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Tag Archive | "Department of Natural Resources"

Muskellunge harvest tag issue


The Department of Natural Resources has found a key error on this year’s muskellunge harvest tag.

The tag is legally required for anglers to be in possession of a muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) harvested in Michigan waters. The months of April, May and June were omitted from the tags. Anglers are requested to write the date of harvest and harvest location on the line provided on the tag, if they harvest a muskellunge during this time frame. Anglers who harvest muskellunge after June can use the tag as indicated.
The muskellunge harvest tag is free (except for those under 17 years of age and nonresident anglers, who would need to purchase a DNR Sportcard to obtain the tag) and available at all license agents. Those fishing on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters using a Wisconsin fishing license are also required to use the tag if they harvest a muskellunge in Michigan waters.

All muskellunge shall be immediately released unless the fish is to be tagged for harvest. If harvested, it should be tagged with a valid muskellunge harvest tag. The possession limit for muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) is one per angler per fishing season (April 1 through March 31). While registration of muskellunge harvest is not required, registering all harvested fish greatly assists the DNR with management of this important species and is encouraged. For more information or to register a fish, visit www.michigan.gov/muskie.

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Spring weather has bears and other wildlife on the move


 

Although some areas of the state may still have several feet of snow on the ground, Michigan’s wildlife knows the spring season, with an increase in daylight hours, is here. Animals are beginning to wake up from winter hibernation; bears are among those starting to emerge from their dens.

Food and mating are the two drivers behind the increase in wildlife that Michigan residents may be seeing lately. Since bears typically mate in June or July, food is the primary cause for the increase in bear activity during the spring.

“At this time of year, bears are looking for food,” said Department of Natural Resources bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “They are hungry after spending months in their dens. While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.”

Each spring, as bears leave their winter dens and resume daily activity, wildlife officials begin receiving calls about bear sightings and even the occasional bear damaging bird feeders, trash cans and grills.

Birdseed, because of its high fat content and easy accessibility, is especially attractive to bears. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears in the spring involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed,” Bump said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the birdseed or garbage cans.”

Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to these food sources unintentionally provided by people. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yard during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.

DNR Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond directly to each nuisance bear complaint and instead ask that landowners do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNR wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety when other techniques have failed.

Anyone who is experiencing problems with nuisance bears and has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but has not seen results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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Muskegon River walleye egg collection to occur this spring


 

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Muskegon River anglers that Fisheries Division personnel will be taking walleye eggs below Croton Dam this spring.

The DNR plans to collect approximately 62 million walleye eggs from the Muskegon River in 2014 that will result in 13.4 million fry for transfer to rearing ponds throughout the Lower Peninsula. These walleye will be raised to fingerling size and stocked in late spring or early summer in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake Michigan walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs, as well as many inland lakes in the Lower Peninsula. The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is presently about 40,000 to 50,000 each year. DNR crews will strip milt and eggs from approximately 700 adult fish, which will be returned to the river, except for 60 that will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

“This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish,” said Rich O’Neal, fisheries biologist for the Central Lake Michigan Management Unit. “The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay.”

The DNR plans to collect walleyes with an electro-fishing boat beginning as early as the week of March 24 and concluding by April 15. Eight days of fish collections are planned during this period. The actual date when collections will begin depends on water temperatures and the presence of ripe fish. This schedule can change on a daily basis for many reasons, but it is anticipated most work will be completed during the last week of March through the second week of April.

Sampling using electro-fishing usually begins each day at Croton Dam at about 8:30 a.m. and proceeds downstream to the Pine Street access site. If more eggs are needed, additional collections may occur downstream to the Thornapple Street access site.

Egg collection and fertilizing is conducted at the Pine Street access site, about 2 miles downstream of Croton Dam. This process generally begins between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to observe how the eggs are removed from the fish and fertilized before they are packed and shipped to Wolf Lake and Platte River state fish hatcheries.

Anglers who wish to avoid the walleye collection activities should fish downstream of the areas of the river previously noted. The DNR asks anglers to exhibit caution when fishing near the electro-fishing boats. Wading anglers will be asked to exit the water when the boat approaches to ensure anglers’ safety during the electro-fishing work. The DNR appreciates angler cooperation during this critical egg take operation.
Learn more about fisheries management and fishing opportunities at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 

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Portions of snowmobile trails will not be groomed until drifting snow can be managed




OUT-SnowmobileDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR) officials announced today that various sections of snowmobile trails in Cheboygan, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Ottawa counties will not be groomed due to the extremely large snow drifts blocking the trails. The affected sections of snowmobile trails include:

  • Trail #9 from Cheboygan to Mackinaw City, and sections of Trail #9 on the east side of Mullet Lake;
  • Trail #5 in parts of Kent, Mecosta and Montcalm counties, from Polk Road to Russell Road; and
  • Trail #19 in Ottawa County and Ravenna Township.

Snow drifts as high as 5 feet to 8 feet tall are making it impossible for the grooming equipment to lay down a smooth trail surface. Current grooming equipment is designed to smooth out the trail surface, and not designed for plowing through tightly compacted snow drifts.  

The DNR and local snowmobile clubs are looking at options to break through the drifts, including bringing in heavy equipment such as front-end loaders and backhoes to remove the drifts.  

Grooming will commence once trails are sufficiently cleared to allow the grooming equipment to run without getting stuck. Snowmobilers are urged to either avoid these sections of trail, or use extreme caution if riding in these drifted areas. 

Questions may be directed to Todd Neiss, DNR trails specialist, at 231-775-9727 ext. 6045. Information regarding other snowmobile riding opportunities may be found on the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

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Snowmobile Violations – Leaving the scene of a property damage accident.


OUT-Snowmobile-Conservation-officer-logoby Sgt. John Jurcich

 

The Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division, continues to seek information related to a hit and run snowmobile crash which killed one dog and seriously injured a second dog along Simonelli Road in Fruitland Township of Muskegon County on the evening of February 16th 2014.

At approximately 7:30 p.m. two Fruitland Township residents were at the end of a driveway while snow was being cleared and mail was being retrieved from a mailbox along this lightly traveled rural road. Two vehicles were visible at the end of the driveway with tractor lights illuminating the road at the time of the incident.  Two Brittany Spaniels, owned by one of the residents, briefly ran into the gravel roadway and were returning to the drive when a lone snowmobile approaching from the north, traveling the center of the roadway at a high rate of speed appeared. The snowmobile continued at high speed striking both dogs within twenty feet of the owner and witness. The suspect vehicle did not slow or brake prior to or after the collision.  One dog died on scene after being thrown 114 feet, and the second dog required emergency care and surgery in Grand Rapids with veterinary bills totaling more than $6,000.

The snowmobile was last observed at the intersection of Simonelli and Lakewood Roads. Conservation Officers and local law enforcement have been working leads related to this incident but continue to seek additional information. Investigators may be seeking a mid to late 1990s, Polaris snowmobile, dark in color, being operated by a lone occupant. This snowmobile may have left the Berry Junction Trail or the City of Whitehall just prior to the incident and may have been returning to Fruitland or the Laketon Township area at the time of the crash.

Snowmobiles in Muskegon County may operate to the extreme right of the “right of way” or plowed portion of the roadway.  Speeds may not exceed those posted or designated to normal vehicular traffic.  Under Michigan Snowmobile and Motor Vehicle Code laws, snowmobiles involved in a crash causing property damage or human injury, must stop at the scene to provide information.

Information may be provided to the DNR Report All Poaching Hotline at 1 800 292-7800 or the Muskegon Silent Observer at 72-Crime.

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Second state-record fish caught this month


A white perch in Muskegon County

 

Aaron Slagh with his state-record white perch.

Aaron Slagh with his state-record white perch.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the catch of a new state-record white perch on Friday, Jan. 24. This is the second state record caught in the month of January.

The white perch was caught by Aaron Slagh, of Holland, Mich., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon County at 11 a.m. The fish weighed 1.93 pounds and measured 13.25 inches. Slagh was ice fishing with a spoon when he landed the record fish. The record was verified by Rich O’Neal, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Muskegon field office.

The previous state-record white perch was caught by Kyle Ryan, of Reese, on Lake Huron, in Tuscola County, on July 13, 2002. That fish weighed 1.88 pounds and measured 13.25 inches.

“It was just another normal day on the ice for me, as I get out as much as I can,” said Slagh. “We were actually targeting yellow perch and I thought I had a walleye. When we pulled it up we thought ‘Holy cow—that’s a big white perch!’”

State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

“This winter, despite the extreme weather most of Michigan has been experiencing, is shaping up to be a great time for many anglers,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “This latest state record once again showcases the quality of the state’s fisheries.”

For more information on fishing in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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Anglers no longer required to keep baitfish receipts


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to inform anglers about new viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) regulations that went into effect Thursday, Jan. 9. The changes result in simpler regulations for anglers who purchase and use minnows as bait by removing the retail sales receipt provision.

Anglers will now no longer be required to possess their bait receipts while fishing and retail minnow sellers will no longer be required to provide anglers with detailed receipts for minnows.

VHS is a serious viral disease that has spread into the Great Lakes region and caused large-scale fish kills. VHS was first identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 and has caused mortalities in a number of fish species in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair and Detroit rivers, Lake Erie, and inland in Budd Lake near Harrison and Base Line Lake near Pinckney. It has also been found in Lake Michigan waters of Wisconsin.

The DNR actively monitors for VHS throughout the year and as other areas are identified positive for VHS, they will be listed online at www.michigan.gov/vhs.

Receipts were previously used for educational and enforcement purposes to direct anglers to places where their bait could be used based on purchase location and whether or not it was certified as disease-free.

VHS regulations have been in effect for several years and, after careful review, the DNR determined the retail receipt provision could be removed because anglers are more knowledgeable about the risks associated with baitfish use.

There is no known treatment for VHS, so preventing the spread of disease is the best way to protect Michigan’s fish. Anglers can help prevent the spread of VHS by keeping the following tips in mind when using baitfish:

Learn to identify the species of baitfish you are using. Species known to be susceptible to VHS and typically used as live bait include emerald shiners, spottail shiners and white suckers. Other species occasionally used as bait that are susceptible to VHS include bluntnose minnows, trout perch, gizzard shad, shorthead redhorse and silver redhorse.

Request that your local bait store sell certified disease-free baitfish.

Purchase and use only certified disease-free baitfish.

Never move live fish between bodies of water.

Disinfect your bait bucket, livewells and bilges between uses with a bleach solution (half-cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water) or allow equipment to dry thoroughly before using in a different body of water.

Properly dispose of all bait containers including worms and soil, crayfish and minnows in a trash receptacle.

Protecting Michigan’s world-class water resources is everyone’s responsibility for now and future generations. All boaters need to drain their livewell(s) and bilge of their boat upon leaving the waterbody because it’s the law.

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Michigan DNR fighting frog-bit


Response to new invasive species under way in Alpena, Bay and Chippewa counties

 

OUT-frog-bit-closeupThe Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division is leading response efforts to control a new aquatic invasive plant, European frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae). Until recently, this free-floating plant had only been reported in a few localized sites in the southeastern Lower Peninsula. Through recent statewide monitoring efforts, this species has been detected in Saginaw Bay, Alpena and Munuscong Bay in Chippewa County.

This new invasive species was detected as a result of an Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) pilot project funded through a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant. The project relies on collaboration with partners, including Michigan State University and Cooperative Weed Management Area groups.

Using the new State of Michigan’s Rapid Response Plan for Aquatic Invasive Species, developed jointly by the DNR, DEQ and MDARD, these new reports were verified, an on-site assessment was conducted and a response plan was formulated. Control measures are under way, including physical removal (1,500 pounds removed beginning in mid-September) and trial treatments with herbicides

“Responding quickly to a new invasive species is critical to increasing our chances of success, and it requires a well-organized, collaborative effort between multiple agencies and other partners,” said Wildlife Division chief Russ Mason.

Education, outreach and future control activities are being planned with local stakeholders and partner groups. A complete outline of the EDRR program, including future stages, is defined in the newly revised SOM Aquatic Invasive Species State Management Plan at www.michigan.gov/aquaticinvasives.

European frog-bit was accidentally released into Canadian waters between 1932 and 1939, and has since spread throughout Ontario, New York, Vermont and other eastern states. It forms extremely dense vegetative mats that cover the available open water surface. Frog-bit shades out submerged native plants, reducing invertebrate and plant biodiversity, disrupts natural water flow, inhibits watercraft movement and may adversely affect fish and wildlife habitat.

European frog-bit resembles a miniature water lily (lily pad), with leaves about the size of a quarter or half-dollar. It produces a small white flower, usually in June. Frog-bit is typically found in slow moving, shallow waters (1-3 feet), typically within cattail and bulrush stands. Additional identification information is available at the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network at www.misin.msu.edu.

If you suspect that you’ve seen European frog-bit, report sightings to www.misin.msu.edu or to Matt Ankney, EDRR coordinator, at ankneym2@michigan.gov or (517) 641-4903.

For more information, please visit www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

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Michigan Trails week


Free park admission Sept. 28

 

Celebrate Michigan Trails Week by getting outside and getting on a trail. Held Sept. 21-28 in the outdoor playground called Michigan, the week pays tribute to the state’s 12,000 miles of trails by offering a variety of events statewide, featuring activities from hiking to biking to kayaking and more.

The week culminates on Sept 28, National Public Lands Day, with free entry to all federal and state parks and participating local parks throughout Michigan and the opportunity for volunteerism—the statewide work bee—to support and maintain these trails. This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day. Access to Michigan state parks normally requires a Recreation Passport; that will be waived on Sept. 28. The special events, trail maintenance and clean-up opportunities and free admission are made possible by communities and organizations throughout the state in partnerships with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA).

This month, Gov. Rick Snyder proclaimed the recreational, health and economic benefits of the state’s trail system with his second annual proclamation of Michigan Trails Week. In his proclamation, the governor states that the trail system provides several billion dollars to Michigan’s economy and a low-cost means to improve individual health, which can, in return, reduce health care costs.

“Michigan is a national leader in the number of miles of trails, providing tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities and substantial benefits to the state’s economy,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “From our state’s extensive inland water opportunities to more than 3,800 miles of trails used by off-road enthusiasts, Michigan is home to a unique variety and quantity of trails. Trails are resources to be celebrated not just during Michigan Trails Week, but all year long.”

The governor’s proclamation also pays tribute to the most popular means of enjoying the out-of-doors through trail-related activities, including hiking, walking, snowmobiling, running, biking, horseback riding, paddling, and using off-road vehicles. According to Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, whether you’re a novice or an expert, getting out on the trails during Michigan Trails Week and each week afterward is an important part of staying active and experiencing the state’s natural resources.

“Put on your well-worn hiking shoes or experience kayaking for the very first time,” he said. “Events held during this week are a great match for both the experienced and beginning trail user. From guided trail hikes to trail runs to bike rides and free kayaking programs through Recreation 101, there is something for everyone. Make this the start of your healthy, active lifestyle.”

All Michigan Trails Week events are found at www.michigan.gov/trailsweek.

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Turning pine cones into profit: helping to reforest state land


These jack pines cones will provide the seed needed to produce seedlings for state forests. DNR offices in Cadillac, Gaylord, Manistique and Marquette will be accepting cones from the public this fall.

These jack pines cones will provide the seed needed to produce seedlings for state forests. DNR offices in Cadillac, Gaylord, Manistique and Marquette will be accepting cones from the public this fall.

Want to play a part in the Department of Natural Resources’ mission of keeping state forests healthy and sustainable and maybe even make a few bucks in the process? Here’s your opportunity!

This fall, as cones are ripening, people can collect red and jack pine cones and sell them to the DNR by visiting offices in Cadillac, Gaylord, Manistique and Marquette. The seeds are placed in cold storage at the DNR-operated Wyman State Nursery until needed.
Each bushel of pine cones can net between $30 and $35 for the person willing to put in some sweat equity.

“The annual pine cone buying program provides an opportunity for residents to contribute to the DNR’s rejuvenation efforts and help produce millions of seedlings that will help sustain Michigan’s state forest land,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division (FRD). “The DNR’s regeneration efforts have been successful for more than 30 years. With help from folks collecting pine cones, the outcomes of this program can be enjoyed for years to come.”

Michigan’s forests are known for their breathtaking beauty, sheer size and inviting spaces. These forest lands are carefully managed for timber, wildlife, recreation, aesthetic and ecological values – all of which play an important role in the state’s economy through forest-based industry and tourism.
Collaboration is important when it comes to successfully managing Michigan’s state forest land to meet these needs.

“It is no small job,” added O’Neill, who also serves as Michigan’s state forester. “Last spring alone, FRD staff planted more than 7 million seedlings on state forest land, reforesting around 7,500 acres.”
Many of the seedlings used in the DNR’s planting efforts come from Wyman. The Manistique-based facility produces 5 million to 7.5 million seedlings annually to help replenish Michigan’s forest land. If pine cones aren’t collected yearly, those seedlings won’t be produced.

The pine cones sold to the DNR can help produce seed and seedlings that will reforest habitats crucial to the survival of many species like deer, turkey and many other game and non-game species, including the federally endangered Kirtland’s warbler.

In addition to the Kirtland’s warbler habitat, the DNR also focuses its reforestation efforts on sites that have been harmed by natural disasters like wildfire.

“When natural circumstances—like last year’s Duck Lake Fire—destroy large areas of forest land, the DNR works to plant seedlings that will help areas regenerate faster than they would on their own,” explained David Neumann, FRD silviculturist. “Last spring, we planted about 1,200 acres in Newberry at the Duck Lake site; we have plans to plant an additional 3,000 acres over the next three to five years to help the area recover from the fire. “We leave some of the regeneration to nature, but will continue monitoring the site for the next few years,” he added.

While the pine cones collected have traditionally come from the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, the DNR is looking to push cone collection in the western U.P. this fall.
“The western U.P. has some of the highest-quality jack pine stands in the state,” said Tom Seablom, FRD timber management specialist in Marquette. “The DNR would like to start an annual collection program from this area so other areas can benefit.”

September and October are generally the best months to collect pine cones. For residents who are new to collecting pine cones in Michigan’s beautiful forests, the DNR offers the following tips to get started:

Look for squirrel caches.

Pick cones off the tops of trees from recent timber sales.

Remember that only cones that are tight (unopened) and clean (free of sticks, debris, rot, decay and fungus) will be accepted.

Keep the cones cool to ensure that they do not begin to compost; the seeds will die at high temperatures.

After the DNR purchases the pine cones, they are dried and the seeds are extracted and cleaned.
“Collected seeds can be stored several years, so your contribution will help the DNR grow jack and red pine seedlings now and well into the future,” O’Neill said. People interested in picking and selling cones to the DNR this fall can contact the FRD staff person in their area for more information and to find out the dates each office will buy cones from the public.

Cadillac: Sue Sobieski, 231-775-9727, ext. 6904

Gaylord: Tim Greco, 989-732-3541, ext. 5041

Manistique: Richard Mergener, 906-341-2518

Marquette: Tom Seablom 906-228-6561

For more information about the DNR’s reforestation efforts and state forest planning, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

 

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