Archives for February 2018

Piping plovers return to Lake Erie

Piping plover nests were found on the shores of all five Great Lakes last year for the first time since 1955.

The shore-dwelling bird disappeared from most of the Great Lakes in the 1980s and was listed as endangered in 1986, said Vince Cavalieri, the Great Lakes piping plover recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At one point, up to 600 pairs nested throughout the Great Lakes. In 1990, only 12 pairs remained. Once found on sandy beaches from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, most of the survivors were clustered around the Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan’s northwest shore.

But with the discovery of a nesting pair in Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle State Park last year–the first to take up residence on Lake Erie for 60 years–the winds have changed. Researchers found 76 nesting pairs throughout the Great Lakes region in 2017.Piping Plover

Two projects on the shores of Lake Michigan have already found success developing plover-friendly habitat: one at Wilderness State Park on the northern shore of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the other on a series of eroded islands in Wisconsin’s Lower Green Bay.

Results came quickly. The park staff started clearing brush and trees from the shore in 2014, DeLoria said. In the summer of 2015, they observed a pair that had nested there. In 2016, that same pair returned to raise three chicks.

Efforts to restore beaches on the Cat Island Chain in the Lower Green Bay have brought similar success, said Reena Bowman, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Minnesota and Wisconsin Great Lakes piping plover lead.

“The species came back like immediately,” she said. “It was kind of a ‘build it and they will come’ kind of thing. And it wasn’t just plovers.”

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Michigan Free Fishing weekend February 17, 18, 2018

Everyone in Michigan is invited to fish for free Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18, for the 2018 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. A license is not required to fish those two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.

Free FIshing Weekend

Free Fishing Weekend Feb> 17, 18, 2018

These two days make up #MiFreeFishingWeekend – an annual effort to promote Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities. While many individuals and families will bundle up and head out to fish for free on their own, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources points out that there are many events organized throughout the state to get you started, too. Here are a few: read more

Michigan Arctic Grayling habitat research

$117,175 grant from the

Recently completed work supported by this grant addressed two immediate needs for a successful Arctic grayling reintroduction. The first was to collect stream habitat and fish community data in the upper Manistee River. This data collection allowed for both the evaluation of current stream habitat conditions and the development of criteria to determine which other streams may provide suitable habitat for Arctic grayling.Arctic Grayling Fishing

Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of this native fish and was founded by the DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in June 2016. Interest in this initiative has grown rapidly since 2016, and the partnership now includes more than 40 organizations.

For more information on Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit