Grayling initiative gains more funding
Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, started an initiative two years ago with a goal of bringing back an extirpated species to the state, the Arctic grayling.
The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative seeks to establish self-sustaining populations of grayling throughout its historical range in Michigan.
Historically, grayling could be found in many Lower Penninsula rivers north of a line from Pentwater to AuGres. By the 1930s, three factors contributed to their demise: habitat destruction from logging; overfishing; and competition with introduced trout species.
Recently, this effort received an influx of money courtesy of a grant of $11,000 from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. The grayling reintroduction is a tremendous collaborative effort and there is simply no way to bring this iconic fish back to Michigan without the generous contributions of others.
A total of $418,175 has been secured for the project so far, a healthy start for the initiative that has an estimated cost of $1.1 million.
The DNR Fisheries Division and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians lead Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative but more than 45 organizations are supporting the landmark project. In addition to the DNR and Little River Band, project funders have included the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Rotary Charities of Traverse City and a private donor.
Once the monetary goal is reached it will used to support steps similar to the success story for grayling restoration in the state of Montana, where fisheries biologists have a decades long grayling restoration project. It’s working there, it can work in Michigan.
Arctic grayling once thrived in northern Michigan’s cold-water streams. Fishermen and wildlife enthusiasts visited destinations such as the Au Sable River to see and catch this beautiful fish.
That can happen again.
Visit www.migrayling.org for more information about the initiative.