DNR News: Prescribed burns, new fishing season, state park photos

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News Digest - Week of April 1, 2019

swans in and on the water at a state game area in mid-Michigan (Clinton County)

Michigan's state wildlife and game areas provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

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 many of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

More prescribed burns on the way this spring

small areas of prescribed fire burning on the ground in a mature forest

Where there's smoke, there's fire. As spring nears, Michigan residents may occasionally see some smoke, courtesy of prescribed fires, or burns, carried out in different areas of the state by the DNR. They can be conducted any time of year, but most burns are done in the spring and fall.

The DNR works closely with local officials in areas where burns are planned. Weather is carefully monitored, too, and burns will be canceled if conditions are unfavorable.

These carefully staged fires help control invasive species and create critical habitat for wildlife. And, strange as it may sound, these fires also help our forests grow! Want to learn more? Check out the DNR's Prescribed Fire Explained webpage for some history, a map of past burn locations, a link to a prescribed burn story map and the opportunity to sign up for email updates.

Questions? Contact Kathleen Lavey, 517-284-5852.

2019 fishing license season starts today

A man dressed in fishing gear, sunglasses and baseball cap, standing in water holding a fishing pole and a caught fish

April 1 kicks off Michigan’s 2019 fishing license season – as well as the new fishing regulation cycle – so if you want to fish Michigan’s waters, be sure to get your new license.

All 2019 fishing licenses are good for all species and are valid through March 31, 2020. Anglers can choose from eight options:

  • Resident annual - $26
  • Nonresident annual - $76
  • Senior annual (resident 65 or older or residents who are legally blind) - $11
  • 24-hour (resident or nonresident) - $10
  • 72-hour (resident or nonresident) - $30
  • Resident hunt/fish combo (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $76
  • Senior resident hunt/fish combo (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $43
  • Nonresident hunt/fish combo (base, annual fishing, two deer) - $266

Regulation changes

Anglers should brush up on fishing regulations, too, including these new ones taking effect today:

  • The statewide daily possession limit for yellow perch has been reduced to 25 (except as noted in the Fishing Guide).
  • The daily possession limit for lake trout and splake combined in Lake Huron lake trout management unit MH-1 has been reduced from three to two.
  • In addition to bass tournaments, walleye tournaments and muskellunge contests are required to register with the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System
  • Drop-shotting is allowed on drowned river mouths (also known as Type F waters) but is limited to single-pointed hooks measuring one-half inch or less from point to shank.
Little girl holding up a fish she caught, standing up in a boat, with a little boy and a man

Fishing from a boat? Enhance your experience and consider staying overnight in a harbor. Slip reservations at select harbors are taken up to six months in advance. The DNR encourages keeping safety in mind anytime you’re on the water, too, so always wear a life jacket and be aware of surroundings. Learn more about the latest boating and fishing laws and information to ensure a great time on Michigan’s waterways.

For the latest on fishing licenses and regulations, the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide is available at license retailers or online at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests. The online version is always current and available to download.

Questions? Contact Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839 or Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830.

Hundreds of photos tell story (map) of state parks

A beautiful view of four children, side by side in shadow, holding up heart shapes, against a purple and gold sunset, Port Crescent State Park

People are passionate about their state parks, and Michigan state parks are no exception. This year, the 100th anniversary of the state parks system, the DNR invites park fans to share their favorite memories and photos to help build a memory map illustrating special moments, big and small. Everyone can see the hundreds of pictures that already have poured in, and add their own.

(The submitted photo, above, captures a stunning sunset at Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin.)

“We are hoping the memory map will become a visual history tour of the entire parks system, as experienced by the visitors and adventurers who have found their own unique way to make Michigan state parks unforgettable,” said DNR statewide recreation programmer Maia Turek. "Every one of our state parks is special to someone, and we're honored to help showcase these memories during our milestone year."

Weddings, engagements, vacations, travels with pets, stargazing, nature excursions and more, as well as plenty of historical scenes, are found in the memory map. For more information about taking part in centennial events and opportunities, visit Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Questions? Contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.

Learn about Great Lakes fisheries at free workshops

a hand holding a fish, over nets and a boat deck

Michigan is home to some the most abundant freshwater resources in the world, so it’s no surprise that our fisheries – both for recreational and commercial industry purposes – are important to a lot of people.

If you’re interested in learning more about the latest fisheries research and management activities, angler catch data, fishing trends, and the overall “big picture” about what’s happening in our Great Lakes and how it might affect fish populations, join us for one of the upcoming Great Lakes fisheries workshops – offered by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, the DNR, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center and local fishery organizations.

The workshops are free and open to the public, and will offer valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other interested community members. Dates and locations include April 11 (Port Huron), April 16 (Bay City), April 18 (South Haven), April 25 (Alpena), April 29 (Houghton) and April 30 (Cedarville). Registration is required for most workshops. Get full workshop details and RSVP information on the Michigan Sea Grant website.

Questions? Contact Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

ICYMI: River Raisin makes inspiring recovery

Back view of a man and woman sitting on a bench along the recently restored River Raisin

The historic River Raisin has a storied past. It served as the backdrop of a significant battle in the War of 1812 and is home to Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie, which once aided the development of industrial manufacturing in the area. In recent years, the river has made great strides toward recovering from this noteworthy, yet environmentally damaging legacy.

In case you missed it, the Office of the Great Lakes recently shared news of the community rallying to bring about the river’s inspiring revitalization. Volunteers, OGL staff, and federal and local officials worked side by side over time to clean up the river and create a better, healthier place for people to enjoy now and in the future. Efforts to safeguard this important river were captured in a brief documentary from the city of Monroe.

To learn more about efforts to restore the River Raisin, visit RiverRaisinLegacyProject.com or read the full, original story.

Photo above courtesy of the River Raisin Legacy Project photo gallery.


No snow? No problem! The Mid-Union Sled Haulers will host a spring dryland (no snow) event April 6-7 at Fort Custer Recreation Area in August. Enjoy watching all types of racers, including carts, scooters, bike-jouring and canicross.


If the warmer weather has you dreaming about vacation time in Michigan, now is a great time to book a spot at your favorite state campground or harbor. Reservations fill up fast, so don't wait. Summer's right around the corner!


There are plenty of ways, big and small, to do something positive for Michigan's natural and cultural resources. Not sure where to start? Visit the DNR volunteers webpage to learn about opportunities near you and around the state.

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