DNR News Digest – Week of Sept. 25, 2023

DNR News Digest – Week of Sept. 25, 2023

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News Digest – Week of Sept. 25, 2023

worn wooden crates full of small orange pumpkins, green-striped acorn squash and pale tan butternut squash
Here are just a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used in this email are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Waiting out the fish

a young boy in jeans, jacket and blue baseball cap stands on shore, holding a fishing rod with line cast close by in calm waterWant to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Morgan Liskey at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Chippewa and Luce counties? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Learn about wetlands, waterfowl at October open houses

a black dog, up to his shoulders in marshy water with lily pads and tall grasses, holds a duck in his mouth Whether you want to learn about waterfowl hunting opportunities, enjoy excellent wildlife viewing or hear about the benefits of healthy wetlands, October is the perfect time to discover Michigan’s Wetland Wonders.

These are the premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state, created for exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities and managed to provide waterfowl habitat for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland wildlife. Since the start, the areas have been funded by hunting license fees and area use fees, but they are open for anyone to visit and enjoy most of the year.

Several of the Wetland Wonders will host open houses next month, giving visitors the chance to talk with local staff, tour the areas and see what each one offers for the upcoming waterfowl season. All open houses begin at 6 p.m. at the area’s headquarters:

Open house information also is listed on the special events tab of each location’s webpage.

Three unique ways to enjoy Michigan’s fall color

two empty ski lift chairs at the top of a green, grassy slope, the lift cables stretch down through autumn forest with gold, red and orange colorMichigan’s fall foliage is all the rage this time of the year, and we’re sharing a few different ways to experience that red, orange and gold brilliance!

Leaf peepers in the western Upper Peninsula can catch bird’s-eye views of stunning fall color on a chairlift ride in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County). Need another reason? Ontonagon – home of the Porkies – was named among Country Living’s “55 of the Best Fall Towns in the U.S. for Foliage.”

The triple chairlift takes you to the top of the Porkies Winter Sports Complex’s ski hill Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 14; rides are available noon to 6 p.m. EDT. All you need is a Recreation Passport for vehicle entry to the park and a $10 (per person) lift ticket. Children 10 and under ride free, but must be accompanied by an adult.

At three state parks, specially adapted EnChroma lenses help those with colorblindness more easily see the entire color spectrum. Viewers are available at three locations in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and single locations at Ludington State Park (Mason County) and William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor (Wayne County).

“The goal of EnChroma viewers is simple: to expand access to the outdoors,” said Mike Knack, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park manager. “With the help of these special lenses, we hope people with red-green colorblindness can enjoy the beauty of nature’s color palette more distinctly.”

a man in safety gear and helmet and strapped to a zip line, holds on to the handles as he rides through a colorful autumn forestZip through fall foliage at 25 mph on the Michigan Luge Adventure Park’s zip line in Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County).

Soar over the tree canopy, sand dunes and luge track before descending into the white pine and oak forest. The zip line operates Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 22.

Wherever fall color takes you, visit for the day or the weekend! Plan camping and overnight stays by making an advance reservation at MiDNRReservations.com or 800-447-2757.

Oct. 3 webinar: Choosing resilient trees for urban areas

six young trees, in black pots, with slender trunks and green leaves sit on a grassy areaAsh, elm and chestnut trees once were as common in cities as the streets that bear their names. Unfortunately, invasive species, disease and poor tree species selection have resulted in tree canopy that is much less diverse than it used to be. The good news is there’s plenty of guidance to help you make the right planting selections for your neighborhood or downtown space!

Mark your calendar for 9-10 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, Oct. 3, and register for “Where the Sidewalk Ends: Choosing Resilient Trees for Tomorrow’s Urban Environments” – the next webinar in Michigan’s #NotMiSpecies series, aimed at helping people understand the threats posed by invasive plant and animal species and actions that can help limit the spread of those species.

In this webinar, DNR urban forester and partnership coordinator Lawrence Sobson will talk about ideal tree species and assessing urban sites for planting and growth, and share tips to ensure the trees you choose can live for the next hundred years.

If you can’t catch the webinar live, don’t worry; recordings of all #NotMiSpecies webinars are available to watch online at your convenience. More than two dozen recordings – on topics ranging from “Vampires of the Great Lakes” (sea lamprey) to “Lobster Mobsters” (red swamp crayfish) and “Yooper Troopers (controlling phragmites) – are available at Michigan.gov/NotMiSpecies.

Spooky specters, lurking lutins await at Fort Fright Oct. 6-7

the boot, leg and a furry arm and hand with long claws is climbing through an opening in a log-sided buildingIf your early October plans include time near Mackinaw City, add Fort Fright to your list of fun things to do with family and friends!

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., start with a lantern-lit walk along the shore of Lake Michigan to Colonial Michilimackinac, and then experience 18th-century French-Canadian folklore coming to life: All manner of monsters (and a few werewolves and lutins!) take over the fort and eagerly await your arrival inside. Campfires glow and voyageurs spin eerie tales and warn you of the terror that might await behind the guarded gates …

Read the full Mackinac State Historic Parks news release for all the spooky specifics about Fort Fright.


Want to weave a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes or field-dress and prep your own venison? Check out upcoming Outdoor Skills Academy classes!


Special-event permits, ORV safety certificates, retail bait shops, bear hunting applications – whatever you’re looking to buy or apply for, start here.


If you’ve got a love for the natural world, put that passion to work! Volunteer for a variety of Michigan and national community science opportunities.

Standing in solidarity with UAW workers

Standing in solidarity with UAW workers

Friend ­­––

The Big Three auto companies are making record profits, and it’s time for auto workers to get their fair share. When the auto industry was in jeopardy back in 2008, UAW workers made real sacrifices to ensure the Big Three survived. Now that these companies are back on their feet – and making billions of dollars in profit – workers deserve a fair share of that success.

I recently joined striking UAW workers on the picket lines to stand in solidarity with them as they fight for the wages and benefits they deserve. They’re not just fighting for auto workers – they’re fighting for the future of the middle class, and it’s time to stand with them.



For me – and for many in our state – this fight is personal. I grew up in a union household. My mother was a Service Employees International Union steward, and my father was a member of the National Education Association. They taught me to stand up and fight for what’s right — no matter who or what is in your way — and so much of who I am today is because of them.



Click HERE to watch more.


Unions built the middle class, and I’ll continue to have their backs as they fight for a fairer future for all workers.


Thanks for reading,

Gary Peters
United States Senator for Michigan

MDARD Laboratory Highlights ‘Food Safety Education Month’

MDARD Laboratory Highlights ‘Food Safety Education Month’

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For immediate release: September 28, 2023
MDARD media contact: Chelsea Lewis-Parisio, 517-331-1151

MDARD Laboratory Highlights ‘Food Safety Education Month’ by Testing Cantaloupes for Salmonella

LANSING, MI – September is National Food Safety Education and Awareness Month, and employees at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) William C. Geagley Laboratory are showcasing how they protect Michigander’s food supply and public health from foodborne illness.

Routinely, MDARD food inspectors bring in a variety of food samples to Geagley’s Food Safety Microbiology Laboratory for testing to make sure the food we eat is safe. In past years, Michigan has seen outbreaks of salmonella in cantaloupes. Through microbiological testing and whole genome sequencing, cantaloupes can be tested to ensure a proactive food safety environment.

“Our Geagley Laboratory ranks as one of the nation’s top chemistry pesticide and food safety laboratories and serves as one of the most important consumer protection watchdogs in Michigan,” said Craig VanBuren, Laboratory Division Director. “Work is being done around the clock within our labs to ensure we’re protecting Michigan’s food supply and the public health of Michiganders.”

Watch the process of how MDARD tests for salmonella: Testing for Salmonella in Melons – YouTube

FoodSafety_Testing_MDARDProtecting the food supply, reducing the risk of foodborne illness, and responding to foodborne illness outbreaks are high priority efforts for MDARD, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the state’s local health departments, and federal agency partners.

For more information on how to prevent foodborne illness or how to report suspected cases of foodborne illness, visit www.foodsafety.gov.

Invasive Balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Invasive Balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

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News Release

The following news release was issued earlier today by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

For immediate release: September 26, 2023
Program contact: Rob Miller 517-614-0454
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

Invasive balsam woolly adelgid confirmed in Missaukee County

Second detection of this pest in Michigan

Lansing, MI – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) verified the detection of invasive balsam woolly adelgid (BWA) at a residential property in Missaukee County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a sample taken from the site as positive for balsam woolly adelgid, making Missaukee the second county in Michigan to have a confirmed infestation.

The trunk of a large fir tree with areas of small, white tufts indicating the presence of invasive balsam woolly adelgid.“The infestation was found by a consulting forester who was working with the landowner. We don’t known how balsam woolly adelgid was introduced to this site, but early detection is a fundamental component of successful response efforts,” said Mike Philip, Director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. “MDARD and its partner agencies have begun survey work to determine the extent of the infestation.”

This is the second detection of balsam woolly adelgid in Michigan. The pest was found near Rockford in Kent County in 2021. The site was treated, and survey efforts are ongoing to ensure successful eradication.

Balsam woolly adelgid is a tiny, sap-feeding insect that attacks true fir trees, including balsam, Fraser and concolor (white) fir. The pest is on Michigan’s Invasive Species Watch List because repeated attacks from the pest weaken trees, cause twig gouting, kill branches and, over the course of many years, cause trees to decline or die.

Symptoms of balsam woolly adelgid infestation include:

  • Tiny one-to-two-millimeter white woolly tufts on the lower trunk of the tree and possibly on large branches in the spring and summer.
  • Swelling and distortion of the twigs, commonly called “gout.”
  • Flagging – A branch or branches that turn brick-red and die.
  • Tree crowns that become narrow and misshapen with few needles.

Although not native to Michigan, Fraser and concolor fir trees are often planted on home landscapes. Balsam fir is native to the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula but also found throughout the state in residential and park settings.

“This invasive insect is a significant threat to the nearly 1.9 billion balsam fir trees populating Michigan’s forests,” said Philip. “And, as the third largest Christmas tree-growing state in the country, Michigan produces nearly 13.5 million fir trees each year, which are susceptible to balsam woolly adelgid.”

In 2014, MDARD implemented a balsam woolly adelgid quarantine regulating the movement of potentially infested nursery stock into Michigan from areas in North America with known infestations.

“MDARD relies on the public to help be our extra eyes in the landscape for invasive species; early detection and response are crucial to our efforts to protect the state’s natural resources,” added Philip. “Michiganders can also help prevent the spread of invasive species by leaving firewood at home and buying it where you burn it, cleaning gear and vehicles before hitting the road, and reporting suspected invasive species.”

If Michiganders suspect this invasive pest is damaging fir trees, they should take photos, note the location, and report it to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network or MDARD at [email protected] or call 800-292-3939. For more information on balsam woolly adelgid and other invasive species in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: The accompanying photo is available below for download. Suggested caption follows.

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AG & FTC Sue Amazon for Illegally Maintaining Monopoly Power

AG & FTC Sue Amazon for Illegally Maintaining Monopoly Power

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September 26, 2023

Media Contact:
Danny Wimmer

Attorney General Nessel and the FTC Sue Amazon for Illegally Maintaining Monopoly Power

Lawsuit contends Amazon’s ongoing pattern of illegal conduct blocks competition, allowing it to wield monopoly power to inflate prices, degrade quality, and stifle innovation for consumers and businesses

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and 16 other state attorneys general today sued Amazon.com, Inc. alleging that the online retail and technology company is a monopolist that uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power. The FTC and its state partners say Amazon’s actions allow it to stop rivals and sellers from lowering prices, degrade quality for shoppers, overcharge sellers, stifle innovation, and prevent rivals from fairly competing against Amazon.

“The illegal monopolistic practices of the behemoth Amazon hurt both its own customers and its marketplace sellers, many of whom are small businesses.” said Nessel. “Amazon has taken improper steps to dominate all other online superstores and online marketplaces, decreased competition, and raised prices for everyday shoppers. The free market is meant to work for both buyers and sellers, and Amazon has corrupted the market in its favor.”

The complaint alleges that Amazon violates the law not because it is big, but because it engages in a course of exclusionary conduct that prevents current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging. By stifling competition on price, product selection, quality, and by preventing its current or future rivals from attracting a critical mass of shoppers and sellers, Amazon ensures that no current or future rival can threaten its dominance. Amazon’s far-reaching schemes impact hundreds of billions of dollars in retail sales every year, touch hundreds of thousands of products sold by businesses big and small and affect over a hundred million shoppers.

“Our complaint lays out how Amazon has used a set of punitive and coercive tactics to unlawfully maintain its monopolies,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “The complaint sets forth detailed allegations noting how Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them. Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Amazon to account for these monopolistic practices and restore the lost promise of free and fair competition.”

“We’re bringing this case because Amazon’s illegal conduct has stifled competition across a huge swath of the online economy. Amazon is a monopolist that uses its power to hike prices on American shoppers and charge sky-high fees on hundreds of thousands of online sellers,” said John Newman, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Seldom in the history of U.S. antitrust law has one case had the potential to do so much good for so many people.”

The FTC and states allege Amazon’s anticompetitive conduct occurs in two markets—the online superstore market that serves shoppers and the market for online marketplace services purchased by sellers. These tactics include:

  • Anti-discounting measures that punish sellers and deter other online retailers from offering prices lower than Amazon, keeping prices higher for products across the internet. For example, if Amazon discovers that a seller is offering lower-priced goods elsewhere, Amazon can bury discounting sellers so far down in Amazon’s search results that they become effectively invisible.
  • Conditioning sellers’ ability to obtain “Prime” eligibility for their products—a virtual necessity for doing business on Amazon—on sellers using Amazon’s costly fulfillment service, which has made it substantially more expensive for sellers on Amazon to also offer their products on other platforms. This unlawful coercion has in turn limited competitors’ ability to effectively compete against Amazon.

Amazon’s illegal, exclusionary conduct makes it impossible for competitors to gain a foothold. With its amassed power across both the online superstore market and online marketplace services market, Amazon extracts enormous monopoly rents from everyone within its reach. This includes:

  • Degrading the customer experience by replacing relevant, organic search results with paid advertisements—and deliberately increasing junk ads that worsen search quality and frustrate both shoppers seeking products and sellers who are promised a return on their advertising purchase.
  • Biasing Amazon’s search results to preference Amazon’s own products over ones that Amazon knows are of better quality.
  • Charging costly fees on the hundreds of thousands of sellers that currently have no choice but to rely on Amazon to stay in business. These fees range from a monthly fee sellers must pay for each item sold, to advertising fees that have become virtually necessary for sellers to do business. Combined, all of these fees force many sellers to pay close to 50% of their total revenues to Amazon. These fees harm not only sellers but also shoppers, who pay increased prices for thousands of products sold on or off Amazon.

The FTC, along with Michigan and its other state partners, are seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that would prohibit Amazon from engaging in its unlawful conduct and pry loose Amazon’s monopolistic control to restore competition.

Joining Michigan and the FTC on the lawsuit are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The Commission vote to authorize staff to file for a permanent injunction and other equitable relief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington was 3-0.