DNR News: Juvenile lake whitefish survey, new 'Wildtalk' podcast & more

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News Digest - Week of June 11, 2018

monarch butterfly on milkweed

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

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

Add new 'Wildtalk' podcast to your playlist

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' new "Wildtalk" podcast will keep you current on woods, water and wildlife.

Are you a fan of podcasts? Whether you're mowing the lawn or driving to work, listening to an engaging podcast can make the time more fun and entertaining.

Tune in to the new "Wildtalk" podcast and hear DNR reps chew the fat and shoot the scat about all things habitat, feathers and fur. The premiere episode discusses how the different DNR divisions interact, includes some around-the-state updates and an interview with Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason; and lets you listen in on questions answered in the mailbag segment. Finally, we'll wrap things up with a look at the 100-year anniversary of the reintroduction of elk to Michigan. A new episode will be released the first day of each month.

The Wildtalk Podcast is available on the iTunes Store, Google Play Music, and other popular podcatchers. A transcript of the podcast is available for those with a hearing disability. 

Finding answers about Lake Michigan’s juvenile lake whitefish

DNR staff will be surveying several Lake Michigan sites now through late June to get a count of lake whitefish numbers.

Visitors to various sites off Lake Michigan between Charlevoix and Frankfort now through June 29 may see DNR crews conducting a survey to look for juvenile lake whitefish.  

Lake whitefish is the most important commercial fish species found in the Great Lakes, but populations have declined in recent years due to fewer numbers of juvenile fish surviving to adulthood. This survey will target whitefish younger than a year old to evaluate how many were produced each year.

The survey work is done from shore, often on public beaches. The public is welcome to observe this Great Lakes field work – a rarity, since most survey work is done offshore on boats or large vessels. Several agencies are partnering with the DNR on the survey to better understand and, hopefully, reverse the declines in this species.

“This survey will give us critical information about the variability in lake whitefish reproduction across the Great Lakes and help us with predictions about the future commercial fishery,” said Dave Caroffino, a DNR fisheries biologist based out of Charlevoix.

For more information on the survey, contact Dave Caroffino, 231-547-2914, ext. 232 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

Southern Michigan landowners can help restore monarch, pheasant habitat

Landowners in 41 southern Michigan counties can help restore habitat for monarch butterflies, ring-necked pheasants and other grassland dwellers.

In case you missed it, rural landowners in 41 southern Michigan counties who are interested in helping to restore pollinator and wildlife habitat can now apply to enroll their property in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program, announced just last week.

The DNR will accept up to 40,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land for the program, and work closely with the USDA and other partners to improve wildlife habitat for species like the monarch butterfly, ring-necked pheasant, grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow and mallard. 

Learn more by reading the full news release or contacting Mike Parker, DNR conservation partners program specialist, 517-898-2393. 

Note to editors: If you're interested in high-resolution versions of the images used in this message, contact Sarah Lapshan at lapshans@michigan.gov.

Events button

Want to get started with turkey hunting in Michigan? This two-day, "A to Z" turkey hunting clinic at Ludington State Park June 14-15 will cover everything you need to know.

buy and apply

Anglers, keep your eyes open for state-record fish this season; you might reel in the next record bluegill, bowfin or brook trout! Application information is available on the DNR website. 

get involved

Show your support for Michigan's endangered, threatened and nongame wildlife by purchasing a wildlife habitat license plate for your vehicle the next time you renew.