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Trout Season Opener Will See Additional 10-Brook-Trout Bag Limit Streams In The UP

Five streams removed from list of 10-brook-trout bag limit streams

A DNR stream-shocking crew conducts a brook trout survey on the Rock River in Alger County.

19APR18-Anglers heading out for the trout season opener at the end of the month will have portions of nearly 40 Upper Peninsula trout streams where an additional five brook trout may be kept as part of the daily bag limit.
new regulation approved last fall added a suite of 36 streams, or portions of streams, where 10 trout is the daily possession limit. For streams not on the list, the daily bag limit remains at five.
During the 2016-17 fishing season, there were eight U.P. research area streams where a 10-trout bag limit was allowed.

Five of those streams were removed from the final listing proposal and no longer have a 10-brook-trout bag limit. These five streams include portions of Bryan Creek (Marquette and Dickinson counties); East Branch Huron River (Baraga and Marquette counties); East Branch Tahquamenon River (Chippewa County); Presque Isle River and tributaries (Gogebic County) and Rock River and tributaries (Alger County).

With the exception of Menominee County, 14 of the U.P.’s 15 counties have at least one stream included on the 10 Brook Trout Possession Limit Waters list.
“The intent of the regulation change is to diversify fishing opportunities across the whole U.P. landscape, while simultaneously being protective of brook trout populations,” said Jim Dexter, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Chief.
Over the past six years, at the request of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, and with input from members of the Coldwater Regulations Steering Committee, DNR Fisheries Division staff investigated social and biological aspects of increasing anglers’ brook trout possession limit from five to 10 on a subset of U.P. trout streams. 

A brook trout catch from an Upper Peninsula stream.

Public opinions were gathered using several methods, including more than two dozen public meetings, various surveys conducted via the Internet, postcards and creel clerks (384 responses received), consultations with sport clubs and other governing agencies, and from e-mails, letters and telephone calls.
Biological information was gathered on seven streams using electro-fishing surveys, while creel clerks collected catch, effort and harvest data on four streams.
“Staff worked to select specific stream segments or sub-watersheds to be considered for the 10-brook trout possession limit, based on criteria proposed by the DNR Fisheries Division and accepted by the Natural Resources Commission,” Dexter said. “Staff also looked broadly across all fisheries unit boundaries.”

The opening day of inland trout season on Type 1 streams, which include the increased bag limit, is Saturday, April 28th.

For a complete listing of the streams where a 10-trout bag limit is allowed, see the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide available from DNR offices, where fishing licenses are sold an online at mi.gov/fishing.


Tourism Industry Honors "Michigan Cares for Tourism"

the 2018 Pure Award, given by Michigan Travel Commission this year to Michigan Cares for Tourism.

18APR18-Michigan’s tourism industry prides itself on pioneering best practices as part of its daily endeavors. To recognize and inspire colleagues, the Michigan Travel Commission created the Pure Award to highlight the efforts of tourism organizations that have helped put Michigan on the map. 
Past recipients include the Grand Haven Salmon Festival and the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmet County. Now, in its third year, the Pure Award celebrates another outstanding organization that has been an innovative and exemplary steward of Michigan's natural and cultural resources: Michigan Cares for Tourism, known familiarly as MC4T.
The group received the Pure Award at last month's Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism in Grand Rapids. Michigan Cares for Tourism is a 100-percent volunteer, 100-percent nonprofit, give-back organization that brings tourism professionals together to help restore Michigan's historic attractions, while encouraging participants to learn about state tourism destinations and network across industry segments. 

To date, MC4T has generated nearly $450,000 in monetary and in-kind support. With five major events under its belt and two more in planning stages (as well as student events and local community event opportunities), MC4T has created a legacy of commitment to preserving some of the state's most treasured natural and cultural tourism destinations.

To learn about past and upcoming MC4T events, visit gvsu.edu/michigancaresfortourism. For more information, contact DNR recreation programmer Maia Turek at 989-225-8573.


Spring Season Brings Flowers, Showers and … Duck Nests?

Canada goose with young goslings on the water.

18APR18-When cleaning out gardens, flower boxes or home or office landscaping this spring, don’t be surprised if you find something extra. Duck nests, particularly mallard nests, appear just about everywhere this time of year. While you may think these are not the most ideal nesting locations, there’s really no cause for concern. 
You can expect a female mallard to sit on a nest for about a month prior to her eggs hatching. 
“If the nest fails on its own – something that happens regularly – just wish her luck on her next attempt,” said Hannah Schauer, a wildlife communications coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. “If she is successful and her eggs hatch, the mother will lead her ducklings to the nearest body of water, often the same day they hatch.”
Canada geese sometimes build nests near houses or in parks, often near water. Just like mallards, Canada geese will lead their young to water soon after they hatch. 

Schauer said that adult geese can be quite protective of their nests and their goslings. They may chase people or pets away by hissing and running or flying toward the perceived intruders. It’s best to avoid the nesting locations altogether. If that’s not possible, carry an umbrella and gently scare away an approaching bird.
Birds and their nests and eggs are protected by law and must be left alone. Abandoned or injured wildlife can be possessed and cared for only by licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess live wild animals – including birds – in Michigan.
This spring, if you’re lucky enough to come across a nest, enjoy it from a distance and wait for your newest neighbors to make their entrance.

Help keep Michigan’s wildlife wild. Learn more at michigan.gov/wildlife or contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678. 


Fireworks-free Camping Available at Several State Parks

Michigan state parks Fireworks-Free Fourth of July promotion card

18APR18-For four straight years, the DNR and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency have come together to highlight quieter camping options in a handful of Michigan state parks.

Fireworks-Free Fourth of July is geared toward veterans and other visitors, including pet owners, looking for a quieter camping experience. This year, 11 locations located farther away from traditional community firework displays are participating July 2nd - 6th.

Camping reservations can be made up to six months in advance, which means it's not too early to be thinking about those holiday dates. To check availability and make a reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com.

Want to learn more? Visit  michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth. To learn more about services for Michigan veterans, visit michiganveterans.com.


First Turkey Hunting Season of 2018 Under Way April 23rd

Michigan's first turkey season of the year is right around the corner. Here, a young hunter shows off his turkey.

18APR18-Plentiful birds, 10 million-plus acres of public land available for hunting, and spring turkey season just days away – don’t miss your chance to gobble up some prime hunting April 23-May 31. The state’s strategic season structure – with multiple “openers” – gives hunters options that provide the opportunity to have a great hunting experience this spring.
That’s a giant leap from just decades ago. There was a time in Michigan when wild turkey was difficult to come by.
“I’ve heard stories from my grandpa about some of the wildlife we have today being hard to find when he was a kid,” said Katie Keen, communications coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. “It’s hard to imagine it was so different just a few generations back.”
Unregulated hunting and dramatic habitat changes had made some wildlife, including turkeys, scarce.

“This once-common bird was eliminated from Michigan by 1900. In 1977, Michigan’s turkey population was estimated at 6,000 birds, and only 17 counties were open to turkey hunting,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “Through reintroduction efforts by the DNR and other conservation partners, more than 200,000 turkeys now roam the wilds in nearly every corner of the state.”

Keen said that in 1977, hunters had a 1-in-4 chance of getting a spring turkey license, and only 400 turkeys were taken.  
Today, she said, hunters just need to determine where they’d like to hunt,
watch the DNR’s frequently-asked-questions video, get a license and go. Last year, hunters bagged about 33,000 wild turkeys during the fall and spring seasons combined.
“This spring, hunters should find good numbers of turkeys distributed throughout the state,” said Stewart. “Based on production last year, hunters can expect success similar to last spring … and last spring was pretty good.”
Interested in watching the woods come alive at sunrise, hearing the turkey’s call, and possibly putting some wild game on your dinner table? Learn more and buy a license at
michigan.gov/turkey, or contact Katie Keen at 989-385-0336.


Straits Vessel Damage Investigation Activity Continues With Expected Launch of Underwater Vehicles to Inspect ATC, Enbridge Lines

17APR18-The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) are notifying residents near the Straits of Mackinac to increased activity related to damage to American Transmission Co.’s electrical transmission lines and Enbridge Energy’s Line 5.
Crews are expected soon to launch remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to evaluate infrastructure conditions, according to the Unified Command (UC). The UC, consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, MDEQ, ATC, and a tribal representative, was established to address a mineral oil release from the ATC cables.

At the same time, additional crews near Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, at the direction of the UC, are continuing to vacuum any remaining mineral oils from ATC’s electrical cables that connect the Lower and Upper Peninsulas through the Straits. Two of the six lines were damaged earlier this month and resulted in the release of nearly 600 gallons of mineral oil. The Coast Guard, which is the lead agency in the UC, has identified vessel activity as one of the potential causes for the mineral oil release.
According to the UC, the next step in the response to the ATC cable damage is the launch of a working class ROV, weather permitting. A barge has been prepared to assist workers in this inspection. After an assessment is completed, a plan will be developed and executed to determine the best method to mitigate future environmental impacts.

During the same time frame, Enbridge will deploy an ROV for a visual assessment of Line 5, which is adjacent to the ATC cables. Line 5 is believed to have sustained small dents to its twin, 20-inch lines, possibly from the same vessel activity that potentially damaged ATC’s cables.
The UC says there has been no major environmental impact on the Straits or wildlife from the ATC leakage.
Enbridge has run tests to assess damage to Line 5. Company officials state they have found no evidence of fluid loss and have confidence in the pipeline’s structural integrity.
Gov. Rick Snyder has called on Enbridge to accelerate the identification of anchor strike mitigation measures and the evaluation of alternatives to replace pipelines, both of which are required under the state’s November agreement with Enbridge. The studies are scheduled to be completed in June. Snyder also said the state will expedite a review of other actions to protect the Straits as well as working with federal partners to expedite the permitting process to allow for protective measures to be installed in the Straits.

For more information, contact the Point Le Barbe Response at the Joint Information Center at PointLeBarbeResponseJIC@gmail.com or (906) 748-0737.


Buying DNR Licenses and Permits Easier with New eLicense

eLicense video thumbnail

17APR18-We’ve made some changes to the DNR’s eLicense website to make it easier to use and more secure.

The biggest change is that all eLicense customers will now set up an ID and password to create your personal account, and once your account is created you’ll no longer need to enter your name and address every time you make a purchase. This new account feature also allows you to:

~>See three years of your license purchase history as well as bear preference points and elk weighted lottery chances.

~>Never lose your fishing or base license again - you xan re-print them or save them to your mobile device.

Our video will walk you through the site and how to use some of its new features.

If you have questions about the new eLicense and how to use it, please see the eLicense FAQ and Help pages.

Check out the new eLicense.


Don’t Forget to Register Your Watercraft

large boat at a dock with sailboat in background

17APR18-Boat the longest U.S. freshwater coastline, thousands of miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes – all in the Great Lakes State.


All watercraft, unless exempt, must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State. Registrations expire March 31st in the third year of issuance. 


Visit michigan.gov/boating to register your boat, make a slip reservation or explore Michigan boating.


Spring Turkey Season Starts Soon

young male hunter with wild turkey he shot

17APR18-The 2018 spring turkey season officially starts on April 23rd. Didn't get a license? You still have time.

Several options are available for anyone looking to harvest a turkey anywhere in Michigan. Staggered seasons mean you have different “openers” to choose from. Hunt ZZ and Hunt 234 can be bought over the counter and give you more hunt days.

Videos and additional information can be found at mi.gov/turkey.  Or call us at 517-284-WILD – we'd love to help. 


2018 Spring Fishing Season Openers

2018 Fishing Guide and a fishing license

17APR18-It’s time to dust of your fishing poles and make sure your license is up to date as two fishing seasons open Saturday, April 28. The statewide trout season (Type 1 and 2 streams and Type A and D lakes) and the Lower Peninsula inland walleye and northern pike seasons all open that day. 

For more information, refer to the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.


DNR Biologists Concerned About Late UP Winter Impacts on Deer 

Prolonged wintry conditions producing stressful conditions 

A close-up view of an Upper Peninsula deer in March.

17APR18-With more snow predicted for the region this weekend, the prolonged wintry conditions being experienced in the Upper Peninsula show no sure signs of relenting soon, a circumstance that has state wildlife biologists concerned about the stressful impact to white-tailed deer.
“A month ago, we were optimistic about the deer herd, with spring on the horizon and the winter we’d had to that point,” said Terry Minzey, Upper Peninsula regional wildlife supervisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Now, I’m quite concerned with what we might end up with because of this protracted winter weather.”
Deer radio-collared in the western U.P. as part of an ongoing predator-prey study or a new deer migration study, have suffered a 13.5 percent mortality rate so far this winter, with 11 percent of adult female deer dying.
That mortality rate compares to 15 percent through the entire month of April in 2017.
“The big difference between this year and last year is that as of April 11 last winter, 95 percent of the deer had dispersed from their wintering complexes,” Minzey said. “This year, there have been none. They’re all still there because of the continuing winter conditions.”

A map shows snow depth conditions in the Upper Peninsula as of April 9.

An April 9 snow depth map showed more than 2 feet of snow in some northern parts of the region, nearly 2 feet of snow in other places, and several inches on the ground in areas traditionally green with grass by this time of year.
Some snow depth examples included 20 to 26 inches in Hulbert, 12 to 17 inches in Gwinn, 15 to 19 inches at Baraga, 16 to 17 inches at McLain State Park north of Hancock and 17 to 21 inches at Wakefield.
“In general, across the north and west, the deer are starting to look pretty rough and stressed,” said Brad Johnson, a DNR wildlife technician at Baraga. “The Keweenaw is almost up to 300 inches of snow (for the season) and we are listening to Tiger baseball on the truck radio 5 miles out on 2 feet of ice in Lake Superior in April.”
Johnson said DNR staffers are starting to get a lot of calls of stressed deer reported at feeding sites.
Minzey said this winter is different than most others because a comparatively low amount of snow fell during the early part of the winter. Temperatures remain below average for April so far.


Deer gathered in a field in Mackinac County in March.

“With relatively no green vegetation available, deer are suffering a negative energy balance at the same time they are burning energy used for developing fetuses or antler development,” Minzey said. “Deer expend five times more energy to move through snow than they expend to keep warm.
“Generally speaking walking in 14 inches of snow results in a 50 percent energy expenditure increase as compared to walking on dry ground. If deer are forced to walk through 21 inches of snow, they burn twice the energy compared to walking on dry ground.”
Minzey said when these snow, weather and health conditions exist after mid-March, it typically spells trouble for fawn, and potentially adult deer, survival.

In some areas, the only snow-free areas are along roadsides where deer are congregating and getting struck by passing vehicles.
“Up until a month ago, I would have said that is was 20 percent of fawns that looked like there were in rough condition, or at least starting down that path,” said Kristie Sitar, DNR wildlife biologist at Newberry. “These last two weeks, about half of fawns look like they are not going to make it. Most adults look still fairly decent.”

Deer ready for fall and winter in October in Houghton County.

At Sault Ste. Marie, DNR wildlife biologist David Jentoft said most of the deer he’s seen on the far east end of the peninsula still look OK.
“Deer movement was not heavily restricted for most of the winter in eastern Chippewa and Mackinac (counties), as snow depths have not been real deep, so that likely has helped,” Jentoft said. “Having said that, deer don’t seem quite as responsive as they were a couple of weeks ago. If the winter conditions hold on a lot longer, deer condition may deteriorate.”
At Crystal Falls, DNR wildlife biologist Monica Joseph said most deer look skinny, but OK.
“They still seem willing to run off and jump banks, so they still have some energy reserve,” Joseph said. “We are likely losing fawns as some are looking bad, and with persistent snow cover and significantly more snow forecast for the weekend, they are going to be stressed even more. No observations of dead adult deer, due to winter loss, have been reported.”
Similar reports were received from Shingleton where deer were observed at northern feeding sites and in the southern part of the Cusino wildlife management unit.

Deer jumping across a field in Mackinac County.

“Most of those deer are skinny, but don’t look like they’re quite on their last legs yet,” said Cody Norton, DNR wildlife biologist. “I’m sure they are getting pretty susceptible to predation and other forms of mortality though, and the coming storms could definitely push them over the edge in much of the unit.”
In Delta and Menominee counties, deer observed looked to be in good condition, according to DNR wildlife biologist Karen Sexton and wildlife technician Colter Lubben.
“I was out working late last night running on sick/injured deer and I made it a point to look at fields of deer and large feeding sites. I looked closely at the fawns and I can say that out of the 150 plus fawns I observed I didn’t see a single fuzzy face or any that I could see ribs or hip bones,” Lubben said. “The deer are still very active; chasing each other, running from moving vehicles, et cetera.”
Sexton said fields were mostly open during the last week of March and then snow-covered from April 1 until a few days ago.
At the Marquette DNR office, during the past month, folks who have been feeding deer have reported the number of deer observed has increased by 20 to 50 percent.

“Overall, my forecast for the northern deer is poor if the weather doesn’t turn soon,” said DNR wildlife technician Caleb Eckloff. “Southern deer in my work area are faring much better, but I still have reservations about a successful fawn crop.”
Overall, with improving winter conditions, the Upper Peninsula deer herd had been rebounding over the past year or so, after three consecutive hard winters in which significant deer mortality was recorded.

A hunter camp survey released in February reviewed last fall’s deer hunting season. Across the region, hunters said the number of deer seen and the percentage of hunters harvesting a buck had increased, while they said the deer herd trend and rating of the season had improved.


DNR Offers ‘Wildlife Through Forestry’ Raptor Forum in Marquette

A bald eagle flies from a perch in the western Upper Peninsula.

17APR18-For those who may never have been close to a hawk, falcon or an owl, or who want to learn more about these amazing creatures, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hosting a raptor forum this month in Marquette.
“We will have two highly-respected bird rehabilitation experts educating us about this very special group of Michigan birds,” said Gary Willis, a DNR service forester from the Baraga office. “They will also be introducing us to some avian friends – hawks and owls that we can view up-close and personal.”
The event featuring Marge Gibson of Antigo, Wisconsin and Jerry Maynard of the Chocolay Raptor Center in Harvey, Michigan will be from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 24 in the Michigan Room at the University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Gibson, known to many as “the bird whisperer,” is an internationally respected bird rehabilitator whose life work has truly defined the field. Her research and documented case studies have provided invaluable insight into behaviors, nutritional needs, disease, rehabilitation procedures and post-release data of native bird species used worldwide.

Bird rehabilitation expert Jerry Maynard gets ready to release a snowy owl in Marquette County.Maynard is a biologist and retired environmental attorney who, along with Bob Jensen, founded the Chocolay Raptor Center. Their primary mission is providing education about raptors, with a secondary mission of rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured hawks, eagles and owls. Maynard plans on bringing several of the center’s raptors to the forum.
“This event is the latest in a fascinating series of ‘Wildlife Through Forestry’ forums held in the western Upper Peninsula over the past year,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These sessions link wildlife topics to the numerous ways habitat for birds and animals may be developed and enhanced for a range of species on private lands.”
The forums have been presented by the DNR with funding from a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant.
Each of these sessions has included a presentation on an interesting and important wildlife-related topic, with additional information provided to private landowners on the value of a Forest Stewardship Plan.

This month’s raptor forum will be followed up with a May 17 “Wildlife Through Forestry” Songbird Forum also at Northern Michigan University.
“We want to get folks fired up about sound resource management so that they establish a family legacy with their forest ownership,” Willis said. “We want to show folks the importance of working closely with a resource professional to accomplish their goals and objectives for ownership. We also want folks to have a good time getting together to discuss topics of interest to us all.”
A panel of resource professionals will be on hand to discuss the development, preparation and implementation of Forest Stewardship Plans.
More than 150 professional foresters and 20 wildlife biologists develop Forest Stewardship Plans for forest landowners in Michigan. For information about these plans or the Commercial Forest Program, contact Gary Willis, DNR Service Forester, 427 U.S. 41 North, Baraga, Michigan, 49908; 906-353-6651, ext. 207-0122 or willisg2@michigan.gov.
any county conservation districts in Michigan have foresters on staff available for a free site visit to private landowner properties. They can discuss landowner wildlife habitat and forestry goals and help decide if there are financial assistance programs that can provide cost sharing for resource management plan preparation and implementation.

In Marquette and Alger counties, contact Matt Watkeys, forester, at matt.watkeys@mi.nacdnet.net or call the Marquette County Conservation District office at 906-226-8871, ext. 128.


How The AuSable River Changed The World

By CASEY WARNER-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

two women fly fishing in river

16APR18-With the opener of Michigan’s trout season right around the corner, anglers soon will be donning their waders and heading out to one of the thousands of cold, quality streams that make the state a nationally known trout-fishing destination.
Perhaps the most renowned place to cast a fly in Michigan – the Au Sable River, running 138 miles through the northern Lower Peninsula – is significant for much more than its outstanding trout fishing.
In 1959, 16 fishermen, united by their love of trout and the Au Sable River and concerned about the need for long-term conservation of Michigan’s cold-water streams, gathered at George Griffith’s home east of Grayling.

“For some time I and several others have been considering ways and means to protect and preserve trout and trout fishing, and have come up with the idea of forming an organization to be known as Trout, Unlimited,” wrote Griffith, a member of the Michigan Conservation Commission, in an invitation letter to a fellow angler in 1959.
“Such an organization could work with state and federal agencies now charged with that responsibility … it would help educate the public on the dire need of sound, practical, scientific trout management and regulations to protect the trout as well as satisfy fishermen.”

flat-bottomed river boat in museum exhibit

The sportsmen that responded to Griffith’s invitation to meet at his cabin on the Au Sable believed that better and more scientific habitat management would improve the environment as well as the state’s trout population and fishing.
Nearly 60 years after that initial meeting, the organization those fishermen founded – Trout Unlimited – has become a national champion of fish habitat conservation.
Today, the organization has almost 300,000 members and supporters, with 30 offices nationwide, and sponsors the International Trout Congress.
The Michigan History Museum in Lansing is showcasing Trout Unlimited’s founding on the Au Sable in a special exhibition, “The River that Changed the World,” open through July 29th.
“The Au Sable River has influenced – and continues to influence – people around the world,” said Mark Harvey, Michigan’s state archivist and the exhibition’s curator. “The stories in the exhibition demonstrate the innovative and unprecedented ways private citizens and state government worked together to conserve and protect the river and sustainably manage its fish populations.”

museum visitors look at reproduction of Wanigas Rod Shop

Harvey said that the idea for the exhibit stemmed from the Michigan History Center’s longstanding relationship with, and eventual donation of materials from, Art Neumann, one of the cofounders of Trout Unlimited and its executive director from 1962 to 1965.
“Instead of just focusing on the Trout Unlimited group, we took a wider view of the river that inspired these people to work for systemic change,” Harvey said.
The exhibition features George Griffith’s 24-foot-long Au Sable river boat and a re-creation of Neumann’s Wanigas Rod Shop, where he made fly rods considered works of art and became known as a champion of conservation.

A “battery” of glass beakers from the Grayling fish hatchery, each of which held thousands of eggs, highlights the late 19th-century work of state conservationists and private citizens who tried to save the Arctic grayling.
An iconic cold-water fish that once dominated northern Michigan streams but was almost extinct by the beginning of the 20th century, Arctic grayling were native only to Michigan and Montana in the lower 48 states.
“When sportsmen first discovered the grayling in the Au Sable, it drew international attention,” Harvey said.
The current Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative now aims to restore self-sustaining populations of the fish within its historical range in Michigan.

historic image of Wolverine fish car

Original paneling and artifacts from the Wolverine fish car, which carried millions of fish by rail across Michigan, tell museum visitors the story of efforts to plant trout in the Au Sable.
Fred Westerman, one of the first employees of the Wolverine and former fisheries chief in the Michigan Department of Conservation, forerunner to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, once reported:
“Frequently … thirty cans of fish would be dropped off at some spooky junction – like in the jack pine at Au Sable-Oscoda with the cemetery across the tracks and the depot a mile from town – on the night run of the Detroit & Mackinac, to await the morning train going up the river branch.”

The exhibition also introduces the relationship between the Anishinabe (Odawa and Ojibwe people) and the Au Sable River and explores Grayling as a fishing and tourism hotspot since the mid-19th century. 

men haul tree through river as part of habitat restoration project

Current DNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter applauded the vision and passion of those who recognized the Au Sable’s promise as a premier fishing destination.

“As the name of the exhibit implies, the Au Sable is a world-class fishery resource attracting anglers from every corner of the earth,” Dexter said. “It’s one of the most stable groundwater-influenced watersheds in North America, and produces exceptional trout fishing.
“It wasn’t always that way, though. Without the creation of Trout Unlimited at the Au Sable River, by those who understood the potential of our cold-water resources, Michigan might not be home to one of the world’s greatest trout fisheries.”

Trout Unlimited’s work has also encouraged other groups like the Anglers of the Au Sable, who now lead the charge for preserving this unique, high-quality body of water. Dubbed the “river guardians,” the Anglers group has fought multiple environmental threats to river.
The exhibit and related events also offer opportunities for hands-on experiences.
Visitors can learn how to tie a fly and compare tied flies to real insects under a microscope or sit in a kayak and take a 360-degree virtual reality paddle down the Au Sable.

kayakers paddling on river

They can also explore the essence of the Au Sable without leaving mid-Michigan through a series of museum programs revolving around the exhibit.
"While the exhibit focuses on the wonderful stories, images and sounds of the river, we wanted to bring the Au Sable River to the capital region," said Michigan History Center engagement director Tobi Voigt. “We designed a series of programs highlighting themes from the exhibit – like fly-fishing and kayaking – that can be enjoyed by a variety of age groups. We're especially excited to showcase a fly-fishing star and host our first-ever kayak tour."
Programs include a fly-casting workshop with noteworthy fly-tier and fly-fishermen Jeff “Bear” Andrews, a kayak tour on the Red Cedar River, and the Second Saturdays for Families series featuring hands-on activities like making a compass, a sundial or a miniature boat.

To learn more about “A River That Changed the World” and to find Michigan History Museum visitor information, go to www.michigan.gov/museum.
Check out previous “Showcasing the DNR” stories at
www.mi.gov/dnrstories. Subscribe to upcoming articles and other DNR publications at the bottom of our webpage at www.mi.gov/dnr


Help Guard Sturgeon on Cheboygan County’s Black River

DNR biologist holding sturgeon in river

16APR18-Volunteer to protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest by joining the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon For Tomorrow mid-April through early June. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the sturgeon spawning season. 

Volunteers can register online at www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org.


Recipients of DNR's Habitat Grants for Fish and Aquatic Resources Announced

An example of high-banks restoration work, funded by DNR grants for fish and aquatic resources

16APR18-Fourteen habitat restoration projects totaling more than $2 million will be funded by several Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant programs in 2018. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private citizens submitted a total of 41 applications requesting more than $7.72 million in funding to complete priority habitat projects in their areas. These projects were submitted, evaluated and awarded through three grant processes. 
The Aquatic Habitat Grant Program seeks to protect and restore fish and aquatic habitats; the Dam Management Grant Program focuses on dam removal, maintenance and repair; and the Habitat Improvement Account provides funding for habitat projects in the Manistee, Muskegon and Au Sable rivers’ watersheds.
“These projects continue our investment in habitats to sustain healthy fisheries for generations to come,” said Joe Nohner, a DNR fisheries biologist. “We’re excited to award these grants and work with the recipients to improve upon Michigan’s already world-class fisheries.”
This year's grant recipients (applicant, project name, county and grant amount) include: 

Aquatic Habitat Grant Recipients

bullet Huron Pines, Brook Trout Habitat Restoration: Improving Regional Priority Road/Stream Crossings (Ogemaw and Presque Isle), $110,000
bullet DNR Fisheries Division, Manistique Dam Center Flume Wall Removal (Schoolcraft), $362,650
bullet Conservation Resource Alliance, Reconnecting the North Branch of the Platte River (Benzie), $100,000
bullet Golden Lotus, Inc., Pigeon River Restoration at Song of the Morning Ranch (Otsego), $301,850
bullet Ottawa County Parks, Grand River Shoreline Restoration & Bayou Connectivity Project at Riverside Park (Ottawa), $88,000
bullet Clinton River Watershed Council, Clinton River Restoration at Yates (Oakland), $287,500
bullet TOTAL: $1,250,000

Dam Management Grant Recipients

bullet DNR Wildlife Division, Trowbridge Dam Removal - Kalamazoo River (Allegan), $52,000
bullet Conservation Resource Alliance, Lake Kathleen Dam Removal - Maple River (Emmet), $125,000
bullet Gladwin County Road Commission, Heil Dam Removal - Black Creek (Gladwin), $65,000
bullet Friends of the Shiawassee River, Shiatown Dam Removal - Shiawassee River (Shiawassee), $108,000
bullet TOTAL: $350,000 

Habitat Improvement Account Recipients

bullet Huron Pines, Au Sable - Small Dam Removal and Culvert Replacement (Alcona and Oscoda), $147,906
bullet Trout Unlimited, Bank and Access Repair Below Tippy Dam (Manistee), $185,043
bullet DNR Fisheries Division, Walleye Pond Improvements (Muskegon), $46,944
bullet Upper Manistee, Habitat Improvement and Erosion Control (Kalkaska), $88,070
bullet TOTAL: $467,963

The Aquatic Habitat Grant Program is funded by revenues from fishing and hunting license fees. The Dam Management Grant Program is funded by General Fund dollars appropriated by the Legislature. The Habitat Improvement Account is funded by Consumers Energy as part of a major settlement agreement that relicensed the company’s hydropower projects on the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers. 

Learn more about these programs and other grant opportunities on the DNR website at michigan.gov/dnrgrants


Earth Day Spring Cleanup at Belle Isle Park

volunteers pick up trash on Belle Isle

16APR18-Hundreds of volunteers will roll up their sleeves and remove trash and debris at the annual spring cleanup event at Belle Isle Park Saturday, April 21 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Coordinated by the DNR and the Belle Isle Conservancy, the day is an opportunity for individuals, families and community groups to help beautify the island. Volunteers should check in at 8 a.m. at the Belle Isle Athletic Complex and are asked to dress for the weather. Cleanup efforts will be followed by a community celebration with music and a complimentary hotdog lunch. The Recreation Passport will be waived for cleanup volunteers.

For more information, contact Genevieve Nowak of  Belle Isle Conservancy at nowakg@belleisleconservancy.org or 313-334-7053.


Stewardship Volunteer Opportunities in Southern Michigan State Parks

smiling volunteer clears brush at park

16APR18-Each month, the DNR hosts a number of volunteer stewardship workdays at state parks and recreation areas in southeast and southwest Michigan. Volunteers help with everything from collecting native seeds and removing invasive species to conducting plant and animal surveys and other activities. The workdays are a great way to spend time in Michigan's great outdoors, while helping to restore the state's natural ecosystem.


calendar of volunteer stewardship workdays and the stewardship volunteer registration form are available on the DNR's newly designed website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers under "Restore and Cleanup." To register, please complete the online form or emailing the listed contact


Celebrate Importance of Trees on Arbor Day, April 27th

volunteers plant tree in urban neighborhood

16APR18-Started by J. Sterling Morton – a Michigander who had moved to the Nebraska territory and encouraged others to plant trees for windbreaks and shade – in 1854, Arbor Day is the celebration of trees and their importance in our lives. Taking place on April 27 this year, Arbor Day is also a time to think about what we can do for trees and the world in which we live.

Healthy natural resources are vital to environmental quality and quality of life. Trees are in our backyards, neighborhoods, cities, farms and forests. They connect us to our past and to our future.

To find out how you can get involved in planting trees or plan your own celebration of trees, visit the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance website.


Copperwood Resources completes copper exploration at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Environmental protective measures followed by mining company

Winter drilling at site 18-12 is shown in mid-February 2018. (Copperwood Resources photo)

12APR18-Copperwood Resources Inc. – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – has completed its winter exploration begun in February of a 1-mile section of the westernmost portion of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Exploratory drilling was conducted in this part of Gogebic County to see if the eastern extension of a mineral deposit first explored in the 1950s might feasibly be mined, which could potentially enlarge the mining company’s Copperwood Project beyond its currently-permitted boundaries.
Drilling and testing will determine hydrologic and geologic composition of the bedrock beneath the surface. Copperwood Resources is leasing the mineral rights from another company which owns those rights beneath this part of the park. The state of Michigan manages the land surface features.
Earlier this winter, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources granted a land use permit for the work, allowing the mining company to resume exploration begun last winter at the park. Additional permits were required from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for two of the drilling sites situated in wetland areas.

Three holes were drilled this winter on park land. A separate land use permit was granted by the Gogebic County Road Commission for drilling work at three sites that took place on county property, within the right-of-way of County Road 519.

Two additional test holes were drilled to the ore body from Copperwood Resources property situated west of the park. The mining company has completed winter exploration on its lands.

“We are pleased to have completed the drilling program on our Copperwood project, and would like to thank the DNR, DEQ, and the Gogebic County Road Commission for their cooperation over the last few months,” said Justin van der Toorn, exploration manager of Copperwood Resources Inc. “The winter conditions have held out well for us and allowed us to finish all eight drill holes as planned. The information and assays that are derived from this work will now be incorporated into our ongoing feasibility study that is still on schedule for completion this summer.”

The road commission and DNR permits included several provisions aimed at protecting land surface features.

“All of the stipulations in the use permit were followed,” said Doug Rich, western U.P. district supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.

Park management officials visited the site after drilling had ceased.

Some details of the winter drilling work include:

bullet Eight diamond drill holes were completed for a total of 9,484 feet.
bulletThe holes ranged in depth from 768 feet to 1,298 feet.
bulletAll holes were cemented upon completion.
bulletTwo diamond drilling rigs were used to help ensure the program was completed on time, and because of some early delays.
bulletAt one of the sites along County Road 519, timber matting was used to prevent any ground disturbance and ensure the ground remained frozen beneath. This was done in agreement with the road commission as an additional protective measure, as daytime temperatures briefly rose above freezing.
bulletWork was completed March 29.
bulletReseeding will take place where needed, once the ground has thawed this spring.
bulletThe DNR received daily updates on the project.

None of this exploration work was conducted in the wilderness section of the park, but in an area where several historic impacts have occurred, including logging and a narrow-gauge railroad.

If Copper Resources eventually decides to extend the Copperwood Project, the copper deposit would be accessed from outside the park boundary, without disturbance to park surface features.

Any potential mining of the minerals would require a separate regulatory process through the DEQ. Copperwood Resources would have to amend its existing permit.

“The DNR will ensure there would be opportunity for public review and comment before any mining would occur on minerals beneath the park,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer.

For more information on the Copperwood Project in the western Upper Peninsula, visit www.highlandcopper.com/copperwood


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes removing the bird from the Endangered Species list

close-up view of a Kirtland's warbler in a tree; a rare bird species found only in Michigan and, recently, in Wisconsin and Canada

12APR18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today applauded the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed delisting now enters a 90-day public comment period. A final decision is expected within a year. 
“This is a great day for conservation and for Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This decision recognizes over 50 years of dedication and commitment to Kirtland’s warbler conservation by many agencies, organizations, industries, and individuals in our state and beyond. Together we have been able to benefit local economies while at the same time providing necessary nesting grounds for this species. The decision by our federal partners marks a significant wildlife success story.”
Forty years ago, the Kirtland's warbler was on the brink of extinction. Today, the yellow-breasted songbird, which lives in northern Michigan's jack pine forests, has made a comeback. The bird rebounded from a population low of about 350 in 1987 to more than 4,000 today. The Kirtland’s warbler population continues to grow and has for the past 16 years exceeded population recovery goals. Once thought confined to northern Michigan, the bird species has since been found in Wisconsin and Canada. 

“Kirtland’s warblers were one of America’s rarest birds, but today they represent the power of partnership to recover imperiled wildlife,” said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
The Kirtland's warbler was among the first animals to gain federal protection in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. The species started to rebound once agencies and their partners began to implement long-term efforts to conserve young jack pine. Large areas of jack pine of a certain age class are essential for Kirtland’s warbler nesting. Also essential to a thriving Kirtland’s warbler population is control of brown-headed cowbirds. The brown-headed cowbird is a nest parasite that knocks eggs out of Kirtland's warbler nests and replaces them with its own. 
The Kirtland’s Warbler Breeding Range Conservation Plan was developed in 2015 by the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The plan is now the guiding management strategy for the species. Additionally, funding and other commitments to habitat management and cowbird control are in place to ensure continuation of conservation actions in the absence of Endangered Species Act protections. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive comments on the proposed delisting through July 11, 2018. 

To submit comments electronically visit www.regulations.gov (available starting Thursday, April 12) and enter FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005 in the search box. To submit a hard copy, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

More information about the Kirtland’s warbler and the proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections is available at: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/birds/Kirtland/index.html


Avoid Oak Wilt: Don't Prune or Injure Oak Trees During Risk Period

Tree with oak wilt

11APR18-Have an oak tree on your property? To keep it healthy, don’t prune it from mid-April through the summer. That’s a key time for infection with oak wilt, a serious disease that can weaken white oaks and kill red oak trees within weeks.
Oak wilt, caused by a fungus, has been reported throughout the Midwest, including Michigan, said Ryan Wheeler,  invasive species biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 
Red oaks are most susceptible to the disease. These trees have leaves with pointed tips and include black oak, northern red oak and northern pin oak. Trees in the white oak group have rounded leaf edges and include white oak and swamp white oak. They are less susceptible.
Symptoms most often appear from June until September.
"Affected trees will suddenly begin to wilt from the top down, rapidly dropping leaves, which can be green, brown or a combination of both colors," Wheeler said.
Oak wilt is spread above ground mainly by sap-feeding beetles that carry the disease spores from an infected tree, or wood cut from an infected tree, to fresh wounds, including pruning cuts, on healthy trees. The infection also spreads below ground, through root grafts among neighboring trees.

The highest risk of infection occurs April 15-July 15, but it is prudent to avoid pruning or injuring oak trees until they have lost leaves for the winter, typically from November through mid-March, Wheeler said. If you must prune or remove oaks during the risk period, or have a tree that gets damaged, immediately cover wounds with tree-wound paint or latex-based paint.
Don’t move firewood, especially if it comes from oak wilt-killed trees, as it can harbor the fungus. If you suspect your firewood is tainted by oak wilt, cover it with a plastic tarp all the way to the ground, leaving no openings. This keeps beetles away so they can’t move spores from the firewood to otherwise healthy trees. Once the firewood has been cut long enough, to the point where all of the bark loosens, the disease can no longer be spread.

If you suspect your oak trees have this disease:

bullet Get help from an oak-wilt qualified specialist. Visit www.MichiganOakWilt.org for a listing and more information.
bullet Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Clinic can verify infection. Find instructions at https://pestid.msu.edu/  or call 517-355-4536.

Report infections
DNR-FRD-Forest-Health@michigan.gov or by phone at 517-284-5895; you also can use the MISIN website or mobile app.


Chronic Wasting Disease Public Meetings April 10th - May 3rd

A healthy white-tailed deer

10APR18-Since the state's first confirmation in May 2015 of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging, white-tailed deer, a total of 57 deer in Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta and Montcalm counties have tested positive for CWD. The DNR has taken swift action, guided by Michigan's comprehensive CWD surveillance and response plan.

Hunters and residents interested in learning more about CWD or who want to share their observations about it are encouraged to attend upcoming public engagement meetings in Bay City, Cadillac, Detroit, DeWitt, Gaylord, Houghton, Iron Mountain, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Newberry and Rockford. Those who can't make a meeting can join in a web-based opportunity, starting April 10. More information on chronic wasting disease, the meetings and the web option is available at michigan.gov/cwd.


Got Fishing Fever? Try for Trout at These Southeast Michigan Spots

More than 4,000 trout like these recently were stocked at three southeast Michigan locations

10APR18-More than 4,000 adult trout – fish that had been used for breeding at our state hatcheries – recently were stocked in the Clinton River (Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills), the Huron River (Proud Lake Recreation Area) and the Spring Mill Pond (Island Lake Recreation Area), making southeast Michigan a great destination for spring fishing.

The Clinton River was stocked with 800 rainbow trout and 650 brown trout, all upstream of Yates Dam; the Huron River took 1,600 brown trout and 1,200 rainbow trout, all ranging in size from 11 to 22 inches; and 400 brown trout and 400 brown trout between 14 and 22 inches now call the Spring Mill Pond home.  

Before you hit the water to target these trout, remember that special regulations apply. The Huron River at Proud Lake Recreation Area is limited to flies only, catch-and-release fishing and Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake Recreation Area is limited to artificial lures only, catch-and-release fishing, both from April 1 through April 27. Starting April 28, all baits are allowed on both waters and anglers may keep up to five trout over 8 inches, but just three that measure over 15 inches.

For additional details, see the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at michigan.gov/dnrdigests or contact Jeff Braunscheidel, 248-666-7445 or Sara Thomas, 248-666-7443.                                


Michigan's Coastal Management Program Celebrates 40 Years With 'Year of the Coast'

By RACHEL COALE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A man looks at an interpretive display overlooking Copper Harbor on Lake Superior.

06APR18-A drop of water in the Great Lakes system passes an incredibly diverse coastline on its journey eastward to the Atlantic Ocean.

Starting at the northern red rock shores of the Keweenaw Peninsula, this water droplet – perhaps fallen from the sky to Earth during a spring rainstorm – could be moved by currents south and east toward the stunning painted cliffs of Lake Superior’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Or it might begin its journey near Chicago, passing the towering Sleeping Bear sand dunes that crown Lake Michigan, moving north and then east through the Straits of Mackinac.

The lake flow would then likely bring the droplet around the more than 10,000 islands that stud the map of Lake Huron, before spilling into the fertile wetlands along Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.

Along its long journey, this drop of water could travel under a fishing dock in a tiny “up-north” village or be tossed and tumbled by a kayak paddle along the busy waterfront of the Detroit River.
Whatever the course, the journey of water through the massive Great Lakes system is a tremendous trip.
Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas are surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. These freshwater lakes are so vast they’re nicknamed “the Sweetwater Seas,” and they form the world’s longest freshwater coastline.
Combined, these four lakes cover nearly 90,000 square miles in water area.

Canoeists paddle out into Lake Michigan in Delta County.

From early logging and fishing industries to today’s hottest tourist destinations and emerging technology sector, Michigan’s Great Lakes coastline represents an economic engine for the state, carrying forward an incredible legacy reflecting a special Michigan way of life.

However, at some points in the not-too-distant past, waterfront industrial and development activities often had negative consequences, with coasts and waterways damaged by habitat loss and pollution.

Beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s, growing calls to value water not just as a resource to be used and consumed – but as something we need to care for – prompted the establishment of modern environmental protection laws and an increasing stewardship ethic.

Today, more people recognize Michigan’s coast for the asset it is and see value in working to protect it, so generations to come will be able to enjoy it too. That’s where coastal management comes in.

Driving this coastal stewardship work is the Michigan Coastal Management Program, which was established in 1978 through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Our nation’s coastal zone is vital to the well-being of our country. It is home to roughly half of the nation’s population and supports ecologically important habitats and natural resources,” the NOAA website states. “The National Coastal Zone Management Program works with coastal states and territories to address some of today’s most pressing coastal issues, including climate change, ocean planning, and planning for energy facilities and development.

A view of Lake Michigan from Leelanau State Park in Leelanau County.

“The program is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and territories authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 to address national coastal issues. The program is administered by NOAA.”
In Michigan, the coastal management program is administered through the Office of the Great Lakes, which, since December, is housed within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Previously, the office was part of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The coastal management program has helped elevate the importance of Michigan’s “freshwater coast” on a national level and drive the last four decades of work to protect, enhance and restore the state’s 3,288 miles of Great Lakes coastline.
Check out the
cool videos “The Geography I Call Home,” “Never Quite the Same,” and “Church of the Open Sky.”
The Office of the Great Lakes is calling attention to Michigan’s incredible Great Lakes coastal resources and the work of our state’s Coastal Management Program by naming 2018 the "Year of the Coast.”

According to NOAA, “coastal management” refers to the actions taken to keep the environmental, community and economic aspects of coastal life in balance.
Michigan’s Coastal Management Program celebrates its 40-year anniversary this year, along with saltwater coast states including California, Hawaii, and Maine, and fellow freshwater state, Wisconsin.
Michigan’s program team members each focus on a specialty area of coastal stewardship, including habitat, public access, water quality, community development and hazard management.

An accessible kayak launch is shown in South Haven in Van Buren County.

“Michigan’s coastal program protects our coast’s unique places, including freshwater wetlands, dunes and beaches, home to rare and endangered species found nowhere else in the world,” said Karen Boase, the program’s coastal habitat coordinator. “Michigan’s state wildflower, the dwarf lake iris, is only found in the Great Lakes region, but faces threats due to habitat degradation and shoreline development. Piping plovers, lake sturgeon and mudpuppies are other coastal species in need of habitat protection.”
Public access to the Great Lakes is critical to the Michigan way of life.
Weston Hillier, the program’s public access coordinator, helps communities establish trail systems,
add beach access, protect historic resources like lighthouses and shipwrecks, and elevate coastal tourism efforts.
“These projects enhance our ability to recreate outdoors and enjoy our coastal resources,” Hillier said. “The goal is to partner with, and invest in, coastal communities to create and enhance coastal public access, so everyday activities such as swimming, kayaking and hunting for Petoskey stones are more accessible and enjoyable.”

Recent projects include boardwalks and stairways for people to safely access beaches and wetlands, restoration of a historic fishing tug in partnership with a maritime museum, and continued work on water trails to establish Michigan as “The Trails State,” in the water as well as on the land.

“Developing water trails includes planning projects, as well as development of coastal access sites, such as the installation of accessible kayak launches and navigation signs,” Hillier said.
Public access connects people to coastal resources in meaningful ways – to learn and play. Keeping those resources healthy for people and wildlife is the mission of Madeleine Gorman, the program’s coastal water quality specialist.
She tackles coastal issues by engaging residents in water stewardship through partner programs like
Adopt-a-Beach and Michigan Clean Marina

Erosion can be a problem along the Great Lakes as shown here at F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County.

“We also work with communities to implement green infrastructure techniques, like rain gardens and porous pavement that soak up storm water, mimicking nature’s processes,” Gorman said. “This work helps communities reduce runoff pollution and become resilient to the effects of flooding and changing water levels.”

It’s no secret that waterfronts can be an incredible community asset. Leveraging that asset sustainably supports a healthy environment and local economy. The coastal program supports community growth through smart planning.

Program community development coordinator Matt Smar helps support sustainable waterfront towns that are good places to live and visit. This takes a thorough understanding of the Great Lakes assets that make coastal communities special.

The beauty of the Great Lakes and the title ‘lakes’ can lead people to underestimate them. The Great Lakes system is dynamic and needs to be respected.

“Storms, erosion, rip currents, and even meteotsunamis can occur on the Great Lakes,” said Matt Warner, the program’s coastal hazards coordinator.

Warner educates communities on coastal management techniques that can reduce risks from those hazards, saving lives, homes and infrastructure.
“Innovative ways to think about protecting coastal residents and assets emphasize techniques that work with coastal processes instead of trying to battle a lake’s forces,” Warner said. “For example, natural shorelines with hardy native vegetation can be more effective than an armored seawall. They also provide scenic and environmental benefits for the shoreline property owner.”

Beachgoers at Tawas Point State Park in Iosco County.

Since its establishment, the Michigan Coastal Management Program has made strategic investments of millions of dollars in coastal communities and provided the technical assistance to get the work done.

In this 40th year, the program plans to focus on community resiliency, coastal dunes and education. The team will promote water stewardship, continue work to establish and enhance Michigan’s water trails, and work in boating communities to keep marinas clean. This work continues a decades-long legacy of service to our state’s coastal communities and natural resources.

Learn more about the Great Lakes Coastal Management Program at www.michigan.gov/coastalmanagement.

Follow the journey throughout “The Year of the Coast” online with #YearoftheCoast2018 for coastal facts, information, and projects. Subscribe to the e-mail list and follow on Twitter at @MichiganOGL.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories at www.mi.gov/dnrstories. Subscribe to upcoming articles and other DNR publications at the bottom of our webpage at www.mi.gov/dnr.


DNR Urges ORV Enthusiasts to be Ready To Ride

Know the rules and your vehicle before heading out

ORV riders reduced

06APR18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds off-road vehicle enthusiasts to learn riding and safety rules before taking to the trails.
“The arrival of spring means countless ORV enthusiasts are preparing to hit the trails,” said Cpl. John Morey, head of the DNR Law Enforcement Division’s ORV safety education program. “But there’s a lot to know when it comes to riding legally and safely. ORV riding is a great sport. Enjoy it to its fullest by understanding the laws, knowing your vehicle, being respectful of others and always putting safety first.”
Riders under the age of 16 must have a valid safety training certificate when operating an ORV. To obtain a certificate, the operator must take an 
ORV safety education course and pass the certification exam. Students have the option of taking an online or classroom-based course. Operators must carry their certificate on their person and present it to a law enforcement officer upon request.

“We encourage all new riders to take a safety class even if they are exempt from the age requirement,” Morey said. “ORVs are fun but they are not toys. They are built primarily for off-road recreation and can be dangerous if you don’t understand your vehicle or know proper riding procedures.”

In addition to the age requirement for certification, other laws governing ORV riding include:

bulletAll operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved crash helmet and protective eyewear, except in specific circumstances defined by law.
bulletOpen containers of alcoholic beverages may not be transported in or upon an ORV unless in a trunk or compartment separate from the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
bulletRoads, streets and highways maintained for year-round automobile travel are closed to ORVs, including the shoulder and right of way. However, ORVs registered as motor vehicles by the Secretary of State may be operated on the roadway.
bulletORVs may be operated on a roadway in accordance with a locally enacted ordinance. Riders are responsible for contacting local authorities to find out which roads are open to ORV use.
bulletPrivate land is closed to ORVs unless the operator is invited by the landowner.
bulletIt is unlawful to operate an ORV in or on the waters of any stream, river, marsh, bog, wetland, swamp or quagmire unless the vehicle is driven on a ridge, culvert or similar structure.

Morey offered general safety and riding tips as well:

bulletBe sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
bulletFamiliarize yourself with your ORV by reading the owner’s manual.
bulletWear protective clothing suitable for the environment.
bulletMake sure the lights work properly and are on during operation.
bulletNever ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when fatigued.
bulletKnow the terrain where you plan to ride.
bulletBe aware of the weather forecast and never venture out alone.
bulletPrepare for emergencies by packing first-aid and survival kits. Useful items include a map and compass, high-energy food such as candy bars, a flashlight, hand axe, signal flares, waterproof matches, mobile phone and a tarpaulin.
bulletRespect any people or animals you encounter.
bulletBe courteous on the trail and follow proper etiquette. This includes riding only where permitted, always yielding to uphill traffic, slowing down when someone is passing you, yielding the right of way to bikes, horses and hikers; carrying out what you carry in, and being considerate of others on the trail by keeping your vehicle to the right.
bulletReport any illegal riding activity by calling or texting the Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 1-800-292-7800.

ORV owners must have their vehicles titled through the Secretary of State. A Michigan title is not required on ORVs owned by nonresidents and used in Michigan.

ORVs must be licensed by the DNR if they are used anywhere other than private property. The annual licensing fee is $26.25. In addition, an ORV trail permit is required to operate on state-designated ORV trails, routes or areas. The cost of an ORV trail permit is $10.

The DNR is working with stakeholders to map forest roads on public lands in accordance with Public Act 288 of 2016. The initiative encourages more people to enjoy Michigan’s public lands by enhancing ORV opportunities across the state. It will open thousands of miles of forest roads to ORV use unless the roads are designated closed by the DNR for reasons such as safety or environmental concerns. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/forestroads.

Visit www.michigan.gov/recreationalsafety for more information on ORV riding requirements, safety and opportunities.


DNR’s Russ Mason Receives Conservation Service Award from Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever 

DNR's Russ Mason receives award from Pheasants Forever's Howard Vincent06APR18-Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recently presented Dr. Russ Mason, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division chief, with their Conservation Service Award during the 83rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Norfolk, Virginia.

“It’s a special honor to be recognized by a conservation-minded organization like Pheasants Forever. I’m humbled and delighted to represent the hard work and dedication of professionals in Wildlife Division and the rest of Michigan DNR, as well as countless hunter-conservationists,” said Mason.

Mason was nominated for this award because of his outstanding efforts to promote upland hunting and habitat conservation throughout the state as part of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative. His achievements include:

bulletSupport of the Farm Bill biologist partnership in Michigan to assist private landowners with habitat projects.
bulletUnwavering support of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative and expansion of this important program throughout the state.
bulletFinancial backing of the Habitat Incentive Program in south-central Michigan to get more landowners enrolled in Farm Bill programs.
bulletSupport of $105,000 in funding over three years to partner with Pheasants Forever on a new statewide Adopt-A-Game-Area Program with local chapters.

“It is through Chief Mason’s support of upland game bird management and his leadership that we are able to foster and expand pheasant habitat in the state,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “It’s great that Russ was honored at a national level by Pheasants Forever for all the work that has been implemented in Michigan for pheasants and pheasant habitat.  With his continued support, we’re looking forward to additional accomplishments in the future.”
In addition to Mason, Pheasants Forever selected six other nationwide award winners for their distinguishing contributions to wildlife habitat conservation efforts, including partnership programs that have achieved landscape-level habitat improvements for a variety of wildlife species.
"Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Conservation Service Awards recognize individuals who have helped impact the mission of our organization through habitat improvements, public access, policy and R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) initiatives in the United States,” said Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “These folks represent the spirit and motivation of The North American [Model of Wildlife Conservation] and are part of the solution for sustaining America’s wildlife populations and outdoor heritage.”


Celebrating Wildlife Habitat Improvements

Turkey Tracts logo

05APR18-To check out examples of work completed to improve habitat for turkey and other wildlife, join the DNR and the National Wild Turkey Federation for the dedication of the third Turkey Tract location on Friday, April 13th, at 1:30 p.m. at the Barry State Game Area, 8386 M-179 in Middleville.

For more information, contact Ryan Boyer with the National Wild Turkey Federation at 231-878-5131.


Experience “Up North” Downtown at the Outdoor Adventure Center

archery target with arrows in it

05APR18-Learn about wildlife photography, how to help pollinators, composting, birds of prey, beavers and more with April programs at the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit. Try your hand at archery or join us for hikes where we’ll talk about ring-necked pheasants, native Michigan trees, and the unique murals and street art along the Dequindre Cut. Check out the full slate of family fun on the Outdoor Adventure Center events calendar.


Located on Detroit’s riverfront, the Outdoor Adventure Center gives visitors a taste of Michigan’s great outdoors in the heart of the city. Learn more at michigan.gov/oac.


Explore Michigan's Outdoors With A Spring Birding Tour

two women fly-fishing in stream

05APR18-Get ready for fishing season with the DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy. Classes coming up in April include a Steelhead Clinic, Fly-Tying Workshop and Open-Water Walleye Clinic. May brings an array of other outdoor skills classes including walleye fishing with Walleye Trail World Champion Mark Martin, wildlife photography with world-renowned photographer Tom Haxby, mountain biking and fly fishing.

The Outdoor Skills Academy offers expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities, from hunting and fishing to hiking, birding and much more. Classes explore each topic in-depth, for a full day or more, with knowledgeable and skilled instructors leading the way.


Check out the full calendar of classes at michigan.gov/outdoorskills.


Learn Steelhead & Walleye Fishing, Fly-tying Skills & More

red-winged blackbird

05APR18-Need help finding a great place to view Michigan’s feathered friends? Wetland Wonders, or managed waterfowl areas, can be found around the state. DNR staff and volunteers from Ducks Unlimited and Audubon clubs will lead tours, which may include a “sneak peek” driving tour into refuge areas that normally are closed. Find dates and locations.

Take part in a guided tour at dusk to hear and see the American woodcock perform its spring aerial display. The Lame Duck Foot Access Area GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management Sites) in Gladwin County will host its second-annual spring Woodcock Walk on Wednesday, April 25, at 8 p.m. Call 989-426-9205, ext. 7630, for more information. A rain date is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2nd. 


You Can Volunteer to Help Guard Michigan's Sturgeon

Effort takes place on the Black River in Presque Isle County

Lake sturgeon are fascinating fish.

05APR18-The Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow in Cheboygan County is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement and Fisheries Divisions, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run.
Every spring, mature lake sturgeon, a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States, become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season, from mid-April through early June, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish.

“For over 18 years, the annual Sturgeon Guarding Program has proven that people serving as sturgeon guards watching over the river have virtually eliminated poaching, while helping to ensure the protection and reproductive success of the species,” said Ann Feldhauser, a DNR retiree and the guarding program’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s a unique and rewarding experience to witness these majestic fish, which can live up to 100 years and weigh over 200 pounds, swimming up the Black River and to be a key player in safeguarding one of Michigan's most valuable natural resources.”
When spawning begins, sturgeon guards are assigned in shifts to sites along the river. The volunteers stand watch and, if suspicious activity occurs, use cellular phones provided by Sturgeon for Tomorrow to contact DNR conservation officers who are actively patrolling the area in support of the guarding effort. Aerial surveillance is also deployed to help secure the area.
“The experience of watching researchers capture, tag and release these amazing fish is, in itself, worth the effort of becoming involved,” said Brenda Archambo, coordinator of the Sturgeon Recovery effort in the Black River watershed. “We also encourage those who enjoy mountain biking, mushrooming, hiking, kayaking, canoeing and camping in beautiful wild areas to partner with the sturgeon guarding effort, where the diversity of the experience on the Black River offers a wonderful experience.”

Lake sturgeon are an iconic, ancient fish species.Many opportunities over the approximately six-week-long spawning season are available for those who wish to help. Coordinators will be on-site at the river to assist and answer questions. In addition to guarding the sturgeon, volunteers can also play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see. This has become a popular activity for families, scouting and church groups, as well as students interested in natural resource management. Often artists participate as well, especially photographers.

Individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact Mark and Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484, or 906-346-9511.

Volunteers can also register online at www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org/guarding-program.php or web search Sturgeon for Tomorrow, Black Lake Chapter.

For those traveling from outside the local area, hotels, restaurants and Onaway State Park (located on Black Lake) which has improved camping and cabin rentals, are close to the guarding locations.

Volunteers are also encouraged to set up their rustic camps along the banks of the Black River. There is no charge for camping on the state land adjacent to the Black River.

Lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership.

In addition to the guarding program, this effort includes activities such as tagging sturgeon adults and raising young fish for stocking in the Black, Burt and Mullet Lakes, all in Cheboygan County.


Find Out What’s Happening in Lake Huron

view of lighthouse and trees from across lake

05APR18-To highlight research and information about the fisheries of Lake Huron, the DNR – in partnership with Michigan Sea Grant and others – hosts regional workshops each spring.

This year’s workshops will be held April 10th through May 3rd in five different locations along the Lake Huron coast.

There's no admission fee needed to attend.

For location information and more, visit www.miseagrant.umich.edu/explore/fisheries/fishery-workshops


Mecosta County Man Sentenced Following DNR Investigation

Game ranch owner falsified information related to chronic wasting disease testing 

30MAR18-A Mecosta County game ranch owner has been sentenced on charges resulting from an investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Lester Jay Gemmen, 64, of Morley was charged with providing false information regarding the origin of two deer heads that were submitted for disease testing, and for failing to properly maintain fencing at the Super G Ranch. The ranch is a privately owned cervid (POC) facility, a designation that includes game ranches and hunting ranches.

He was sentenced by the 77th District Court to 60 days in jail for each count, ordered to pay $775 in fines and costs and must perform 80 hours of community service.
The investigation began in 2017 after two of the six deer heads submitted by Gemmen tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
“I commend the detectives from our Special Investigations Unit and our field conservation officers for their thorough, professional approach to this investigation,” said 1st Lt. David Shaw, supervisor of the Special Investigations Unit of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
The facility’s remaining deer were depopulated and tested, but no further evidence of CWD was found. The facility remains under quarantine, currently preventing ownership of farmed cervids.
The Privately Owned Cervid Program is jointly managed by the DNR and MDARD. There is mandatory CWD testing in all registered herds in Michigan, under the oversight of MDARD. The DNR oversees POC registration and performs inspections of POC facilities. Proper maintenance of POC facilities is critical to protecting Michigan’s free-ranging and privately owned cervid herds.
CWD is a fatal central nervous system disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It attacks the brain of infected animals, creating small lesions in the brain, which result in death. It is transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, carcass parts of an infected animal or infected soil. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by humans or domestic animals.
Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Michigan. As of mid-March 2018, 57 free-ranging deer have tested positive for the disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula, though it has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border.
The DNR is working with stakeholders to address the status of CWD in Michigan. In the coming weeks, the DNR and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a
series of public engagement meetings across the state on CWD. The sessions will provide hunters, business owners and residents with opportunities to share their ideas and observations.
In addition, the DNR, NRC and MDARD are evaluating recommendations from the CWD Working Group, which was created after last year’s CWD Symposium. The symposium brought national and international experts to Michigan to discuss CWD. During the coming months, the DNR, NRC and MDARD will work with stakeholders to develop new CWD regulation recommendations.

Visit www.michigan.gov/cwd for more information about the disease, preventive measures and the public meeting schedule.


Share Your Thoughts With the DNR at April Meetings

29MAR18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan citizens opportunities 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 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 April 2018. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below will take you to the web page for each body, 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.

bullet Coldwater Resources Steering Committee - April 26, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jay’s Sporting Goods, Gaylord
bullet Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee - April 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jay’s Sporting Goods, Clare
bullet Pigeon River County Advisory Council - April 20, 5 p.m., Pigeon River Country Headquarters, Vanderbilt
bullet Waterways Commission - April 25, 9 a.m. to noon, DNR customer service center, Lansing


DNR Seeks Public Input on North and South Higgins Lake State Park General Management Plans 

Higgins Lake

28MAR18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on new general management plans for both North Higgins Lake and South Higgins Lake state parks. 
The public is invited to share their opinions and ideas via an online survey that is available through April 30th.  Links to the online survey will be available for South Higgins Lake State Park at 
michigan.gov/southhiggins and North Higgins Lake State Park at michigan.gov/northhiggins.
The general management plan will guide the future of the parks and will define a long-range (10- to 20-year) planning and management strategy that will assist the DNR in meeting its responsibilities to 1) protect and preserve the sites' natural and cultural resources, and 2) provide access to land- and water-based public recreation and educational opportunities.
The online surveys are one of several opportunities for the public and stakeholders to be involved in the planning process. The DNR will also host a public open house later this year, providing an opportunity for review and comment on the draft plan.

North Higgins Lake State Park is located on the northern shore of Higgins Lake in Crawford County, approximately 12 miles south of the city of Grayling. The park is home to year-round camping, mini-cabins, a swimming beach and a boat launch, as well as land open to hunting, hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. The trails extend into the adjacent state forest land. A nearly two-mile section of paved trail for the biking route of the Iron Belle Trail was recently completed in the park. The park’s 429 acres are also home to the Historic Higgins Lake Nursery and Civilian Conservation Corps Museum as well as the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center.  
South Higgins Lake State Park is located on the southern shore of Higgins Lake in northern Roscommon County. The park features nearly a mile of shoreline of the park's popular 10,000-acre lake, nearly 400 campsites (including some full hook-up sites), a boat launch, a swimming beach and two pet-friendly areas along the water. In addition, Marl Lake provides more recreation opportunities, including paddling, boating, hunting and more than five miles of hiking trails that surround the lake.

Additional information on the DNR’s management plan process can be found at michigan.gov/parkmanagementplans

For more information about the management plan process, contact Debbie Jensen, DNR park management plan administrator, at 517-284-6105 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) or via email at JensenD1@michigan.gov.


Hunters and Citizens Invited to Collaborate on Michigan’s Chronic Wasting Disease Response

26MAR18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a series of public engagement meetings on chronic wasting disease – a fatal central nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. The meetings will provide an opportunity for the commission and department to hear suggestions and observations from hunters and residents interested in the health of the state’s deer herd.

Vicki Pontz, chair of the Natural Resources Commission, said that both the commission and the DNR are focused on achieving specific CWD management objectives that include:

bulletSlowing the spread of the disease.
bulletAchieving a low prevalence rate.
bulletPreventing the disease from reaching new areas.
bulletMaintaining Michigan’s rich hunting traditions.

“Hunter and citizen involvement and support of efforts to contain and eradicate chronic wasting disease are critical,” Pontz said. “We want to hear from our stakeholders. We are asking them to share their thoughtful opinions on any new hunting regulations they believe may be needed before the start of the 2018 deer hunting season.”

At the meetings, DNR staff members will provide a CWD update and then collect attendees’ written ideas on how best to address this issue. Those unable to attend a meeting may participate in a web-based opportunity available starting April 10 at michigan.gov/cwd.

CWD public engagement meetings will take place in:

bulletMarquette, April 24 – 6 to 8 p.m., Marquette High School, 1203 W. Fair Ave.
bulletIron Mountain, April 25 – 6 to 8 p.m. (central time), Bay College, 2801 North US 2.
bulletGaylord, May 1 – 6 to 8 p.m., Ellison Place, 150 Dale Drive.
bulletNewberry, May 2 – 6 to 8 p.m., Tahquamenon High School Auditorium, 700 Newberry Ave.
bulletHoughton, May 3 – 6 to 8 p.m., Magnuson Hotel, 820 Shelden Ave.

“Michigan’s hunters have successfully partnered with the DNR for many decades on wildlife and conservation challenges and opportunities,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We know they care deeply about the long-term health and vitality of Michigan’s wildlife, and right now the state’s wild deer population faces no more serious issue than chronic wasting disease.”
Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. As of mid-January 2018, 57 free-ranging deer in those counties have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula; however, the disease has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border.
Since the first CWD finding, the DNR has taken quick, thoughtful action based on Michigan’s comprehensive CWD response and surveillance plan.

Meeting information, additional ways to provide input on CWD management, the latest testing numbers and more information are available at michigan.gov/cwd


Michigan's 2018 Fishing License Season Kicks Off April 1st

26MAR18-For those interested in going fishing in Michigan, a new license is required starting Sunday, April 1. That day is the kickoff to the state’s 2018 fishing license season, as well as the new fishing regulation cycle. All 2018 fishing licenses are good through March 31st, 2019.

Anglers have eight options to choose from when making their purchase. All fishing licenses are good for all species.

bullet Resident annual - $26
bullet Nonresident annual - $76
bullet Senior annual (for residents age 65 or older) - $11
bullet 24-hour (resident or nonresident) - $10
bullet 72-hour (resident or nonresident) - $30
bullet Resident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $76
bullet Senior resident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $43
bullet Nonresident combo hunt/fish (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $266

There are several regulation changes this year, creating many new fishing opportunities for anglers. The new regulations go into effect on April 1, 2018, including the following: 

bulletMuskellunge harvest season has changed statewide to the first Saturday in June and includes a new catch-and-immediate release season open all year.
bulletA new suite of waters has been added where anglers may retain an additional five brook trout in their daily possession limit of trout (10 brook trout possession waters).

2018 Michigan Fishing Guide and fishing licenseAdditionally, a new registration system has been put into place for anglers who harvest a lake sturgeon or muskellunge. The lake sturgeon fishing permit and harvest tag and the muskellunge harvest tags are no longer required or available. An angler who harvests a lake sturgeon or muskellunge is now required to report the harvest within 24 hours, either online at michigan.gov/registerfish, by calling the toll-free number 844-345-FISH (3474) or in person at any Department of Natural Resources Customer Service Center during normal state business hours with advance notice of arrival. Please note that fish registrations won’t be accepted at any state fish hatcheries or DNR field offices, only at DNR Customer Service Centers.

For more information on Michigan fishing licenses and regulation changes, check out the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide – available at license retailers or online at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests. The online version is always up to date and available to download.

Don’t forget, there are two simple ways to buy a fishing license in Michigan:

  1. Visit a local license retailer or DNR Customer Service Center and make a purchase in person.
  2. Use the E-License system to buy a license online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just visit mdnr-elicense.com on your computer, smart phone or tablet to get started.


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


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