News and Events

Downriver Trail Triumphs!

Event Date: 1/22/2019

This event—Trail Triumphs!—is being hosted by Downriver Linked Greenways (DLG), in partnership with the City of Flat Rock. The purpose of the event is to announce a new partnership with Friends of the Detroit River and the completion of several grant-funded projects including a DLG trail signage strategy, Trail Towns Pilot Project and several new types of trail signage (unveiled at the event) that will soon be installed along the Downriver Linked Greenway in 2019. Many of our trail partners will be there with information booths. 

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website offers new opportunities

Newly launched site helps visitors explore locations and find events, experiences to help understand, appreciate our Great Lakes fisheries heritage.

By: Brandon Schroeder

People and coastal communities have both valued and benefited from Great Lakes fisheries throughout time. These Great Lakes fisheries – a story of people, fish, and fishing – are dynamic and ever changing. The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail seeks to connect people and places, information and experiences for those interested in engaging in this story.

A newly launched website for the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail offers interactive opportunities to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing.

Explore the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail

Museum exhibits and educational opportunities along this trail highlight our fisheries heritage, ecology and management, economic and social issues that have defined coastal communities across the Great Lakes. The trail includes museums, coastal fishing communities, fish markets and processing facilities, events, research and science centers throughout the region.

  • View an interactive map of Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail sites to explore these expanded opportunities, including:
  • Trail sites and experiences across the Great Lakes that offer a wide variety of activities, information, or experiences relating to Great Lakes fisheries – past and present.
  • A growing trail network. A partnership with Wisconsin Sea Grant has fostered an opportunity to include new sites and expand opportunities among other Great Lakes states.
  • Community connections. Several communities or regional tourism partnerships have connected a collection of fisheries heritage sites, experiences and information to explore locally.
  • Trail stories. Themed trails offer a path for exploring the Great Lakes region by way of interesting stories. Explore the story behind the ‘turtle back’ gill net tug or learn about the life of a fisherman. Find fish markets and restaurants that sell or serve a taste of the Great Lakes.
  • Expanded access to organizational and educational information that may be of interest to educators, history buffs, or fish enthusiasts.

A community-supported website – learn how to get involved

The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail represents a network and partnership among museum, maritime heritage, and fisheries partners cooperating to promote our fisheries heritage. The collective efforts of these partners is helping to preserve and interpret historical artifacts, enhance local communities and heritage-based tourism, and offer educational opportunities focusing on Great Lakes literacy and stewardship.

Would you like to learn more, have ideas to share or simply want to get your organization or community involved with this network and partnership? You can participate and share your fisheries heritage connections directly on this website or simply send an email toglfisheriestrail@gmail.com.

Lots of partners make it possible

Funding for this new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail website was provided, in part, by the Michigan Coastal Zone Management ProgramMichigan Department of Natural Resources Office of the Great Lakes and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and supported by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension.  The Northeast Michigan Council of GovernmentsLand information Access Association, along with fisheries and maritime heritage experts from Michigan Sea Grant, Cultural Consulting, History by Design, and Great Lakes History and Interpretation consulting provided leadership in facilitating design and content development for this new website.

A collaborative Design Team reflecting many federal, state, and local organizational partners and dedicated individuals contributed countless hours of enthusiasm and expertise, design creativity, and content for this site. This is a community-driven website — everyone’s contributions to the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage story are invited.

Ottawa County features PFAS discussion at annual Water Quality Forum

Attendees learned how a broad category of chemicals known as PFAS might impact human health and heard examples of state and local government response.

By: Katelyn Brolick and Dan O’Keefe

A child's hand is shown pushing down on a drinking fountain handle in order to have water bubble up.

Drinking water contamination is another route of PFAS exposure that has been gaining public attention since the discovery of contaminated wells in Rockford and Plainfield Township last year.

This year’s Ottawa County Water Quality Forum was held on Nov. 19, 2018, in West Olive, Mich. The forum tackled many water quality issues that face county residents, including plastic pollution, saltwater intrusion into wells, and the impact of excess nutrients in local lakes. One of the bigger issues tackled at the forum was PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Dr. Richard Rediske of Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute has been looking into the effects and contamination of the chemical for the past five years. Dr. Rediske addressed the Water Quality Forum and provided facts on the harmful properties of these chemicals, as well as their many uses.

PFAS exposure

According to Dr. Rediske, PFAS is a broad category of more than 4,000 different chemical compounds which includes PFOS and PFOA. These chemicals are water soluble and are highly mobile within the environment. The fluorine-carbon bonds in PFAS are the fourth strongest bonds in nature, making PFAS very difficult to break down and dispose of. These chemicals are entering the environment and human bodies through exposure to a variety of products including firefighting foam, fast food wrappers, popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and car wax to name a few. Drinking water contamination is another route of PFAS exposure that has been gaining public attention since the discovery of contaminated wells in Rockford and Plainfield Township last year.

These chemicals bind to albumin in the bloodstream and are reabsorbed by the kidneys in humans.This results in a half-life of 4 to 7 years in humans. In animal studies, rats excrete PFAS chemicals in 1 to 3 days, so scientific studies using common test organisms do not reflect the same exposure levels as humans. The risks associated with long-term exposure are not fully understood, and standards for monitoring are still under development. Possible health effects of excessive PFAS exposure include increased risk of cancer, elevated cholesterol, a compromised immune system, and thyroid disease.

Protecting Michigan citizens

To close out the forum, a panel of PFAS experts convened to answer questions from the public. Dr. Rediske was joined by Abigail Hendershott, (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), Cameron Van Wyngarden (Plainfield Township Superintendent), and Douglas Van Essen (attorney with Silver and Van Essen). Hendershott discussed what the Michigan PFAS taskforce is doing to help protect Michigan’s citizens. The taskforce is sampling all community water sources and schools that have their own water source. They are now moving on to testing daycares and some residential wells. Through testing, Robinson Elementary in Ottawa County was found at 171 parts per trillion (ppt). This exceeds the EPA’s 70 ppt recommendation for combined PFOS and PFOA. Water bottles were allocated to the school for drinking and cooking. A more permanent solution has not been discussed with the public.

Cameron Van Wyngarden discussed the solution that Plainfield Township adopted when they found their municipal sources were highly contaminated. They are now using carbon to filter all of the township’s water. Carbon filter can be an effective way to remove PFAS and PFOA from your home water tap. Douglas Van Essen added that, although PFAS are highly mobile and resistant to degradation, the human body does gradually excrete them over a period of years. This means that people can expect contamination in their bodies to gradually decline if sources of environmental exposure are cleaned up or eliminated.

Learn more

If you are concerned about your water source or would like more information on the topic the www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse site is an excellent source of information. Presentations from Dr. Rediske and other PFAS panel members are now online at the Ottawa County website.

Habitat restoration projects in Southeast Michigan preserve, restore 150 acres in 2018

Projects on the Detroit River take a break over winter, but more are planned for 2019.

By: Mary Bohling

An aerial photograph overlooks the reconstruction project at Lake Okonoka. The project included 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat.

Completed in 2018, the Lake Okonoka project includes restoration of 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat. Photo credit: Friends of the Detroit River

Cold weather is settling over the Great Lakes, including connecting waters such as the Detroit River. As construction companies wrap up their 2018 on-water operations until spring, several habitat restoration projects are put on hold. It has been a busy year for habitat restoration in the Detroit River for Michigan Sea Grant and our partners, such as Friends of the Detroit River. Much was accomplished but there is also much left to do when construction season begins in 2019.

Fish Spawning Reefs

A 4-acre fish spawning reef offshore of Fort Wayne was completed by the University of Michigan Water Center, Michigan Sea Grant, US FWS, USGS and other partners. This 2018 project brings the total number of fish spawning reefs constructed through this Detroit River partnership since 2003 to six for a total of more than 15 acres. 2018 also brought great news regarding the use of the constructed spawning reefs. It was the first time that fertilized eggs from the endangered lake sturgeon were found on all constructed reefs in the Detroit River.

Stony Island

More than 100 acres of coastal and upland habitat were enhanced and protected as a result of this project that was completed in the spring of 2018. The project increases ecological benefits for fish and wildlife including the re-establishment of spawning and nursery habitat for commercial, sport and forage fish species; revitalization of coastal wetlands; and protection of terrestrial resources within the Detroit River watershed. The project included construction of 3,500 linear feet (LF) of continuous rock shoals and 600 LF of shoal islands with nesting habitat for common terns; 92 habitat structures for mudpuppies, turtles and fish including rock piles, basking logs and woody debris bundles; creation of 50 acres of calm backwater for fish spawning and nursery activity; 10 acres of vegetation management including invasive species control; and protection from erosion for 52 acres of island habitat.

Celeron Island

Habitat restoration on and around the island is currently underway. Construction of 4,000 linear feet of rock shoals will be halted as winter sets in but will begin again in the spring of 2019. When completed in 2019, more than 100 acres of coastal wetlands, hibernacula for snakes, turtle nesting beaches, and common tern nesting areas will have been created.

Detroit Upper Riverfront Parks

Approximately 25 acres of wetlands, upland prairies and other habitat types will be constructed in 2019 at A.B. Ford and Lakewood-East Parks. In 2018, contractors hired by the US Environmental Protection Agency completed design plans to create habitat for fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and pollinators. The city of Detroit also recently announced plans to add new playground equipment and other public amenities to the parks.

Milliken State Park

Through National Fish and Wildlife Funding (NFWF) via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources restored native habitats on nearly an acre of property in 2018 at Milliken State Park located in downtown Detroit and directly across from the Outdoor Adventure Center. The property, previously lawn and filled with invasive species, was restored to a wet meadow and prairie complex including a mass shrub planting along the Detroit River and small trees that will eventually line an existing walkway with shade as they grow.

Lake Okonoka

Completed in 2018, this project includes restoration of 45 acres of aquatic and upland habitat. Lake Okonoka’s enhancements combined with the recent opening of Blue Heron Lagoon (another 41 acres) to the Detroit River will increase the availability of calm spawning and nursery habitat for Great Lakes fish. Deep water pools, basking logs and other habitat features will also benefit turtles, mudpuppies, snakes, mammals and birds. Completion of a new direct connection from Lake Okonoka to the Detroit River is expected to occur in 2019.

Belle Isle Flatwoods

Design plans for 280 acres of wet-mesic flatwoods on Belle Isle were completed in 2018. Permits will be applied for by the Michigan DNR Parks staff who will also secure construction funding. The project is expected to get underway in 2020, pending funding availability.

Hennipen Marsh

The design portion of the project, estimated to be about 40 acres of coastal marsh, is currently underway with field data being gathered. Feasibility and design are expected to be completed mid-2019 with construction happening once permits and funding are secured.

Sugar Island

More than 60 people attended a public meeting on Nov. 14, 2018, to talk about the preliminary results of a feasibility and design project at Sugar Island. The island is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Design plans were completed in 2018 that include the creation of rocky shoals, protection of bluffs and other habitat features. Permits will be sought in 2019 with construction expected to begin late 2019 or early 2020, pending funding.

Find more information about many of these habitat projects can be found on the Friends of the Detroit River Projects webpage.

Aquaculture Challenge registration deadline

Event Date: 1/18/2019
End Date: 1/30/2019

Michigan schools are invited to participate in the 2019 Aquaculture Challenge program. The aquaculture challenge is a science and business competition in which teams of students design and create an aquaponics system. The competition is composed of three parts, including: 1) Designing and creating a system, 2) Monitoring the system, and 3) Creating a business plan to accompany the system.

Student teams are provided a free Arduino control board and probes as well as a water chemistry monitoring kit. Student teams provide their own equipment to create the aquaponics system. This program is sponsored and run through Lake Superior State University and Michigan Sea Grant.

The registration deadline for this year is January 30, 2019 (*NOTE: Deadline extended from January 19). There is also an optional open house where students can visit Lake Superior State on January 24 (*NOTE: Event moved from January 11). The competition then runs through the end of March. Student teams must submit three videos showcasing their accomplishments, as well as supporting materials, by April 8. A virtual awards ceremony will be held April 11. These dates and an overview of the competition can be found here. The team rules manual with detailed information about the competition is here.

Registering a team is free and easy. Simply click here and fill out the required information. Teams can work on the competition as part of a class or as an after-school activity. Multiple teams can register per school, and teams can also register as part of a club or other academic-related organization.

Additional information about this competition and aquaculture in the classroom can be found at www.ncrac-yea.org

Michigan Sea Grant MSU Extension Fellowship

Event Date: 12/17/2018
End Date: 3/29/2019

Opportunities for graduate students

Graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds (e.g., science, policy, law) and a strong interest in Great Lakes, coastal, or marine issues are encouraged to apply. Programs require a full-time commitment and most, but not all, fellows participate after graduating.

  • Knauss Marine Policy: The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program matches graduate students with “hosts,” such as congressional offices, NOAA branches, or other federal agencies. Fellows work on a range of policy and management projects related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. Application deadline February 22, 2019.
  • NOAA Coastal Management: This program places recent graduate students in state coastal management programs. Fellows spend two years working on projects related to climate change, shoreline protection, spatial planning, or other coastal issues. Apply by January 18, 2019.
  • Michigan Sea Grant Extension Fellowship: This program is designed for Michigan State University master’s or doctoral students interested in engaged scholarship for research and Extension engagement within the Great Lakes region. Apply by March 29, 2019.

NOAA Coastal Management

Event Date: 12/17/2018
End Date: 1/18/2019

Opportunities for graduate students

Graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds (e.g., science, policy, law) and a strong interest in Great Lakes, coastal, or marine issues are encouraged to apply. Programs require a full-time commitment and most, but not all, fellows participate after graduating.

  • Knauss Marine Policy: The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program matches graduate students with “hosts,” such as congressional offices, NOAA branches, or other federal agencies. Fellows work on a range of policy and management projects related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. Application deadline February 22, 2019.
  • NOAA Coastal Management: This program places recent graduate students in state coastal management programs. Fellows spend two years working on projects related to climate change, shoreline protection, spatial planning, or other coastal issues. Apply by January 18, 2019.
  • Michigan Sea Grant Extension Fellowship: This program is designed for Michigan State University master’s or doctoral students interested in engaged scholarship for research and Extension engagement within the Great Lakes region. Apply by March 29, 2019.

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Event Date: 12/17/2018
End Date: 2/22/2019

Opportunities for graduate students

Graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds (e.g., science, policy, law) and a strong interest in Great Lakes, coastal, or marine issues are encouraged to apply. Programs require a full-time commitment and most, but not all, fellows participate after graduating.

  • Knauss Marine Policy: The Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program matches graduate students with “hosts,” such as congressional offices, NOAA branches, or other federal agencies. Fellows work on a range of policy and management projects related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. Application deadline February 22, 2019.
  • NOAA Coastal Management: This program places recent graduate students in state coastal management programs. Fellows spend two years working on projects related to climate change, shoreline protection, spatial planning, or other coastal issues. Apply by January 18, 2019.
  • Michigan Sea Grant Extension Fellowship: This program is designed for Michigan State University master’s or doctoral students interested in engaged scholarship for research and Extension engagement within the Great Lakes region. Apply by March 29, 2019.

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, 2019 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 kinnune1@msu.edu

Agenda

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.