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Lakes appreciation month: enjoy and protect Michigan’s lakes


Michigan is blessed with all types of waterbodies, including scenic locations without much civilization in site, like this view of Tahquamenon Natural Area between Newberry and Paradise in the state’s Upper Peninsula.

Michigan offers unique combination of four Great Lakes and 11,000 inland lakes

With Gov. Rick Snyder’s proclamation of July as Lakes Appreciation Month in Michigan, it›s the perfect time to encourage residents to enjoy and protect the state’s lakes.

Recreation on Michigan’s lakes—boating, fishing, birding, swimming and more on the water—leads to jobs throughout the state in support of a $7 billion recreational fishery, a $4 billion boating industry, and a major part of the state’s $38 billion tourism revenue.

Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and four Great Lakes provide a combination of water resources and recreational opportunities not available anywhere else. In his proclamation, Gov. Snyder recognized “the need to protect these resources for future generations,” stating that “lakes and shorelines are critical resources to Michigan’s environment and quality of life, providing sources of drinking water, irrigation, energy, commerce, recreation, scenic beauty, and habitat for fish and wildlife.”

“It’s important for everyone who uses and values Michigan’s lakes to do their part to protect them,” said Joe Nohner, inland lakes analyst for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “Our inland lakes face threats from declining water quality, invasive species, changing climate and unnatural shorelines that lack vegetation or woody habitat. There are simple steps each of us can take to protect the lakes we love.”

Fishing and boating go hand in hand as staple activities on many of Michigan›s lakes, making huge contributions to the state’s economy.

Here are just a few ways to show appreciation for these valuable natural resources:

Be a lake volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are available with programs across Michigan. Clean Boats, Clean Waters (http://micbcw.org/) is recruiting “volunteer heroes” to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by showing boaters how to inspect their boats, trailers and gear. Michigan’s Clean Water Corps supports volunteers engaged in water-quality monitoring through its Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program. Adopt-a-Beach volunteers remove litter from shorelines around the Great Lakes.

Protect your shore. Lakefront property owners can learn more from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership about maintaining natural shorelines to improve fish and wildlife habitat and keep the water clean. Learn how to be recognized through the Michigan Shoreland Stewards program. http://www.mishorelandstewards.org/.

Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Lakes Appreciation Month and Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week were kicked off by the 4th annual AIS Landing Blitz with outreach events at more than 60 boat launches, to raise awareness and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species through recreational boating and related activities. When it’s time to head home from the lake, take steps to ensure aquatic invasive species don’t come with you:

  • Remove weeds, mud and debris from boats and gear, and drain live wells and bilges before leaving the landing.
  • Give boats and equipment at least five days to dry thoroughly before heading to a different body of water.
  • If that’s not possible, clean boats, water receptacles and gear with hot water or a diluted bleach solution before the next trip.

In short, remember to clean, drain and dry boats, trailers and gear after a day on the water. Concerned about aquatic invasive species? Consider inviting the free Mobile Boat Wash to a boat launch near you. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/invasives/Boat_wash_flyer_2017_554286_7.pdf or check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MobileBoatWash/.

Take a friend or a young person fishing. Fishing Michigan’s lakes provides an opportunity to spend quality time with someone, reunite a friend with a favorite hobby, or introduce someone to a new pastime. Whether it’s taking the boat to that favorite fishing hole or casting from a pier or quiet dock, fishing is a unique way to connect with the water.

Spend a day at the beach. A picnic or a day of swimming is a great way to get the kids outdoors in the summer. A sunset stroll along the shoreline can be a relaxing end to a perfect day. Looking for a place to take your four-legged best friend? According to bringfido.com, there are 27 dog-friendly beaches across Michigan.

Float your boat. If that boat is still covered and sitting on the trailer, or the kayaks haven’t yet left the garage, it’s time to hit the water. Take a cruise or paddle around the shoreline of your favorite lake to admire the waterfowl and flowering plants, or visit a new lake – with more than 1,300 public boating access sites around the state to choose from, it’s easy to plan a water-bound adventure.

The Lakes Appreciation Month proclamation was supported by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization that promotes collaboration to advance stewardship of Michigan’s inland lakes.

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Registration open for winter state games


 

Four new sports added 

The fourth annual Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games are quickly approaching. Over 2,000 athletes will be competing in 20 different sports throughout January and February. Registration for the 2017 Winter Games is now open. The main weekend for competition is February 17-19, with events on January 29 and February 4-5. For the 2017 games, four new sports have been added to the competition including: Swimming (Postal Meet), Futsal, Shooting Sports- Sporting Clays, and the Winter Try-Athlon (Cross Country Skiing, Luge, and Speed Skating).

Swimming (Postal Meet) competitors swim at their local pool and mail in their split sheet. Athletes will swim as far as they can for one hour. They can choose to participate in the individual race, relay race, small team, or large team race.

Futsal is similar to indoor soccer played on a basketball court. It is played with five players on each side. This sport is fast-paced and requires technical skill and concentration from the athletes.

Sporting Clays, traditionally a Summer Games sport, makes its first appearance in the Winter Games. Athletes taking part in this sport will be shooting 100 birds and need to come prepared with their own shooting equipment and protective gear.

The Winter Try-Athlon includes cross country skiing, luge and speed skating. It is a competition and learning opportunity with clinics available for each sport. Individuals who have little or no background in one or all of the three events are encouraged to register.

Registration continues to be available online for all sports. The sports line up for the fourth annual Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games scheduled events include Archery—Indoor, Basketball, BMX—Indoor, Bowling, Cross Country Skiing, Darts, Disc Golf, Fatbike, Fencing (including a wheelchair division), Fencing, Futsal, Karate, Racquetball, Rowing—Virtual, Ski/Snowboard, Shooting Sports (Pistol and Sporting Clays), Snowball Softball, Swimming (Postal Meet), Winter Try-Athlon, and Wrestling.

For a complete listing of all the sports included in the 2017 Winter Games and how to register, please visit www.stategamesofmichigan.com/wintergamesregistration.

In 2016, the Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games offered 20 sports, bringing more than 2,000 athletes from 25 Michigan counties to West Michigan. Meijer State Games of Michigan Winter Games participants and visitors contributed more than $500,000 in direct visitor spending that benefited West Michigan area hotels and local businesses.

Volunteers are still needed. Volunteer opportunities include assisting with

operations, registration, meal delivery, and more. Visit our volunteer page (www.stategamesofmichigan.com/volunteer).

Modeled after the Olympics, the Meijer State Games of Michigan welcomes athletes regardless of age or ability level, and embodies the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living among residents

of Michigan. In August 2017, the Meijer State Games of Michigan will play host to the 2017 State Games of America.

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Rule changes for fall high school sports


Each year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association seeks to improve the safety of high school athletes. Below are some rules changes in fall sports.
Football
Rules were added restricting targeting of opponent and illegal helmet contact with defenseless players, with both resulting in 15-yard penalties. Targeting is defined as taking aim at an opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder to initiate contact above the shoulders and with an intent beyond making a legal tackle or block, or playing the ball. A defenseless player can be considered one no longer involved in a play, a runner whose progress has been stopped, a player focused on receiving a kick or a receiver who has given up on an errant pass, or a player already on the ground.
Roughing-the-passer fouls now will result in an automatic first down in addition to the previous 15-yard penalty.
On kickoffs, the kicking team must have at least four players on either side of the kicker, and no kicking team players except for the kicker may line up more than five yards behind the free-kick line. These changes were made to improve safety by balancing the kicking formation and shortening the potential run-up by kicking team players heading down the field to tackle the ball carrier.
A number of significant rules changes will go into effect for other fall sports:
Cross country
In cross country, the ban on wearing jewelry has been lifted (and also for track and field in the spring). The National Federation of State High School Associations deemed the ban unnecessary in these two sports because there is little risk of injury with minimal contact between competitors. Elimination of the rule will allow officials to further focus on the competition.
Soccer
In soccer, Michigan has adopted the National Federation rule stating home teams must wear solid white jerseys and socks, with visiting teams in dark jerseys and socks (dark defined as any color contrasting white). Also, officials may now wear green and blue shirts in addition to red and black as alternates to the primary yellow shirt with black pinstripes.
Also for soccer, both field players and goalkeepers must now leave the field when injured and the referee has stopped the clock. Previously, an injured goalkeeper was not required to leave the game when the referee stopped the clock; going forward, the keeper must be replaced.
Swimming and diving
In swimming and diving, one change affects the beginning of races and another impacts a specific event. The use of starter’s pistols is now prohibited; starters must use an alternative sounding device to start races. Additionally, in the backstroke, a swimmer may not submerge his or her entire body after the start except for during turns. The swimmer must remain on or above the water surface on the finish, eliminating the abuse of submerging well before touching the wall. This change also applies to the finish of the backstroke leg of the individual medley.

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