web analytics

Tag Archive | "DNR"

DNR seizes record amount of illegal crayfish


Michigan DNR conservation officers seized more than 2,000 pounds of live, illegal red swamp crayfish in 55 bags, the largest aquatic invasive species seizure by the DNR.

More than 2,000 pounds of live, illegal red swamp crayfish recently were seized by Department of Natural Resources conservation officers on July 13—the largest aquatic invasive species seizure by the Michigan DNR.

Growing from 4 to 7 inches in length, red swamp crayfish are dark red with bright red, raised spots on their claws and a black wedge-shaped tail that is a black or dark blue color underneath.

Red swamp crayfish are prohibited in both Michigan and Canada. They burrow and create shoreline erosion, creating instability. Additionally, they compete with native crayfish, reducing the amount of food and habitat available for amphibians, invertebrates and juvenile fish.

Conservation officers in St. Clair County were notified Friday, July 13, by U.S. Customs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when a commercial hauler transporting red swamp crayfish was denied entry into Canada and would be returning to Michigan. The commercial hauler was stopped by Canadian officials at the Sarnia, Canada, border crossing in an attempt to leave the United States.

“Our officers have great working relationships with professional law enforcement partners across the U.S. and Canada. This is a fine example of how important those relationships are in protecting Michigan’s natural resources,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Assisted by customs officials, DNR conservation officers stopped the truck and obtained 55 bags of live crayfish. After interviewing the driver, the officers learned the truck originated from Canada and made stops in Maryland and Arkansas to pick up cargo prior to attempting its return to Canada. The driver did not have appropriate records, other than a few purchase receipts. DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Great Lakes Enforcement Unit is conducting further investigation. It currently is unknown if any stops or sales were made in Michigan.

The first concern regarding red swamp crayfish in Michigan was in 2013, when conservation officers learned the illegal crayfish was being used as bait in southwest Michigan. The first live infestations in Michigan were detected and reported in 2017. Confirmed infestations include locations in southeast Michigan.

Native in southeast states of the U.S., red swamp crayfish are the most widespread invasive crayfish in the world, and often are used in classrooms as teaching tools and at food festivities such as crayfish boils. Any possession of live red swamp crayfish in Michigan is illegal. The DNR is working to increase awareness and reporting of the illegal crayfish, in addition to removing infestations from confirmed locations.

 

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

DNR Upper Peninsula wolf survey shows healthy wolf population


Two wolves on a winter trail from a previous wolf survey. Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division officials said earlier this month that the state’s wolf population has remained relatively stable over the past four wolf surveys, the most recent of which occurred this past winter.

DNR wildlife biologists estimate there was a minimum of 662 wolves found among 139 packs across the Upper Peninsula this past winter. The 2016 minimum population estimate was 618 wolves.

“Based on our latest minimum population estimate, it is clear wolf numbers in Michigan remain viable and robust,” said Russ Mason, chief of the DNR’s wildlife division. “A similar trend is apparent in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The western Great Lakes states’ wolf population is thriving and has recovered.”

Fifteen more wolf packs were found during this past winter’s survey than in 2016, but pack size has decreased slightly and now averages less than five wolves.

The survey was conducted from December through April, before wolves had produced pups, and when the population is at its lowest point in the annual cycle.

“As the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula has grown and spread out across the region, packs are situated closer together,” said Dean Beyer, a DNR wildlife research biologist who organizes the sampling and generates the wolf population estimate for the biannual survey. “This makes it harder to determine which pack made the tracks that were observed in adjacent areas.

“Movement information we collect from GPS-collared wolves helps us interpret the track count results, because these data allow us to identify territorial boundaries. The minimum population estimate we generate is a conservative estimate, which takes these factors into account.”

The wolf survey is completed by DNR Wildlife Division and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff who search specific survey areas for wolf tracks and other signs of wolf activity, such as territorial marking or indications of breeding.

In 2017-2018, approximately 63 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed.

After wolves returned naturally to the U.P. through migration from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario in the 1980s, the population rebounded remarkably over time. The pronounced long-term increase in wolf abundance is evident, despite human cause-specific mortality, such as poaching.

However, over the past few years, Michigan’s minimum estimate has hovered between 600 and 700 wolves, which could be indicative of a stabilizing population.

“Research suggests prey avail ability and the geographical area of the U.P. are the key limiting factors of wolf population expansion,” said Kevin Swanson, a wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s Bear and Wolf Program in Marquette. “This is proving to be true.”

Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100, meeting federally established goals for population recovery. The Michigan recovery goal of a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years was achieved in 2004.

Wolves in Michigan remain a federally-protected species which may only be killed legally in defense of human life.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Operation Dry Water emphasizes boating safety leading into holiday


Michigan DNR conservation officers again are participating in the national Operation Dry Water campaign, aimed at reducing the number of people boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, keeping the water safe for everyone.

As the July 4th holiday nears, DNR conservation officers will focus on keeping boaters safe through heightened awareness and enforcement of “boating under the influence” laws.

It’s part of the Operation Dry Water campaign, June 29-July 1, in coordination with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partners. The annual campaign starts before the holiday weekend, when more boaters take to the water and alcohol use increases.


Boating safety takes center stage during Operation Dry Water June 29-July 1, 2018, when Michigan DNR conservation officers focus on keeping boaters safe through heightened awareness and enforcement of “boating under the influence” laws.

“The best way to safely enjoy a day on the water is to avoid alcohol,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, Michigan’s boating law administrator. “Using alcohol impairs reaction time, balance and judgment. Please don’t put yourself and others at risk. Be smart and stay sober when boating.”

In Michigan, a person operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or having a blood alcohol content of .08 grams or more, can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $500, community service and up to 93 days in jail. It also can result in loss of boating privileges for at least one year.

If a person is killed or injured due to a driver operating a boat while under the influence, the driver could be charged with a felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.

Boaters can do their part by:

Boating sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. The effects of alcohol and certain medications are increased on the water due to added stress factors such as the sun, heat, wind, wave motion and engine noise.

Wearing life jackets. Nearly 85 percent of drowning victims in the U.S. were not wearing life jackets.

Taking boating safety courses. The DNR recommends a safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft. Convenient, affordable classes are offered at locations throughout the state and online.

Learn more about boating regulations, safety and where to find marinas at michigan.gov/boating. For more on Operation Dry Water, contact Lt. Pete Wright, 906-228-6561.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

DNR reminds boaters to put safety first


 

National Safe Boating Week runs May 19-25 and Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers urge boaters to follow important safety tips for an enjoyable time on the water.

National Safe Boating Week set for May 19-25

As boating season nears, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage boaters to protect themselves and others by following important safety tips.

Saturday, May 19, marks the start of National Safe Boating Week and the DNR wants all Michigan residents and visitors to have fun while exercising caution and obeying the law.

“Michigan offers countless boating opportunities,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, boating law administrator for the state of Michigan. “But having fun on the water also means being safe. Taking simple precautions, always staying in control of the vessel and following the law will help ensure an enjoyable outing.”

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators must have a boater education safety certificate.

Wanless encourages boaters to:

Wear a life jacket. About 83 percent of drownings resulting from boating accidents in the U.S. are due to people not wearing life jackets. In Michigan, anyone under age 6 must wear a life jacket when on the open deck of any vessel, but wearing a personal flotation device is recommended for everyone.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Nationally, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents where the primary cause was known. 

Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working order. In addition to legally required equipment such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Make sure navigation lights work properly.

File a float plan. Always inform family or friends about the details of your trip. Let them know when to expect you back. Give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don’t return on time.

Stay alert. Watch for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and when visibility is restricted.

Carry a cell phone or marine radio. Be prepared to call for help if you are involved in or witness an accident, your boat or the boat of another becomes disabled, or you need medical assistance.

The DNR also recommends a boating safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft. Classes are offered at locations around the state and online, making it convenient and affordable.

Visit michigan.gov/boating for more information on boating safety, enrolling in a safety course, boat registration, and boating access at Michigan’s parks, campgrounds, harbors and marinas.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

Michigan’s 2018 fishing license season kicks off April 1


 

A new fishing license is required April 1 to coincide with the 2018 fishing season. Anglers can pick up a license and a 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at retailers located across the state.

Don’t forget—new license required

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit a local license retailer or DNR Customer Service Center and make a purchase in person.

Use the E-License system to buy a license online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just visit mdnr-elicense.com on your computer, smartphone or tablet to get started.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

DNR has new online form for reporting fish kills


 

Winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other aquatic creatures to die

To simplify the public’s ability to report fish kills, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently developed an online form for reporting fish kills in quantities larger than 25 fish. A fish kill of this size could have more factors involved that need further DNR investigation. The new Sick or Dead Aquatic Species form can be found in the DNR’s Eyes in the Field application at michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.

Information requested in the form includes waterbody and location (both descriptive and latitude-longitude coordinates), observation details, and any available photos showing the fish kill. Close-up photos showing any external disease signs such as bloody patches, unusual wounds or odd coloration are particularly helpful to DNR staff as they try to determine the cause of the issue and its seriousness. Entered reports and associated images automatically are forwarded to fish health staff for quicker evaluation and action.

“In the past, the public has notified DNR staff by phone or email about a fish kill,” Whelan said. “While this input is hugely valuable and desired, it was not the most efficient way for us to get reports about fish kills and often delayed response. We have designed a simpler way for the public to get involved as our eyes and ears using the DNR’s Eyes in the Field.”

The DNR reminds everyone that after the ice and snow cover melts on Michigan’s lakes this winter, it may be common to discover dead fish or other aquatic creatures. Severe winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die.

“Winterkill is the most common type of fish kill,” said Gary Whelan, DNR fisheries research manager. “Given the harsh conditions of winter with thick ice and deep snow cover, fish kills may be particularly common in shallow lakes and streams and ponds. These kills are localized and typically do not affect the overall health of the fish populations or fishing quality.”

Shallow lakes with excess aquatic vegetation and mucky bottoms are particularly prone to winterkill. Fish and other aquatic life typically die in late winter, but may not be noticed until a month after the ice leaves the lake because the dead fish and other aquatic life temporarily are preserved by the cold water.

“Winterkill begins with distressed fish gasping for air at holes in the ice and often ends with large numbers of dead fish that bloat as the water warms in early spring,” Whelan said. “Dead fish and other aquatic life may appear fuzzy because of secondary infection by fungus, but the fungus was not the cause of death. The fish actually suffocated from a lack of dissolved oxygen from decaying plants and other dead aquatic animals under the ice.”

Dissolved oxygen is required by fish and all other forms of aquatic life. Once the daylight is greatly reduced by thick ice and deep snow cover, aquatic plants stop producing oxygen and many die. The bacteria that decompose organic materials on the bottom of the lake use the remaining oxygen in the water. Once the oxygen is reduced other aquatic animals die and start decomposing, the rate that oxygen is used for decomposition is additionally increased and dissolved oxygen levels in the water decrease even more, leading to increasing winterkill.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

DNR conservation officers offer snowmobile safety tips


 

With Michigan’s snowmobile season in full gear, Department of Natural Resources conservation officers remind riders that safety is key to enjoying their sport.

“Snowmobiling is a great way to spend the winter months,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR recreational safety programs supervisor. “But when operating a snowmobile or any type of vehicle, safety comes first. This includes riding within your own abilities, operating at safe and appropriate speeds for the terrain, always wearing a helmet and proper clothing, and never operating your machine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Other safety tips include:

Always keep your snowmobile in top mechanical condition.

  • Wear insulated boots and protective clothing, including a helmet, gloves and eye protection.
  • Only ride in designated areas and trails.
  • Check weather conditions before riding and be aware of changing trail conditions.
  • Pick safe places to stop off the trail and never park or stand in the trail.
  • Exercise additional caution when riding on an unfamiliar trail, or when riding at night.
  • Never ride alone; use the “buddy system.”
  • Keep headlights and taillights on at all times and keep them clear of snow, ice or other debris.
  • Be alert to avoid fences and low-strung wires.
  • Use caution when approaching a trail intersection, come to a complete stop when required, and look both ways for traffic before proceeding.
  • Stay clear of trail groomers, if possible. Never follow groomers, and give them the right of way.
  • Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water, when possible. If you must cross, never do so while riding in single file.
  • • Wear a life jacket if operating on frozen bodies of water.
  • • Don’t trespass. If you don’t know whose property you are on, you probably don’t belong there.
  • • Snowmobile safety education training and online safety courses are recommended for all snowmobile operators and are required for those who are 12 to 16 years old.
  • • Snowmobilers also should learn the rules and regulations for snowmobiling in Michigan, as well as the universal snowmobile trail signage developed by the DNR to help ensure safety on the trails.
  • A valid snowmobile registration from the Michigan Secretary of State, or another state or province, is required for all snowmobiles. Snowmobilers also must purchase a trail permit, which is valid for one year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30), when operating on public trails.

Learn more about snowmobiling in Michigan at michigan.gov/snowmobiling.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

Plan to use an ORV on state forest roads? 


 

Check maps first

Many—but not all—state forest roads opened to off-road vehicle traffic on Jan. 1. Before riding, make sure roads are authorized for ORV use by checking online maps. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources forest roads maps are found at www.michigan.go/forestroads

“Due to frozen ground conditions, closed roads are not all marked yet,” said Deb Begalle, DNR Forest Resources Division chief. “Some roads remain closed to balance motorized recreational access with the need to protect our resources.”

Approximately 6,300 miles of roads in the state forest system in the northern Lower Peninsula will open to ORVs. About 1,200 miles of roads will remain closed.

Opening the roads to ORV use is authorized by Public Act 288, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2016. Besides opening roads, the statute required the DNR to inventory and map all state forest roads. 

Examples of areas that will remain closed to ORV traffic include the Pigeon River Country State Forest, Jordan Valley, Mason Tract, Deward Tract, and Sand Lakes Quiet Area, all of which emphasize quiet recreation. Other roads will remain closed to reduce conflict with non-motorized uses and protect natural resources.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

Campground host applications being accepted for 2018 season


The DNR is accepting applications for volunteers to work as campground hosts in Michigan state parks and rustic state forest campgrounds during the 2018 season. It’s a great way to camp for free and get a behind-the-scenes park experience.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteer campground hosts in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds for the 2018 camping season.

In exchange for 30 hours of service per week, including duties such as helping campers find their campsites, answering camper questions, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties, campground hosts enjoy waived camping fees. 

Both individuals and couples may apply for volunteer positions that begin as early as April and last through October. Volunteer hosts must be 18 years of age and provide their own camping equipment, food and other personal items.

“For many visitors, the camping experience wouldn’t be the same without campground hosts,” said Miguel Rodriguez, promotional agent for the DNR. “These dedicated volunteers engage with park visitors by helping out around the campground, answering camping and park questions and even hosting kids’ crafts and fireside activities. All of this is accomplished while they are enjoying some of Michigan’s most beautiful outdoor destinations.”

Interested volunteers can click on “campground host” at  www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers to learn more about the volunteer host campground program, download an application and waiver, and view a vacancy host campground report, which is updated regularly and indicates when and where hosts are needed in specific parks.

Hosts are screened and interviewed by park managers and selected based on familiarity with the state park system, camping experience, special skills, availability and knowledge of the area. Hosts must participate in a two-day host training session within the first two years of being selected as a host. The 2018 training will take place June 6-7 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon.

For information, contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-284-6127 or rodriquezm2@michigan.gov.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Tips for a safe, enjoyable hunting season


As the Nov. 15 firearm deer season opener nears, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage hunters to brush up on safety tips and hunting regulations to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

“Firearm deer season is a special time of year in Michigan,” Cpl. Dave Painter said. “It brings family and friends together in celebration of our state’s great outdoor heritage. Staying safe, knowing the laws and being good stewards of our resources will help hunters have a memorable outing.”

Painter reminds hunters that a mandatory deer check is in place within certain areas of the state due to the confirmation of chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. Hunters harvesting a deer in these CWD areas must bring it to a DNR check station within 72 hours. Visit mi.gov/deercheck for a map and list of check stations.

Regardless of where deer are harvested in Michigan, the DNR encourages all hunters to voluntarily take them to the nearest check station to help with disease surveillance. In addition, big-game hunters who travel outside of Michigan should be aware of new regulations restricting the importation of harvested cervids. 

Painter also offered the following general safety tips:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Keep your finger away from the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.
  • Keep the safety on until you are ready to fire.
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing.
  • Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.
  • Make sure you have an adequate backstop. Don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
  • Unload the firearm before running, climbing a fence or tree, or jumping a ditch.
  • Wear a safety harness when hunting from an elevated platform.  Use a haul line to bring the unloaded firearm up and down the raised platform.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or behavior-altering medicines or drugs before or during a hunt.
  • Always wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange, visible from all sides, during daylight hunting hours, even if hunting on private land. The law also applies to archery hunters during firearm season.
  • Make sure at least 50 percent of any camouflage pattern being worn is in hunter orange.
  • Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you if you become injured or lost.
  • Carry a cell phone into the woods. Not only does it let you call for help if necessary, but newer phones emit a signal that can help rescuers locate you. Also consider downloading a compass or flashlight app.
  • Program the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line (800-292-7800) in your phone contacts so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you may witness.

“These are simple, common-sense tips that can help prevent accidents and save lives,” Painter said. “The DNR encourages all hunters to review the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for other essential information before taking to the field.”

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace offers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at  www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

advert
Cedar Car Co
Kent Theatre
Advertising Rates Brochure
Ray Winnie Auto Sales

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!