News and Events

Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference

Event Date: 1/26/2019

Great Lakes Commercial Fisheries Issues to be Discussed at Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference

Michigan Sea Grant Extension will be coordinating a daylong, educational program on current issues affecting the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry. The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2018 as part of the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City.

There is no charge for attending this event. For additional information please contact Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant Extension) at (906) 226-3687 or


Park Place Hotel
300 E. State Street
Traverse City, Michigan 

Great Lakes Commercial Fisheries Educational Session, Lakes Conference Room

Moderator: Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant)

9:00-9:30 am – Superior and Michigan-Huron Lake Levels: A Review of 2018 and Updates/Possibilities in 2019

            Mark Breederland (Michigan Sea Grant)

9:30-10:15 am – Great Lakes Weather: An Update from the National Weather Service

            Jason Alumbaugh (National Weather Service)

10:15-10:45 am – Status and Management of Lake Whitefish Populations in 1836 Treaty Waters-2019

            Dave Caroffino (Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

10:45-11:15 am – Status and Trends of Prey Fish in Lake Michigan, 2017

            Chuck Madenjian (U.S. Geological Survey)

11:15-12:00 noon – Early Life Diets and Possible Recruitment Bottlenecks for Lake Whitefish in Lakes Michigan and Huron

            Steve Pothoven (NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

12 noon-1:00 pm – Lunch on your own

1:00-1:30 pm – Fishtown: A Report from the Docks

            Amanda Holmes (Fishtown)

1:30-2:15 pm – Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail: New Website, New Opportunity

            Brandon Schroeder (Michigan Sea Grant)

2:15-2:45 pm – Changes in Cormorant Numbers and Reproductive Output since Regime Change: Implications for Fisheries

            Jim Ludwig (Waterbird Population Ecologist Consultant)

2:45-3:15 pm – Catch Composition and Bycatch in an Experimental Lake Whitefish Trawling Study

            Titus Seilheimer (Wisconsin Sea Grant)

3:15-3:45 pm – Cisco Integrated Assessment

            Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant)

3:45-4:15 pm – Contaminants in Walleye from Two Areas of Concern (AOCs): Fox River and Saginaw River

            Chuck Madenjian (U.S. Geological Survey) 

Michigan Sea Grant Undergraduate Environmental Internship Program 

Event Date: 12/14/2018
End Date: 2/15/2019

Michigan Sea Grant is initiating a summer internship program for undergraduate students to work with a partner school, organization, or business to pursue a research project related to Great Lakes environmental stewardship. Funding is available for up to eight students the summer of 2019. Application details and submission deadline available at the link below.

This entry was posted in Events.

Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop

Event Date: 1/19/2019

January 19, 2019

8:45 a.m.–2:45 p.m.

Doors open at 8:00 a.m.

West Shore Community College
Administration and Conference Building
3000 North Stiles Road, Scottville, MI 49454

The annual Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop addresses issues important to Lake Michigan charter captains, recreational anglers, and conservationists.  This year’s event will feature a broad range of topics including sea lamprey control, exotic mussels, and the balance of predators and prey fish in Lake Michigan.

The afternoon will close with a special session on cormorant control. Depredation orders allowed for lethal control of cormorants before a 2016 federal court decision struck the orders down.  The afternoon session will provide historical context on the issue with an eye toward the future.

PRE-REGISTER online or by phone by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15. Pre-registration is $30/person and includes lunch. If you have not attended this workshop in the past, you will need to create an account to register online.

For those who do not register in advance, walk-in registration is $35/person and lunch may not be included depending on availability.


Dan O’Keefe, Ph.D.
Southwest District Extension Educator
Michigan Sea Grant
Michigan State University Extension

(616) 994-4572

North Huron Birding Trail Area Christmas Bird Counts

Event Date: 12/15/2018
End Date: 1/1/2019

Come explore the Eastern Upper Peninsula for winter birding around this magical holiday season! We need help with the Audubon citizen science efforts known as the Christmas Bird Count. There are 6 Eastern UP Christmas bird counts taking place this December, and Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson would love to have as many folks as possible come up to help count birds. All birders, from the experienced to the brand-new, are welcome. 

The Les Cheneaux count is central to the North Huron Birding Trail and takes place in the Cedarville, Hessel, and Pickford areas. For 20 years, this count has taken place! Expect birds like Pine Grosbeak, Snowy Owl, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and many more this holiday season. Many counts are close together so join us for a few days and hit a few in a row. Dates and details below: 

December 15th, Sault Ste Marie 

This exciting count is an international count and includes the twin cities of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and Michigan, as well as the surrounding areas. Contact Dave Euler at or Carter Dorscht at

December 18th, The Straits of Mackinac

The pin for this circle is right on the middle of the Mackinac Bridge! Come bird the areas around St. Ignace, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island. Contact Steve Baker at 

December 19th, Les Cheneaux Islands

This count includes the areas around Cedarville, Hessel, and Pickford, MI. Expect a great day with friendly people exploring the vast wonders of the North Huron area. Contact MI Sea Grant Educator Elliot Nelson at or (906) 322-0353

December 28th, Rudyard

Only in its second year, this exciting count includes open fields, dense forest, an old airforce base, and a landfill (more interesting than you’d think). Contact Steve Baker at

December 29th, Neebish Island and Dunbar

The remote island of Neebish is a winter wonderland, and the mainland areas around Dunbar and Bruce Township are full of fascinating birding opportunities. Contact Brian Zwiebel at

Date TBD (most likely 1st week of January), Whitefish Point

Limited roads are open, but wonderful birds are still found. Occasionally Spruce Grouse, Canada Jay, and Crossbills are on the list! Contact Charlie Weaver at

Alcona County WaterWays Sessions

Event Date: 12/3/2018
End Date: 12/8/2018

Lake Huron Fisheries program with Jim Johnson

“The Importance of Engaging Citizens as Advocates for our Great Lakes; the Roles of Science, Stakeholder Values and Politics (a scientist’s view).”

Jim Johnson, retired, Lake Huron fisheries research biologist and trustee for the Besser Museum for NE Michigan, will explain how healthy fisheries are both indicators of environmental quality and important in engaging citizen advocates for the Great Lakes. He will begin with the story of how an exciting, new Pacific salmon fishery led to the banning of DDT (and later PCBs) by Michigan. While the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan’s Fishery Heritage Exhibit spans the period of pre-settlement to the present day, the story of the recovery of Great Lakes fisheries during the 1970s-1990s, the role of citizen advocates in driving the recovery, and present threats to that recovery will be the focus of this talk.

Clarence “Tuffy” Cross, retired commercial fisherman, will demonstrate fishing net knot-tying and Brandon Schroeder, educator from NEMGLSI, will have “fish print” crafts for children available during the program.

Thursday, December 6, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

“Life Under the Ice” with MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant

Ever wonder about life under the ice in a pond? This is your chance to explore the mysteries of life under the sea with MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant. Water from the local pond with live specimens will be set up inside for you to experience.

Watershed and Water Stewardship Day with Pine River-Van Etten Watershed and NE Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative

Everyone lives within a watershed – the surrounding area of land in which water collects and ultimately drains into a water source. Where are the watersheds here in Alcona County and how can we protect them? Lots of hands-on activities for all ages. Free popcorn and other snacks.

National Ocean Sciences Bowl: Great Lakes Bowl

Event Date: 2/2/2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Hosted by Michigan Sea Grant

What is it?

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) is a national academic competition where teams of high school students compete for the regional and national title. The matches feature quiz-bowl style rounds and challenge questions that test a team’s ocean and Great Lakes knowledge.

The questions focus on math and science related to ocean and Great Lakes biology, chemistry, geology, physics, technology, history and economics.

Regional competitions are held throughout the nation in February and March, with the final national competition held in April.

Where and when?

The Great Lakes NOSB will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (formerly SNRE; on campus), in Ann Arbor, Mich. The national competition will be held on April 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Who competes?

Teams consisting of four high school students and one alternate compete in question-and-answer matches during the competition. Student teams have the opportunity to win 20 points.

The competition format will be a six-minute buzzer round, with two team challenge questions, followed by another six-minute buzzer round. Team challenge questions require data analysis and synthesis of science and math concepts.

What are the prizes?

The Great Lakes Bowl will award cash prizes, trophies, medals and other prizes to top finishers.

National prizes have included cruises on aquatic research vessels, visits to research laboratories, computer hardware and software for the winning team’s school, scientific equipment and laboratory supplies, scholarships, endowments, t-shirts, trophies and medals.

How do I compete?

The Great Lakes Bowl is limited to 16 teams. Team entry in the event is approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Teams must submit all required forms to be approved for entry into the event.

Registration is November 1 – December 7, 2018. For more information, please contact Saachi Kuwayama at


How can I volunteer?

Volunteers help the event run smoothly and get to spend time with the next generation of scientists and engineers. No specialized freshwater or marine knowledge is required. Volunteers receive free breakfast, lunch, and event T-shirt.  

To learn more or sign up, contact Saachi Kuwayama at or

Note: Because the event is held on campus and involves high school students, the university requires volunteers to pass a background check and complete a brief online training module.

What resources can MISG provide to teams?

Teams can practice with the official buzzer system and borrow reference materials.

Reference textbooks in the Michigan Sea Grant collection include:

  • Essentials of Oceanography 6th edition: Tom Garrison
  • Ocean Studies Introduction to Oceanography 2nd Edition: Joseph Moran
  • Introduction to Oceanography 9th edition: Harold Thurman and Elizabeth Burton
  • Life on an Ocean Planet: Bob Wohlers
  • Introduction to the World’s Oceans 10th edition: Keith Sverdrup and Virginia Armbrust
  • Invitation to Oceanography 3rd edition: Paul Pinet
  • Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science 6th edition: Tom Garrison

Materials can be picked up at Michigan Sea Grant (520 E. Liberty St., Suite 310, Ann Arbor, MI 48104) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We ask that coaches be present to pick up the buzzer system and reference books. Reference textbook checkout is limited to two books per visit. Please contact Katrina at to find out which resources are available.

(734) 763-1530

For more information about the nation-wide event, see the National Ocean Science Bowl.

Clean Marina Classroom Live, Lansing

Event Date: 12/6/2018

The Clean Marina Classroom is going on the road, offering an in-person workshop in Lansing. Michigan Sea Grant staff and Clean Marina certification specialists will cover important lessons from the online classroom tied to mandatory and recommended best practices for becoming a Clean Marina. Pledged marinas, as well as marinas due for re-certification, are invited to attend.

For the Classroom Live workshop to be effective, participants must take the following steps before the workshop:

  1. Register for the workshop (dates and locations below).
  2. Sign the Clean Marina pledge form (new and re-certifying marinas) and pay the required pledge fee (new marinas only).
  3. Log in to the online classroom and complete the marina self-assessment (also called the certification checklist).
  4. Bring your self-assessment, a notebook (paper and pencil or laptop) and your calendar to the workshop.

In return, each marina will leave with:

  • Clean Marina Classroom certificate
  • Scheduled certification site visit date
  • Prize for completing the workshop evaluation and survey



When: December 6, 2018, 1:30 – 6 p.m.
Where: Radisson Hotel at the Capitol, 111 N. Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933
Workshop Host: MBIA

Fisheries science creates connections with northeast Michigan educators and youth

Teachers team up with scientists to explore how fisheries science experiences and Great Lakes stewardship opportunities can enhance student learning.

By: Brandon Schroeder and Dan O’Keefe

Three teachers assist a scientist in pulling a net out of lake as they experience fisheries science during two-day Lake Huron Place-Based Education Summer Teacher Institute. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan teachers experience fisheries science during two-day Lake Huron Place-Based Education Summer Teacher Institute. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Great Lakes, fish and fishing are a common thread in conversations among residents in northeast Michigan coastal communities – and also in school learning opportunities with students. This fall, fifth-grade students from Ella White Elementary (Alpena Public Schools) welcomed a juvenile Lake Sturgeon into their classroom as part of a Lake Huron and biodiversity conservation learning experience supported by one of their many community partners, Sturgeon for Tomorrow.

One week later, these same students were in waders (and in the water)  investigating watershed issues as part of their Thunder Bay Watershed Project. Working alongside scientists from Michigan Sea GrantMichigan State University ExtensionNOAA Thunder Bay National Marine SanctuaryU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Huron Pines AmeriCorps students collected data on invasive species like rusty crayfish and zebra mussels found in the river, sampled for microplastics (very small plastic particles or fibers) in the river, among other water quality explorations. Another class of Ella White Elementary students similarly monitored Thunder Bay River water quality and explored marine debris issues at their local Sytek Park.

Other school programs explore fisheries science, too

This is far from the only fisheries science and watershed explorations with schools across northeast Michigan this year. This past spring, Onaway High School visited the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, exploring underwater robotics, and learning about fisheries science careers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alpena, Mich. These students also are hosting Lake Sturgeon in their classroom, and plan to visit with local fisheries scientists from the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife working locally at the Black River Sturgeon Streamside Research Station. Besser Elementary (Alpena Public Schools)Oscoda Area Schools, and Alcona Community School students are participating in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Salmon in the Classroom program this year. These classes will be receiving salmon eggs in the fall, and Alcona Elementary students have visited their local stream (near the local marina) to kick-off some watershed studies and lead a litter pickup with several local community partners.

In common, these projects are all supported through the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network, a school-community place-based education partnership. NEMIGLSI recently received a Great Lakes NOAA B-WET program grant to expand watershed studies and fisheries stewardship opportunities among schools in this region. Led by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, this NOAA B-WET strives to provide support for educators and meaningful watershed education experiences for students – experiences framed in our valuable Great Lakes fisheries. Supporting the teachers behind these student experiences, the regional Sea Grant Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) serves to foster Great Lakes science connections with education.

Teachers explore watersheds, ways to expand student learning

This past summer, the NEMIGLSI network, CGLL, and this Great Lakes NOAA B-WET project collaborated to offer the 2018 Lake Huron Summer Place-Based Stewardship Education Summer Institute. Fifteen teachers from across the Lake Huron watershed (and beyond) convened in Alcona County, Mich., and worked alongside Great Lakes scientists and community partners with a goal of expanding their students’ learning experiences through watershed studies and fisheries stewardship experiences. Framed in place-based education practices, educators explored local watersheds, interacted with fisheries science and stakeholders, and considered many ways in which fisheries benefit our community.

As part of this Summer Institute experience, teachers also considered the many values in fish beyond their roles in the ecosystem – for example, fish are fun to catch, provide a local food source, and contribute social and economic values. Teachers experienced this first hand when meeting with Lake Huron commercial fisherman bringing in their catch of Lake Whitefish and visiting Cedar Brook Trout Farm where they learned about the aquaculture industry, had fun fishing, and explored math and science learning values in the fish they caught.

Engaging teachers in a fisheries science experience, Huron Pines, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Sea Grant, and MSU Extension led a variety of fisheries science sessions in local waterways investigating water habitats and watershed issues, fish biology and ecosystem sciences, and fisheries research and management techniques. Teachers learned about gear used by scientists to sample fish (including an underwater look and video of their fyke net deployed), collect data on fish from identification to measurements, and how to apply science and math skills (and a variety of other skills, including art) to help students analyze data and answer science questions.

The end goal for educators participating in this Lake Huron PBSE Summer Teacher Institute was to explore opportunities for expanding student learning – and connections with community – by engaging their students in local Great Lakes watershed explorations and fisheries stewardship projects. It was an exciting week for teachers, exploring Great Lakes literacy and learning through place-based education stewardship practices. Already, these teachers are translating their experiences into meaningful watershed education experiences and place-based fisheries stewardship education opportunities with their students across northeast Michigan.

Students partner in invasive management, habitat restoration project

Tawas Middle School students help to manage invasive Phragmites in their community – learning and having some fun along the way.

By: Brandon Schroeder

Four students stand in a wetland and measure density of Phragmites in a designated area.

Tawas Middle School students help to manage invasive Phragmites by measuring the density of Phragmites in a targeted area in their community.

A stand of invasive Phragmites plants towered over the heads of Tawas Area Middle School students as they stood in the thick of it all wearing waders and smiles. These students, through their applied learning, are partners in a community habitat restoration effort aimed at managing this invasive wetland plant in an area located near the local hospital.

The goal is to eventually manage this area as a rain garden by restoring native water-loving plants. Aside from mitigating the impacts of invasive species, the restored rain garden habitat would help to absorb rainwater and reduce runoff from the hospital’s parking lot.

Students collected field data on clipboards to calculate density and survival rates of the Phragmites. Photo: Michigan Sea GrantThe Iosco County Conservation DistrictHuron PinesHuron Pines AmeriCorpsMichigan Sea GrantMichigan State University Extension, along with several community partners and the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, have been working together to manage this particular Phragmites stand since 2017. Through the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network, these partners quickly identified an opportunity to connect with Tawas Area Schools and involve students. Working with lead teacher Adrianne Dittenbir and a team of teachers from the school, this school-community partnership blossomed with the idea that this project could serve as a great learning opportunity for students – and a great opportunity for students to apply their learning and contribute to the project in meaningful way.

Many hands working together

The team of community partners joined in support of the students for their day in the field, sharing their time and expertise to enhance the students’ learning experience. Working in teams, students moved among several stations. One station involved collecting field data to calculate density and survival rates of the Phragmites. Another explored the issue of invasive species and Phragmites, a little plant biology and comparing native and invasive species, and an overview of the treatment and management process. Students also mapped the site, discussing future habitat restoration plans and opportunities following removal. They also did some litter pickup – enhancing the local grounds, their community, and preventing litter from ending up as marine debris in Lake Huron.

Students are applying their science and math skills to monitor and evaluate effectiveness of the treatment. Students first visited the hospital site in October 2017 to collect data before the first treatment of Phragmites took place. They measured and mapped the total area infested with Phragmites and counted plant stems in several sample areas to calculate density per square meter. This year a new group of students returned – exactly one year to the day – to repeat this same research protocol. Additionally they calculated proportion (and percentage) of living plant stems in each of their sample plots to determine how successful the previous year’s treatment was. Students put their math skills to the test measuring, counting, adding, calculating density and proportions – their applied math relevant in analyzing, interpreting results of their science investigations in support of this project. The data students collected at each visit is informing future treatment of the Phragmites by partners and supporting conservation efforts in their local community.

Beyond the classroom learning

This project reflects a great example of place-based stewardship education in action. This school-community project partnership resulted in a mutually beneficial opportunity for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom. Students served as valued partners in this wetland habitat restoration effort, and in trade, community partners are invested in school improvement opportunities, supporting this educator team and enhancing the student learning experience. And with their feet wet and hands a little dirty, these enthusiastic students enjoyed a fun-filled, hands-on learning experience while restoring wetland habitats within their own local community.

Michigan Sea Grant, MSU Extension, Huron Pines, among other partners, provide leadership for the local NEMIGLSI network, which is part of the statewide Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative(GLSI) partnership. This partnership provides a variety of information, resources and support for place-based education, including the benefits of place-based education as an educational strategy and guiding principles for place-based education in practice.

Great Lakes Fisheries: The Fish and the People Who Fish

Event Date: 11/8/2018

Great Lakes fisheries – fish and people who fish – have significantly benefited coastal communities, the Great Lakes region and the nation throughout history and still today. Learn about our dynamic Great Lakes fisheries and a new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail which offers the opportunity to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing, presented by Brandon Schroeder.

A Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator, Schroeder has served coastal Lake Huron counties in northeast Michigan for nearly 15 years. His current Sea Grant Extension efforts involve fisheries science, sustainable coastal tourism development, Lake Huron biodiversity conservation, and promoting Great Lakes literacy and education opportunities.

The program will be held 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Nov. 8 at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, 491 Johnson St, Alpena, MI 49707, USA (map). The cost is $3 museum entry fee. Museum members do not pay.

After the program, explore Besser Museum exhibits that highlight fisheries history and heritage, ecology and management, social-economic values and issues that have defined our northern Lake Huron coastal communities.

The program is organized by the Association of Lifelong Learners at Alpena Community College, a not-for-profit organization which sponsors, promotes and encourages lifelong educational and enrichment experiences for people of all ages in northeast Michigan.