DNR News: $350,000 for dams, What in the Wild game, lake sturgeon release

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News Digest - Week of Oct. 15, 2018

smiling boy and girl up in the branches of a fall maple tree

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.

What in the Wild tabletop game a fun, new way to learn about wildlife and conservation

The teacher card pack from the new What in the Wild tabletop game from the DNR Wildlife DIvision

**Note: Network firewalls may block some of the website URLs in this story because they are considered gaming sites. You may wish to view on a mobile device.

Match it, connect it, slap it, group it or build it it – there are plenty of ways to "go wild" with What in the Wild, the first commercial tabletop game just released by the DNR Wildlife Division. 

A unique 5-in-1 card game experience, What in The Wild is designed to help children and families learn about and appreciate local wildlife, ideally exciting kids about wildlife while they're learning and inspiring a new generation of conservationists.

Meeple Mountain, a Nashville-based tabletop gaming media/events company that reviews new games, said: "What in the Wild could easily become a family go-to because it plays quickly, which allows different people the opportunity to win, is easy to play some games as a team (especially if you have very young players), and travels well in a small box." Read the full review here.

In addition, the game is a great tool for teachers using the DNR-developed Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife curriculum in their K-5 classrooms. Visit michigan.gov/dnreducation to learn more about this teaching opportunity.

The game is available for purchase at thegamecrafter.com/games/what-in-the-wild. Support a favorite teacher or school by purchasing a classroom pack for them at thegamecrafter.com/games/what-in-the-wild-classroom-pack-1.  

All profits from the sale of What in the Wild support the purchase of games for teachers using the Go Wild curriculum in their classes. 

Questions? Contact Karen Cleveland, 517-284-6160.

$350,000 in grants available for dam removal, repair projects

Removal of Sabin Dam on the Boardman River began in 2018 with DNR Dam Management Grant Program funding.

For the seventh year in a row, the DNR's Dam Management Grant Program is providing critical funding – $350,000 this year  to address Michigan’s failing dam infrastructure. The money will support dam removals, as well as critical repair and maintenance.

Since the program began, $7.1 million has been shared among 23 different projects.

The program focuses on the growing issue of abandoned, unused or hazardous dams in Michigan. It provides funding and technical assistance to local and state units of government, nonprofit groups and individuals to manage dam removals, repairs and major maintenance projects. Applicants should highlight projects that will enhance aquatic resources and fishing opportunities, reduce infrastructure costs and improve public safety.

The DNR will accept applications now through Nov. 16. For more information about the program, including how to apply, visit michigan.gov/dnrgrants or contact Joe Nohner, 517-284-6236 or Chip Kosloski, 517-284-5965. 

Firewood Fast Fact: Buy it local. Burn it local

Buy it local, burn it local - firewood awareness reminder

Wood that looks clean and healthy still can have tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungi spores that will start a new and damaging infestation. During Firewood Awareness Month, it's a good time to remind everyone who's traveling to leave firewood at home it at home – even if you think it looks fine. Instead, buy firewood from a source close to your destination and burn it all on-site.

More than 12,000 lake sturgeon released into Michigan waters

More than 12,000 juvenile lake sturgeon, like this one, were released this summer and fall by DNR fisheries staff and partners.

This spring and summer, the DNR and several partners released more than 12,000 juvenile lake sturgeon in public waters, part of an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species. This year’s total is twice the number stocked in 2017.

The locations, totals, dates and (partner agencies) include:  

Allegan County

  • Kalamazoo River: 35 fish, Aug. 29 (DNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gun Lake Tribe)

Cheboygan County

  • Black Lake: 541 fish, Aug. 25 (DNR, Michigan State University)
  • Lower Black River: 7,737 fish, May 28 (DNR, MSU)
  • Burt Lake/Sturgeon River: 718 fish, August-October (Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians)
  • Mullet Lake: 537 fish, Aug. 23 (DNR, MSU)

Genesee County

  • Flint River: 477 fish, August and September (DNR, MSU, USFWS)

Manistee County

  • Manistee River: 75 fish, Aug. 29 (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians)

Menominee County

  • Cedar River: 183 fish, Aug. 23 (DNR)

Midland County

  • Tittabawassee River: 479 fish, August and September (DNR, MSU, USFWS)

Ontonagon County

  • Ontonagon River: 759 fish, Sept. 19 (DNR, USFWS)

Otsego County

  • Otsego Lake: 244 fish, July 10 (DNR, MSU)

Saginaw County

  • Cass River: 475 fish, August and September (DNR, MSU, USFWS)
  • Shiawassee River: 472 fish, August and September (DNR, MSU, USFWS)

Total lake sturgeon stocked: 12,374 

Lake sturgeon eggs and larvae were collected from the wild in April and May and then reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. To allow for future evaluations of stocked fish, most fish were tagged before being released.  

“Many of these stocking efforts were public events that showcased the importance of lake sturgeon to Michigan, and the partnerships that help us protect them for future generations,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter.

The lake sturgeon is on Michigan’s Threatened Species list. These annual stocking efforts – supported by several important partners who work to secure needed funding and resources – are critical to restoring the state’s lake sturgeon population.  

For more information, visit michigan.gov/sturgeon or contact Ed Baker, 906-249-1611, ext. 309 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

ICYMI: Early elk hunting season update

mature elk in Michigan forest

In case you missed it, last week the DNR provided a quick look at the state's early elk season, which ran Aug. 28-31, Sept. 14-17 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1. 

One hundred hunters drew tags for the early season this year. Unpredictable weather, including severe storms and tornadoes, affected the first few days of the season, but the last few days of the hunt saw cooler temps and elk in the rut. 

Events button

Excited for Halloween fun? Head to Leelanau State Park Oct. 20-28 to explore the haunted lighthouse! Come in costume, if you like, and tour the keeper's quarters, play games, try the treasure hunt and more.  

buy and apply

It's not too early to think about hitting the trails for snowmobile season! The flurries will be here before we know it, so make sure you're ready to ride with your 2018-19 trail permit, valid Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

get involved

ORVs on state forest roads, boating access sites, park management plans, land transactions and more, the DNR wants your questions and suggestions about these important topics. Check out the public input page.