Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture—real and perceived risks to the environment

Michigan Sea Grant addresses environmental issues surrounding net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes at recent Annual No-Spills Conference.

Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture—real and perceived risks to the environment

In the last several years there has been a great deal of discussion about net-pen aquaculture in the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. Much of the attention about Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture is the generation of large quantities of fish waste from these fish production operations as well as the consequences if these fish escape into the environment. The main issue with fish waste is the release of phosphorus which is the growth limiting nutrient for primary production in freshwater ecosystems. Although some phosphorus is necessary to drive the freshwater food chain, concern arises when excess amounts of phosphorus are available which can result in significant algal blooms and other aquatic plant growth. In addition there is a concern about fish diseases and genetics, which may be the consequence of the interaction of fish raised in Great Lakes net pens and native fish in the surrounding environment.

Discussing environmental issues

To address these concerns Michigan Sea Grant was invited to speak at the 28th Annual No-Spills Conference in January 2018, to discuss environmental issues surrounding net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes. Currently there are seven net-pen aquaculture operations that exist in northern Lake Huron on the Canadian side of the lake. These operations are sustainably producing more than 5,000 tons of rainbow trout per year with some being sold in retail markets in Michigan. They provide 340 direct and indirect jobs with a $100 million contribution to the Canadian economy. These net-pen aquaculture operations take up a small footprint in the environment; one of these operations that produces 500,000 pounds of rainbow trout per year would fit into an average size Michigan marina.

Fish disease risks and genetic dilution can be minimized

For Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture to be environmentally sound it must have practices that prevent disease transmission and escapement of fish into the wild, as escapees could affect the genetic integrity of surrounding fish populations. These operations must also be non-polluting with minimal and recoverable impacts. With regards to fish diseases, the commercial aquaculture industry is highly regulated and is held to the same standards as state and federal hatchery programs. Fish disease risks are minimized and prevented through regulation, biosecurity, and best management practices.

In 2014 the state of Michigan stocked more than 20 million fish, produced from gametes collected from wild fish. This equated to 325 tons of fish stocked, 9 different species, 370 stocking trips, 732 stocking sites, with 100,000 miles of travel from several fish hatcheries. In comparison Canadian net-pen operations in Lake Huron typically stock one cohort, certified as specific pathogen free, then raise the fish to harvest and truck them one way to a fish processing facility. The net results are that Michigan hatcheries have a much higher risk of disease transmission than the current system for growing trout in Canadian net pens.

The Great Lakes already have rainbow trout which are non-native to the region. They were introduced by fishery management agencies years ago and many of these fish are now naturalized, spawning on their own in local rivers, with additional enhancement from government fish hatcheries. Rainbow trout produced in Great Lakes net-pen operations can be female triploids which are sterile and will not reproduce should they escape into the environment. So the risk of genetic dilution can be eliminated by use of these female triploid rainbow trout.

Low phosphorus, digestible fish diets help minimize phosphorus waste

During the height of the Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture discussion there were media reports that a typical net-pen operation with 200,000 fish would produce as much waste as a city of 65,000 people. In reality a city of 65,000 people would produce 21 times more fecal matter than a 200,000 fish net-pen operation. This same city would produce 5 times more phosphorus compared to the net-pen aquaculture operation. The city would also generate 24 kg/yr of E. coli with none coming from the net-pen operation.

Canadians have had net-pen aquaculture operations in their northern waters of Lake Huron since 1982. To help address the issue of excess phosphorus discharge from freshwater net pens, Fisheries and Oceans Canada completed a study on Freshwater Cage Aquaculture: Ecosystems Impacts from Dissolved and Particulate Waste Phosphorus. Fish receiving digestible phosphorus in specific amounts to meet their growth requirements excrete only small amounts of dissolved phosphorus. Dissolved phosphorus is most often the form of concern in impaired waters. The other form of phosphorus excreted from fish is particulate phosphorus which settles to the bottom sediments. The particulate phosphorus which accounts for the majority of the waste from net-pen operations is transported to the bottom sediments and is not immediately available for uptake into the ecosystem. In sediments it can be consumed by the benthic organisms and enter the aquatic food chain. Both dissolved and particulate phosphorus wastes produced by fish are the results of the diets they consume. The development of low phosphorus, highly digestible diets has been a tool to help minimize phosphorus waste by aquaculture operations.

The Fisheries and Oceans Canada study found that based on net-pen aquaculture production in northern Lake Huron in 2006 contributed about 5 percent of the annual total phosphorus loading to the North Channel. The study concluded that the likelihood of phosphorus additions to the environment from net-pen aquaculture operations resulting in eutrophication to Canadian freshwater environments under the current level of fish production can generally be characterized as “low.” The greatest concerns for phosphorus are in the nearshore areas where excess aquatic plant growth can foul the shorelines. In contrast, offshore phosphorus loading is of less concern and higher phosphorus concentrations may be considered a means to help mitigate declining populations of forage fish and the poor condition of sport and commercial fish species.

Michigan Sea Grant Extension welcomes new educator to Saginaw Bay region

Meaghan Gass excited to help build capacity, collaboration among groups in area.

Meaghan Gass works with students from Ella White Elementary School in Alpena, Mich. Gass will join Michigan Sea Grant as its Saginaw Bay region educator. Courtesy photo.

Meaghan Gass works with students from Ella White Elementary School in Alpena, Mich. Gass will join Michigan Sea Grant as its Saginaw Bay region educator. Courtesy photo.

Meaghan Gass will join Michigan Sea Grant as an educator located in the Saginaw Bay region. She is no stranger to Michigan, having spent the last three years with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), first as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member and then on staff as the network coordinator based in Alpena. Through her position there she often worked closely with both Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant staff and programs.

“Through my work with the NEMIGLSI network, I partnered closely with Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant. Seeing what they are able to accomplish in Michigan is exciting,” said Gass. “I also learned more about what the Sea Grant network is doing across the Great Lakes. Engaging a variety of stakeholders and connecting Great Lakes research with communities are huge passions of mine, and I am excited these strategies are at the heart of Sea Grant’s mission.”

Gass will begin her new position on Feb. 5, 2018, and will divide her time between MSU Extension offices in Arenac and Bay counties. She will provide services in five counties including Arenac, Bay, Tuscola, Huron and Sanilac.

“Meaghan will be an excellent addition to our Sea Grant team,” said Dr. Heather Triezenberg, program coordinator. “We’re excited that she will continue the work we’ve been doing in that region to address Great Lakes, Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay issues.”

meaghan gass

Gass grew up in southern Illinois but loves living in northeast Michigan. “With all of opportunities for outdoor recreation, living close to Lake Huron has been fantastic. In the Saginaw Bay region, I look forward to collaborating with partners on water and coastal community resiliency issues that are key for the area.”

Mischelle Warner, MSU Extension district coordinator for seven counties in northeast Michigan, said having Gass located in Arenac County, as well as Bay, offers more accessibility for residents and communities. “We’re looking forward to having Meaghan with us in Arenac County. We know there are so many opportunities for programming and collaboration, plus, the county commissioners specifically requested support from MSU Extension in her expertise area for 2018 and beyond.”

Gass received her bachelor of arts degree from Illinois State University and her masters in political science from St. Louis University. Her research focused on water and river basin governance. As an undergrad she majored in political science and French and minored in Spanish.

While living in the Alpena area, Gass has quickly become a part of the community and served in several volunteer roles, including as a board member for Huron Pines, a 4-H Club Leader, and co-president of the Alpena County League of Women Voters. “It’s important to become part of the greater community,” she said.

“Meaghan’s work experience in northeast Michigan partnering with so many different organizations will lead to great connections, collaborations in the Saginaw Bay area,” said Dave Ivan, director of the MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute. “We are happy to have her join MSU Extension.”

Gass is looking forward to her upcoming move to Bay City and to begin building connections with individuals and groups in the area. “We need to work together to ensure protection of the Great Lakes. Collaboration is key. I’m really excited to have this opportunity and look forward to what we can achieve in the Bay area.

National Parks of the Great Lakes – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on mighty Lake Superior provides incredible recreational opportunities.

Kayakers paddle in Lake Superior near a sandstone cliff of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Photo: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant

Kayakers paddle in Lake Superior near a sandstone cliff of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Photo: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant

The United States National Park Service not only administers parks, it also is responsible for designated lakeshores, historic sites, battlefields, and memorials. In addition, it oversees historic and scenic trails located in the Great Lakes watershed. One of the most unique National lakeshores – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – is the focus of this second article in this series on the National Parks of the Great Lakes.

If you’ve ever visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula between Munising to the west and Grand Marais to the east, you’ve probably seen the famous cliffs and formations for which this park is named. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore includes 42 miles of Lake Superior coast, with colorful sandstone cliffs – some reaching 200 feet in height – extending along 15 miles of shoreline. Impressive in themselves, you can also find where they have been sculpted by nature into arches, caves – both above and below the water’s surface.

Lots to do

But there is much more to this lakeshore than just colorful cliffs. Miles of lovely beaches and huge sand dunes, forest trails, shipwrecks, and waterfalls are also along this part of the Lake Superior coast. Campers and hikers will enjoy the 100 miles of hiking trails. The park’s website can direct hikers to short day jaunts or longer treks. Backcountry camping is available but permits are required. Also, it is important to be prepared so visit the website for many good suggestions on what equipment and safety precautions you should take while visiting the park as well as a calendar of events and how to plan your trip.

Interested in maritime history? You can learn about the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard at multiple sites along the shore, such as the Au Sable Light Station. And don’t miss the Alger Underwater Preserve in Munising, which features shipwrecks, educational glass bottom boat tours, interpretive underwater trails, and sea caves (see Michigan’s underwater preserves offer unique views of Great Lakes maritime heritage for more on Michigan’s underwater preserve system).

Artwork by Todd Marsee a watercolor landscape inspired by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Art in the park

One of the unique opportunities offered at many National Parks, including Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, is the Artist-in-Residence program. Residencies usually last 2-4 weeks and artists share their art with park visitors. This past summer Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant’s senior graphic designer, served as artist-in-residence at Pictured Rocks. Todd shared his thoughts about his experience:

“Being chosen from a pool of applicants to be the Artist in Residence (AIR) at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was a huge honor. I was fortunate to have this time to focus on my painting – off the grid. In these days of constant digital chatter, I found it extremely rewarding, as I produced 20 paintings at the cabin, and 6 additional in the works. My camera was with me all the time, capturing the many moods of Lake Superior. These photos helped inspire many paintings and are also being used here at Michigan Sea Grant. I was able to experience the shoreline when the Lake was smooth as glass and when there were waves nearing 10 feet in the open water. I saw the juxtaposition of nature’s beauty and awesome power all in one place.

The North Country Trail is literally right on the edge of the Lake in many places. It meanders into the woods for parts of the hike, but you are rewarded with an amazing Lake vista every time the path meets back up to the water. Color was a big inspiration in the work produced during the AIR. When the lighting is just right, the Lake is a brilliant blend of greens and blues. Rock hunting also brings all sorts of bright colors.”

If you’re an artist, check into the artist-in-residence program at many of the National Parks. And even if you’re not an artist, you’ll find that Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers an incredible experience for you and your entire family.  Contact the Munising Falls Visitor Center, 1505 Sand Point Road, Munising, MI (phone 906-387-4310) for more information.

Read the National Parks of the Great Lakes series

National Parks of the Great Lakes should be on your bucket list

U.S., Canada have each preserved lakeshores and parks of these beautiful natural resources.

Voyageurs National Park Photo courtesy NPS

Voyageurs National Park Photo courtesy NPS

Are you someone who loves to travel? If so, you have probably visited at least one or two of our National Parks. And you probably have a list of additional parks you’d like to visit when times allows. The good news for those of us in the Great Lakes region is that we have many National Parks at our doorstep – or more appropriately, shoreline – than in many other parts of North America.

On the American side of the Great Lakes, the National Park Service has set aside special areas, called units in the National Park System, to preserve “the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” These include three National Parks and four National Seashores. On the Canadian side, Parks Canada has done much the same, designating six National Parks, one National Marine Park, and one National Marine Conservation Area.

In the coming months we’ll be getting to know the varied parks on both sides of the border through a series of articles looking at their diverse natures and locations. From the Isle Royale and Voyageurs National Parks in the U.S., to the Georgian Bay Islands and Bruce Peninsula National Parks in Canada, we’ll see just how special these areas are and how they highlight some of the most unique features of the Great Lakes. Following are a couple of teasers to spark your interest in some of the articles ahead.

Do you know which parks can be found in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago? Or which park is at the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland? Do you know which Great Lakes park is the only U.S. national park to completely close during the winter? To get the answers to these questions and discover a host of fascinating facts about our Great Lakes national parks, look for the upcoming articles in this series.

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.

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

Evidence of prehistoric caribou hunters found below Lake Huron

Research continues this summer on a series of targets on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge in the lake.

Diver and MSU alum Tyler Schultz and 'Jake' the ROV collect samples in central Lake Huron.

Diver and MSU alum Tyler Schultz and ‘Jake’ the ROV collect samples in central Lake Huron. Photo: John O’Shea | University of Michigan Museum of Anthropologial Archaeology

In 2009 a paper was published in the National Academy of Sciences on “Evidence of Early Hunters below the Great Lakes” by researchers John O’Shea (curator of Great Lakes Archaeology at the University Of Michigan Museum Of Anthropological Archaeology) and Guy Meadows (Director of the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University.) These researchers found evidence of human activity on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge in Lake Huron. This ridge during an extreme low-water phase would have provided a land causeway across the middle of modern Lake Huron linking northern Michigan with central Ontario.

The post-glacial history of the Great Lakes is characterized by a series of high and low water periods. The most extreme low-water period is referred to as the Lake Stanley stage in Lake Huron which occurred 7,000 to 11,500 years ago with lake levels 230 to 328 feet below modern lake levels. During this time period the Lake Huron basin contained two lakes separated by a ridge or causeway extending northwest to southeast across the basin from the area of Presque Isle, Mich., to Point Clark in Ontario, now known as the Alpena-Amberley Ridge.

Human occupation in the upper Great Lakes is associated with the drop in water level to the Lake Stanley stage and they inhabited an environment that was colder and drier than present with spruce-dominated forests. The researchers found that the problem in investigating these earlier time periods is that intact sites of early human occupation are extremely rare and the critical evidence exists beneath Lake Huron. Thus the researchers’ utilized surface-towed side scan sonar and remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) to determine whether human occupation sites were present on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge beneath Lake Huron.

The survey indicated evidence for the existence of hunting structures and human activity associated with the ridge and demonstrated a series of features that were consistent in form, construction, and placement with known caribou hunting structures. Stone constructions, such as caribou drive lanes, hunting blinds, and habitation sites of the kind seen in sub-arctic regions appear to be preserved on the lake bottom.

More recent research published in 2016 in Geoarchaeology by Elizabeth Sonnenburg (Stantec Consulting Ltd.) and John O’Shea who used ROV and diver surveys to get a closer look at the structures, investigate lake bottom conditions and visibility, and map the structures at close range. In addition sediment samples were collected for paleoenvironmental analysis. From this research a series of indicators, including distinct microfossil assemblages (such as species only found in sphagnum moss and boggy arctic ponds), rooted trees (tamarack and spruce), and charcoal (8,000–9,000 years old) revealed a series of microenvironments that are consistent with a subarctic climate.

Research that was led by O’Shea and published in a 2014 National Academy of Sciences paper revealed a newly discovered caribou drive lane which was the most complex hunting structure found to date beneath the Great Lakes. The drive lane site and its artifacts provided insight into the social and seasonal organization of prehistoric caribou hunting. When combined with environmental and simulation studies it was found that different seasonal strategies were used by early hunters on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge. Autumn hunting was carried out by small groups and spring hunts were conducted by larger groups of cooperating hunters.

This summer O’Shea will be leading a research project utilizing a submarine to ground-truth (determine facts by examining the ground for targets revealed by remote sensing) a series of targets, such as those described here, to further confirm their cultural origin and age.

Detroit River Restoration Tour

Event Date: 8/17/2017

The Detroit River has seen its fair share of environmental challenges. Now, after years of dedicated restoration work, the Detroit River and its ecosystems are heading toward recovery.

On August 17, 2017, join the Friends of the Detroit River, Michigan Sea Grant, and our many partners as we celebrate the hard work and dedication of those who have helped shape a new future for the Detroit River. This is your opportunity to visit the habitat restoration sites of Grosse Ile and Belle Isle for an up close, behind the scenes, expert-guided tour.

Highlights of the event include:
 
10 am – Noon, Grosse Ile
  • Boat tour of Stony Island restoration site
  • Coffee and donuts provided
1:30 – 4:30, Belle Isle
  • Lunch and short program in Dossin Museum
  • Meet a live sturgeon
  • Bus tour of Belle Isle restoration sites including Lake Okonoka and Blue Heron Lagoon.

Download the full agenda (PDF)

More information about restoration sites:

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today!

Registration: ow.ly/DiBq30cQDBf

Contact: Mary Bohling, (313) 410-9431, bohling@msu.edu

Celebrate Museum Week on Beaver Island

Event Date: 7/20/2017

Do you need a good reason to visit Beaver Island? Michigan Sea Grant educator Brandon Schroeder will give a presentation on “Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail: People, Fish and Fishing” at 7 p.m. July 20 during the 37th annual Museum Week. The week is celebrated July 16-22, 2017, with fun activities happening all week. Complete schedule is online. Most events are free, except where tickets or admission is expressly noted, all other events are free will donations which benefit the Historical Society.

The Historical Society currently operates two museums on the Island, the Print Shop Museum and the Marine Museum, as well as two additional historical sites, Heritage Park and the Protar Home. It offers several resources and services to visitors, including genealogical research free of charge, copies of archival photos, and a series of historical journals and other books for purchase. Additionally, the museum hosts many events throughout the year to promote the Island’s history. 

Brandon works with coastal communities and businesses in northern Michigan to apply science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes and northern Lake Huron issues.

The Great Lakes fishery reflects the story of people, fish, and fishing; and how we relate to aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity, water quality, and environmental change. The Great Lakes fishery is the thread running through all these aspects, serving as the gauge of resource sustainability and quality of life for people. Brandon also co-authored, The Life of the Lakes: A Guide to the Great Lakes Fishery.

The Beaver Island Historical Society was founded in 1957 to collect and share the fascinating history of Beaver Island. A remote island in Lake Michigan, it has witnessed many interesting and unique historical events, and has been home to various groups including Native Americans, a Mormon branch known as the Strangites, Irish immigrants, fisherman, lumberjacks, and many more. For an overview of Beaver Island History click here.

Great Lakes Day

Event Date: 3/7/2017

March 7, 2017

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center auditorium, East Lansing, MI

On March 7, this year’s Great Lakes conference, held at Michigan State University during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week, will focus on the theme “The Great Lakes: Moving Michigan Forward.”

Keynote addresses will be given by Dr. Joan Rose, recipient of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize, speaking on global public health issues, and Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes, presenting the next steps in Michigan’s Water Strategy.

Other speakers will focus on issues relating to green infrastructure, agriculture, rip currents, the use of drones, acoustic telemetry and “Dark Skies.”

To register on the web or to find updates to the agenda, visit www.iwr.msu.edu/events/ANRWeek.

To register by phone, call (517) 353-3742.