DNR News: Restoring wetlands, hunters helping the hungry, Arctic grayling

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News Digest - Week of Nov. 5, 2018

Plenty of great opportunities to enjoy fall color around the state!

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.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

Wetland restoration projects up and running

Many wetland restoration projects are making a difference at sites around Michigan, like this one at Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area.

As part of the DNR’s efforts to restore wetland habitat at sites around the state, restoration projects in Gratiot and Osceola counties are well under way.

At a site known as Potato Creek in Gratiot County’s Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area, initial construction on a 60-acre wetland restoration project is complete.

“The Gratiot/Saginaw site was a cornfield, and we’ve converted it back to a wetland,” said Steve Shine, DNR wetlands mitigation bank administrator. “It is greening up with the temporary seeding, and the basins are filling with water.”

In the spring, seeds planted this fall for dormant seeding will germinate, and shrubs will be planted.

Restoration and vegetation are complete on a 52-acre wetland project in Sears (Osceola County). A cooperative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, this work took place on private land, and a permanent conservation easement will ensure the wetlands never will be converted to another use.

Both projects are part of the DNR’s new wetland mitigation banking program.

Many of Michigan’s wetlands – vital resources that provide wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities and play an important role in the state’s environmental health – have been drained over the last two centuries.

Because impacts to wetlands sometimes are unavoidable in carrying out other important work, such as farming and public infrastructure projects like building roads, wetland mitigation banks – or new wetland areas – are established to replace the wetland functions being lost.

The DNR has partnered with the Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance on a wetland mitigation banking program that will preserve and restore wetland habitat to offset unavoidable effects on existing wetlands.

“Investing in the restoration of wetlands on state game areas is a great way to improve habitat, enhance recreation opportunities and advance public works projects,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.

The first phase of this this public-private partnership also will include wetland restoration projects at Allegan State Game Area in Allegan County and Grand River State Game Area in Ionia County.

For more information about the DNR’s wetland mitigation banking program, contact Steve Shine at 517-930-8155. This recent Showcasing the DNR story provides a more in-depth look.

Hunters who donate deer to help Michigan’s hungry can win Jay's Sporting Goods gift card

Bucks and does stand in a field against a backdrop of autumn trees in Michigan

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger – in partnership with the DNR, Jay’s Sporting Goods, the Food Bank Council of Michigan and deer processor Carson Village Market – is offering a special opportunity for hunters to donate venison to those in need during an event at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare Nov. 16-18.

The event runs from noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 18. Hunters who donate a deer during these three days will be entered to win a $500 Jay’s Sporting Goods gift card (some restrictions apply). 

Jay’s Sporting Goods is located at 8880 S. Clare Ave. in Clare.

Since 1991, Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, has worked to help connect donors, wild game processors and charities that help feed those in need.

“Since the beginning, an estimated 637,000 pounds of donated venison – which equates to more than 3 million meals – has helped food banks, pantries and shelters fight hunger in Michigan,” said Ray Rustem, who coordinates the DNR's participation in the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program. “We encourage hunters to consider donating – each deer donated will provide more than 125 meals.”

Hunters who want to donate a deer but can’t make it to the event at Jay’s can find a list of participating processors throughout the state at sportsmenagainsthunger.org.

Hunters also can make a monetary donation when they buy a hunting license, which helps offset the cost of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison.

For more information, contact Ray Rustem at 517-420-0005.

ICYMI: Working to bring back the Arctic grayling

The Arctic grayling, shown here, is the focus of a partnership effort to return the iconic fish to Michigan waters

Our history with the Arctic grayling is long and storied. A striking fish with a sail-like dorsal fin and a slate blue color on its body, it virtually was the only native stream salmonid (a family of fish that also includes salmon and trout) in Michigan's Lower Peninsula until the resident population died off nearly a century ago.

To see how a group of more than 45 partners, including the DNR, tribal governments, nonprofits and others, are working together to bring this fish back to Michigan waters, check out this Showcasing the DNR story from September.

Events button

Looking for a new, relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors? Try Yoga Out Yonder Nov. 10 at Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea. The event includes a guided trail hike with breaks for yoga poses. 

buy and apply

If you're 17 or older and want to try your hand at Michigan's world-class fall and winter fishing, don't forget to pick up a current-year fishing license, if you still need one. Learn more at michigan.gov/fishing

get involved

Are you a fan of Michigan's past, the compelling stories of who we are and where we come from? Join the Friends of Michigan History! Attend a meeting, help plan programs and more.