News and Events

DNR seeks comments on Lake Michigan management plan

Event Date: 11/28/2017
End Date: 11/30/2017

November meetings in Manistique, Traverse City, and Grand Haven to share details and solicit input on proposed plan.

DNR seeks comments on Lake Michigan management plan

Fishing in Lake Michigan has had its share of ups and downs. A steady stream of invasive species led to several big changes in the lake. Sea lamprey destroyed the lake trout fishery in the late 1940s, leaving the door open for an explosion of alewife that died off en masse and became the plague of beachgoers in the early 1960s. Stocking of non-native Chinook and coho salmon created a world-class recreational fishery in the late 1960s. Fishery managers have been trying to maintain an optimal balance of predators and prey since salmon declines due to bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in the 1980s. With the explosion of new exotics like quagga mussel and round goby and decreases in open water nutrients over the past twenty years, old assumptions about the lake’s productivity are being revised.

All of this makes management a difficult proposition. States and tribes around Lake Michigan serve on the Lake Michigan Committee, which adopted Fish Community Objectives (FCOs) in 1995. The lake has changed a lot since then, and some key objectives (like total harvest of all salmon and trout species) have fallen below target levels in recent years.

Individual states have worked within the framework of the FCOs. In the past, states have accomplished this on a species-by-species basis. Now Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working to develop a more comprehensive and holistic approach to managing the lake.

Visit the Lake Michigan Management plan website to view the draft plan and submit comments online.

What to expect

The agenda for the public meetings includes:

  • Brief overview of management plan and how to comment.
  • Brief overview of zonal management.
  • Describe and discuss stocking options.
  • Have participants pick their most preferred option.

Meeting times and locations

Three meetings are planned:

  • November 28, 2017: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Comfort Inn Conference Room, 617 E. Lake Shore Dr., Manistique, MI 49854
  • November 29, 2017: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road, Traverse City, MI 49685
  • November 30, 2017: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417

Are Great Lakes water levels headed up in 2018?

November forecast suggest higher levels heading into next year.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Fall of 2017 was a very wet season in the Great Lakes region. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, basin-wide precipitation was well above normal for all of the Great Lakes during October 2017. In fact, these estimates put the monthly precipitation at 118 percent of average for Lake Superior, 161 percent of average for Lakes Michigan/Huron, 107 percent of average for Lake Erie, and 170 percent  of average for Lake Ontario. Accordingly, while the lakes generally continue seasonal decline into winter, the rate of this decline has been much more gradual.

What impact has this high precipitation had in various lakes? In late October all the Great Lakes rose slightly from the typical pattern (that is lower at the end of the month than at the beginning). Currently in mid-November, Lake Superior is hovering around its October average when it typically is a bit lower in November. Lake Michigan and Huron showed over an inch bump up around Oct. 24, 2017 – over 780 billion gallons of water across this 45,300 square mile surface area of the earth. Net basin supply estimates (the net result of precipitation falling on the lake, runoff from precipitation falling on the land which flows to the lake, and evaporation from the lake [negative net basin supply denotes evaporation exceeded runoff and precipitation]) and the outflow from the upstream lake were all above average during October.

Evaporation a factor

We know evaporation is a huge factor in lake level prediction and yet it is extremely hard to measure. The NOAA Great Lakes Research Lab and The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research hosted a recent webinar, “Ten Years of the Great Lakes Evaporation Network: Progress Made and Opportunities for the Future” by Dr. Christopher Spence, research hydrologist from Environment and Climate Change Canada. The work done over the past decade is helpful to try to understand big and smaller years of evaporation and yet recognizes significant complexity in locating instruments on the Great Lakes. Some research-based information confirms that typically, the largest evaporation over the lakes occurs in November and December, when the lakes are still warm and the cold arctic air blasts come over the lakes.

Graphic showing lake level monthly mean averages

Graphic showing lake level monthly mean averages. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The main coordinated model for Great Lakes water levels used by the US Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t project out beyond 6 months. However, a newer product The Great Lakes Water Level Outlook, details that the high water levels of this year were accompanied by a strong seasonal rise due to wet spring conditions and high net basin supplies to the lakes. It also compares to some years when there were periods of positive net basin supply during the years 1972-1973, 1985-1986, and 1996-1997 – three scenarios representing periods of high water levels and high net basin supply throughout the year across the Great Lakes basin.

Snowpack key

Considering these scenarios, it is quite possible 2018 may be a high water year in several of the Great Lakes. One thing to watch for over the winter is the amount of system snowpack over the Lake Superior basin. Lake-effect snows are considered net-system losses (they come back long-term) but system snow pack is usually measured in March by NOAA’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.  NOAA is trying to determine how much liquid water is “locked up” in the frozen snowpack, technically called snow-water equivalent. Fixed wing aircraft flying with remote sensing gamma radiation sensors at about 500 feet above the ground around the Lake Superior basin can give good estimates of snowpack. Naturally occurring gamma radiation is released from the soil under snowcover and can indicate snowdepth.

Higher lake levels impacts shoreline erosion; fall is typically the time of year for sustained storms. In fact, a Lake Superior buoy north of Marquette, Mich., measured a 28.8 foot wave at Granite Island on Oct. 24, 2017 – the highest wave ever recorded by modern buoy records (10-30 years). Significant erosion has been reported near Whitefish Point. Yet the rise and fall of the Great Lakes is still normal and key for nearshore wetland ecological health and nearshore habitat.

Here’s an overall lake level synopsis – higher levels but not all time highs. Lake Superior is 13” above its long-term average for October and 7” higher than 2016. Lake Michigan/Huron is 19” above its long term average for October and 9” above 2016. Let’s keep an eye on system snow in 2017-2018 and see what evaporative losses show – but it appears we might well be in for a higher season in 2018.

Please contact Extension educator Mark Breederland, breederl@msu.edu, for more information on living with the ever-changing dynamic coastlines of the Great Lakes.

Sea Grant report on Asian carp includes educational resources

Great Lakes conservation groups will find a wealth of resources in this new publication.

By Dan O’Keefe

The Silver Carp is one of four Asian carp species that threaten Great Lakes waters.

The Silver Carp is one of four Asian carp species that threaten Great Lakes waters.

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, in support of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, just released a report that contains a variety of resources for anyone working on education and outreach related to Asian carp. The report contains sections that provide basic information in addition to helping readers sift through the large amount of information available to find the best outreach products for their audience.

the cover of the report is shown

Understanding the threat

The new report details the four species of Asian carp that pose a threat to Great Lakes waters: Bighead Carp, Silver Carp, Black Carp, and Grass Carp. Each species is a concern, but Bighead Carp and Silver Carp get the most attention because they are filter feeders that eat plankton. This could result in direct competition with native gamefish or indirect effects if baitfish populations are harmed. Scientists are now employing a variety of techniques to learn more about these fish, and the report explains some of the headline-grabbing methods like eDNA monitoring and DIDSON sonar imaging.

Educational resources

The Sea Grant report includes a state-by-state list of fact sheets, articles, brochures, posters, online videos, and other materials related to Asian carp outreach. This is a great place to start if you are looking for materials to distribute at a boat show, club meeting, or other event. In the “Analysis of Education and Outreach” section, the report provides a quick reference chart that organizes materials by audience and message.

PowerPoint Presentation

In addition to a list of available materials, the report includes a set of slides that can be downloaded and used by educators around the Great Lakes region. Slides include basic life history information for each species, potential for economic and ecological harm, control attempts, and an overview of existing research and research gaps. Each slide contains comprehensive presenter notes, and the slide set can be modified to suit your audience.

New partnership will update, enhance important Great Lakes non-native species database

By Heather Triezenberg

Michigan Sea Grant is pleased to announce a new partnership with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) for management of the Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS). This regional Great Lakes-specific database of aquatic nonindigenous species is a one-stop-shop for information on non-native species within the basin. Making data accessible to researchers, managers, educators, and other stakeholders is an important part of the joint missions of NOAA’s GLERL, CIGLR, and Sea Grant programs.   

With this new partnership, Rochelle Sturtevant, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program’s regional outreach specialist, will become program manager for GLANSIS and will work within the CIGLR Regional Consortium. Planned enhancements to GLANSIS database programming will improve information extraction capabilities, and data updates will ensure the most current state of aquatic nonindigenous species knowledge is being delivered to the public. “GLANSIS is a very important database and resource for the Great Lakes region,” said Deborah Lee, GLERL director. “We are very happy to have Dr. Sturtevant use her expertise in order to update and expand the program and serve even more stakeholders.”

Rochelle Sturtevant has been involved with GLANSIS since its inception.

Sturtevant played a key role in the conceptualization and development of GLANSIS, which has become a signature product of GLERL, while she served as the Great Lakes Sea Grant and NOAA GLERL Regional Liaison. “Aquatic invasive species are a major focus within the Great Lakes basin. Updating and expanding the GLANSIS database will help managers make informed decisions when devising and implementing strategies to prevent, control, and mitigate the introduction and impacts of aquatic invasive species and help protect the natural resources and economic well-being of the Great Lakes,” said Sturtevant.

“The NOAA and Sea Grant partners in the Great Lakes Region have been leaders on regional collaboration, and we are excited to see this collaboration focus on invasive species within the basin,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant. “NOAA and its Great Lakes partners will continue to work together closely to facilitate communication and information exchange.” Helping to coordinate communication between the groups will be Heather Triezenberg, Michigan Sea Grant program leader; Jennifer Day, NOAA Great Lakes Regional Coordinator; Margaret Lansing, GLERL’s Information Services branch chief; and Jill Jentes, Great Lakes Sea Grant communication chairperson.

For questions, please contact Heather Triezenberg, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program Leader (vanden64@msu.edu) or 517-353-5508.

Apply Now for NOAA Teacher at Sea Program

Event Date: 11/30/2017

For more than 25 years, teachers have traveled aboard NOAA research vessels around the world through the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program. Applications for 2018 are now being accepted.

June Tiesas (left) is on deck the Oregon II during her Teacher at Sea program with NOAA.

June Tiesas (left) is on deck the Oregon II during her Teacher at Sea program with NOAA. Courtesy photo

Are you a teacher who is interested in learning more about our world ocean and sharing that knowledge with your students and colleagues? Are you excited about the opportunity to engage in ocean research alongside of NOAA research scientists and other teachers from around the country who share your interests? And would you like to do so at NO COST? If the answer is yes, NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program may be just what you’ve been looking for!

Teacher at Sea (TAS) has involved nearly 700 teachers since it began in 1990, with participants representing all 50 states. Eight from Michigan have participated over the past decade alone. Applicants may be classroom teachers (Pre-K through grade 12, community college, college or university), aquarium or museum educators, or adult education teachers. Teacher at Sea participants are typically on board one of NOAA’s research vessels for approximately two weeks and may participate in one of three cruise types: fisheries research, oceanographic research, or hydrographic surveys.

In 2015, June Teisan, a middle school science teacher at Harper Woods Secondary School in Harper Woods, Mich., who has collaborated with Michigan Sea Grant Extension on a number of education projects, was a Teacher at Sea on board the NOAA Ship Oregon II in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Teaching is an other-centered profession. We pour out our time and talents, passion, and praise moment by moment, hour upon hour, day after day. It’s what we love to do but it can be draining. So when the well of inspiration and energy runs dry how does a hard-working educator refuel? For me, self-selected professional development has been one way that I recharge my teaching batteries,” she states. “Over my career I’ve participated in a wide range of webinars, ed camps, conferences and internships, but one of the most powerful experiences was my time as a NOAA Teacher at Sea. Working side by side with top flight researchers 24/7 out beyond sight of land fed my inner science geek, challenged me to grow beyond the city-based bubble in which I’m comfortable, offered me a glimpse behind the scenes of NOAA’s critical role in maintaining the health of our fishery stocks, and gave me the opportunity to share this experience with my students through blog posts and connections to STEM professionals.”

NOAA wants teachers to understand how NOAA research is linked to the Next Generation Science Standards and Ocean Literacy Principles, and pathways leading to NOAA careers. They hope that as TAS alumni, teachers will use NOAA data and resources in their teaching and with colleagues. And they believe that the Teacher at Sea Program will develop an understanding of earth system science while building a workforce for STEM careers.

Applications for 2018 are now being accepted, and the deadline is November 30, 2017. Guidance on how to apply and program FAQs are available on the Teacher at Sea website.

Ottawa County Water Quality Forum

Event Date: 11/30/2017

Twelfth Annual – November 30, 2017

8:30 a.m. (Check-in at 8 a.m.)

Topics Include:

  • Ground Water Study Update
  • The Hiawatha Drain and its Partnerships
  • Status Update on Spring Lake Internal Phosphorus Loading
  • Regional Water Infrastructure Pilot Study
  • Macatawa Watershed E. coli Levels and Population Genomics
  • Impacts of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Water Quality
  • Historical and Projected Future Climatic Trends in the Great Lakes Region
  • Project Clarity Update
  • Bass River Deer Creek Project Update
  • Teaching for the Watershed: No Child Left Outside of Waders
  • Aquatic Invasive Plant Species 
  • Asian Carp Prevention and the Brandon Road Study

Location

Ottawa County Administrative Office
Main Conference Room
12220 Fillmore Street
West Olive, Michigan

2017 NEMIGLSI Fall Networking Meeting

Event Date: 10/26/2017

Great Lakes Literacy and Connections to Inland Schools

Thursday, October 26, 2017

9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Please Log In to register.
Registration is Required for this Event

networking.jpg

Your school, your community organization, and YOU are invited to join the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network and participate in our youth education-focused Inland Regional Network Meeting on Thursday, October 26, 2017 hosted in Gaylord, Michigan.

We hope this opportunity, in addition to our Annual Networking Meeting in February, will serve to bolster NEMIGLSI network efforts to support Place-based Stewardship Education (PBSE) and build relationships between partners with inland schools. A special thanks to our Leadership Partners, Great Lakes Fishery Trust and Huron Pines, for helping host and support this event.

The DEADLINE to register is October 20th at 11:59pm (EST).

Program Expectations/Objectives: 

  • Learn about the NEMIGLSI network and gain educational updates, information and resources in support of your stewardship education programs and efforts.
  • Network, share, and trade lessons learned with participating NEMIGLSI partners and projects; a chance to connect with educators and community partners from around our region.
  • Contribute in planning the future direction for your regional NEMIGLSI, with a focus with great lakes literacy and connections to inland schools! Your opportunity to provide input and guidance about how GLSI can better support place-based education programming in northeast Michigan!

Registration Information: 

Please share with those who may be interested in participating, and we hope you will plan to join!

  • Register online no later than Friday, October 20th. Please Log In to register.
  • No cost to participate and lunch is provided. We only request you please pre-register, as this helps us plan for meals and educational materials provided (if you have any dietary restrictions, please contact Olivia Rose, at olivia.nemiglsi@gmail.com or (989) 884-6216)
  • NEMIGLSI School participation stipends. $100/teacher  

Questions or need additional information? Please feel free to contact us by e-mail at northeastmichiganGLSI@gmail.com or phone: (989) 884-6216. 

In good tradition, we anticipate a wonderful day of networking and sharing information, resources, and new ideas among schools, educators and community partners engaged in youth development and environmental stewardship across northeast Michigan.  

The Fall Networking Meeting will be held at the following location:

Treetops Resort 
3962 Wilkinson Rd
Gaylord, MI 49735
Get Driving Directions

October is National Seafood Month

Event Date: 10/1/2017
End Date: 10/31/2017

Michigan fish producers offer a wide variety of products for consumers.

By Ron Kinnunen

Locally produced Michigan Great Lakes smoked fish is a delicious option to try to celebrate National Seafood Month. Photo: Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

October is National Seafood Month which is a great time to spotlight sustainable fisheries and the fishery products they provide to the consumer.

In the U.S. there are a variety of locally produced fishery products available to the consumer that are either wild caught or farm raised. The U.S. wild-caught fishery provides the most diverse products to choose from. The leading farm-raised products produced in the U.S. include catfish, crawfish, trout, salmon, oysters, and clams.

Many Michigan options

In Michigan, both locally produced farm-raised fish, as well as wild-caught Great Lakes fish, are available for consumers. Michigan aquaculture producers supply a number of food fish species for purchase at the farm gate and/or local markets and retail outlets. Most of this farm-raised fish in Michigan is rainbow trout.

Lake whitefish is the most-caught commercial fish in the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. Today, the Great Lakes commercial fishery for lake whitefish is managed for sustainability, with most of these fish caught from lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan. Great Lakes whitefish from Michigan’s highly managed fisheries is caught by small, family based operations and processed locally, making it an important economic component to local coastal communities. To learn more about this Michigan Great Lakes commercial fishery you can visit Great Lakes Whitefish.

Read the label

Ninety percent of seafood sold in Michigan is imported. By reading labels customers can determine where the fish they buy was produced. All large retail grocery stores are required by the Country of Origin Labeling law to label the seafood that they sell as either wild caught or farm raised and what country it originated from. Country of Origin Labeling was a provision of the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill and is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If customers choose to eat Great Lakes fish, reading labels is key.

And whether you prefer your seafood grilled, boiled, baked or smoked, Michigan Sea Grant has some great resources for recipes. Our cookbook “Wild Caught and Close to Home: Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish” has whitefish recipes, and offers cooking techniques and insights from chefs. Our “Freshwater Feasts” blog also offers recipes and more.

Two AmeriCorps positions open for Michigan Sea Grant programs

Event Date: 9/29/2017

Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension are looking for two Huron Pines AmeriCorps members to help coordinate our education programs! 

One person will work in southeast Michigan on programs like the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP), Summer Discovery Cruises, and the Water Conservation program. Learn more about the position from recent AmeriCorps member Katelyn Burns

The other person will join the Northern Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative to help foster place-based stewardship education in lovely Alpena, Michigan. Learn more about the position from recent AmeriCorps member Olivia Rose. Also check out the flyer she created to sum up her AmeriCorps experience.

Applications are due by September 29, 2017. Find more details and application guidelines on the Huron Pines website

Extension educator position open in Saginaw Bay

Serve the communities of Michigan’s Thumb as Michigan Sea Grant’s newest Extension educator!

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators live and work around the state, where they advance goals of outreach, education, and restoration related to Great Lakes ecosystems and communities. The person in this position will collaborate with colleagues and partners to provide leadership for Michigan Sea Grant’s Saginaw Bay region (encompassing Arenac, Bay, Tuscola, Huron, and Sanilac counties). 

Does this sound like the right position for you? Find more details about the position and application guidelines here. Initial application review begins October 13, 2017.

Saginaw Bay State Recreation Area

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