DNR News: Arctic grayling update, Adopt-a-Forest and RAP room jobs

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News Digest - Week of July 19, 2021

forest header

Help keep our forests clean – Adopt-a-Forest today!

As our state works to reopen to the public, this week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.  

We'll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources! 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 the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. The forest cleanup photo courtesy Anastasia Gepp via Pixabay.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Swift summer sails

sailboats on lake

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Jamie Ball at Charles Mears State Park in Oceana County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Second year-class of Arctic grayling eggs arrives from Alaska

arctic grayling brood

A striking fish with a sail-like dorsal fin and slate-blue coloration, the Arctic grayling was virtually the only native stream salmonid (a fish of the salmon family) in the northern Lower Peninsula until the population died off nearly a century ago. Three factors contributed to the grayling's demise in Michigan: habitat destruction, unregulated harvest and predation/competition from nonnative fish species.

Since 2016, the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative – comprised of the Michigan DNR, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and more than 40 other partners – has worked to bring this locally extinct species back to Michigan.

Late this past spring, the DNR received the 2021 year-class of brood eggs from Alaska. A year-class is a group of fish raised from the same year's egg-take – in other words, fish that are the same age. The eggs from this year-class will help establish a brood population of Arctic grayling in Michigan.

How do fish eggs get from Alaska to Michigan? Very carefully. They were transported to Michigan by plane as the carry-on luggage of a Michigan State University researcher. Upon arrival, they were kept at the MSU lab in East Lansing before the final leg of their journey to Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County. The fish are growing well after hatching, and mortalities in this group have been remarkably low.

The 2021 year-class is not the first to make the trip from Alaska to Michigan. In 2019, the DNR received another class of Arctic grayling, and they continue to thrive at Marquette State Fish Hatchery. The fish are growing well with very few mortalities. The next class is planned for May 2022, when the DNR and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will collect eggs from Alaska’s Chena River. 

The initiative to return Arctic grayling to Michigan waters could not have been possible without help from local and state partners. The DNR has received incredible support from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; even though the agency temporarily paused its Arctic graying rearing program, staff there organized and executed the 2021 egg take, collecting eggs from wild stock in the Chena River specifically for Michigan’s reintroduction efforts.

When will you see Arctic grayling in Michigan waters? The first fish from Michigan’s Arctic grayling broodstock are expected to be available for reintroduction in 2024 or 2025. Visit MiGrayling.org for updates on this important work to restore a Michigan native.

Questions? Contact Ed Eisch at 231-499-4118.

Trash and trees don’t mix – help protect Michigan’s forests
forest cleanup

Record numbers of people are heading to Michigan’s outdoors this summer, exploring forests to enjoy the beauty of wildflowers, bright songbirds and splashing waterways. This captivating scenery is, unfortunately, sometimes marred by something less beautiful: dumpsites. 

Trash in the forest isn’t just ugly – it’s hazardous to people, wildlife and the environment. If you want to help care for the wild places you love, join Adopt-a-Forest, a volunteer-driven cleanup program bringing people together to protect the outdoors. Because of this program, more than half of illegally dumped trash removed from public lands in the last 10 years has been recycled.

First, find a location using the online dumpsite database and fill out a volunteer waiver. Then, pack the right gear – including gloves, sturdy boots, sun protection and bug spray – before heading to the forest for a cleanup. Lastly, let us know to check it off the list by filling out a report – and then feel great about the good work you just did!

If a hands-on cleanup isn’t right for you, Adopt-a-Forest also needs assistance with scouting sites and sharing proper disposal resources, and accepts donations for supplies and heavy equipment rental.

“Proper disposal of waste keeps the environment clean, safe and beautiful,” said Phil Roycraft, district supervisor with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, who handles waste programs across the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. “A lot of items people throw out can actually be recycled, and all can be disposed of responsibly.”

Here are a few resources for responsible recycling and waste disposal:

See someone dumping? Report it to the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline. Find something potentially hazardous in the woods? Contact EGLE’s Environmental Assistance Center or the Pollution Emergency Alert System if it’s clearly a hazard needing immediate attention.

Learn more about Adopt-a-Forest by contacting program coordinator Conor Haenni at 989-429-5542 or visiting Michigan.gov/AdoptAForest.

Now hiring RAP hotline emergency dispatchers

RAP room

The Report All Poaching hotline is hiring three emergency dispatchers to join the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement team. The right candidates are motivated team players with excellent communication skills who want to help solve natural resources crimes and provide safe community environments. 

Emergency dispatchers provide 24/7 essential communication and monitoring to ensure conservation officer safety. They use statewide radio equipment, computer-aided dispatch systems and other telecommunication devices to stay in contact with officers and provide them with general criminal information using the Law Enforcement Information Network system.

Dispatchers work with the public and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to receive and communicate poaching tips and complaints to help protect Michigan’s natural resources. 

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 23. Successful applicants will have a minimum of a high school equivalent education and a willingness to learn telecommunication, CAD and LEIN systems. 

Questions? Contact Dominique Clemente at 517-243-3973.


Ready to hit your favorite fishing hole or find a new spot? Check out the weekly fishing report for conditions around the state. Gear up and make sure you have your 2021 fishing license!


ORV riding often means riding the route less traveled. Whether you want to rev it up, go the distance or enjoy outdoor spaces, it’s not too late to purchase you ORV license and trail permit.


Spend some time on the water by volunteering  as a harbor host for DeTour, Presque Isle, Straits and Tawas state harbors. Welcome visitors, host weekly coffee hours, help boaters and more.