DNR News: Fish webcam, CO recruit school, Natural Resources Commission meeting & more

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News Digest - Week of July 9, 2018

Plan your next summer beach day at one of Michigan's 103 state parks!

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, photos and other resources at michigan.gov/dnrpressroom.

Recruits strive for honor of becoming DNR conservation officers

Recruits march in formation during the first week of Conservation Officer Recruit School in July 2017.

Twenty-two men and eight women will start their journey toward becoming Michigan conservation officers when the DNR’s Conservation Officer Recruit School #9 gets under way Sunday in Lansing.

The candidates face 23 weeks of intensive training that will test them academically, emotionally and physically. 

The DNR again will offer weekly blog entries that provide a firsthand look at the challenges and accomplishments of recruits as they progress through the academy. Readers can subscribe to the blog, which also will be posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page.

“Nothing will come easily for these men and women,” said Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division chief. “Each recruit will earn his or her place at the academy every single day. The training is tough, and our standards are high. But those who earn the privilege of joining our ranks can look forward to exciting, rewarding careers. Recruit school is the first step in developing the type of high-character individuals who have what it takes to carry on our legacy.” 

Michigan DNR conservation officers spend a lot of time talking with people of all ages about the importance of safe outdoor recreation.

The DNR Law Enforcement Division is Michigan’s oldest statewide law enforcement agency, created in 1887. Conservation officers serve a unique role within the law enforcement community. While their primary mission is to enforce fish, game and natural resource protection laws, they also are certified peace officers with authority to enforce all of Michigan’s criminal laws. Because of their specialized training and versatility, conservation officers often are first to respond in situations such as medical emergencies, missing persons and public safety threats.  

The recruiting process is highly selective. Candidates were chosen from nearly 500 applicants. This academy’s class includes six recruits from the Upper Peninsula and 24 from the Lower Peninsula. 

Recruits are trained in skills such as firearms, survival tactics, precision driving, off-road vehicle operation and maintenance, water safety, first aid, criminal law, fish and game law and enforcement, report writing and alcohol enforcement.   

Visit michigan.gov/conservationofficers to learn about the duties of conservation officers and the hiring process, or to contact a DNR Law Enforcement Division recruiter. For more information about Recruit School #9, contact Lt. Steve Burton at 517-284-5993. 

New webcam shows fish moving through southwest Michigan fish ladder

New webcam helps people all over follow fish movement through a southwest Michigan fish ladder

Thanks to a new partnership with Adco Fly Cast, LLC, the webcam at the Berrien Springs Dam fish ladder on the St. Joseph River is back in operation. The webcam provides real-time, close-up looks at steelhead, salmon and other fish as they move upstream through the fish ladder. 

The site used to house a webcam that was popular with anglers, but it was discontinued in 2016 due to high costs. Adco Fly Cast, in collaboration with Michigan-based Evoke Kayaks, generously offered to make improvements to the infrastructure at the fish ladder in order to reduce those costs. American Electric Power (who owns the dam), the DNR (who maintains the fish ladder), Adco Fly Cast and several contractors worked together to complete the project in spring 2018.

“During the period when the webcam was down, we received numerous requests to bring it back,” said Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries unit manager out of Plainwell. “The DNR is very thankful to Paddle and Pole for making this service available to anglers.”

The webcam went live June 28. It can be found at paddleandpole.com or on the DNR's michigan.gov/fishing webpage in the Additional Resources section..

For more information, contact Brian Gunderman at 269-204-7009 or Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839. 

Keep Michigan lakes and rivers ‘Great’ – your stewardship matters

Because loons and other birds nest in the summer, the Michigan DNR asks boaters to keep their distance and use caution on the water.

More than 11,000 inland lakes, 3,200-plus miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and rivers that stretch over 51,000 miles – that’s a lot of reasons to love the Great Lakes State. In fact, there’s no spot in Michigan more than 6 miles from an inland lake or wetland.

These inland waters, like other natural treasures, must be protected and maintained, and there’s plenty you can do to help ensure our waters and their bounty of wildlife, fish, plants and sheer beauty will be here for generations.

“It's important for everyone who uses and values Michigan’s lakes to do their part to protect them,” said Joe Nohner, DNR inland lakes analyst. “Our inland lakes face threats from declining water quality, invasive species, changing climate and unnatural shorelines that lack vegetation or woody habitat.”

Nohner said there are simple steps we can take to protect the lakes we love. 

Be cautious near islands and other shoreline areas. Nesting birds like loons, wood ducks, trumpeter swans and other amazing birds need quiet water to maintain nests and raise their young. Slow down, keep your distance, and watch for signs and buoys that mark nesting areas prone to damage from boating. See a by-county listing of local watercraft controls, including no/slow-wake zones.

Be safe. When on the water, remember your life jacket and watch for severe weather patterns that might affect the day.

Pack out everything you pack in. Ducks, loons, turtles and other animals can become tangled in fishing line, plastic can rings and other litter.

A fishing outing on the lake usually involves a lot of gear; the Michigan DNR reminds everyone to clean, drain and dry their equipment.

Clean, drain and dry boats and trailers and keep wader boots squeaky clean. Recreational equipment can spread aquatic invasive species to new locations, and zebra mussels, mudsnails, milfoil plants and other invaders can wreak havoc on lakes and streams. Learn more about actions boaters and anglers can take at michigan.gov/invasives.

Volunteer. Clean Boats, Clean Waters recruits “volunteer heroes” to show boaters how to inspect their boats, trailers and gear; Michigan’s Clean Water Corps supports volunteers who monitor water quality through its Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, and Adopt-a-Beach volunteers clean up Great Lakes shorelines. 

Protect your shore. Lakefront property owners can learn more from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership about maintaining natural shorelines for fish and wildlife habitat and keeping water clean. Learn how to be recognized through the Michigan Shoreland Stewards program.

Report illegal dumping. If you see it, say it. Call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. 

For more information, contact Joe Nohner, 517-284-6236 or Holly Vaughn, 313-396-6863.  

Natural Resources Commission meets Thursday in Lansing

The centennial anniversary of Michigan state parks, a recap of the 2017 deer hunting survey results, a presentation on the DNR's partnership with convention and visitors bureaus, and several other topics are on the agenda for the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission Thursday, July 12. 

All sessions take place at Lansing Community College's Downtown Campus, Health and Human Services Department, 515 N. Washington Square.

  • 9 a.m., Marketing, Partnership, Youth and Outreach Advisory Committee
  • 10:30 a.m., Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries
  • 1 p.m., Committee of the Whole

See the full meeting agenda and other commission information at michigan.gov/nrc.

Note to editors: High-resolution versions of the above images and accompanying caption information are available in this photo folder.

Events button

Head to Bay City State Park July 13 for Rec 101: Pheasant Friday, with folks from Pheasants Forever. Learn about firearm safety, the importance of grasslands and the effort to restore pheasant habitat. 

buy and apply

Haven't had a chance to get out fishing yet? There's a lot of summer left and plenty of great places to visit; don't miss out! Just make sure to pick up your 2018 fishing license before you hit the water.

get involved

Michigan's 4 million acres of state forests add so much to our quality of life, economy and wildlife habitat. Stop by an upcoming forest planning open house and add your voice and ideas to the discussion.