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

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.

Great Lakes Sea Grant Symposium

Event Date: 1/29/2019

Great Lakes Sea Grant Symposium at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference
Cleveland, OH
January 27-30, 2019

Members of the Sea Grant programs in Michigan, Illinois-Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York are holding a collaborative outreach session about Sea Grant’s role in communicating needs to inform research and conservation at the upcoming Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

The symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 1:20 pm – 5:00 pm. The conference will run from January 27-30, 2019, with an overall theme of “Communicating Science to Fan the Flames of Conservation.” 

Fish and wildlife managers are increasingly being asked to communicate and engage with stakeholders to achieve conservation goals. Public participation, stakeholder engagement, social media, and citizen science, are just a few of the ways to connect with stakeholders and advance research and management important for conservation. In this half-day symposium, we provide an overview of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Programs and their work throughout the region. We will present case studies of successful research to outreach, emphasizing the importance of communication and extension for achieving conservation goals.

We will also share how Sea Grant research is informed by local community and management needs. Specific topics to be covered will include how Sea Grant programs work with state fisheries managers to increase public access to recreational fisheries, engage K-12 students in fisheries conservation, and work with managers to address diseases in fishes. Unique examples also apply to engagement at the land-water interface, such as the Michigan EnviroImpact Tool that supports farmers in forecasting manure nutrient runoff risk. A panel discussion at the end of the symposium will provide an opportunity for prospective partners to learn more about what it’s like to work with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.

For additional information on the symposium, please contact Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe (Michigan Sea Grant Extension) at

Additional information about the conference is available at  

New project works with students to make SE Michigan more resilient to climate impacts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Literacy Program is funding a unique partnership to help students and teachers in Detroit and Ypsilanti strengthen their communities against the effects of climate change.

Heat waves, severe storms, and flooding are becoming more frequent and more intense in the Great Lakes region according to research done by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments (GLISA), a NOAA-supported team housed jointly at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

The cities of Detroit and Ypsilanti in Southeast Michigan score low on most assessments of community climate resilience. To encourage meaningful action, a unique partnership between the cities, Michigan Sea Grant, Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMIS Coalition), Ecoworks, GLISA, and others has received funding for an innovative project that relies on students to be ambassadors of change in their communities.

“Unfortunately, young people are going to feel the effects of climate change more than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations,” says Justin Schott, EcoWorks director. “Our goal is to provide opportunities for them to build both the scientific literacy and the change agent skills to make their homes, schools, and neighborhoods more resilient.”

The project, entitled Climate resilience from the youth up: A place-based strategy uniting high school students, educators, scientists, residents, community organizations, and municipalities in southeast Michigan, was one of nine funded out of more than 230 proposals received by the NOAA Environmental Literacy Program.

Over the next three years, the project will bring together students, teachers, city officials, researchers, and community members with the goal of making Detroit and Ypsilanti more resilient to climate stressors.

“Michigan Sea Grant is excited to work with this team to help students, teachers, and community members work together to make their Southeast Michigan communities more resilient,” says Catherine Riseng, Michigan Sea Grant director.

The project team will work with existing high school environmental clubs called “Green Teams,” which have been supported and facilitated by EcoWorks since 2012. Teachers will receive professional development in climate science and place-based learning methods from the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Initiative at Eastern Michigan University.

“So often, institutions and organizations operate from their own silos,” says Ethan Lowenstein, director of the SEMIS Coalition. “This project is an example of what can happen when we build strength-based coalitions with a common vision of empowering our youth to not only prepare to be scientists, community organizers, and policy makers in the future, but to inhabit those roles now.”

Working with students and community partners, the team hopes to meet four objectives:

  • Help students identify and study climate vulnerabilities in their schools and communities.
  • Help teachers engage students in planning and completing projects that work toward
    achieving community resilience.
  • Help students work with residents to teach about local climate impacts and increase
    understanding of resilience strategies.
  • Work with the cities of Detroit and Ypsilanti to complete and implement local
    sustainability and climate action plans.

“Educating Detroiters on the risks of climate change and building strong social networks are two vital steps in helping Detroiters be more thriving in the present and resilient to impacts of climate change,” says Joel Howrani Heeres, director of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability. “This grant will help forward both of these activities, while educating and empowering youth to be positive change-makers in their own neighborhoods.”


Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant communications program leader, (734) 647-0767,

Justin Schott, EcoWorks executive director, (313) 459-8987,

This entry was posted in News.

Apply to create story-map (temporary paid position)

Michigan Sea Grant is in search of a driven individual who wants to play a key role in Great Lakes education and outreach. The right candidate will have a passion for sharing science-based information and be highly collaborative in their work.

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with Friends of the Detroit River, is hiring a student intern to create a story map webpage, to be included on the Friends of the Detroit River website.

The project will use the ESRI platform to describe a series of U.S. Detroit River habitat restoration and
sediment projects that complement similar restoration efforts in Canada. A story map of Canadian efforts can be viewed at Friends of the Detroit River project page can be found here:

The candidate will report directly to a MISG Extension Educator.

Desired Skills

  • Ability to work with multiple project partners to collect and consolidate project data (e.g., text,
  • Previous experience with ESRI, ArcGIS, or other story mapping software;
  • Experience communicating natural resources or Great Lakes issues;
  • Keen ability as an editor to consolidate project reports into short, compelling narratives and
  • Ability to learn new development software as necessary;
  • Good communication skills with the ability to manage multiple tasks in order to meet tight deadlines; and
  • Attention to detail.

Total project compensation is $2,800

Story Mapping Timeline

October – November

  • Kick-off meeting – review scope of work & meet team
  • Collect and consolidate project text data
  • Provide bi-weekly summaries of activities and results

November – December

  • Consolidate project reports into short, compelling narratives and photos
  • Demonstrate story mapping, including a presentation
  • Provide bi-weekly summaries of activities and results

December – January

  • Provide final story mapping deliverables by January 15, 2019

Application deadline is Friday, October 19, 2018. Please send your cover letter and resume to Rhett
Register at

Job summary (PDF)

Beautiful Belle Isle: Detroit’s Unique Urban Park

New Michigan Sea Grant book offers a self-guided tour of 22 Belle Isle locations, their stories and history.

By Mary Bohling

Book cover shows an aerial view of Belle Isle, a state park located in the Detroit River between the US and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Book cover shows an aerial view of Belle Isle, a state park located in the Detroit River between the US and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Belle Isle Park is a beautiful island park in the Detroit River – and one of my favorite places. The island is owned by the City of Detroit and managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a state park. The island also has a lot of history and interesting stories to tell:

  • Did you know that the island was once known as Pig or Hog Island, as early settlers used to bring their hogs out to the island for the summer?
  • Did you know that Belle Isle Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in North America?
  • Did you know that the Art Deco lighthouse on the island was designed by well-known Detroit architect Albert Kahn and has been lit since it began operating in 1930?

A book is born

For several years I gave tours around the island using information gleaned from a variety of sources. Those tours included colorful stories of rumored Speakeasies and prominent Detroiters, architectural roots of various buildings and habitat restoration projects I have assisted with. I soon realized that I either needed to make giving tours a full-time job or find a different way to share this information! I decided I couldn’t give up my day job as a Michigan State University Extension educator with Michigan Sea Grant — thus came this book, “Beautiful Belle Isle: Detroit’s Unique Urban Park.”

Guidebook features 22 sites

This self-guided tour book features 22 sites of historical, cultural and ecological significance on the island. Readers can learn history and stories about this beautiful 982-acre park located between the United States and Canada. The guidebook reveals the unique aspects of how the island has evolved over time, from early English settlement to the connection to New York’s Central Park and today as Michigan’s 102nd State Park.

Many people contributed photos, content, editing, design and much more to make this guidebook a reality. Printing of the book was funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The book will be available to use with bike and kayak rentals at the island and is printed on water resistant paper. It is also available for purchase on the Michigan Sea Grant website for $12. Hopefully by using this guidebook, visitors will come to love the history, stories and the island as much as I do.

Charter fishing continues to boost tourism in coastal towns

Charter fishing on Lake Huron picked up steam in 2017 while other lakes held strong.

By Daniel O’Keefe

Young boy holds up walleye while standing on a boat.

Walleye have been increasingly important to Lake Huron’s charter fishery, rising from 6 percent of the harvest in 2002 to 61 percent in 2017. (Data provided by Michigan DNR.)

Charter fishing catch and effort statistics from 2017 are now available from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Charter Boat Reporting Program. Each year, the economic impact of charter fishing is calculated by Michigan Sea Grant based on the number of fishing trips that charter captains report to the DNR.

Despite the many problems that challenge the future of Great Lakes fisheries, charter fishing continues to provide an important component of coastal tourism. In fact, the economic impact of tourism generated by charter fishing in Michigan rose to $25.4 million in 2017. This represents a 4.5 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 after adjusting for inflation.

Lake Michigan holds steady

The Lake Michigan fishery has experienced a lot of uncertainty in recent years, but the lake’s charter fishing industry has been remarkably steady since the late 1990s. Fluctuations in charter fishing effort (and resulting economic impacts) have not been closely linked to catch rates, in part because fishing success has ranged from good to fantastic since Chinook salmon recovered from a bacterial kidney disease (BKD) epidemic in the mid-1990s.

In 2017, charter captains logged 12,122 fishing trips in Michigan waters of Lake Michigan, generating tourism that created over $7 million in personal income and over 322,000 employment hours. This was very similar to the economic impact of 11,791 trips reported in 2016, and reflects the continued high level of interest in charter fishing for salmon and trout.

Lake Michigan offers anglers a variety of trout and salmon species, but Chinook salmon are often considered the premier gamefish. Charter fishing produced an average of 2.1 Chinooks per trip in 2017, which is similar to catch rates in 2015 and 2016. Prior to 2013, Chinook salmon targeted catch rates were much higher (up to 7.4 per charter trip) but fishing effort and economic impacts were similar.

Catch rates are calculated by the Michigan DNR, and these rates represent the number of Chinooks caught per trip targeting salmon and trout of all species. These targeted catch rates are used to exclude incidental salmon catches taken by anglers fishing for walleye, bass, or other fish that are targeted using different gear or methods.

The resurgence of Lake Huron

Much of the angst surrounding declining Chinook salmon catch rates on Lake Michigan is related to the crash of Lake Huron’s salmon fishery in 2004. After Chinook salmon targeted catch rates fell from 2.4 fish per charter trip in 2004 to 1.2 fish per trip in 2005 the Lake Huron charter fishery was cut in half.

Although Lake Huron’s charter industry was never as large as Lake Michigan’s, the impact of lost tourism and fishing opportunities was devastating to many coastal communities. From 2006 to 2015, Lake Huron captains logged fewer than 2,000 charter trips per year, but in 2016 things started looking up. Fishing effort rose to 2,154 trips in 2016 – just below the long-term average of 2,176 (1990-2017). In 2017, Lake Huron rose above this long-term average for the first time since 2004 with 2,548 trips logged.

The economic impact of Lake Huron charter fishing has increased by roughly 45 percent since 2015. In 2017, charter fishing generated tourism that created over 90,000 employment hours and $1.2 million in personal income for coastal communities on Lake Huron. When adjusted for inflation, this looks more like the good old days than the “collapsed fishery” we have heard so much about.

There are some big differences between today’s Lake Huron charter fishery and the fishery of 2002, though. For one thing, Chinook salmon remain scarce in most of the lake for most of the year. In fact, anglers targeting salmon and trout caught fewer than one Chinook for every two trips taken in 2017. The resurgence in Lake Huron’s fishery is not due to any recovery of Chinook salmon, but solid lake trout fishing, phenomenal walleye catch rates (over 25 fish caught per charter trip targeting walleye), and changing regulations on Saginaw Bay may have had positive impacts. Saginaw Bay now accounts for 41 percent of charter fishing effort on Lake Huron, up from a low of around 8 percent in 2005.

Since 2015, anglers on Saginaw Bay have been able to keep up to eight walleye per day, and the minimum size limit was reduced from 15 to 13 inches. The long term biological goal is, in part, to reduce the number of walleye preying on yellow perch. Historically, yellow perch have been extremely important in drawing anglers to Great Lakes fisheries so this could be an additional boon in years to come.

While things do seem to be looking up on Lake Huron, it is also possible that 2017 was just an exceptionally good year relative to the “new normal.” It would be premature to assume that other species have effectively filled in the gap left by the loss of Chinook salmon, but results from last year’s charter season are definitely encouraging. Anecdotal reports from the 2018 season suggest that fishing effort and harvest may be a bit lower on Saginaw Bay because of high winds that result in cancelled trips and warm water that caused walleye to leave the bay earlier than usual.

Other waters continue to offer world class fishing

Although salmon get a lot of attention when it comes to charter fishing, many Michigan waters offer incredible fishing opportunities for other species. Lake Erie provides fast fishing for walleye, with 2017 being no exception. Lake Superior’s vast expanse of cold water attracts lake trout anglers. Some Superior charter captains offer trips that focus on casting or jigging, which offers a fun alternative to trolling methods used in most Great Lakes lake trout waters. The St. Mary’s River hosts a run of Atlantic salmon, which is renowned for its tendency to jump repeatedly when hooked. Atlantics are also starting to show up regularly in northern and southern Lake Huron due to expanded stocking.

Detroit may be the largest urban center in Michigan, but it also provides some of the fastest fishing around. The St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River offer catch-and-release charter fishing options on some of the best smallmouth bass and musky waters in the world. The musky is known as the “fish of 10,000 casts” but in 2017 charter fishing in Lake St. Clair produced an average of 2.7 fish per trip. Charter trips targeting bass on Lake St. Clair produced over 25 fish per trip in 2017. Yellow perch and walleye also provide great fishing for charter anglers who prefer to keep their catch. The Detroit River is a hotspot for walleye in the spring, and walleye charters harvested an average of 16 fish per trip in 2017.

No matter where you are in Michigan, quality charter fishing is never very far from your doorstep.

We’re hiring! Seeking a Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator for the Upper Peninsula

Michigan Sea Grant seeks an Extension educator for the western Upper Peninsula.

Specific responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing, conducting, and evaluating innovative educational programs that meet current and projected needs.
  • Communicating and interacting with community groups to evaluate the needs of the clientele.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to freshwater fisheries, water quality, seafood safety, natural resources, or related field.
  • Degree must be earned by date of hire.

Desired qualifications:

  • 3 years of experience in Extension program delivery or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation, and evaluation (preferred: relevant experience acquired within the last 5 years).

To view the full position description and qualifications, please visit the internal or external Michigan State University careers page and search for posting number 535110 in the Job Search field. Additional details can also be found in the PDF documents below. 

The position will be open until filled, with applicant review set to begin during the week of 10/15/18.

Position announcement (PDF)

Position description (PDF)

This entry was posted in News.

Life of the Straits

Event Date: 9/15/2018

Come explore the amazing cultural and natural history of the Straits of Mackinac with Michigan Sea Grant and Mackinac County 4-H! Held on September 15 at 10-4, this daylong event will include exciting activities on Mackinac Island surrounding the geology and cultural history of the island. Children will have the opportunity to hunt for fossils, explore a historic fort, and enjoy a nutritious lunch. Best of all, this event is free to 4-H members and their families! Ferry tickets and lunch along with all activities are provided free of charge.

This event is intended for families with children ages 9-14. Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend, but not required. If children under the age of 9 are attending, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the child at all times.

Children between the ages of 5-18 must be a registered 4-H member to attend the event. 4-H registration information will be provided upon completing the Life of the Straits registration. There is a 4-H membership fee of $20 per child; however, scholarships are available to cover the 4-H membership fee. It is not necessary for a child participating in this event to attend any additional 4-H events.

Click here to register for the event:

Please note you will have the option to join us in St Ignace and receive a free ferry ride to the island at 9:30 am. Meet at Star Line Ferry Main Dock #3 in St. Ignace. Alternatively, you can join the group on Mackinac Island at 10:30 am at the Star Line Dock. For maps of dock locations and additional ferry information, see

Event Schedule:
9:30-10 am: Meet at Star Line Ferry dock in St. Ignace to get ferry ticket and board ferry
10-10:30 am: Ferry ride to Mackinac Island
10:30-11 am: Split into groups and walk to destinations from Mackinac Island Star Line Ferry Dock
11 am-12:30 pm: Cultural History activity at Fort Holms / Geology Activity at Arch Rock
12:30-1 pm: Walk to lunch Location
1-1:45 pm: Lunch
1:45-2 pm: Walk to activity destinations
2-3:30 pm: Cultural History activity at Fort Holms / Geology Activity at Arch Rock
3:30-4 pm: Return to Star Line ferry dock