DNR News: $100,000 awarded for 29 tree planting projects

DNR News: $100,000 awarded for 29 tree planting projects

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DNR News

Oct. 9, 2023
Contact: Kevin Sayers (DNR), 517-582-3209 or Joelle Kruczek (DTE Energy), 586-805-0146

Partners award more than $100,000 for 29 tree planting projects 

A small tree is planted in a park, surrounded by a grassy area and prepped with mulchNew trees – 1,275 of them! – are coming to 29 Michigan communities courtesy of a partnership awarding DTE Energy Foundation Tree Planting Grants. Awards totaling $102,545 will help communities and organizations in Michigan add trees to streets, parks and other public spaces.

Funding and technical support are provided through a 27-year partnership of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, DTE Energy Foundation and ReLeaf Michigan.

See which communities received tree planting grant awards. The grants will help purchase a variety of trees to be planted this fall or next spring.

“Trees make our communities and neighborhoods beautiful, healthy and vibrant places,” said Kevin Sayers, DNR Urban and Community Forestry program coordinator. “This program promotes planting the right types of trees in the right places to ensure they stay healthy and provide benefits for all.”

The ongoing partnership between the DTE Energy Foundation, the DNR and ReLeaf Michigan aims to support and engage cities, schools, nonprofits and other community-based organizations in caring for the environment, beautifying neighborhoods and properly planting trees away from utility infrastructure.

“ReLeaf Michigan and the Michigan DNR play a crucial role in maintaining, protecting and expanding our state’s natural resources, including urban forests,” said DTE Foundation President Rodney Cole. “The DTE Foundation is thrilled to be part of that mission and to see how these new plantings benefit communities.”

Project proposals are solicited annually from eligible partners around the state. The next opportunity to apply is summer 2024.

  • The DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program helps communities promote and manage trees and forests by providing education, financial support and technical assistance. To learn about the UCF program, visit Michigan.gov/UCF or contact Kevin Sayers, 517-582-3209.
  • ReLeaf Michigan is an organization that shares the value of trees and how to select, plant and maintain them. Organizations interested in volunteer tree planting or educational events may visit ReleafMichigan.orgemail ReLeaf Michigan or call 800-642-7353 to learn more.
  • The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy. In 2022, the Foundation provided more than $15 million in grant support to over 300 nonprofits. Visit DTEFoundation.com to learn more.
DNR: News Digest – Week of Oct. 2, 2023

DNR: News Digest – Week of Oct. 2, 2023

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News Digest – Week of Oct. 2, 2023

a few bright-gold and orange autumn leaves, with sunlight streaming through, hang amid a background of green leaves and branches
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: Winter woodpecker

red-headed pileated woodpecker, with black and white face striping, perches on a knotty, gnarled tree trunk, with a dusting of snowWant to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Blair Celano at Ludington State Park in Mason County? 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.

Consider wildlife and wildfire during fall yard cleanup

A raked-up heap of golden and russet fall leaves on a green lawnYard looking a little disheveled with sticks, fallen leaves and dead plants hanging around? Don’t worry too much; nature likes it a bit on the wild side. When it comes to annual fall cleanup, follow these tips to help wildlife and prevent wildfire.

First, the easy part: Move a fall task to your spring to-do list. Hold off on clipping dead plant stems until 50-degree days return. If left over winter, they’ll provide protection for perennial plants. The hollow spaces in stems will give small critters and pollinators places to hibernate. Learn about the benefits of “leaving the leaves.

Although some local ordinances allow fallen leaves to be burned or removed curbside, why not use dead leaves as free mulch? They will insulate plants and slow erosion, keeping garden soil in place. Turtles, toads, salamanders, moths and butterflies all spend winter tucked under leaves.

You could even use leaves to enrich next year’s garden.

“To tidy fallen leaves, rake them into a bin or pile to turn into nutrient-rich compost,” said Aaron Hiday, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy compost coordinator. Get composting tips from EGLE.

If you plan to burn yard waste, check whether conditions are safe for fire, and know your local fire ordinances. Even if the weather is cold, you’ll need a burn permit any time the ground isn’t fully covered in snow.

“Most wildfires start when people lose control of burning yard waste,” said DNR wildfire prevention specialist Paul Rogers. “Always keep a fire manageable, don’t burn on a windy day and never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute.”

Only burn natural materials like sticks, branches and dried leaves. Burning trash is illegal and releases harmful chemicals into the air. Learn about open burning.

Get a burn permit

Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula residents can view conditions at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or call 866-922-2876 (866-922-BURN). Southern Michigan residents should check with their local municipality or fire department. Be mindful of local smoke and fire ordinances, which can be stricter than state ordinances.

October events: Plenty of fall fun, learning

a young girl places a puzzle piece on a gray and black vase puzzle, which is upright on a wooden tableIf you’re looking for ways to get out and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources, here’s a glimpse at the month ahead! Find a complete list of events at Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar.

Harvest festivals

Fall harvest festivals at state parks – with hayrides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume contests, haunted trails, nature programs, horse-drawn carriage rides and other family-friendly activities – continue throughout October. Activities in state park campgrounds are typically open only to registered campers, but some parks also offer events for all visitors to enjoy.

Archaeology Day

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an archaeologist? Check out Michigan Archaeology Day, Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing. This free event for all ages celebrates the investigations and artifacts that tell the stories of 14,000 years of Michigan history. You can see and learn about the work of Michigan archaeologists, make a clay pinch pot, watch a flintknapper make stone tools, try throwing a spear using an atlatl, join a scavenger hunt, see in-depth special presentations and more.

little girl in purple coat and leggings and orange vest smiles while running on paved trail; an adult lifts up a small child in background

Outdoor Adventure Center

October at the Outdoor Adventure Center offers a variety of fall fun for all ages, including archery, nature education programs for kids, family hikes and much more:

That’s just a sampling of what’s happening this month at the OAC. Find more info about these and other programs on the Outdoor Adventure Center events calendar.

Snowshoe making

Learn to weave a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes, which can be used for winter hiking, gift-giving or home décor, during the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy’s snowshoe-making class at Ludington State Park Oct. 28-29.

The class will be offered again in November, along with a venison processing and cooking clinic. Get more details about these and other “how to” programs at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Help take care of, give input on your public lands

small group of adults in jeans and long-sleeved shirts hold bright green garbage bags as they walk single-file down a forested, dirt trailEvery month, there are a variety of ways you can get involved in caring for our state’s natural and cultural resources, including millions of acres of public lands that belong to Michigan residents.

Read on to learn about opportunities around the state this month. For more ideas on how to volunteer, contribute and provide input to make a difference, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.

Volunteer workdays at state parks, hatcheries

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays. Volunteers are needed to help restore natural areas by removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems. Workdays will take place at:

  • Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7.
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8.
  • Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County), 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 14.
  • Ludington State Park (Mason County), 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 15.
  • Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 21.
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.
  • Belle Isle Park (Wayne County), 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 28.
    Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 28.
  • Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.

Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center in Van Buren County also will host a volunteer stewardship workday 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. Volunteers will help with invasive species removal, trail and visitor center maintenance, seed collections and much more.

Fall Volunteer Day at Mears State Park in Oceana County is Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers will help get the park ready for winter by putting up snow fence, taking down benches, grills and tables, painting tables and more. Volunteers who work all day can camp for free for the weekend (camping isn’t a requirement to volunteer – all are welcome).

More details about each workday and how to register can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

On the Ground opportunities to improve wildlife habitat

a young woman digs shovels dirt aroiund a newly planted sapling as a man kneels by the tree to help plant and stabilize itJoin On the Ground, Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program in partnership with the DNR, for two projects in October.

Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers are needed to spread native grass seeds and remove invasive vegetation to help restore oak savanna habitat at Canonsburg State Game Area in Kent County. Volunteers will plant mast-producing trees – an important fall and winter food source for a wide variety of Michigan wildlife – in the Traverse City Forest Management Unit in Kalkaska County Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Find more details and registration info on the On the Ground webpage.

Weigh in on state land review plans

There’s still an opportunity to review and share feedback on DNR staff recommendations on whether to keep, exchange or sell state-managed land in 11 counties – Baraga, Benzie, Clare, Clinton, Genesee, Ionia, Manistee, Mecosta, Newaygo, Shiawassee and Wayne. Comments on the latest round of the state land review process will be accepted through Oct. 11.


Whether you love to hike, paddle, run or ride, Michigan’s trails are calling! Start at the DNR’s trails webpage for maps, closures info, etiquette tips, merchandise and more.


Do you or someone you know need to learn about lumber grading? Sign up for the four-day workshop (Dec. 4-7) at Kirtland Community College’s Grayling campus.


Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger helps provide food for people who need it most. Hunters can donate deer, and anyone can donate dollars to support processing.

DNR asks anglers to report marked splake

DNR asks anglers to report marked splake

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DNR News

Oct. 4, 2023
Contact: Cory Kovacs, 906-287-0816

Fishing Lake Superior this fall? DNR asks anglers to report marked splake

a young, smiling boy in winter gear and hat stands ashore in front of yellow canoe, holding a large silver fish from a chainMany anglers say fall fishing for splake on Lake Superior is an experience unparalleled anywhere else in Michigan. When temperatures begin to drop and leaves start to turn, the splake bite picks up as the fish move nearshore.

Splake – a hybrid cross between lake trout and brook trout – have been stocked in Lake Superior most years since 1971, with annual stocking since 1990.

Marked splake have been central to that stocking effort since 2021, as part of an evaluation study. At the Marquette State Fish Hatchery in Michigan’s central Upper Peninsula, staff from the DNR’s Lake Superior and Northern Lake Michigan management units, as well as field staff from across the state, put in long hours carefully marking the splake by hand.

These fish are then stocked in the spring at three Lake Superior ports: Copper Harbor, Keweenaw Bay and Munising. Splake stocked at each port are given a unique mark or fin clip consisting of a single fin or a paired clip, which has two fins. The goal is to create nearshore fishing opportunities in the smaller bays of Lake Superior, where some fisheries are available year-round.

The evaluation study will be conducted through 2030. It is designed to help fisheries managers understand the percentage of stocked fish caught by anglers, the home range of splake, and harvest metrics such as harvest rates and fish size at harvest by year and location.

“Preliminary study results indicate that most splake remain in close proximity to their respective stocking locations,” said George Madison, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for the Western Lake Superior Management Unit. “Splake are known to prefer shallow water habitats, meaning these fish are accessible with small boats or shore casting during the open-water periods on Lake Superior. Splake are also readily available through the ice during winter fishing months.”

Identifying the fish

So far, fisheries managers have learned that identifying the correct fin clip on splake can be difficult to do while fishing. This creates challenges when considering the reported data for the evaluation study. When looking at a caught splake, anglers should inspect it for missing fins or a jawbone clip, indicating that it has been marked. Some clipped fins can be misshaped or missing or appear abnormal.

Marked fish then can be reported through the DNR’s Eyes in the Field app to give information such as species, length, weight, sex, and date and location caught, or by contacting a local DNR fisheries office.

Black and white illustration titled Names of Fish Fins, showing side view of a fish; each fin name connects by a line to fish part
Anglers also can report marked splake to DNR creel staff stationed at various ports along the Lake Superior shoreline. Because they’re genetically tied to both lake trout and brook trout, splake can take the external appearance of the parent species, making them difficult to distinguish. Creel staff can help to correctly identify the fish, determine the marks on the fish and record any angler trip data.

“If you’re fishing for splake on Lake Superior this fall, we encourage you to talk with DNR creel staff, who are scheduled through the end of October,” said Madison. “It takes just a few minutes to share information about your fishing trip, but those details mean better data and greater understanding about splake abundance and behavior.”

Anglers are reminded, too, that other natural resources agencies and tribal units mark a variety of fish species for different evaluation purposes. For information on fish marking in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos and a fish fins illustration are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Fishing for splake: A young angler proudly shows off his catch from a winter outing on Lake Superior, along the tip of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.
  • Fish fins diagram
  • Crew at Marquette: Staff from the DNR’s Lake Superior and Northern Lake Michigan fisheries management units, plus field staff from all over and student volunteers from Northern Michigan University, put in long hours at the Marquette State Fish Hatchery to mark each splake by hand.
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.

DNR News: More than 9 million fish stocked so far in 2023

DNR News: More than 9 million fish stocked so far in 2023

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DNR News

Sept. 21, 2023
Contact: Jeremiah Blaauw, 906-235-7679

Fishing opportunities abound, with more than 9 million fish stocked so far in 2023

A dark green and silver DNR fish stocking truck, with the words Fish for the Future on the side, on sandy shore near wide river mouthMore than 269 tons of fish, eight different species, plus one hybrid, and a total of 9,335,410 individual fish – it all adds up to successful spring and summer stocking efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and some great fall fishing for anglers.

Stocking is no small task. Over the course of 2,233 hours and more than 89,000 miles, DNR fisheries crews in 17 specialized trucks took 375 trips to stock fish at 705 different sites.

“We had excellent spring and summer stocking seasons that will bring significant benefits and fishing opportunities to Michigan anglers,” said Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager. “With the hard work and dedication of our staff, healthy, high-quality fish were reared and delivered to stocking sites in excellent condition. The numbers produced and stocked were right on target for most areas.”

The number and type of fish produced varies by hatchery, as each location’s ability to rear fish depends on the source and temperature of the rearing water. In Michigan there are six state and two cooperative hatcheries that work together to produce the species, strain and size of fish needed for fisheries managers. These fish must then be delivered and stocked at a specific time and location to ensure their success.

A man dressed in green T-shirt and khakis stands on DNR fish stocking truck, overseeing distribution of fish through a large green hoseEach hatchery stocked the following fish this spring and summer:

  • Marquette State Fish Hatchery (near Marquette) stocked 341,423 yearling lake trout, brook trout and splake (a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout) that in total weighed 41,771 pounds. This hatchery stocked 98 inland and Great Lakes sites.
  • Thompson State Fish Hatchery (near Manistique) stocked 997,431 fish that included yearling steelhead and spring fingerling Chinook salmon. These fish weighed 78,659 pounds in total. This hatchery stocked 54 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • Oden State Fish Hatchery (near Petoskey) stocked 679,488 yearling brown trout and rainbow trout that weighed 96,372 pounds. This hatchery stocked 123 inland and Great Lakes sites.
  • Harrietta State Fish Hatchery (in Harrietta) stocked 780,654 yearling brown trout, Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout that in total weighed 95,751 pounds. This hatchery stocked 228 sites (the majority located inland).
  • Platte River State Fish Hatchery (near Honor) stocked 2,350,685 fish that included yearling Atlantic salmon and coho salmon and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 158,038 pounds. This hatchery stocked 48 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery (near Kalamazoo) stocked 1,469,465 fish that included yearling steelhead, yearling muskellunge and spring fingerling Chinook salmon that in total weighed 121,467 pounds. Wolf Lake also stocked 11,473 channel catfish obtained from the Ohio DNR (weighing 2,828 pounds), as well as 33,679 Skamania steelhead (weighing 3,511 pounds). This hatchery stocked 49 sites (the majority located on the Great Lakes).
  • A cooperative teaching hatchery at Lake Superior State University (in Sault Saint Marie) stocked 28,646 Atlantic salmon weighing 2,510 pounds into the St. Marys River.

Included in this year’s total fish stocked were 2.7 million walleye spring fingerlings, fish that were reared in ponds by the DNR and tribal partners with extensive support provided by local sporting organizations. These fish were stocked at 90 inland lakes and rivers and Lake Michigan.

Fish stocking is a critical DNR activity. These efforts help support a Great Lakes fishery valued at more than $7 billion.

Fish are reared in Michigan’s state fish hatcheries anywhere from one month to 1 ½ years before they are stocked.

It should be noted that some hatcheries will provide fish for a few additional stockings (consisting of brook trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, walleye, lake sturgeon and muskellunge) to be made this fall. The lake sturgeon will come from the cooperative hatchery in Tower, Michigan, that is operated with Michigan State University.

The public is welcome at any of Michigan’s state fish hatcheries to see firsthand the fish rearing process. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/Hatcheries.

Learn more about fishing opportunities, management and resources – including the DNR’s Fish Stocking Database, showing where many of these fish were stocked – at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

DNR NEWS: Over $1.5 million in grant funding available

DNR NEWS: Over $1.5 million in grant funding available

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DNR News

Sept. 12, 2023
Contact: Joe Nohner, 517-599-6825 or Chip Kosloski, 517-281-1705

Over $1.5 million in grant funding available for fisheries habitat conservation, dam removal and more

Project preproposals are due Oct. 20

Dried, downed tree limbs and branches are piled along the grassy shoreline of a dark-green lake; a tan home is visible in backgroundThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering more than $1.5 million in funding for a variety of activities tied to improving state fisheries and aquatic resources, including fish habitat conservation, dam removal and repair, resource assessment studies and public access to recreation opportunities.

Distributed through three themes – aquatic habitat conservation, dam management, and aquatic habitat and recreation in the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon river watersheds – Fisheries Habitat Grant funding is available through an open, competitive process to local, state, federal and tribal governments and nonprofit groups.

“Recreation and local economies throughout Michigan rely on healthy rivers, lakes, and wetlands to support fishing, boating and other enjoyment of our natural resources,” said Joe Nohner, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division. “These grants help our partners protect and rehabilitate fisheries and aquatic ecosystems in a state that relies heavily on those resources. In cases where we remove, repair or renovate dams, we also can improve public safety for residents and visitors.”

Examples of proposed projects addressing the causes of habitat decline include efforts to:

  • Improve the management of riparian land (land situated near or on the water).
  • Restore natural lake levels.
  • Improve or create passage for aquatic organisms by removing culverts, dams and other barriers.
  • Improve water quality.
  • Implement watershed-based approaches to improving both the quality and quantity of water.
  • Develop projects that demonstrate habitat conservation.
  • Restore stream function.
  • Add structural habitats, like woody habitat or aquatic vegetation.
  • Conduct assessments that will guide conservation projects.
  • Complete other projects that meet program goals.

Grant and application guidelines

Grant applicants may apply for and receive funding from all three themes with one application, if eligible for each. Expected funding is derived from three sources:

  • $989,000 from the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund, supporting the aquatic habitat conservation theme.
  • $350,000 from the state’s General Fund, supporting the dam management theme.
  • At least $225,000 from a hydropower license and settlement agreement between Consumers Energy and several entities including the DNR, supporting aquatic habitat and recreation in the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon river watersheds.

Applicants have the option of requesting funding from the current funding cycle or a conditional commitment from a future year’s funding. Conditional commitments to very competitive projects allow recipients to leverage DNR contributions toward partner applications for additional funding sources on larger projects or secure a Fisheries Habitat Grant funding commitment based on other conditions. The available funding in this announcement does not include $150,000 in existing conditional commitments the DNR has made to partners from this year’s grant funding.

Grant amounts start at a minimum of $25,000 and have the potential to be as large as the total amount of funding available in all theme areas for which a project is eligible. If necessary, smaller projects within the same region addressing similar issues can be bundled into a single grant proposal package to reach the minimum grant amount.

a yellow and black Deer crane with a digging bucket scoops up part of an earthen dam along the rocky shoreline of a shallow body of water

Priority projects

The DNR identifies specific priority projects through its Fisheries Priority Habitat Conservation Projects list that may receive preference during proposal review. Applications for projects on this list will still need to be competitive in other aspects, such as cost, appropriate methods and design, and applicant expertise, so grant awards are not expected to exclusively fund projects on this list.

In previous grant cycles, about 40% of all funded projects were Fisheries Priority Habitat Conservation Projects. All applicants must first discuss their projects with their local DNR fisheries biologist, then complete and submit a short preproposal for DNR review. Preproposals must be:

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their preproposal by Nov. 29 and, if selected, will be invited to submit a full application. An invitation to submit a full application does not guarantee project funding.

Final funding announcements are expected to be made by May 2024. The detailed program handbook, including timeline, preproposal guidelines and forms, is available at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Au Train Lake: Over 90 woody habitat structures will be installed in Au Train Lake (Alger County, Michigan) to benefit fish, waterfowl, amphibians and other aquatic life. (Photo courtesy Matt Watkeys/Alger Conservation District)
  • Bald Mountain Dam: A Fisheries Habitat Grant funded the removal of Bald Mountain Dam to enable fish passage to a tributary of Paint Creek, a popular trout stream in Oakland County, Michigan. (Photo courtesy Michigan DNR)