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Tag Archive | "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service"

DNR game camera records cougar in Gogebic County


This mountain lion was caught on a Michigan Department of Natural Resources game camera Oct. 1 in Gogebic County. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

A game camera set up as part of an ongoing state deer movement study has captured images of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula’s Gogebic County, about 9 miles north of Ironwood.

The images were reviewed and verified by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources cougar team.

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed 38 cougar reports, with all but one of those occurring in the Upper Peninsula. These reports include multiple sightings of the same cougar, not 38 individual animals.

So far, there remains no conclusive evidence of a Michigan breeding population of mountain lions. Cougars are an endangered species in Michigan protected by law.

“This latest confirmed report illustrates just how rare cougars are in the Upper Peninsula,” said Brian Roell, a DNR wildlife biologist in Marquette. “This is the first time we’ve ever caught a cougar on more than three million game camera images we’ve collected in our studies since 2009.”

DNR researchers use game cameras in their Quantifying Upper Peninsula Deer Movements and Abundance, predator-prey and bear studies. The deer movement study alone uses 50 game cameras in the western U.P., including the one in Ironwood Township that caught the images of the cougar at 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 1.

A graph shows the number of confirmed Michigan cougar reports in recent years.

The three daylight photos on the game camera show the mountain lion walking past, from right to left. Biologists noted there was no tracking collar on the cougar. No identification of whether the animal was a male or female was possible.

Michigan cougar confirmations have been derived from trail camera video, photographs, tracks, scat, or in the case of two male cats poached, carcasses.

Previous genetic testing on tissue samples from those two cougars poached in the U.P. showed the two animals likely came from a population found generally in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.

“This genetic research lines up with what we’ve presumed previously, that cougars found in the Upper Peninsula are males dispersing from this population east of the Rocky Mountains,” said Kevin Swanson, a DNR wildlife management specialist with the department’s Bear and Wolf Program. “These males dispersed from the main population are looking to establish new territories.”

Researchers investigated the potential population of origin for the two cougars using a database that includes samples from cougar populations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Florida.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cougars were once the most widely distributed land animal in the Western Hemisphere but have been eliminated from about two-thirds of their historic range.

At one time, cougars lived in every eastern state in a variety of habitats, including coastal marshes, mountains and forests. They were native to Michigan, but were trapped and hunted from the state around the turn of the 20th century.

To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit michigan.gov/cougars.

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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.

 

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Michigan DNR lauds federal announcement on comeback of Kirtland’s warbler


Cutline: The Kirtland’s warbler, which lives in northern Michigan’s jack pine forests, is one of our state’s biggest wildlife conservation success stories. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in early April 2018 to remove the songbird from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes removing the bird from the Endangered Species list

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources applauded the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed delisting now enters a 90-day public comment period. A final decision is expected within a year. 

“This is a great day for conservation and for Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This decision recognizes over 50 years of dedication and commitment to Kirtland’s warbler conservation by many agencies, organizations, industries, and individuals in our state and beyond. Together we have been able to benefit local economies while at the same time providing necessary nesting grounds for this species. The decision by our federal partners marks a significant wildlife success story.” The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today applauded the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to potentially remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed delisting now enters a 90-day public comment period. A final decision is expected within a year. 

“This is a great day for conservation and for Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This decision recognizes over 50 years of dedication and commitment to Kirtland’s warbler conservation by many agencies, organizations, industries, and individuals in our state and beyond. Together we have been able to benefit local economies while at the same time providing necessary nesting grounds for this species. The decision by our federal partners marks a significant wildlife success story.”

Forty years ago, the Kirtland’s warbler was on the brink of extinction. Today, the yellow-breasted songbird, which lives in northern Michigan’s jack pine forests, has made a comeback. The bird rebounded from a population low of about 350 in 1987 to more than 4,000 today. The Kirtland’s warbler population continues to grow and has for the past 16 years exceeded population recovery goals. Once thought confined to northern Michigan, the bird species has since been found in Wisconsin and Canada. 

“Kirtland’s warblers were one of America’s rarest birds, but today they represent the power of partnership to recover imperiled wildlife,” said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The Kirtland’s warbler was among the first animals to gain federal protection in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. The species started to rebound once agencies and their partners began to implement long-term efforts to conserve young jack pine. Large areas of jack pine of a certain age class are essential for Kirtland’s warbler nesting. Also essential to a thriving Kirtland’s warbler population is control of brown-headed cowbirds. The brown-headed cowbird is a nest parasite that knocks eggs out of Kirtland’s warbler nests and replaces them with its own. 

The Kirtland’s Warbler Breeding Range Conservation Plan was developed in 2015 by the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The plan is now the guiding management strategy for the species. Additionally, funding and other commitments to habitat management and cowbird control are in place to ensure continuation of conservation actions in the absence of Endangered Species Act protections. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive comments on the proposed delisting through July 11, 2018. 

To submit comments electronically visit www.regulations.gov (available starting Thursday, April 12) and enter FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005 in the search box. To submit a hard copy, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

More information about the Kirtland’s warbler and the proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections is available at:  https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/birds/Kirtland/index.html

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Hunting continues to drive economic impact in Michigan


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LANSING, Mich. – Hunting remains a vibrant annual tradition in Michigan, with generations across the state and beyond preparing for Opening Day on Tuesday, November 15. Along with that rich heritage comes a significant impact on Michigan’s economy.

This year, more than 525,000 hunters are expected to participate in the annual firearms season for deer, which accounts for the largest economic impact of hunting in the state. The DNR estimates more than 90 percent of Michigan hunters will pursue deer this year, with hunters spending an average of 7 days afield during the firearm season. In Michigan, 60 percent of hunters hunt only deer making the upcoming firearm season especially critical for the economy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates hunting in Michigan generates more than $2.3 billion in economic impact in the state, including expenses related to food and lodging and $1.3 billion spent on equipment.

“Hunting provides the perfect opportunity to get out and experience Michigan’s vast natural resources while contributing to the tremendous quality of life found here in our state,” said Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Steve Arwood. “We know hunting drives travel to Michigan as well as within the state, and that travel in turn generates economic impact for communities and businesses across Michigan.”

In addition to the overall economic impact of hunting provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2015 leisure travel spending on hunting reached an estimated $123.8 million, up from $85 million in 2014, according to data from D.K. Shifflet. Hunting and fishing leisure travel spending came in at a combined $340 million in 2015.

“Deer hunting is one of Michigan’s most important outdoors traditions,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh. “We encourage hunters across the state to enjoy some treasured time with family and friends, support local economies and have a safe and fun time in the woods.”

A marketing partnership between Pure Michigan and the DNR is running a hunting-specific campaign to highlight the experience of the hunt in Michigan. The largely digital campaign has been running since August and has targeted younger sportsmen and sportswomen in addition to individuals whose interests, such as fishing and camping, may intersect with hunting. The goal of the campaign is to drive license sales and also continue to grow the number of hunters in the state. The campaign includes partnerships with Michigan Out of Doors, Outdoor Sportsman Group and OutdoorHub.com as well as a paid social media campaign.

In addition to in-state hunters, the campaign reaches hunters in neighboring states including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2015, more than 75 percent of the page views on the Pure Michigan landing page on OutdoorHub.com came from outside the state of Michigan, up from 62 percent in 2014. This landing page, with original content and videos as well as key information on hunting and fishing in Michigan, continues to be a central component of Pure Michigan’s hunting and fishing marketing efforts.

“Hunting, as well as fishing, are prime examples of activities that people are passionate about and travel to take part in,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the MEDC. “Our campaign reminds people about the thrill of the hunt found in our state, and is reaching a younger audience to ensure these traditions continue for years to come.”

Michigan continues to be one of the top states in the nation for paid-hunting license holders and last year, there were 63,900 new customers for all hunting licenses combined. Both hunter satisfaction and hunter success rates increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the DNR.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.

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Michigan rattlesnake listed as threatened 


Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Photos by: Dan Kennedy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it has listed the eastern massasauga rattlesnake as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, stating that nearly 40 percent of the snake’s historical populations are now extirpated (no longer exist) and an additional 15 percent is of uncertain status.

The final rule listing the eastern massasauga appears in the Sept. 30, 2016, Federal Register and has an effective date of Oct. 31, 2016.

Under the Endangered Species Act, threatened species are considered plants and animals that may become endangered in the foreseeable future. Across the eastern massasauga rattlesnake’s range, nearly 40 percent of the species’ population has declined. Habitat loss is considered the primary threat driving the snakes’ decline; however, as their numbers decline, other threats such as direct mortality or collection play a more significant role.

Eastern massasaugas currently are found in scattered locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. In Michigan, the eastern massasauga (the state’s only venomous snake) currently is state-listed as a species of special concern, but will be protected under Michigan’s Endangered Species Protection law once it is federally listed.

Most massasaugas are located within the southern portion of Michigan, with none occurring on the Upper Peninsula’s mainland.

“Conservation of this rare snake is critical because it plays an important role as a predator of small mammals,” said Dan Kennedy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources endangered species specialist. “The DNR is currently working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many other partners to develop a reasonable approach to conserve this rare snake in Michigan.”

These snakes live in wet prairies, marshes and low-lying areas along rivers and lakes, and may also live in uplands during part of the year. They often hibernate in crayfish burrows, but they also may be found under logs and tree roots or in small mammal burrows.

Those who live in areas with massasaugas can take steps to keep the snakes away from their yard, such as keeping their grass cut short and removing structures like leaf and brush piles, dead logs and stacks of firewood that snakes or their prey (primarily small rodents) might use.

Kennedy emphasized that “human safety comes first, and the federal Endangered Species Act allows anyone to take action to protect yourself or others if you feel threatened.”

The massasauga is a small snake with a thick body, heart-shaped head and vertical pupils. The average length of an adult is about 2 feet. The snake’s tail has several dark brown rings and is tipped by gray-yellow rattles. They eat small rodents such as mice and voles, and will sometimes eat frogs and other snakes. They are docile, secretive snakes that will try to escape rather than defend themselves or fight. For more information on this snake and many others, see the “60-Second Snakes” video series on the DNR’s YouTube channel atwww.youtube.com/michigandnr.

For more information about the eastern massasauga and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule to list the snake under the Endangered Species Act, visitwww.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/reptiles/eama.

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Michigan’s waters: not a good home for pet fish


 

OUT-Pet-fish-Red-belliedpacuJuly in Michigan is becoming synonymous with reports of anglers landing pacus—fish with human-like teeth used for eating nuts and seeds—in the southeastern part of the state. Last month, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources received three pacu reports—two from Lake St. Clair and one from the Port Huron area.

Reeling in a pacus would be a surprise, perhaps even a shock to anyone fishing in Michigan. Though it looks somewhat like a native shad, the pacu’s squarish, blunt teeth clearly set it apart. It isn’t similar to any native, toothed fish, including trout, muskellunge or northern pike.

The red-bellied pacu, Piaractus brachypomus, is a popular aquarium fish imported from South America. The U.S. leads the world in importing ornamental fish, supporting a worldwide aquarium industry that tops $1 billion annually.

Though the pacu is a non-native fish, it is not considered invasive in Michigan. Invasive species are defined as those that are not native and also can cause harm to the environment, the economy or human health. A 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assessment concluded the risk posed by pacus in the continental United States is uncertain due to a lack of research on the fish’s negative impacts. While the risk is uncertain for the U.S., pacus are not considered invasive in Michigan because they are tropical warm water fish that are not likely to survive the severe cold of Michigan winters.

Pacus have been caught in lakes, ponds or creeks in at least 27 U.S. states. However, there is no evidence that breeding populations have been established in any of these locations. Current climate data indicate this tropical, freshwater fish is unlikely to survive Great Lakes winters, but climate change may increase the possibility.

Finding pacus in the Great Lakes is evidence of a common dilemma; what to do when you can no longer keep an aquarium pet? Pacus are known to grow significantly, often beyond the capacity of their tanks.

“Pet release is almost never humane. Pets released from confined, artificial environments are poorly equipped to fend off predators and may be unable to successfully forage for food or find shelter,” said Nick Popoff, manager of the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit. “Those that do succeed in the wild can spread exotic diseases to native animals. In the worst-case scenario, released animals can thrive and reproduce, upsetting natural ecosystems to the degree that these former pets become invasive species.”

In the case of the pacu and other ornamental fish, there is another issue.

“Invasive or not—planting fish of any kind in the waters of the state without a permit is illegal,” said Popoff. “This includes the release of aquarium fish like pacus and goldfish, as well as farm-raised fish from private ponds.”

Paige Filice of Michigan State University works with a new statewide campaign to Reduce Invasive Pet and PLant Escapes, or RIPPLE, offering solutions for aquarium and pond owners.

“If your pacu has outgrown its tank or begun to feed on your other fish, rather than releasing it into a pond or stream, consider donating or trading it with another hobbyist, an environmental learning center, an aquarium or a zoo,” said Filice. “You can also check with the pet store where you purchased the fish to see if they will take it back.”

Another option is to talk with a veterinarian or pet retailer about humane methods to dispose of the pet.

More information about the RIPPLE campaign and managing aquarium pets and plants is available from the Michigan Invasive Species website.

If you catch an unusual fish, keep it and preserve it on ice. If that is not possible, take photos of the fish. Do not return it to the water. Contact Seth Herbst, DNR aquatic invasive species biologist, at 517-284-5841 or herbsts@michigan.gov for assistance in identification.

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A boost for Michigan bees and butterflies


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Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

Federal dollars are flowing into Michigan to help bee and butterfly species struggling to thrive.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded Michigan and Wisconsin $500,000 from the service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program to restore 850 acres of habitat.

Jim Hodgson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional chief of the Midwest Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, says the hope is to prevent troubled pollinators from becoming endangered.

“These species are very dependent on grassland habitats, and we’re seeing a decline in those types of habitats and because of that these types of species of butterflies and bees are losing their homes,” he explains.

Targeted species include two bumblebee species, the petitioned monarch butterfly and the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Hodgson says prescribed fires, invasive plant control and seeding are among the strategies that will be used to increase the number of host plants.

Michigan expects to restore 600 acres of habitat, and Wisconsin more than 250 acres.

Hodgson notes the Wildlife Service will monitor the outcomes to determine the most effective methods for pollinator conservation.

“Once the habitat is restored, the plan is to start seeing at least localized improvement in the species in those particular areas, and hopefully it will start expanding into other parts and areas of the Midwest as other projects are undertaken,” he explains.

The competitive State Wildlife Grants program awarded a total of $2.2 million to five Midwest states for conservation efforts.

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DNR showcases cougars in two new displays 


Display: The new mountain lion display at Tahquamenon Falls State Park provides visitors with information on cougars in the Upper Peninsula.

Display: The new mountain lion display at Tahquamenon Falls State Park provides visitors with information on cougars in the Upper Peninsula.

Confirmed reports reach 31 in Michigan

Two cougar mounts recently provided to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have attracted a lot of attention in Luce County this summer.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cougars—also called mountain lions—were once the most widely distributed land animal in the Western Hemisphere, but have been eliminated from about two-thirds of their historic range.

At one time, cougars lived in every eastern state in a variety of habitats, including coastal marshes, mountains, and forests. They were native to Michigan but were extirpated from the state around the turn of the 20th century.

These big, long-tailed cats typically hunt at night, generally weigh between 90 and 180 pounds, and measure five to six feet from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.

One of the DNR’s two cougar mounts is on display at the “Fact Shack” at the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which is situated off M-123, about 25 miles north of Newberry.

 Poached: A mountain lion poached in Schoolcraft County in 2013 is now on display at the Department of Natural Resources customer service center in Newberry.


Poached: A mountain lion poached in Schoolcraft County in 2013 is now on display at the Department of Natural Resources customer service center in Newberry.

“The cougar was donated by the GarLyn Zoo in Naubinway and was a captive animal that died of natural causes,” said Theresa Neal, park interpreter at Tahquamenon Falls. “The display features information about cougars in Michigan, an actual cougar track cast and information on how the DNR handles reports and sightings of cougars.”

The second cougar mount can be seen at the DNR’s Newberry customer service center, located off M-123, just south of Newberry. This glass-encased cat was received by the DNR at the close of a cougar poaching case in Schoolcraft County.

During the 2013 muzzle-loader deer hunting season in the Upper Peninsula, conservation officers received a tip that a cougar had been killed at a hunting camp near Seney.

“The investigation revealed the animal was shot and wounded with a rifle when it entered a field near the camp,” said DNR Sgt. Mike Hammill. “The following day, the cougar was tracked down and killed by one of the suspects.”

Hammill said the suspects returned home to Bay City with the cougar, intending to mount the animal.

“Before this took place, three suspects were identified, interviewed and ultimately arrested and the cougar was recovered,” Hammill said. “The suspects involved were all convicted, served jail time, paid several thousand dollars in fines, costs, and restitution, and lost hunting privileges for several years.”

Hammill said that as a part of the sentence, the shooter was required to pay the cost of having the animal mounted.

In August, the cougar mount was displayed at the DNR’s Pocket Park during the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba. Following the fair, the cougar was exhibited at the Schoolcraft County Courthouse in Manistique, before returning to the Newberry DNR customer service center earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the DNR has confirmed 31 cougar reports in the Upper Peninsula since 2008, but so far there remains no evidence confirmed of a breeding population.

“Within the last decade, numerous cougar sighting reports have been received from various locations in Michigan and are investigated by DNR Wildlife Division’s cougar team,” said Kevin Swanson, a DNR wildlife biologist in Marquette.

The most recent confirmed mountain lion report occurred in September with DNR verification of a trail camera image in Dickinson County.

“This situation is not unique to Michigan but has been occurring in many other Midwestern and eastern states as young males disperse from core range areas in the western United States,” Swanson said.

All of Michigan’s DNR-verified cougar reports have come from the Upper Peninsula, where 12 of the region’s 15 counties have had reports.

Marquette County has led the confirmed cougar reports with six; Menominee County has had four; Houghton, Delta and Mackinac counties have had three each, while Baraga, Chippewa, Luce, Schoolcraft and Ontonagon counties have each had two and Keweenaw and Dickinson have had one each.

Of those confirmed reports, 21 involved photos, eight were tracks, one was video and scat and the remaining confirmed report was that of the cougar poached near Seney in Schoolcraft County in 2013.

To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cougars.

Information about Tahquamenon Falls State Park, including maps and the nature program schedule, can be found at www.michigan.gov/tfallseducation.

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Latest Asian carp eDNA sampling produces negative results


 

The Department of Natural Resources announced that the latest round of Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling on the lower Kalamazoo River in Allegan County produced all negative results. Earlier this month, the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a single positive eDNA result for silver carp—a species of Asian carp—within the river, discovered during water sampling efforts conducted this summer.
Immediately after the DNR learned of the positive sample, the agency worked with USFWS to conduct this third eDNA surveillance effort. The two agencies collected 200 additional water samples on the lower Kalamazoo River Oct. 7 and 8. In addition to sampling, the DNR increased the presence of staff along the river to enlist anglers as part of surveillance efforts.
The previous positive result indicated the presence of genetic material of silver carp, such as scales, excrement or mucous. However, there is no evidence a population of silver carp is established in the Kalamazoo River. In addition to live fish, genetic material can enter water bodies via boats, fishing gear and the droppings of fish-eating birds.
“We greatly appreciate the quick work by USFWS to collect and evaluate these latest samples,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “We are pleased these samples were negative, but that doesn’t mean our efforts to keep Asian carp out of Michigan’s waters are over.”

The DNR will continue to take action in response to the previous positive result. Those actions will include:
• Conducting additional sampling efforts in the spring with USFWS to continue monitoring the river.
• Enhancing DNR fishery survey efforts, including expanding our outreach to anglers.
• Continuing public education efforts about all aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp, to increase general understanding of this significant threat to Michigan’s waterways.
Anglers and boaters are a first line of defense in the fight against aquatic invasive species. Anglers are urged to become familiar with the identification of Asian carp, including adults and juveniles, as the spread of juvenile Asian carp through the use of live bait buckets has been identified as a potential point of entry into Great Lakes waters.

Anglers and boaters are strongly encouraged to drain all water from their boats and to clean boats and gear after each trip. Invasive species and eDNA are known to “hitchhike” within live wells and attach to boat trails, anchors and fishing gear.
For even more information on Asian carp, visit www.michigan.gov/asiancarp.

 

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Silver carp eDNA detected in Lake Michigan tributary


This is a photo of a silver carp (a species of Asian carp) found in waters outside Michigan boundaries. Though no live silver carp has been found in Michigan waters, a recent positive environmental DNA (eDNA) result for silver carp was found within the lower Kalamazoo River in Allegan County, Michigan.

This is a photo of a silver carp (a species of Asian carp) found in waters outside Michigan boundaries. Though no live silver carp has been found in Michigan waters, a recent positive environmental DNA (eDNA) result for silver carp was found within the lower Kalamazoo River in Allegan County, Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are collaborating to assess a recent positive environmental DNA (eDNA) result for silver carp—a species of Asian carp—within the lower Kalamazoo River, Allegan County, Michigan.
Two hundred water samples were taken in July 2014, along the Kalamazoo, from below the Caulkins Dam in Allegan County, to the mouth of the river. Laboratory results, which take several months to process, were reviewed by the DNR Oct. 2. One of the of 200 samples tested positive for silver carp eDNA. The positive sample was taken from just below the Caulkins Dam.

An additional 200 eDNA samples were collected in the same vicinity in June and resulted in no positive results. The July sample represents the first time that Michigan has experienced a positive result for silver carp eDNA in Michigan’s Great Lakes waters outside of Maumee Bay.

The findings indicate the presence of genetic material of silver carp, such as scales, excrement or mucous. However, there is no evidence that a population of silver carp is established in the Kalamazoo River. In addition to live fish, genetic material can enter water bodies via boats, fishing gear and the droppings of fish-eating birds. The lower Kalamazoo River is popular for recreational activities including fishing and boating. Activities such as these may increase the possibility of eDNA entering the river without the presence of a live silver carp.

“Although not conclusive, this finding heightens our vigilance and sets into motion a specific response,” said MDNR Director Keith Creagh. “We will work with our partner organizations and anglers on next steps to protect the Great Lakes and its tributaries against this significant threat.”

In response to the finding, the MDNR:

Requested additional assistance last Friday from the USFWS to implement a third eDNA surveillance effort on the lower Kalamazoo River. The collection of an additional 200 samples begins Oct. 7. Analysis of the samples will be expedited and results should be available within a month.

Will increase the presence of MDNR staff along the Kalamazoo River to enlist anglers to report any Asian carp sightings.

Will place information in local bait shops to broaden public awareness.

“At the state’s request, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing all the resources and technical expertise we have available,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “The Service is committed to working in a coordinated, landscape-level, approach to prevent the establishment of self-sustaining populations of Asian carp in the Great Lakes.”
Asian carp, including bighead and silver carp, pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem, the $7 billion fishery, and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Silver and bighead carp are likely to compete with native and recreational fish species and are known to quickly reproduce.
“The Kalamazoo River results further point to the urgency of the Great Lakes states to be vigilant in seeking all solutions to keep Asian carp and other invasive species out of the Great Lakes basin,” said Creagh. “Michigan continues to advocate for hydrological separation between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes basin as the best long-term solution to the threat of Asian carp. By working together as a united front, we can address the imminent threat invasive species pose to our quality of life.”
Anglers and boaters are vital stewards to prevent movement of Asian carp and other invasive species that threaten Michigan’s waters. Anglers are urged to become familiar with the identification of Asian carp, including both adults and juveniles, as the spread of juvenile Asian carp through the use of live bait buckets has been identified as a potential point of entry into Great Lakes waters. Anglers and boaters are strongly encouraged to drain all water from their boats and to clean boats and gear. Invasive species and eDNA are known to “hitchhike” within live-wells and attach to boat trailers, anchors and fishing gear.
A video demonstrating how to identify bighead and silver carp can be viewed on the USFWS YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/B49OWrCRs38?source=govdelivery. A video focused on identification of juvenile Asian carp species can be viewed at http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153–317128–s,00.html. Identification guides, frequently asked questions, management plans and an online reporting form for Asian carp sightings are available online at michigan.gov/asiancarp.
More information on eDNA is available here: http://www.asiancarp.us/edna.htm. Results of eDNA monitoring from the Midwest region are posted here: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/eDNA.html.

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