pollution and environmental effects. Each area’s recovery is supported by a group of community members who provide local expertise and participate in volunteer activities.

In 1987, 14 Michigan sites were designated as Areas of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Since then, federal, state and local partners have restored two of the areas and are making progress on the others. Local public advisory councils are key to restoring these waters, and anyone can join.

Learn about efforts to restore these places on the Areas of Concern webpage and connect with a local group through your state coordinator.

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Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Eurasian watermilfoil

11SEP18-Many aquatic invasive species – non-native plants and animals that can disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy – are easily spread by boaters and anglers who use their equipment in multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it.
As part of efforts to manage aquatic invasive species, a habitat enhancement project at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta, Michigan, recently kicked off. The DNR is working with Kieser & Associates, an environmental science and engineering firm in Kalamazoo, on a plan to enhance the recreation area’s habitat by managing aquatic invasive species in its lakes. The project is funded through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment as part of the settlement levied against Enbridge Energy in connection with the July 2010 oil release on Line 6B into the Kalamazoo River.
In addition to aquatic plant surveys, which have found invasive species in all of Fort Custer’s lakes, the three-year project will include several different treatments to control these species. This will help determine the best long-term, cost-effective options for invasive species management in the lakes. The project also involves a public outreach and educational component to help park visitors understand their role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

You can help by following these simple steps: 

  • Clean boats, trailers and equipment.
  • Drain live wells, bilges and all water from boats.
  • Dry boats and equipment.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Learn more about preventing the spread of invasive species at michigan.gov/invasives.

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48th Annual Saginaw Bay Fishing Community Survey Under Way

Yellow perch is one of the fish species being studied in the annual Saginaw Bay fish survey.

11SEP18-DNR staff again will use trawling and gillnetting on Saginaw Bay to survey the area's fish community, marking the 48th consecutive year the department has surveyed the bay to determine the abundance and health of fish populations including walleye and yellow perch and and those they forage.
“The timing of late summer or early fall allows us to assess how much reproduction has taken place for the year, as well as the overall abundance of older age groups of fish,” said Dave Fielder, DNR fisheries research biologist out of Alpena. “The use of the same methods each year allows us to detect population changes in each species.”
This survey annually produces data to gauge the effects of fisheries management actions and invasive species on fish populations found in the bay. While the DNR does other work in Saginaw Bay – such as walleye tagging projects, creel surveys and habitat work – this fish community study is the department’s primary look at the status of the fish populations. 
Long-term surveys such as this one are critical to understanding fish communities and how they are changing. It takes about two to three weeks and two research vessels (the R/V Tanner out of Alpena and the R/V Channel Cat out of Harrison Township) to complete.

The collected data will be analyzed and shared with fisheries managers and others before the 2019 fishing season, in order to make any needed adjustments to existing regulations.

For more information on DNR fish management, visit michigan.gov/fishing or contact Dave Fielder989-356-3232, ext. 2572 or Todd Wills, 586-465-4771, ext. 22. 

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New Web Site & Map Showcase Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation

A new DNR mapping tool will help showcase outdoor recreation businesses in Michigan

11SEP18-Earlier this year, the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission created the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council, a group geared toward increasing awareness of the many manufacturing, retail and service companies that support outdoor recreation, as well as building more connections within that statewide community. 
“The Michigan businesses in this sector have great stories to tell,” said Marc Miller, DNR deputy for regional initiatives and the outdoor recreation industry. “We’re committed to finding new ways to strengthen the industry, build relationships and work together to discover opportunities for growth – all of which will mean better outdoor recreation experiences and more fun for the public.”
A new DNR interactive map, available at
michigan.gov/mi-outdoorrec, allows users to navigate the state to find outdoor recreation businesses, as well as explore industry research. The site also offers a signup option for those interested in receiving email updates on the work of the council and industry developments. 

Public listening sessions – opportunities to talk with consumers, retailers and other outdoor enthusiasts about industry relevance and challenges – also are under way. Set dates include Sept. 14 in Escanaba at Bay College and Jan. 9 at a meeting of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance in Houghton. More dates and locations will be shared as they’re finalized. For more details or to RSVP, email DNR-Outdoor-Rec@michigan.gov.

Questions? Contact Marc Miller, 517-284-6432.

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Beyond BOW Steelhead Fishing Workshop Set for Luce County

October event showcases fishing on Two Hearted River

11SEP18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program is offering a Beyond BOW steelhead fishing workshop for women.
This event is designed to introduce or further enhance steelhead fishing skills in a wild, remote river setting. Beginners are welcome, but some sort of prior basic fishing experience is preferred.
Steelhead are rainbow trout that spend a few years growing in Lake Superior before returning to streams, like the Two-Hearted River, to spawn. The river was made famous in the fishing tales of Ernest Hemingway.
“There are new skills to be learned, great fun to be had, all amongst the beautiful outdoors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” said Michelle Zellar, event coordinator.

The workshop is scheduled for October 26th - 28th, 2018 and is open to up to 12 participants.
Overnight accommodations will be provided at the Rainbow Lodge’s Two Hearted Cabins, which are situated at the mouth of the Two Hearted River in northern Luce County.
Instruction will start promptly at 12:30 p.m. Friday, October 26th in the beautiful Chapel of the Two Hearted River, located near the river mouth.
“We will cover history, identification, equipment set-up, regulations, casting practice and first-hand experience of fishing for steelhead on the Two Hearted River with our passionate and experienced instructors,” Zellar said.
Saturday, while spending the day fishing along the river, we will also cook lunch over an open fire at the Two Hearted State Forest Campground. S’mores included.
Participants must be 18 or older and responsible for their own Recreation Passport, which is required for entry into state parks and recreation areas, as well as a Michigan fishing license.

The registration deadline is September 24th, when a random lottery selection will be held to determine class participants.

Workshop information and registration materials are available online at michigan.gov/bow. This will be a rain, shine or snow event.

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Exploring ‘States of Incarceration’ at the Michigan History Museum


By SUZANNE FISCHER - Museum Director, Michigan History Center
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A historical timeline shows the increase in U.S. incarceration rates.07SEP18-Michigan’s history of incarceration is full of contradictions.

When Michigan became a state in 1837, one of the first institutions proposed by the new governor was a prison. A decade later, Michigan became the world’s first English- speaking government to ban the death penalty. By the early 20th century, Michigan State Prison in Jackson was the largest walled prison in the world.

From Sept. 8, 2018, through May 19, 2019, the Michigan History Center, a division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a national traveling exhibition called States of Incarceration at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing.

The exhibit uses history and culture to tackle today’s urgent questions about incarceration – the act of confining someone against his or her will – in prisons, jails, detention centers, and some kinds of schools and hospitals.

The huge rise in the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. over the past 40 years is called mass incarceration. According to the American Civil Liberties Union website, the U.S. incarcerated population has increased by 700 percent, with 2.3 million people in jail and prison, far outpacing population growth and crime.

“This exhibit is a great opportunity to think through some of the questions and contradictions surrounding incarceration in Michigan and the United States,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center.

The exhibit features artifacts of incarceration, including this slip, which was part of a reform school uniform.More than 700 university students and formerly incarcerated individuals from 30 communities, spearheaded by the Humanities Action Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey, created the States of Incarceration exhibit project.

The individuals grew up in a United States that incarcerates more of its people, including immigrants, than any country in the world – and at any point in its history.

Recently, a new bipartisan consensus concedes the criminal justice system is broken. There is intense conflict over how to fix it.

In 2015, the students and former inmates came together to ask: How did this happen? What new questions does the past challenge us to ask about what is happening now? To find answers, they examined their own communities’ histories.

Through courses at 30 universities, local teams shared stories, searched archives and visited correctional facilities. Each team created one piece of the exhibition, which was launched in New York City in April 2016.

The project’s run at the Michigan History Museum is a collaborative partnership between the museum and Michigan State University.

These panels in the exhibit describe the circumstances of Raymond Holzhey’s story. During the fall 2018 semester, MSU history professor Dr. LaShawn Harris and her students will explore various ways Michigan prisons served as possible sites of creativity, pleasure and leisure during the early 20th century. They will contribute a piece to the exhibition, which will be installed in early 2019.

“Students will research the formal and informal rehabilitation programs, including education, art, music and sports, that Michigan prisons offered (during that time),” Harris said. “Students will also look for inmates’ experiences within creative rehabilitative prison programs.”

Michigan History Museum staff also supplemented the exhibition with information and artifacts about the history of incarceration in Michigan.

The exhibit includes exceptional historical artifacts from the Michigan History Center’s collections, including rare prisoner photographs; elaborate furniture made at the Jackson prison; interactive experiences and exhibit components developed specifically for children.

To help the 65,000 school children who visit the history museum every year connect with these complicated histories, the museum developed a section on the history of youth incarceration in Michigan’s reform schools.

The State Industrial Home for Girls in Adrian put girls to work in various jobs, including working in the school’s greenhouses.In 1856, the State House of Correction for Juvenile Offenders opened in Lansing. Boys and girls under 18 were sent there for offenses ranging from larceny and vagrancy to foul language.

Girls were sent to their own institutions beginning in the 1860s. In 1893, the Lansing school became the Industrial School for Boys, where residents learned trades they could use upon their release.

“Sometimes, children worked at the schools, in the fields or in furniture workshops. At other times, they were indentured to work in private homes for a set amount of time,” said Rachel Clark, Michigan History Center education specialist. “County agents investigated ‘host’ families and did periodic welfare checks on the indentured children.”

Today's foster care and juvenile-justice programs learned both positive and negative lessons from Michigan's reform schools. Elementary-age visitors to the exhibit can follow a boy and a girl through the schools and are encouraged to ask, “what is fair?”

The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, Sept. 8 with special free admission and light refreshments beginning at 11 a.m. and a talk by Dr. Heather Ann Thompson at 1 p.m.

In the 1930s, prison chaplain Albert M. Ewert encouraged rehabilitation through education and art. Thompson is a historian at the University of Michigan and the Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. She writes extensively on the history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal justice system and served as an advisor on the States of Incarceration project.

During her talk, which is free and open to the public, Thompson will speak about her book, as well as the history of mass incarceration in the United States.

Additional public programs scheduled during the exhibition’s run will include film screenings, panel discussions, and presentations that explore the history of incarceration in Michigan and the United States, as well as current bipartisan efforts to reform the state’s criminal justice system.

Programs are supported by the Michigan Humanities Council. Admission to the exhibition is free with regular museum admission. The Michigan History Museum is open seven days a week. For museum hours and information on the exhibition and its programs, visit the museum’s website at michigan.gov/museum.

 

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

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Brush Up on Deer and Waterfowl Hunting, Archery Skills

man shooting bow and arrow

06SEP18-Whether you’re looking to get started in a new outdoor activity or get some pointers from the pros, the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy can help. Upcoming classes include:

  • Waterfowl Hunting Clinic (September 29th in Cadillac). This class will cover everything you need to know to get started, including how to find a location, scouting, calling and gear.

Learn more about the Outdoor Skills Academy and see other upcoming classes at michigan.gov/outdoorskills

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Cannons Will Roar at Michigan Iron Industry Museum Civil War Encampment September 29th

kids watch costumed Civil War re-enactors fire canon

06SEP18-Did you know that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula played an important role in the Civil War? While no battles were fought in the state, the U.P.’s iron ore was critically important to wartime manufacturing. Tools, equipment and other supplies made from U.P. iron helped meet the needs of the Union Army.

You can learn all about “Iron Ore and the Civil War” at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum’s annual Civil War encampment September 29th. The free, family-friendly event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include a recreated Civil War camp, live historical music, live cannon and artillery demonstrations, and popular 19th-century children’s games. 

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Harvests and Haunts 

06SEP18-More than 30 Michigan state parks host fall harvest festivals in September and October. Hay rides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume contests and haunted trails are just some of the fun activities taking place. Learn more at michigan.gov/harvestsandhaunts

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Dip Into Adventure Paddling on New Beaver Island Water Trail

The new Beaver Island water trail provides new paddling adventure for kayakers

05SEP18-With more than 1,000 miles of the national North Country Scenic Trail, continuing development along the Detroit-to-Ironwood Iron Belle Trail, and a 12,500-mile system of state-designated trails enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts of all types, Michigan is cementing its reputation as the nation’s Trails State. 
We’re boosting our trails resumé on the water, too, as stand-up paddle boarding and other paddlesports, including kayaking, are among the fastest growing forms of outdoor recreation. A newly opened water trail – the Beaver Island water trail in northern Michigan – offers the unique experience of paddling around an island. The water trail wraps 42 miles around the island in Lake Michigan, sitting about 30 miles off the coast near Charlevoix. 
“The island contains an extensive system of hiking, biking and birding trails, making it a great destination for adventurous visitors,” said Jon Allan, Office of the Great Lakes director. 
Allan said the water trail plan was developed by Traverse City-based LIAA and the local community, with the support of Michigan’s Coastal Management Program and the DNR. 

“Safe landing points were identified in 18 places for paddlers circumnavigating the island, and local officials are working with the DNR to add rustic campsites at some of them,” he said. 
The local community formed the Beaver Island Archipelago Trails Association to increase paddling opportunities, create promotional materials, perform maintenance and add signage. Interpretive signage and programming along the water trail will highlight Beaver Island’s unique history, natural resources and connection to the Great Lakes.
Plan your trip with the Beaver Island water trail paddling guide. 
Michigan’s Coastal Management Program has invested nearly $2 million in its water trails initiative since 2012.
Connect with the Coastal Management Program online or contact program manager Ronda Wuycheck at 517-284-5040.

Celebrating 40 years in 2018, Michigan’s Coastal Management Program works in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which supports a network of state-federal partnerships protecting America’s coasts.


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Grand Traverse Shooting Range Now Open

The new DNR shooting range in Grand Traverse County is now open, ready to serve hunters getting ready for 2018 seasons.

05SEP18-Just in time for hunters preparing for the upcoming seasons, a new public shooting range in Grand Traverse County is now open. 
Located in Union Township, just south of the intersection of Fife Lake and Supply roads, the range offers 12 lanes for target shooting, with three lanes each at 10, 25, 50 and 100 yards. 
Accessible parking and pathways to the shooting stations, target retrievals and vault toilet are available at the site, too.
Range hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through the end of September, then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily beginning Oct. 1. Shooting outside of open hours is not allowed. The range will remain open through Nov. 30 or until snowfall, whichever comes first, and then will reopen in spring 2019 when snow is no longer a factor.
“We’re excited to offer a new range for residents and visitors in northern Michigan. The opening of this range is a result of years of work by DNR staff, community members and many other cooperators,” said DNR shooting range specialist Lori Burford. “I am very thankful to all our partners, including Ware Construction, Elmer’s, Dunn Rite Construction, National Rifle Association, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Union Township officials and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

“I trust that the users of this unique facility will use it safely and take the opportunity to introduce new folks to shooting sports at this beautiful location.”
Other target shooting opportunities offered by the DNR include seven staffed shooting ranges in southern Michigan that feature amenities like handgun, rifle, shotgun and archery ranges and restroom facilities.  

Learn more about the DNR’s shooting ranges and other ranges around the state at michigan.gov/shootingranges.

For more information about the Grand Traverse range, contact Lori Burford at 989-600-9114. 

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Bear Population Estimates Available; Season Starts September 10th

The September 2018 black bear population estimate is roughly 14,000 adults: nearly 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and almost 3,000 in the Lower.

05SEP18-Michigan’s bear hunting seasons are almost here, with the first opening Sept. 10 in the Upper Peninsula, the Lower Peninsula’s first season starting Sept. 14 in select areas, and Sept. 16 for remaining locations below the bridge. Bear seasons have staggered openers with various locations and hunt periods. For each of the 2017 and 2018 hunting seasons, 7,140 bear licenses were available.
“Over half of the state is open to regulated bear hunting,” said Kevin Swanson, wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s bear and wolf program. “Hunters are an important part of managing the number of bear and where they are located, and they have been part of bear management in Michigan since 1925.”
Regulations governing how and when bear can be harvested are in place to sustainably manage the bear populations. “Regulations are how we control the take of bear, ensuring Michigan has a heathy population within suitable habitat. They are adjusted, if needed, every two years.
“We have the ability to influence the growth of bear populations in remote areas of Michigan. Habitat is not a limiting factor, but social tolerance has been reached in portions of the Lower Peninsula,” Swanson said. “We are discussing another increase in harvest in the northern Lower Peninsula.”

Watch a video on bear habitat.

The state’s current population is estimated at 14,000 adult black bear – almost 11,000 in the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula. Several different scientific indicators, as well as public input, are used to determine harvest recommendations. 
Hunters who were successful in drawing a bear license for the bear management unit they chose will have a good chance at harvesting a bear, with success rates generally from 25 percent to 60 percent. Millions of acres of public land are accessible to bear hunters, though many choose to hunt on private land. A bear license can be used on either land type within a particular bear management unit. 

Learn more about the bear preference point system and how to get a license or contact Kevin Swanson at 906-458-1889.

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Showcasing The DNR: Getting Wild in The Classroom

By HANNAH SCHAUER - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Critter cards help introduce young readers to Michigan wildlife species.04SEP18-Connecting children to wildlife and other natural resources can be one of the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling endeavors for educators and students.
With another school year beginning, some people may not know the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides numerous opportunities to help teachers make those valuable connections between the state’s natural and cultural resources and students of all ages.

Elementary students get wild

Through the Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife curriculum, elementary school educators can introduce young learners to Michigan’s wildlife species and their habitats.
“Go Wild for Michigan's Wildlife brought an excitement into my class that I wasn't anticipating,” said Charlotte Simpson of Shettler Elementary, part of Fruitport
Students from Lakeview Community Schools pose for a photo after visiting their school forest. Community Schools in Muskegon. “My youngest of learners – kindergartners – were engaged in the lessons and materials and were making connections to their beautiful home state.”
Included with the lesson plans and activities, are “critter cards,” featuring 19 different Michigan wildlife species.
While each educator receives a PDF version of the cards, the DNR also prints a limited supply of the cards, so students can have a set to keep. The available card sets are distributed to Michigan teachers on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Throughout many lessons, I would hear, ‘I've seen that animal before’ or ‘I'm going to look for that animal tonight when I get home,’" Simpson said.
During the 2017-2018 school year, over 800 kindergarten through fifth-grade educators registered to receive this free curriculum.

Middle school is for the bears (and ducks)

Using actual location data from radio-collared Michigan black bears, middle school students can find out what bears are up to throughout the year.
A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear provides lessons, videos, activities and bear location data to help students learn more about bear behaviors and habits at various times of the year. Like other DNR wildlife classroom curricula, this program is offered free of charge.
Sixth- through eighth-graders will learn all about bear biology, as well as the DNR’s role in managing bear populations in Michigan. This year, additional bear location data have been added to the curriculum and educators can choose which bear, or bears, they want their class to “follow.”
Educator Brandy Dixon, from Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Monroe, said she uses the curriculum in her classroom and she loves the program.
Michigan black bear, with radio collars, are tracked by students interested in outdoor education.“It was a great way to show my students how there are people in the state of Michigan whose job it is to protect our natural resources. It encouraged them to think about how to maintain our environment, and it taught them about bears,” Dixon said. “They gained in-depth knowledge about these creatures, and I think that knowledge – because it was spread through an entire school year – will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”
With knowledge and experience comes greater understanding.
“I had some students who started in my class dead set against hunting,” Dixon said. “I think they now have more of an understanding as to why hunting, in particular, is an effective management practice for our Michigan wildlife.”

Classes that participate in the curriculum also have the option to enter a Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear contest.
After learning all about black bears in Michigan, students can create a way to share the story of a black bear’s journey throughout the year. Educators representing the top three projects are awarded gift certificates to purchase science supplies for their classroom. 
Prizes for the contest are provided by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association and the DNR. Learn about last school year's winners.  
The DNR also offers middle-schoolers curriculum centering on wetlands and some of the birds that live there.

Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl offers an opportunity to learn about the ducks, geese, and swans found in Michigan, as well as the critical importance of wetland habitats.
Lessons include several activities. Students can become a bird in a migration simulation that illustrates the perils that waterfowl encounter during their bi-annual flights. Students also will engage in land-use planning, and analyze Michigan waterfowl population data.

A Michigan elk is shown.

High-schoolers become elk managers

Michigan once had elk across the state, but by the late 1800s, all the native elk had disappeared due to unregulated hunting and drastic landscape changes that led to a lack of habitat.
In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to Wolverine, Michigan to re-establish our state’s elk population.
Now, 100 years later, Michigan has a healthy and abundant elk population
resulting from intentional land management and increased law enforcement.
Students can learn more about this conservation success story and celebrate elk in the classroom with Elk University.
“This educational program gives high school students to chance to step into the role of a wildlife manager,” said Katie Keen, DNR wildlife communications coordinator.
Students will learn about elk, their habitat needs, Michigan history, wildlife disease and forest management. They also will explore social considerations for wildlife management.
“I was really impressed with the way Elk University uses real data, video and photos to teach biology concepts, but doesn't ‘preach’ or ‘tell’ information to the kids,” said Chad Miller of Hamilton High School in Hamilton. “Instead, it was clear that whoever designed the lessons understood inquiry learning and the art of getting kids to ‘uncover’ concepts. It is so rare to find – especially in free, pre-written programs – this approach used so well.” 
Elk University is offered free of charge to ninth through 12th-grade educators.

A student takes a crack at coring a tree at a Forestry Field Day in Marquette County.

Forests and field trips

“Forests are critical habitat for many species, such as bear and elk, and a field trip is a great way to have students experience these resources first-hand after learning about them in class,” Keen said.
For those teachers hoping to get their students out for some forest exploration there is funding available to schools for field trips through a program called “Wheels to Woods.”
Any pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school in Michigan is eligible to apply for funds to go on a field trip to a school forest, private forest, public forest or forest products company.

“Wheels to Woods pays for the bus so that students, teachers and parents can go on an educational field trip to explore a nearby forest,” said Mike Smalligan, DNR forest stewardship coordinator. “Teachers are free to use any topic about forests that fits in with their lessons and curriculum.”
For more information and an application form, visit treefarmsystem.org/wheels-to-woods. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
If a field trip is not feasible, educators can incorporate trees, forests and more into the classroom with Project Learning Tree.
With this award-winning outdoor curriculum that meets both state and national standards, educators can find lessons and activities for learners of all ages to incorporate into classrooms and other educational settings.
Learn more about Michigan Project Learning Tree at www.michiganplt.org.

A fish sampling outing on the AuSable River is shown, part of an Academy of Natural Resources teacher-training workshop.

More ways to bring natural resources to the classroom

  • Project WILD workshops offer professional development for bringing hands-on natural resources-related activities to classrooms. Several Project WILD guide books for kindergarten through grade 12 are available. Find out more at michigan.gov/michiganprojectwild.
  • Get salmon in the classroom. Caring for young salmon encourages third- through 12th-grade students to think and care about conservation and creates a connection between caring for their fish and caring for their local environment. Learn more about the Salmon in the Classroom program at michigan.gov/sic.
  • The DNR’s Academy of Natural Resources, a week-long program offered in two locations during the summer months, gives teachers the opportunity to learn about Michigan’s diverse natural resources and how to bring that knowledge to the classroom. Learn more at michigan.gov/anr.

To register for wildlife classroom curricula and learn about additional opportunities the DNR has to offer educators, visit michigan.gov/dnreducation.
To get the latest education updates from the DNR, sign up for DNR emails at
michigan.gov/dnr and choose “Education and Outreach” to subscribe to the Essential Educator newsletter.
The Michigan DNR offers numerous opportunities for the state’s schoolchildren to learn about wildlife and natural resources in closer, more involved and more in-depth ways.
These opportunities offered for today’s youth may cultivate a bumper crop of wildlife and natural resources stewards for tomorrow.
That’s what the DNR is aiming for.

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

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This Year's Winning Deer Management Cooperator Patch Revealed

The winning 2018 Deer Management Cooperator patch, submitted by Matt MacDonald of Toronto, Ontario.

04SEP18-More than 200 entries vied for the honor of being the DNR's winning design in the 2018 Deer Management Cooperator Patch contest. See all of the submissions in this short video.

In the end, Matt MacDonald of Toronto, Ontario, submitted a design that captured DNR staff's attention. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s contest.

Cooperator patches are used as an incentive for successful hunters to bring their deer to DNR check stations. A deer head (antlers must still be attached on bucks) or an entire carcass must be presented to receive a patch. Patches are not available by mail. Hunters are urged to call ahead whenever possible to confirm hours and days of operation. Deer check station locations and hours for 2018 should be posted by September 1st. 

For more information, contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453).

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Hear The Call? It's Elk Season in Northern Michigan

A mature elk in a Michigan forest. The state's early elk season gets under way Aug. 28, 2018.

04SEP18-The first hunt period of the 2018 elk season starts tomorrow, Aug. 28, and 100 Michigan hunters will have 12 days to fill 30 any-elk and 70 antlerless-only licenses issued in the northern third of the Lower Peninsula. 
“In general, elk hunters have a remarkable success rate during this first hunt period,” said Brian Mastenbrook, DNR wildlife field operations manager working out of the Gaylord office. “With only 100 hunters, we can really work closely with hunters and landowners to find elk.”
The first hunt – also known as Michigan’s early elk hunt – allows hunters to harvest an elk in any location in the elk management unit except within the core elk range; this approach helps to target animals that have moved outside the core elk range. Regulated hunting is a management tool used to influence how many elk are present and where they are located. The goal is to keep the majority of elk within the core elk range.
Michigan’s elk population has been hunted annually since 1984 and at this time has an estimated population of more than 1,200 animals – above the state’s current population goal of 500-900 elk. That goal was set by the Elk Management Advisory Team and outlined in the 2012 Elk Management Plan. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk to Michigan. In 1918, seven elk from the western United States were brought to Michigan and released near Wolverine, in Cheboygan County, to help re-establish the state’s elk population. Check out this brief video, tracing Michigan's elk history.

Several activities and opportunities are available throughout this year to help mark the milestone:

  • The wildlife habitat license plate currently spotlights Michigan elk.
  • A contest was held to design a new elk poster.
  • The free “Elk University” education program for high school educators is offered.
  • The DNR has hosted outreach programs in several local communities. 

If you’re in the Gaylord area Saturday, Sept. 8, stop by the downtown pavilion at 5 p.m. to join in a special celebration. Enjoy snacks from Gourmet Gone Wild and hear conservation leaders talk about the importance of wildlife management. While in town, make a trip out to the Pigeon River Country State Forest to view elk, but make sure to download the viewing brochure before you go.

For more information, visit michigan.gov/elk or contact Katie Keen, 989-385-0336. 

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World’s First Freshwater ‘Smart Ships’ Launched in Lake Superior

By RACHEL COALE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Editor’s Note: Michael Beaulac of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes and Dr. Guy Meadows of Michigan Technological University contributed to this story.

Jon Allan, director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, talks at the Aug. 10 dedication ceremony at the Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton.04SEP18The spectacular rugged scenery, isolated Lake Superior shore, and quaint mining towns of northern Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula can make visitors feel like they’ve taken a step back in time.
However, with a recent dedication at the Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton, something new is on the way – a hub for the development of futuristic, state-of-the-art ‘Smart ship’ technologies.
The new Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS) will serve as the world’s first freshwater location for testing unmanned (autonomous) surface and underwater vessels for operation in Great Lakes and U.S. coastal waters.
The dedication drew representatives from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, the
Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, Great Lakes shipping companies, legislators, the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada, and local dignitaries interested in learning how the site is expected to benefit Great Lakes science, research and industry.
A map shows the MARS boundary.The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes – an office within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that supports efforts to protect, restore and sustain Michigan’s waters and Great Lakes communities – assisted with development of the testing site.
“This innovative technology will help researchers develop integrated systems to collect data and inform Great Lakes management decisions,” said Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes.

Technology demonstrated

The launch ceremony featured a demonstration highlighting advanced autonomous technology on the Portage Canal. A small surface vessel captured the contours of the bottom of the canal (bathymetric profile), and an autonomous buoy was demonstrated capable of maintaining position and moving itself when needed.
Additional unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles were on display.
The MARS project test site will be managed by Michigan Technological University, which plays an integral role in Great Lakes research on lake ecology, fish biology and ecosystem change.

ASV Global’s “Co-Worker 5” vessel is shown being launched. (ASV Global photo)The testing area extends within a 30-mile radius of the university’s waterfront campus, where the Great Lakes Research Center is located.
“Shipping will look different in 25 years, largely because of the work done here,” said David Naftzger, executive director of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.
The area already is served by the university’s high-accuracy, real-time, GPS survey system, its fleet of crewed research vessels and a licensed mariner, along with all U.S. Coast Guard testing requirements for monitoring and verifying vehicle location and performance.
The Coast Guard’s Duluth-based Marine Safety Unit is working with Michigan Tech MARS researchers on developing interim guidelines and protocols for the unmanned vehicle deployment and testing.
Testing will include the viability of vehicle sensors, anti-collision capabilities, shore monitoring, and vehicle-to-base-station communications.
A video shows hot the Liquid Robotics "Wave Glider" works.Looking to the future

University researchers envision unmanned surface and underwater vessels being used to augment manned research ships to transport remote-sensing technology, collect sonar and video imagery, deploy under frozen Great Lakes waters to gather winter samples and venture to sites unsafe for humans.
While the types of autonomous vessels to be tested at the MARS site could include larger vessels, they will initially be research- and survey-grade boats and underwater drones less than 33 feet in length overall. Examples of typical, unmanned, survey-grade surface vessels include the 
ASV Global “Co-Worker” and the Liquid Robotics “Wave Glider.”
Other testing could involve autonomous underwater vehicles monitoring structures such as pipeline for their integrity, identifying shipwrecks, like those found at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve, or mapping bottom substrate and recovering evidence when working with the Michigan State Police. An example of a typical unmanned underwater vehicle is the 
OceanServer, IVER3.

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman makes remarks at the Aug. 10 dedication ceremony at the Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton.

Regardless of the vessel size or type tested, much of the autonomous technology, such as anti-collision software, sensors and sensor fusion is expected to be similar and applicable to a wide spectrum of unmanned vessels and vehicles.
Therefore, the lessons learned will be transferrable to others who want the knowledge.
“This center put us on the cutting edge,” said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman. “And if you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re behind.”
In its 
2017 Michigan State of the Great Lakes Report, the Office of the Great Lakes published an article noting that, “scientists in the upper Great Lakes, and Lake Superior in particular, currently lack the capabilities for real-time science observations during early- and late-winter periods, a large and critical portion of the annual thermal cycle.”

Samples usually are collected by scientists in small watercraft, but Lake Superior’s harsh winters and ice can make research both difficult and dangerous. Unmanned vehicles can help close a significant gap in knowledge and reduce the costs of human-led expeditions.

These monitors show the forward-facing view taken from a set of cameras mounted on the autonomous surface vehicle.Coalition achievement

The dedication is a key victory for the newly-formed Smart Ships Coalition of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. The coalition, established by resolution of the governors and premiers of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence in October 2017, is the region’s group for those involved in research, commercialization activities, workforce development, and regulatory matters pertaining to maritime autonomy and related automation technologies.
The coalition unites scientists, policy makers, resource managers, innovators, navigators and educators who share a common interest in the advancement and application of autonomous technologies operated in marine environments. 
The organization’s web page notes that “in marine applications … the state of adoption for autonomous technologies is lagging that of air and ground operations.”

The Smart ships Coalition plans to bring marine technology up to speed.

Dr. Guy Meadows, director of the Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton, speaks during the Aug. 10 dedication.Prime location

The waters near the Keweenaw Peninsula, including seasonally “Arctic-like conditions,” make the new Marine Autonomy Research Site an ideal testing ground for developing expertise, platforms and equipment that can withstand extreme Great Lakes and oceanic conditions.
This area also allows the technology to be tested where it will not interfere with commercial shipping or recreational boating.
Michigan’s manufacturing expertise and abundance of working waterfronts also position the state for success at the forefront of this new arena. Autonomous technologies have the potential to accelerate new developments in many industries.
The Great Lakes Commission reports that the shipping industry in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system supports about 120,000 jobs. Science and engineering account for about 40,000 jobs, and manufacturing employs nearly one million people.
 

Autonomous vehicles have many potential applications to accelerate progress and create new jobs for Great Lakes scientific research and in shipping, manufacturing and maritime industries.

Plan for action

Coinciding with the MARS test bed launch, the region’s governors and premiers released a Smart Ships Action Plan. The plan includes policy actions for the federal governments, states and provinces and industry to help the region become a leader in this rapidly growing sector. 
Smart ships represent a major leap forward in maritime technology. The regional Smart Ships Coalition will be working to implement the action plan and further establish the region as a global center of excellence for smart-ship technologies. 
“The opening of the Marine Autonomy Research Site at Michigan Tech is another important step for our region and will help accelerate our work to create the needed policies and regulations for smart ships,” Allan said.
Learn more about work to support healthy Great Lakes waters and communities from the Office of the Great Lakes, and explore Michigan Technological University’s role in Great Lakes science with its Great Lakes Research Center.
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
michigan.gov/dnrstories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email delivery at michigan.gov/dnr.

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Share Your Thoughts With the DNR at September Meetings

04SEP18-The Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan citizens the opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation opportunities. One important avenue for this input is at meetings of the public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also set policies for natural resource management.

The following boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public meetings in September 2018. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific meeting locations and, when finalized, meeting agendas.

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

September meetings

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Working Together to Save Michigan’s Valuable Hemlock Trees

By JOANNE FOREMAN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The hemlock wooly adelgid is an invasive species in Michigan from Japan that damages eastern hemlock trees.28AUG18-If you travel past Michigan’s cities, past the farms, there’s a point where the billboards give way to forest land as far as the eye can see.

This is the home of eastern hemlock – spanning from West Michigan’s dunes, across the northern Lower Peninsula, into all but two counties in the Upper Peninsula. (Click here to check out a sidebar column on hemlock in the U.P.)

Though not a standout, hemlock is an important part of the mesic northern forest, providing shelter for deer and nesting birds, and keeping forest streams cool and clean.

Now, the state’s hemlock resource, estimated at 170 million trees, is threatened by a tiny invasive insect – the hemlock woolly adelgid. 

The threat

Nearly invisible to the naked eye, the black, aphid-like bug pierces branches and feeds on sap, slowly sucking the life from the tree.

To protect its eggs, the adelgid spins a cotton-like, waxy white ball. These “ovisacs,” resembling the tips of cotton swabs, are visible on the underside of hemlock branches, near the base of the needles. It is the woolly appearance of these ovisacs that help give the hemlock woolly adelgid its name.

HWA video buttonA native of Asia, the adelgid probably arrived in the U.S. on a shipment of hemlock from Japan. It was first identified in Richmond, Virginia in 1951 and by the 1980s had spread to large tracts of forest in the Appalachian Mountains.

On the move

Despite a 2001 external quarantine restricting the shipment of hemlock to Michigan from states infested with the adelgid, the insect was detected in Emmet County, just south of the Mackinac Bridge, in 2006.

Reports were then later confirmed in Macomb and Ottawa counties in 2010, in Berrien County in 2012 and in Allegan County in 2013.      

These small, localized infestations were managed by surveying and removing infested trees and treating nearby trees with insecticides. By 2015, just when these sites were receiving an “all-clear” designation, reports of hemlock woolly adelgid were confirmed in new areas of Ottawa County and in southern Muskegon County. 

 

Surveys, and reports from the public, revealed infestations in northern Muskegon County in 2016, and in Ottawa, Allegan and Oceana counties in 2017. Not only private lands were affected, but also state parks in these four western Lower Peninsula counties were found to have severe infestations. 

This image shows a hemlock tree on the left which has not been infested with hemlock wooly adelgid. The tree on the right is infested.“Given the checkerboard pattern of hemlock woolly adelgid across the western counties, it is likely that multiple introductions of infested tree stock are responsible,” said Scott Lint, a forest health specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Once it is introduced, the adelgids can be spread by wind, wildlife and vehicles that brush against infested trees.

Coordinated response

As the map of new infestations grew, the need for a coordinated plan of action to battle this invasive species was clear.

Staff from the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department formed the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Coordinating Committee, which cooperatively completed a statewide strategy document in August 2017.

Prevention

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spearheads the first line of defense – prevention.

Along with the 2001 external quarantine, the department issued an internal quarantine in 2017, restricting the movement of hemlock tree nursery stock and unprocessed hemlock products from, or within, Allegan, Muskegon, Ottawa and Oceana counties.

Staffers provide education, certification and inspection services to nurseries and producers handling hemlock in the quarantined counties, and they train certified pesticide applicators on the proper use of insecticides to treat hemlock wooly adelgids. The agriculture department staff also verifies reports of adelgids detected in new locations.  

The defoliated eastern hemlock trees in the center of the photo show damage from hemlock wooly adelgids in the Great Smoky Mountains. Detection and response

The DNR’s Forest Resources and Parks and Recreation divisions are finding and treating hemlock woolly adelgid infestations on state lands, including at Silver Lake, Duck Lake, Muskegon, P. J. Hoffmaster and Grand Haven state parks – spanning the shoreline along these four affected southwestern Michigan counties.

A recent grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Landscape Scale Restoration Program will expand outreach to local units of government in affected areas and provide training to their staff.

Infestations on private and municipal lands in the four-county area are being surveyed by the Ottawa Conservation District, supported by funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program and Ottawa County.  

To keep information organized and efforts coordinated, all partners use the same software for data collection.

All survey and treatment information is housed in one database managed by the DNR that can be used by partners to inform decision-making and work flow.

Investigation

When invasive species arrive, they don’t come with a set of instructions.

Knowing how they will respond to a newly encountered environment, what they need to survive and whether they develop new behaviors are important considerations in determining how best to control them.

Deborah McCullough, a professor in Michigan State University’s departments of Forestry and Entomology, is at the center of a multifaceted effort to understand the hemlock woolly adelgid’s life cycle in Michigan, its response to insecticide treatments and the effects of Michigan’s winter temperatures on its survival.

A hemlock tree branch shows ovisacs which resemble wool, helping to give the insect its name.McCullough and her colleagues have already completed an adelgid risk map, layering hemlock stands identified by satellite imagery over climate data indicating temperatures favorable for adelgid survival.

The map directs survey crews to the most likely places hemlock woolly adelgids might be found. Preliminary findings from treatment studies are communicated with partners and contractors to improve results in the field.

“There are so many parts to managing an infestation – research, funding, partnerships, survey, treatment,” McCullough said. “Working together means we’re sharing information and moving each other forward, but at the same time each of us is able to focus on our part of the task.”  

The northern line

Silver Lake State Park, in Mears, along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Oceana County, is the most-northerly-known location of hemlock woolly adelgid in Michigan. 

Emma Fojtik and Katie Knapp, crew members with Ottawa Conservation District’s adelgid project, perch halfway up the slope of a forested dune on private property just south of the park.

They are mapping the location of every hemlock on the property, recording each tree’s diameter and attaching a numbered tag to the trunk. This prepares the site for chemical treatment to be applied by contractors in the fall or spring.

Eastern hemlock trees growing at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County are shown. “Once we find an infested tree, every hemlock within 800 feet of the tree will be treated,” Knapp explains, as she gestures toward a seedling full of white masses. “Basically, all of the hemlocks on this property have hemlock woolly adelgids.”
 

Nearly identical work is happening at Silver Lake State Park, where DNR staff is surveying and preparing for hemlock treatments.
 

“Our current strategy is based on the knowledge we have now,” said James Wieferich, a technician with DNR Forest Resources Division. “If adelgid infestations are limited to the areas we have surveyed, we can create a barrier to sever the infestation from areas farther north that are not infested and then stair-step treatment down to the southern limits (of the infestation).”

North of the designated barrier, the Nature Conservancy – in partnership with the Michigan Dune Alliance – will soon begin detection surveys in coastal areas not known to be infested with adelgids.

Detection surveys are broadscale and quick, examining no more than 30 trees per acre on selected plots to determine whether hemlock woolly adelgids are present. These surveys will be conducted by Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area staff – local partners who also assist by providing outreach to communities affected by invasive species.

Signs of hope

At a campground in Norton Shores in Muskegon County, an early infestation site and ground zero for McCullough’s research, stands of hemlock look gray and thin against the background of maples in full summer flourish.

A closer look reveals a bright, vibrant hemlock trees among the maples, tied with assorted colors of plastic marking tape. Another hemlock has fresh, green growth at its tips. These trees are part of a study, funded by MSU’s Project GREEEN, to improve treatment success for the insecticides Imidacloprid and Dinotefuran.  

Dinotefuran is fast-acting but short-lived, protecting trees from adelgids for one to two years. Imidacloprid takes up to one year to show results but provides protection for at least four years. 

Armed with effective treatments and a coordinated management strategy, Michigan hopes to be able to contain its hemlock woolly adelgid infestation. 

The Nature Conservancy’s Shaun Howard, project manager for Eastern Lake Michigan, is cautiously optimistic.

“(Working together) we have more data to make decisions on a broader scale,” Howard said. “Treatments are available and effective. Once trees are infested, tree mortality could take four to 10 years, so we have time to save the trees – but I can’t say whether this will be eradication (of the infestations) or just the beginning of a long-term effort.”

McCullough is investigating the effects of temperature on the adelgids – another factor that may improve the odds of success in the battle against these invasive insects.

After an extremely cold night in Muskegon in January 2018, 80 percent of the hemlock woolly adelgids on a sample tree at the campground in Norton Shores had died. Warmer temperatures on the same night at a site in Ottawa county showed far less adelgid mortality.  

“Michigan’s known infestations are along the lakeshore, which has its own micro-climate,” McCullough said. “The lake effect means more snow and generally warmer winter temperatures than our inland areas, which may have an effect on the adelgids’ ability to survive and spread.”

Knowing what’s at stake – the significant environmental, recreational and economic costs of losing Michigan’s hemlock trees – keeps the team committed to working together to protect this valuable resource.

More information about hemlock, hemlock quarantines and identifying and treating hemlock woolly adelgid is available at www.michigan.gov/hwa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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