News and Events

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: https://events.anr.msu.edu/LifeoftheStraits/

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 https://www.mackinacferry.com/.

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

Elk Rapids Green Infrastructure Workshop

Event Date: 9/17/2018

Members of the public are invited to a workshop aimed at uncovering strategies that will enable Elk Rapids to begin the widespread implementation of green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure relies on plants and ecosystem processes to capture, slow, and purify rainwater and snowmelt. Green infrastructure projects can offer an attractive and eco-friendly alternative to traditional grey infrastructure components, such as storm sewers and concrete culverts.

Lawrence Technological University, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., and the University of Michigan are collaborating on a project to investigate barriers to green infrastructure implementation in Michigan. The project includes multiple approaches to stakeholder engagement, including an online survey, focus groups, and community green infrastructure visioning meetings.

Elk Rapids was selected by the project team to host a community visioning meeting based on its location, demographics, and potential for success. The vision meeting provides an opportunity for an open community discussion and participation in exercises that focus on the core project question.

Community participation exercises include identifying opportunities for green infrastructure implementation and sharing opinions on value of natural systems in the downtown and waterfront area.

Members of the public are invited to participate on Monday, September 17, from 4-6 pm in the Old Council Chambers at the Government Center (315 Bridge Street). No RSVP is necessary.

The event will begin with a community definition and mapping exercise, followed by an opportunity for participants to express their preferences for a variety of green infrastructure techniques.

Any questions related to the project or process may be directed to Donald Carpenter, (248) 763-4099 or dcarpente@ltu.edu.

For more information about the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed and efforts to preserve and protect this natural resource, please contact Sarah U’Ren, program director at the Watershed Center – Grand Traverse Bay, (231) 935-1514 or suren@gtbay.org

AFDO/Seafood Alliance HACCP Training Course

Event Date: 12/4/2018
End Date: 12/6/2018

A Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training Course that is being coordinated by Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission will be held December 4-6, 2018 at Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley, Michigan. All fish processors are required to take this training if they are not currently certified.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) consists of identifying safety hazards, determining where they occur, monitoring these points and recording the results. HACCP involves day-to-day monitoring of critical control points by production employees. The Seafood HACCP regulation that is enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is based on the belief that commercial fish processors can understand the food safety hazards of their products and take reasonable steps to control them. Commercial fish processors are required either to obtain formal training for one or more of their own employees or to hire trained independent contractors to perform the HACCP functions.

The HACCP regulation requires processors to keep extensive records of processing and sanitation at their facilities. At times, questions arise as to whether someone needs training in Seafood HACCP. The Seafood HACCP regulation defines processing as handling, storing, preparing, heading, eviscerating, shucking, freezing, changing into different market forms, manufacturing, preserving, packing, labeling, dockside unloading, or holding fish or fishery products.

The regulation does not apply to the harvest or transport of fishery products. It also does not apply to practices such as heading, eviscerating or freezing intended solely to prepare fish for holding on a harvest vessel. Retail establishments are also exempt from the Seafood HACCP regulation.

Fish processors who complete the course put themselves at a competitive advantage as they can then produce value added products such as smoked fish and caviar. Those completing the course will receive a Seafood Alliance HACCP Certificate issued through the Association of Food and Drug Officials that is recognized by agencies regulating fish processors.

Seafood HACCP Course

For additional information please contact Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant Extension) at (906) 226-3687 or kinnune1@msu.edu

Michigan Water School: Traverse City

Event Date: 9/17/2018
End Date: 9/18/2018

ESSENTIAL RESOURCES FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS

September 17 & 18, 2018, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Local, State and Tribal elected and appointed officials and staff wanting to gain access to resources and knowledge about water management are encouraged to attend this workshop!

INVESTIGATE:

  • Factors that impact Michigan water
  • The Blue Economy
  • Fiscal benefits of water management
  • Incorporating water into local planning and placemaking
  • Risk assessment approaches n Resources to help address water problems
  • Water policy at the federal, tribal, state, and local levels

Certificate upon completion of two-day session. Partial scholarships available thanks to funding from the Erb Family Foundation.

LOCATION: Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station
6686 S Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI

REGISTER: https://events.anr.msu.edu/waterschool09172018
$175 (Includes materials and lunch each day)

CONTACTS:

Salmon run offers unique fish-watching opportunities for nature enthusiasts

Birds and mammals are usually the focus for wildlife watchers, but the fall salmon run provides spectacular fish-watching opportunities, too. Visit weirs and dams in west Michigan this fall or watch a new video to enjoy the spectacle.

By Daniel O’Keefe

Coho salmon gather in shallow water during the fall run in the Platte River near Honor, Michigan.

Hunting and fishing get much of the attention when it comes to outdoor recreation, but a recent survey by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found that more Americans engage in wildlife watching than fishing and hunting combined. The survey found that 17 million people traveled for bird watching in 2016, while 4.3 million traveled to watch fish.

Of course, birds are usually much easier to observe in their natural environment than fish – but fall in west Michigan offers a chance to watch salmon as they jump barriers and congregate in clear, shallow water to spawn. The large fish are often easy to see in clear water, but polarized sunglasses can be helpful to cut through glare on the surface.

Rivers of the northwestern Lower Peninsula provide excellent opportunities to view salmon due to high quality habitat and a combination of natural reproduction and stocking. Smaller natural runs can be found in creeks scattered around the state, and stocking supports large runs of salmon in some rivers where spawning habitat is lacking. Some of the best locations for watching salmon are closed to fishing during the salmon run because fish are so abundant and vulnerable to fishing or illegal snagging (be sure to check the latest version of Michigan Fishing Guide for current regulations if you plan to fish at any of the following locations).

Weirs

During their upstream migration, salmon encounter obstacles both natural and man-made. Weirs are removable man-made barriers that serve to block the passage of fish upstream at certain times of the year. Michigan Department of Natural Resourcesoperates several weirs, and some of the best fish watching opportunities in the state can be found below weirs on the Little Manistee River east of Stronach, Platte River near Honor, and Boardman River in Traverse City. Check links for driving directions and details for each location or click here to learn more about how and why weirs are operated.

Dams and fish ladders

Dams provide great opportunities for fish watching because they are often located in urban environments and are easily accessible to large numbers of people. Fish Ladder Park in Grand Rapids is one of the best places to view salmon beginning around Labor Day. Visitors can see salmon jumping at Sixth Street Dam on the Grand River and ascending a fish ladder that allows salmon to work their way upstream one small step at a time. Brenke Fish Ladder in Lansing is another option for viewing coho salmon in the Grand River later in the season (October and November). Other dams like Tippy Dam near Wellston, Homestead Dam near Benzonia, and Hamlin Dam at Ludington State Park are farther off the beaten path but provide great places to watch the salmon run in a more natural setting.

Clear creeks and gravelly rivers

Many river systems host large salmon runs. The Pere Marquette River, Manistee River, Betsie River, and Platte River all offer a good combination of clear, shallow water and public land with forested trails ideal for exploring. Paddling a canoe or kayak on these scenic rivers is always a treat, but late summer and early fall offer the added bonus of salmon viewing.

These rivers are also popular with salmon fishermen during much of the season, so crowding can be an issue and fish may avoid shallow water when fishing pressure is heavy. However, many smaller streams are closed to fishing during the peak of salmon spawning activity. Over 1,400 Michigan streams are classified as Type 1 streams by the Michigan DNR. These small creeks are closed to fishing after September 30 each year, and this makes them ideal for watching salmon spawn. Salmon are less wary when they are not concerned about hooks, and Type 1 streams offer the chance to get up close to salmon as they spawn over gravel beds in clear, shallow water.

To find a likely spot near you, start with streams outlined in green on the map of trout streams in your area. Not all Type 1 streams support salmon runs, but most gravel-bottomed Type 1 streams will host at least small numbers of fish if no downstream dams block their progress upstream. Some of the best places to look are small creeks that flow into larger rivers that are popular with salmon anglers.

Videos and webcams

If you can’t get out on the water, you can still watch Michigan salmon on webcams or YouTube. The Center for Freshwater Research and Education at Lake Superior State Universityhas a webcam in the St. Mary’s River, where viewers can watch Atlantic salmon returning to their stocking site. Another webcam is located in the fish ladder at Berrien Springs. Funding for the purchase and installation of this camera was provided by Evoke kayaks, and a crowdfunding campaign will begin in mid-August 2018, to support operation of the Berrien Springs fishcam.

Michigan Sea Grant also recently released a YouTube video with scenes from the salmon run. The video features underwater footage of salmon in many of the locations mentioned in this article and provides science-based interpretation of salmon behavior during the spawning run.

Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction in the Saginaw Bay Watershed

Event Date: 8/31/2018

Join local, state, and federal partners on Friday, August 31 at 1:30 p.m.
in the first reintroduction of juvenile sturgeon into the Cass River.

Participants may have the opportunity to help with the release. Come be part of this historic event at the Gunzenhausen Street Walkway (parking is adjacent) in Frankenmuth.

Contact

Meaghan Gass
Michigan Sea Grant
Extension Educator
gassmeag@msu.edu
(989) 895-4026 ext. 5

Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit

Event Date: 8/15/2018

The Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit will take place from 10am to 3pm on August 15 at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center in Frankenmuth.

The free summit will explore the impact of extreme storms and flooding in the Saginaw Bay region and look at strategies for resilience. Decision makers, planners, residents, and other interested partners are encouraged to attend.

Topics include hazard mitigation strategies, green infrastructure, and more. Summit keynote speaker, Mike Sobocinski from the Michigan State Police, will share information about hazard mitigation planning in the context of the Saginaw Bay watershed. There also will be time for networking over the provided lunch. 

Summit venue:

Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center
3775 S. Reese Road
Frankenmuth, MI 48734

For questions or accessibility needs, contact:

Meaghan Gass at gassmeag@msu.edu or (989) 895-4026 ext. 5

Please share the Saginaw Bay Resiliency Summit opportunity with your networks.

Michigan Sea Grant is looking for an Administrative Assistant!

Event Date: 7/19/2018
End Date: 7/26/2018

Interested in being part of a dynamic state-wide team that provides research, education, and outreach around Great Lakes issues? Michigan Sea Grant is the place for you.  

The Administrative Assistant will help with operations and communications of the office, including providing administrative support to all program areas as needed. He/she will be the consistent staff member in the office and on the phone, providing welcoming and responsive service to anyone who reaches out to MISG office. This position serves as the main presence in the MISG office for approximately 40 hours per week.

To learn more visit: http://careers.umich.edu/job_detail/160473/administrative_assistant

The job opening ID is 160473. Application deadline is July 26, 2018.

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference

Event Date: 9/12/2018
End Date: 9/13/2018

Travel to Beaver Island to explore online opportunities for expanding the heritage trail network across Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

By Brandon Schroeder

Poster describing Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Conference to be held on Beaver Island, Sept. 12-13, 2018.

The 2018 Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference heads to Beaver Island, Mich., for a heritage experience, and also conversation toward expanding fisheries heritage trail partnerships across Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Beaver Island Historical Society in collaboration with Central Michigan University Biological StationMichigan Sea GrantMichigan State University Extension, and other network partners will host the annual conference Sept. 12-13, 2018. This conference is a great opportunity for networking, sharing information and resources, and gaining new ideas linking our valuable Great Lakes fisheries with historic preservation, heritage tourism, education, and other community development efforts.

Explore technology and online opportunities

Does your community you have a local fisheries business, maritime museum or historic site, fisheries exhibit or educational materials, or even fisheries events or experiences? Would you like to share your community’s fisheries heritage stories and opportunities in more accessible ways? This year’s conference will serve to unveil a new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website; and explore technology and online opportunities to better connect local fisheries heritage among Great Lakes-wide audiences. Participants will learn to archive, share and connect work in their local communities, museums, and libraries with others across the state.

Explore fisheries heritage and Great Lakes science

The networking picnic, which kicks off the conference festivities on Sept. 12, 2018, is always a highlight. We will take a tour of Beaver Island Historical Society’s maritime museum, which includes a wealth of fisheries heritage artifacts, images, and stories; along with a visit to the CMU Biological Station. The following day (Sept. 13, 2018) will feature an educational conference with presentations and discussion centered on promoting fisheries heritage in connection with tourism, historic preservation and Great Lakes education goals.

This two-day conference will offer:

  • Conference kick-offand networking reception at 1 p.m. Sept. 12, 2018, with an afternoon picnic (provided) and guided tours of fisheries heritage and Great Lakes science partners and programs on Beaver Island.
  • Business meeting for the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium (open to all) will be held following dinner on Sep. 12, 2018. Participants are invited to assist in planning for this statewide network. This Great Lakes fisheries network works to benefit local museum programs and the work of fisheries organizations, promote Great Lakes literacy, enhance coastal tourism development opportunities, foster educational connections, and support community development efforts.
  • Conference educational sessions begin 9 a.m. Sept. 13, 2018, in the James Gillingham Academic Center. Learn from panel presenters, and share your own ideas and experiences that can help bring fisheries heritage stories to life. Learn how to use a new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website and resource in advancing your local work.

Register online to attend

  • Visit the conference website to register online. This educational program is open to all those interested in promoting maritime heritage tourism and Great Lakes stewardship. Please register by Friday, Sept. 7.
  • Registration is $50 ($30 for students) and includes picnic lunch and guided tours of Beaver Island on Sept. 12; and participation in educational conference sessions with lunch provided on Sept. 13.
  • Lodging is provided onsite at the CMU Biological Station for $76 (1 night) or $84 (2 nights) – payment and arrangements for lodging are included this year as part of registration process.
  • Travel to Beaver Island (from Charlevoix) includes ferry and flying options. Beaver Island Ferry runs on Sept. 12th (11:30 a.m. departure) and gets you to the Island on time for conference kick-off (NOTE: ferry returns on Sept. 14th – so those choosing ferry option should plan for an extra day). Flights are also available via Fresh Air Aviation and Island Airways.

For additional information about this educational program contact Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant Extension (schroe45@msu.edu, 989-354-9885).

Farmers needed to test EnviroImpact tool

With the tool, farmers can better determine when to apply manure as a fertilizer source with lower runoff risks.

By Meaghan Gass and Erica Rogers

Farm machinery shown in a field spreading manure. Utilizing manure as a fertilizer source can be a cost-effective way for farmers to meet crop nutrient needs, and with effective application, be environmentally sustainable. Photo: Beth Ferry, MSU Extension

Utilizing manure as a fertilizer source can be a cost-effective way for farmers to meet crop nutrient needs, and with effective application, be environmentally sustainable. Photo: Beth Ferry, MSU Extension

Are you a farmer applying manure to your farm fields? Then your help is needed to test the Michigan EnviroImpact tool.

The MI EnviroImpact tool is a decision-support tool for short-term manure application planning that shows daily runoff risks across Michigan. The tool’s runoff risk forecast comes from real-time precipitation and temperature forecasts, which are combined with snow melt, soil moisture, and landscape characteristics in order to forecast runoff events. With the tool, farmers can better determine when to apply manure as a fertilizer source with lower runoff risks.

MI EnviroImpact Tool Website Screen Shot

Reducing risk of runoff

Nutrients found in manure and commercial fertilizers, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can enter rivers and streams as runoff, and in Michigan, almost all of our waterways flow to the Great Lakes. When it rains, these nutrients have the potential to wash into nearby waterways, which can cause an excess of nutrients and lead to algae overgrowth, or harmful algal blooms. These algal blooms can have a big impact on the Great Lakes watershed as they consume oxygen that fish need to survive and can affect the quality of drinking water. With manure application planning, farmers are able reduce the risk of nutrient runoff and help better protect the Great Lakes.

Manure application is just one source of harmful algal blooms, but with proper planning, farmers can help keep applied manure nutrients on their fields and reduce runoff entering the Great Lakes.

Pilot program seeks farmers to help

Currently, tool developers are recruiting farmers to pilot the MI EnviroImpact tool. If you are interested in piloting the tool and sharing a testimonial, please contact Erica Rogers (email: roger392@msu.edu; Phone: 989-875-5233, ext. 5296). Farmer input and feedback could be used in promotional materials to highlight the tool and how farmers can use it as a decision support tool to reduce runoff risk.

The Michigan EnviroImpact Tool was developed in partnership with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration National Weather ServiceMichigan Department of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentMichigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance ProgramMichigan State University Institute of Water ResearchMichigan Sea Grant and MSU Extension. The tool is part of a regional effort to improve runoff risk decision support tools in the Great Lakes basin supported by the Environmental Protection AgencyGreat Lakes Restoration Initiative, and National Weather Service North Central River Forecast Center.