Judge Paul Maloney granted the Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources (CPMR) request to be heard in open court on their motion.

On Monday, United States District Judge Paul Maloney granted the Coalition to Protect Michigan Resources (CPMR) request to be heard in open court on their motion. The request to intervene in the treaty right case will be heard in federal court on August 25.

The court also asked all parties to address a federal court of appeals decision (Wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula Ass’n v. Twp. of Peninsula) that granted a local association’s request to intervene in another federal lawsuit. The recent Wineries decision granting an interest group intervenor status regarding certain township ordinances could set precedent in the CPMR case.

This is the second filing (click here to read) from the conservation coalitions in less than a month. The first challenged the State of Michigan’s ability to represent its members and protect the fishery in the ongoing Great Lakes Consent Decree negotiations, to which CPMR has been recognized as a friend of the court (amicus curiae) since the 1990s. The filing asks the judge to grant intervenor status to CPMR and the Bay De Noc group.

CPMR President Tony Radjenovich said that the recent appeals court decision provides hope that recreational angler interests in Michigan will be represented. “The recent decision lays a foundation for CPMR and our members to have their day in court and make their position known,” Radenjovich said. “We are optimistic that the voices of tens of thousands of our members, who are boaters, charter captains, recreationists and anglers, will be heard in this case.” “Amicus” status allows CPMR and the Bay De Noc group to attend negotiations as interested parties; however, it stops short of allowing the coalition to have any legal standing in negotiations. (Read More) .pdf →Read more

2023 budget has $34 million for fish hatchery upgrades, new Great Lakes research vessel

Fish hatchery infrastructure and maintenance and fisheries survey vessel modernization efforts will benefit from the state budget recently approved for fiscal year 2023. The budget includes $30 million for fish hatchery infrastructure improvements and $4 million to replace an outdated Great Lakes survey vessel – all of which are critical to better supporting and understanding Michigan’s world-class fisheries.

“Michigan’s fish and aquatic habitats are among our state’s greatest natural, recreational and economic assets, and we must continue working together to protect them for future generations,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Together with the historic, $450 million investments in our parks and public lands under the Building Michigan Together Plan I signed earlier this year, our bipartisan budget represents a once-in-a-generation investment that will help us continue safeguarding our most precious natural resources.”

For more than 120 years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has operated fish hatcheries to produce fish for stocking lakes and streams across Michigan. Today, there are six hatchery facilities – in Alanson, Beulah, Harrietta, Manistique, Marquette and Mattawan – vital to managing and maintaining the state’s fisheries. At 20 years old, Oden State Fish Hatchery is the newest facility, with the others ranging from 40 to over 50 years old. Though staff have done their best to keep operations running and fish thriving, the aging facilities have developed a large backlog of critical infrastructure maintenance needs.

With the $30 million investment in hatcheries, the DNR will upgrade production water supplies, replace roofs, upgrade outdated electrical distribution systems, repair and replace deteriorating asphalt, upgrade water aeration systems, replace outdated backup power generators and provide biosecurity enhancements that better protect fish health.

“Upgrading electrical distribution systems, replacing outdated backup power supplies and improving water supplies would all reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fish loss and increase our ability to manage disease issues,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Overall, this investment will improve rearing conditions, which will translate into more consistent fish production levels and high-quality fish.”

One such targeted biosecurity enhancement is the construction of a dedicated cool-water facility at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, in Mattawan. Currently, walleyes hatched at this hatchery are incubated in the same building where steelhead and Chinook salmon production occurs, and that creates significant biosecurity vulnerability for both groups of fish.

The proposed, new facility would include a production building with an incubation area for hatching of walleye and muskellunge eggs, a tank room for early rearing of muskellunge, an egg receiving room for disinfection of incoming eggs, and equipment for heating and chilling of water for more efficient hatching management.

The remaining $4 million will be used to replace the DNR survey vessel Steelhead, which has been in operation for 54 years. (read more) →Read more