Grant helps effort to reintroduce grayling

LANSING — Last year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Michigan Technological University received a $117,175 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, an effort to reintroduce Arctic grayling into the state.

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.

Additionally, funds from the Consumers Energy Foundation grant supported collaboration among interested partners, including the development of the initiative’s official action plan, which was released in July 2017. This document provides direction for all activities related to Arctic grayling reintroduction, including research, management, fish production and outreach.

“The Consumers Energy Foundation grant, and funds from other contributors, are helping us to move forward with determining how and where we can most effectively reintroduce Arctic grayling in Michigan,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “We are anxious to use the information we’ve gathered on habitat and fish community data to take the next appropriate steps.”

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.