Bid to return Arctic grayling to Michigan waters gets a boost

(Michigan DNR photo)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Michigan Technological University have received a Consumers Energy Foundation grant of $117,175 to support efforts to bring back the extirpated Arctic grayling to Michigan waters.

The Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative was announced in June 2016 and consists of 32 organizations that are partnering together to reintroduce this culturally significant species.

The Consumers Energy Foundation grant will fund work during 2017 to address two immediate needs for a successful reintroduction. The first is the collection of habitat and fish community data in the upper Big Manistee River. This waterbody historically was a premier Arctic grayling river and is believed to hold high-quality habitats for this species. The second is to create an outreach plan to engage Michigan citizens in the reintroduction efforts and to once again make Arctic grayling an important part of Michigan’s heritage.

According to a DNR news release, the Arctic grayling is an iconic and treasured part of Michigan’s history, and was the only abundant stream salmonid in the Lower Peninsula. It has not been present in Michigan since the 1930s.

Members of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative have met twice to identify knowledge gaps and to discuss management and stocking strategies and public outreach.

The information collected through the Consumers Energy Foundation grant, combined with previously gathered data, will guide management agencies in selecting appropriate reintroduction sites. Consumers Energy has supported this initiative through funding and as a participant during two partners meetings.

For more information on the history of Arctic grayling in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/fishid.

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