DNR finalizes walleye management plan for inland waters

DNR finalizes walleye management plan for inland waters

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– DNR News –

Jan. 20, 2022
Contact: Seth Herbst, 517-388-7759 or Sierra Williams, 517-230-8788

DNR finalizes walleye management plan for inland waters

Walleye egg take With an aim toward maximizing both angler satisfaction and the ecological benefits of the state’s walleye fisheries, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has finalized a plan to guide the department’s management of the popular species in inland waters.

The final plan comes after careful consideration and integration of public input on the draft walleye management plan, which the DNR initially asked for in February 2021.

Although walleye reside in the Great Lakes, rivers and inland lakes, the plan focuses on inland waters – mostly inland lakes – because walleye management in Great Lake waters is primarily addressed in various other department-approved management or rehabilitation plans.

The new walleye management plan for inland waters provides an overview of:

  • The status of the species in Michigan.
  • The biology and ecology of inland walleye populations.
  • Angler perceptions about walleye management and fishing opportunities.
  • Previous management efforts.

The plan also identifies several management goals that broadly address ecological and social characteristics of walleye fisheries, because both elements are key to successful species management. The plan provides a formalized management framework for walleye that accounts for habitat suitability and describes recommended actions to efficiently and effectively protect and conserve walleye populations throughout the state.

“Walleye is an ecologically important species that also receives substantial attention from our anglers,” said Seth Herbst, lead author and manager of the Aquatic and Regulatory Affairs Unit in the DNR Fisheries Division.

“It is essential that we formalize and implement statewide manage strategies to maintain and enhance walleye populations during a time frame when this species is threatened by changing habitats, including establishments of detrimental aquatic invasive species,” Herbst said. “Effective management leads to robust walleye populations, and that means diverse fishing opportunities for anglers.”

The DNR Fisheries Division developed the Management Plan for Walleye in Michigan’s Inland Waters with assistance from Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Department faculty. Additionally, consultation with Tribal governments and feedback from other state natural resource agencies, citizen advisory committees and anglers were critical to inform and revise early versions of the plan.

The DNR appreciates the input and comments provided by the public to finalize the walleye management plan. Visit Michigan.gov/Walleye to learn more about walleye and management efforts and review the final plan.

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Walleye: The DNR conducted a walleye egg take on the Muskegon River.
DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
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 Michigan.gov/DNR.
Omicron Variant Identified in Oakland County

Omicron Variant Identified in Oakland County

Omicron Variant Identified in Oakland County

Vaccination, Masking, and Distancing are Vital to Reducing Spread

​Pontiac, Michigan  – The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is present in Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) alerted Oakland County Health Division today. A county resident tested positive for COVID-19 on December 5 and a lab identified the strain as the Omicron variant on December 16, then notified MDHHS.

A case investigation determined the resident, who was vaccinated but did not have a booster dose, had travelled internationally. The resident denied having any close contacts since returning home. MDHHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are the agencies that look into any possible exposures while traveling.

“The bad news is that Omicron is here. The good news is our main tools still work as with any variant – masking regardless of vaccine status, distance, and vaccinations including booster doses,” Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said. “Even if Omicron is slightly resistant to immunity to other variants, increasing your immunity through vaccinations will help prevent infection, hospitalization, and death.”

According to the CDC, the Omicron variant will likely spread more easily, but how easily Omicron spreads, compared to the Delta variant, remains unknown. The CDC expects that anyone with the Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. Breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, however, are likely to occur. Vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

“Emergence of Omicron in our area further emphasizes the importance of primary vaccinations and boosters, especially before any upcoming holiday gatherings” Oakland County Director of Health and Human Services Leigh-Anne Stafford said. “Vaccination, masking and social distancing is strongly encouraged to help slow spread of Omicron and all COVID-19 viruses.”

The following prevention strategies will reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus and help limit variants:

  • Get anyone age 5 and older vaccinated and a booster shot when eligible
  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings
  • Physically distance from others
  • Stay home whenever symptoms appear
  • Get tested for COVID-19, especially before gatherings
  • Self-isolate properly if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Follow recommendations for traveling

COVID-19 cases continue to be prevalent in Oakland County and Michigan. There were more than 11,800 new confirmed and probable cases from November 29 – December 12, 54 percent of whom were ages 39 years old and younger. The seven-day case average was 657 new cases per day in Oakland County as of December 15. The seven-day percent positivity for COVID-19 tests dropped to 15.38 percent from 16.60 percent the week before.

Most new cases in Michigan continue to be among individuals who are not fully vaccinated. They comprised 85.1 percent of cases, 88.1 percent of hospitalizations, and 85.8 percent of deaths from January 15-December 4, according to the MI COVID Response Data and Modeling Update.

Visit www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com for information about upcoming COVID vaccination sites and who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments when available are strongly recommended online or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 during business hours.

More information about COVID-19 can be found on the Health Division’s website at www.oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.

Whitmer Proclaims Nov. 27 Small Business Saturday

Whitmer Proclaims Nov. 27 Small Business Saturday

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November 23, 2021

Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg achtenbergk@michigan.org


Gov. Whitmer Proclaims Nov. 27 Small Business Saturday, Encourages Michiganders to Support Local Businesses this Holiday Season and Year-Round

 Proclamation intended to celebrate resiliency, contributions of small businesses and entrepreneurs to the state 


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today declared November 27 as Small Business Saturday in Michigan and urges Michiganders to buy locally this Saturday and throughout the year to support Michigan’s small businesses.


“Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, and we want to remind Michiganders that supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs creates jobs, leads to more vibrant communities, and builds a stronger economy for everyone,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our small businesses demonstrated incredible resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we should celebrate them and their invaluable contributions to our state by shopping local this holiday season. I will continue working to ensure that small businesses have the resources they need to succeed as we usher in a new era of prosperity together.”


According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise more than 98 percent of Michigan businesses and employ half of Michigan workers. For every $100 spent at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy, allowing business and job growth.


In addition, according to the Michigan Retailers Association, one in five Michigan jobs are in the retail industry. In 2020, Michigan residents sent $23.7 billion to out-of-state retailers. If only one in 10 out-of-state purchases were switched to local stores, Michigan would gain $1.9 billion in increased economic activity, creating 14,000 new jobs.


“While every day is a good day to shop small and buy nearby, we hope Michiganders will make a concentrated effort this Saturday and throughout the holiday season to shop at local retailers and businesses. Not only will you find gifts on store shelves and avoid possible shipping delays by buying nearby, but you’ll be supporting the local businesses who make our communities great places to live and work. With so many challenges facing business owners this year and last, they need the community’s support more than ever,” William J. Hallan, President and CEO, Michigan Retailers Association.


In 2020, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) launched the “Support Local” campaign to remind Michiganders of the importance of supporting local businesses during the holidays and throughout the winter season. The Support Local landing page at michigan.org/supportlocal offers resources that help residents shop and eat local, including links to vibrant downtowns that are filled with local shops specializing in décor, fashion, pet toys, hardware and more. For the craft beverage lover, Michigan’s beer, wine and spirits can be found throughout the state at brick-and-mortar shops and local grocery stores. Around Michigan, independent bookstores overflow with page-turning stories and gifts. To refuel, shoppers can visit one of Michigan’s coffee shops and get a bag of beans to brew at home. Or give the gift of travel, creating memories at destinations throughout the state.


“As we look at ways to grow an equitable and resilient economy in Michigan, we remain committed to supporting our small businesses, their workers, and the local communities in all corners of the state,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “The Saturday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest days of the holiday season, and by shopping local, we can help Michigan workers, businesses, and communities thrive this season and beyond.”


“Small businesses play a vital role in their local communities and have been through unprecedented challenges during this pandemic,” said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate them and show our support during the busy holiday season.”


About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Approved Request to Lower Costs for Michigan Drivers

Approved Request to Lower Costs for Michigan Drivers

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November 3, 2021

Contact: Press@michigan.gov


Gov. Whitmer on Approved Request to Lower Costs for Michigan Drivers

The MCCA unanimously voted to support issuing refund checks to Michigan consumers


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox released the following statement after the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCAA) voted unanimously to grant the governor’s request to deliver refund checks to every Michigander with auto insurance.


“As we continue to put Michiganders first, I am always working to find ways to lower costs and use every resource we have to help Michiganders thrive,” saiGovernor Whitmer. “It is great news that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association has swiftly taken action in response to my letter this week to begin the process of issuing refund checks to help drive down the costs and produce savings for Michiganders with auto insurance. Michiganders have paid into the catastrophic care fund for decades, and these funds from the $5 billion surplus belong in the pockets of Michigan policyholders.”


“I applaud the MCCA’s quick response to the Governor’s call for the MCCA to provide the maximum refund of its $5 billion surplus to Michigan policyholders while maintaining the viability of the fund for auto accident survivors,” said Director Anita Fox. “I urge the MCCA Board to act promptly to determine the amount of and process and timetable for expeditiously issuing refunds to all Michiganders with auto insurance.”


The refund is possible in part because of the historic, bipartisan auto insurance reform signed into law by the governor in 2019 and would return money to every Michigander with auto insurance.


DNR News Digest – Week of Oct. 11, 2021

DNR News Digest – Week of Oct. 11, 2021

Centennial banner

News Digest – Week of Oct. 11, 2021


Enjoy fabulous fall colors everywhere you find them!

This week’s stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.

We’ll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan’s natural and heritage resources! Here’s a look at some of this week’s stories:

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

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. Arctic grayling photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Digital Library.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Festive foliage at the falls

tahquamenon falls in fall pngWant to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Mike Sonnenberg at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Chippewa 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.

Birding safely during hunting seasons

profile, head and shoulders view of a woman with short dark hair, wearing a tan hat and orange jacket and looking through binocularsTips on how to safely and confidently view birds and other wildlife at or near a hunting area

Michigan’s public lands offer a great chance to see birds and other wildlife while spending quality time in the great outdoors. But maybe you’re concerned it’s not safe to hike or go birding in the woods during hunting season – the good news is hunting is a very safe sport, and, with a little knowledge and preparation, you can confidently enjoy birding during any hunting season.

Here are some tips:

  1. Keep color in mind. The more visible you are, the safer you are. Wear a brightly colored piece of clothing that can be seen from all directions. Avoid wearing colors that blend in with the environment or are the color of game species: green, brown, black or white.
  2. Know which hunting seasons are open. There are open seasons every day of the year in Michigan. Most seasons are busiest on opening day, and many hunters stop going out after the first week. The most popular hunting season in Michigan is firearm deer hunting season, which runs Nov. 15-30 annually. Find more on Michigan’s hunting seasons online at Michigan.gov/Hunting.
  3. Know the lands you use. Hunting is open on any public or private land where permission is granted. Most public lands and private conservation lands have resources online to help you find out when and where hunting is allowed. When in doubt, contact the property owner.
  4. Stick to the trails. Hunters generally will venture well off human-used paths to look for game, so there is less hunting on established trail systems.
  5. Head home before dark. Dawn and dusk are often the best time for hunters to find their quarry. Wildlife viewing during daylight hours means you’ll be seeing fewer hunters.

Michigan’s hunters take seriously the lessons learned in their hunter safety classes and work hard every year to keep themselves, their hunting partners and the people they share the land with safe so all can enjoy Michigan’s outdoors.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Three easy ways to deal with fall leaves

fall foliagePeak fall color is in the Upper Peninsula right now and heading to Lower Michigan – check out our fall color tour to see where to go for the best “leaf-peeping” opportunities.

Once the color show is over, here are a few ways to deal with the fallen leaves in your own backyard:

‘Leaf’ them be

What’s the easiest way to deal with fallen leaves? Just leave them alone – they’ll benefit wildlife and save you time and energy. If you’re worried about getting the stink eye from neighbors, you can assure them that the leaf layer is a critical part of the ecosystem. Salamanders, chipmunks, wood frogs, box turtles, toads, insects and other wildlife live in the leaf layer of the forest. Many important pollinators like moths and butterflies overwinter in fallen leaves.

If you’d like to move fallen leaves off your lawn, you can rake them into garden beds (free mulch!) where they will insulate perennials and keep soil in place during storms. Alternately, shred them with a lawn mower and let them become natural fertilizer for the yard.

Make garden gold 

Another way to take care of fallen leaves is to collect them in a compost bin and let nature do the rest. They’ll break down into rich soil that plants love. If you have the space, you can also rake them directly into a vegetable patch and till them under in the spring.

A guide published by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, “Home composting: Reap a heap of benefits” describes how to build and maintain a compost bin.

Burn responsibly

If you choose to burn leaves, here are some important tips for this disposal method.

Before burning, remember to check for a burn permit to see if conditions are safe for burning, and know your local fire ordinances.

If you’re in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, visit Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or call 866-922-BURN to find out whether burning is allowed. People who live in the southern Lower Peninsula can check with local government or fire departments.

“When burning, always have a water source nearby and never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment,” said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist. “Debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfire in Michigan.”

It’s okay to burn natural materials such as leaves, branches and logs. It’s not legal to burn plastic or other trash.

Questions about burning? Visit Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or contact Paul Rogers at 616-260-8406.

Parkville Dam removal improves fish habitat, public safety

a small group of men and women in work gear and hard hats stand on a rocky riverbank, next to heavy equipmentFor decades, the remnants of an old mill dam within the community of Parkville have degraded fish habitat and created safety concerns for anglers and kayakers on the Portage River. This stretch of river now has a new look, thanks to a collaborative effort led by the St. Joseph Conservation District and the Michigan DNR.

The rehabilitation of the river was completed this past summer. Numerous metal beams and the crumbling remains of a concrete wall were pulled out of the river, and the existing cobble and boulders at the diversion dam site on the main river were rearranged to form natural-style rapids. The rehabilitated river provides a safer paddling experience and improved habitat for fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Funding for the project was provided by the DNR Fisheries Habitat Grant Program and a mitigation fund created by the City of Sturgis as part of the licensing process for the Sturgis hydroelectric dam on the St. Joseph River. The dam removal was performed by a DNR Parks and Recreation Division heavy equipment crew from the Allegan field office. Several partners contributed materials or services to make the dam removal possible, including Park Township, St. Joseph County Road Commission, Detweiler Excavating, Stark Excavating and the Historical Society of St. Joseph County.

To learn more about how the DNR is managing Michigan’s fisheries for current and future generations, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing.

Questions? Contact Brian Gunderman, 269-251-2645.

Natural Resources Commission meets Thursday in Lansing

fishing at ionia state park in fallThe DNR’s fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022) operating budget, several fisheries orders, preliminary elk hunting season results and several land transactions are just some of the agenda items for the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. at Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 4125 Beaumont Road, in Lansing. (Note: Masks are required indoors for everyone entering MSU facilities. Learn more at MSU.edu/Together-We-Will.)

See the meeting’s full draft agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC. For more information or to request time to speak at the meeting, contact Su Schrauger at 517-284-6237 or NRC@Michigan.gov.

History highlight: Partnering to bring back a Great Lakes icon

arctic graylingIn honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re highlighting a partnership focused on improving natural resources in the Great Lakes region – the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians has engaged in extensive research for potential grayling reintroduction. While the initiative is still in the early stages, we’re excited to see this important species returned to Michigan’s waters.

We’re proud to highlight this foundational partnership between the Michigan DNR and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians as well as recognize other partners contributing to the initiative including the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Indians, the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

For more info about the initiative to bring grayling back to Michigan, visit MiGrayling.org.

ICYMI: October is firewood month

Infographic firewood isn't deadProtect the campsites and wildlife habitats important to you by preventing the spread of forest pests on firewood.

In case you missed it, October is firewood month and a good time to think about how and where to get wood. Don’t move firewood from location to location – instead, plan to either gather firewood on-site where permitted or purchase firewood near your camping destination.

Heading out of state? Transporting firewood may violate state and federal laws, depending on the region.

You have the power to slow the spread of forest pests. Remember to:

  • Gather firewood on-site where permitted.
  • Buy it where you burn it.
  • Buy certified, heat-treated firewood.

For more information, visit Don’tMoveFirewood.org.


Heading out to fish your favorite waters? Get a jump on conditions with the DNR’s fall fishing forecasts. Before you cast your line, make sure you have a 2021 fishing license!


If you’re getting ready to go off-roading, remember to “Ride Right” and check out our ORV webpage for info on permit and license purchases, maps and more.


Help Michiganders experiencing hunger by supporting the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. Share your deer harvest or help offset the cost of processing with a donation.

Weatherization program helps low-income reduce heating bills

Weatherization program helps low-income reduce heating bills

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Weatherization program helps low-income Michiganders reduce heating bills

Gov. Whitmer proclaims October as Weatherization Month


CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, wheatonb@michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are raising awareness during Weatherization Month of a program that reduces household energy costs by an average of $283 per year – benefitting approximately 1,300 low-income families in Michigan.

The governor has proclaimed October as Weatherization Month in Michigan.

“Together, we can help low-income families reduce their energy costs and meet their basic needs,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Weatherization programs help families save money, protect the environment, and offer opportunities to local businesses that do weatherization work. My administration will ensure Michigan families can keep their homes warm as we head into the colder months.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program is administered at the state level by the MDHHS Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. MDHHS utilizes Community Action Agencies and non-profit organizations to provide weatherization services at the local level.


Trained weatherization professionals known as energy auditors use computerized energy audit software and advanced diagnostic equipment such as blower doors and infrared cameras to create a comprehensive energy analysis of the home. This analysis is used to determine the most cost-effective measures to install in each home. The energy auditor creates a customized work order. Then trained contractors and crew members install the identified energy-efficient and health and safety measures.

“Weatherization reduces heating costs, which can be a lifeline for low-income families who might otherwise struggle to pay their utility bills,” said Lewis Roubal, MDHHS chief deputy director for opportunity. “Families benefiting from reduced heating bills can spend their money on food, clothing and other critical household needs.”

Energy efficiency measures installed in client homes include items such as insulation, blower-door-guided air sealing of key leakage junctures, and installations such as lighting and water saving measures.


Health and safety issues such as elevated levels of carbon monoxide, moisture problems, mold, ventilation needs, and heating systems safety and efficiency are also addressed. There is growing evidence that the program provides benefits beyond energy savings. Improved indoor air quality and appropriate ventilation strategies lead to healthier living conditions in weatherized homes. These healthier living conditions often lead to improved health outcomes such as reduced asthma triggers and fewer doctor visits.


Eligibility is based on household income and if the home’s current condition is weatherization ready.


Anyone interested in applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program can contact their local provider.


More information about home energy savings can be found by visiting the websites below that cover:


Training for those working in the Weatherization Assistance Program is provided by the Michigan Training and Education Center. For more information about the training, visit www.MichiganTEC.org.