DNR News: Lake trout regs, tree-planting grants, May meetings, wild turkeys

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News Digest - Week of May 4, 2020

sunlight streaming through trees in the forest

Some of the items in this week's news digest reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is adapting to meet customers' needs. Public health and safety are our biggest priorities, and we will continue to share news and information about the safest, and sometimes new, ways to enjoy our state's natural and cultural resources in this uncertain time.

Follow our DNR COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on facilities and closures/cancellations and stay up to date on the latest public health guidelines and news at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

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

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

Updated lake trout regulations on two Great Lakes

smiling man standing up in boat, holding a lake trout

Those fishing for lake trout on either northern Lake Huron or portions of Lake Michigan this season can up their take. At its April meeting, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved the following fishing regulation changes, with immediate effect:

  • In the northern Lake Huron lake trout management unit MH-1, the daily possession limit is now three fish (up from a two-fish limit in 2019). This regulation now applies to all Lake Huron waters.
  • In the Lake Michigan lake trout management unit MM-4, the daily possession limit is two fish (up from a one-fish limit last year).

Anglers had exceeded daily possession limits for both lake trout management units in recent years, prompting the decrease in 2019 to ensure compliance with the 2000 Consent Decree recreational harvest limits. The reduction worked, as the 2019 lake trout harvest stayed within specified limits. Managers are confident that restoring the daily possession limits to their former levels won’t result in overfishing in either lake trout management unit.

This information is updated both in the online 2020 Michigan Fishing Guide (available at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests) and on the DNR’s fishing regulations hotline (888-367-7060). For questions, contact Jay Wesley (Lake Michigan) at 616-490-5090 or Randy Claramunt (Lake Huron) at 231-622-3820.

Public tree-planting grants available via partnership

a lush, tree-lined city street

Thriving trees help make a community an inviting place to live. A grant opportunity provided by the DTE Energy Foundation and administered by the DNR and nonprofit Releaf Michigan – a partnership that has supported community tree planting for 24 years – is helping schools, communities, tribes and eligible nonprofits add more green to their neighborhoods.

Eligible organizations within DTE Energy’s service territory may apply by June 15 for up to $4,000 in matching grants for public tree-planting projects. About $90,000 total is available. Download a tree-planting grant application.

“The DTE Energy Foundation is proud to be a longtime partner in this program,” said Lynette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “These grants help communities across the state with their beautification projects and support an environmentally sustainable future for Michigan.”

Tree-planting projects must occur on public property such as parks, road rights-of-way and school grounds and promote the “right tree, right place” message about utility awareness. The required 1-to-1 match can be made of cash contributions or in-kind services, including volunteer efforts.

Awards will be announced in August and projects must be completed by May 31, 2021.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/UCF or contact Kevin Sayers (DNR), 517-284-5898; Colleen Rosso (DTE Energy), 313-235-5555 or Melinda Jones (ReLeaf Michigan), 800-642-7353.

Lake Huron fisheries webinar Thursday; other watershed info posted online

back view of woman and young boy fishing along the shore, bright blue sky

For a few years, the DNR has hosted the popular "Conversations & Coffee" events around the state, providing opportunities for people to meet with fisheries managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities, and have specific questions answered – plus get the latest on local and statewide regulation changes affecting anglers.

Due to COVID-19 public health and safety concerns, most of the 2020 meetings were canceled. If you're interested in learning about the Lake Huron watershed, though, join a virtual meeting set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7. Register and participate at http://bit.ly/LetsTalkFish2020.

Presentations covering a variety of topics related to the northern, central and southern Lake Michigan watersheds also are available on the Conversations & Coffee webpage. Staff contacts are listed there, too, for follow-up questions.

Help deter wild turkeys in your neighborhood; remove food sources

Wild turkey walking in grass

While hunters love to see wild turkeys in the spring, the birds are a less welcome sight in some residential communities. Found throughout most of the state and even in some suburban areas, turkeys are drawn to birdseed – bird feeders and agricultural fields often attract wild turkeys – so use care when feeding songbirds.

Turkeys that grow comfortable in a suburban setting may become aggressive. Male turkeys, especially, can be aggressive during breeding season and may peck at their reflections in shiny car paint, sliding doors and windows.

So, what can you do? Start by removing all food sources that can attract wild turkeys. Cover or park vehicles inside, where possible, and use gentle hazing techniques to deter turkeys. Start by making loud noises and waving to frighten the turkeys. You also can open and close an umbrella while walking toward a turkey to scare it away.

With a little effort, all Michigan residents can share the responsibility for reducing potential wildlife conflicts in our communities. Get tips and information at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Some May meetings go virtual; others canceled

colorful image of the word feedback spelled out

Every month, the DNR holds public meetings around the state to provide Michigan residents with opportunities to share ideas and ask questions about policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resources management and outdoor recreation. With recent COVID-19 public health and safety in mind, the DNR has changed some May meetings to conference calls and virtual meetings, while canceling others. Upcoming meetings include:

Conference call phone numbers and access codes and other details are being confirmed. Frequently check the DNR boards, commissions, committees and councils webpage for updates. If you need assistance connecting with a DNR program or public body not listed on that page, contact DNR-Public-Info@Michigan.gov.


It's good to "know before you go" when hiking, fishing or enjoying other outdoor activities. Visit our COVID-19 FAQs page first.


Don't forget to pick up your bear and elk hunting license applications by June 1. Drawing results will be posted online July 6.


The coronavirus emergency is difficult for many people. Check out volunteer opportunities and see how you can lend a hand!

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

Census 2020 - Be Counted