Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources / michigan.gov

Michigan Senate Republicans have blocked Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's appointee to a commission that regulates hunting and fishing. Democrats say Thursday's mostly party-line vote rejecting Anna Mitterling of Mason to the Natural Resources Commission was done because the GOP opposes a different nominee to the commission who supports gun control. It marks the first time in nearly a decade that a governor's nominee was rejected by the Senate. Whitmer named Mitterling, a Lansing Community College adjunct biology professor, to the commission in December.

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources / michigan.gov

An annual fee that allows unlimited access to Michigan's state parks is rising by $1. Starting March 1, it will cost $12 for the Recreation Passport when it's bought with one's license plate registration renewal. It's the first fee increase in seven years. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources attributes the fee change to a provision in the law that ensures the funding source keeps pace with inflation. The fee will be $17 when a passport is purchased at state parks, DNR customer service centers or at a secretary of state branch outside the vehicle registration renewal process.

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources / michigan.gov

Crews were expected to start removing more copper mining waste rock known as stamp sands that have built up in an Upper Peninsula waterway and threaten an important fish spawning area.

Dredging in Grand Traverse Harbor should start this week and is part of a wider strategy to help protect the spawning habitat for Lake Superior whitefish and lake trout, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.

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Grand River Waterway / grandriverwaterway.com

The Grand River Waterway Project designed to restore navigability from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven has been put on hold.

In 2017, the state of Michigan conducted a survey of the Grand River concluding 22.5 of the 40 mile stretch from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven could be buoyed for motor boat traffic. While nearly 16 miles of the proposed 22.5-mile project will remain natural, there are portions where dredging a 50-foot wide, 7-foot deep waterway are necessary at an estimated cost of just over $2 million.

Hunting wildlife has long been ingrained in Michigan's culture, but it is currently on a decline across the state.

The decline is partly due to more baby boomers aging out. Young adults, urbanites and others are also far less likely to participate in hunting.

Michigan had as many as 1.2 million hunters in the 1970s, '80s and into the '90s. But MLive.com reported Sunday that by 2018, less than 675,000 people had at least one hunting license in the state.

Asian carp
www.wbez.org

Michigan says it remains willing to contribute $8 million toward initial stages of a project to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger affirmed the commitment Tuesday in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The funding would pay for preconstruction, engineering and design of a planned barrier system at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois.

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Legislation advancing in Michigan would lift the state's ban on baiting and feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula.

The state House approved the bill 56-49 Tuesday. It goes to the Senate for future consideration.

The ban was initially instituted by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in 2018.

The bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Michelle Hoitenga of Manton, says the ban is "silly" and is hurting hunters. Democrats and some Republicans opposed the bill.

Michigan officials have updated a list of best-management practices to prevent soil erosion and runoff pollution during logging and other forest management activities.

The Department of Natural Resources says the tips are listed in a soil and water quality manual that has been revised since the last version came out in 2009.

The union representing Michigan state park officers says they should be allowed to have guns and bulletproof vests to handle unruly visitors. 

The Michigan State Employees Association says officers are in an unsafe work environment because of a lack of training and equipment. The union has filed a complaint with the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Officials are looking for partners and sponsors to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Michigan state park system.

A year-long celebration of the state park centennial is planned to begin in May 2019.

The Department of Natural Resources says there are opportunities for businesses, associations and others to take part. Among options are sharing information about the centennial, underwriting portions of the educational campaign, hosting a cleanup or display and leading events such as geocaching challenges and vintage RV parades.

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