Support for Arctic Grayling Initiative

Rotary Charities of Traverse City provides grant to support fund development for Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative.

The Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City to facilitate a fund development strategy to support Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative.

This initiative is a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of this native fish and was founded by the DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI) in June 2016. The partnership includes more than 40 organizations.

The $10,000 grant will support grant research and writing by NorthSky Nonprofit Network, a management support organization administered through Rotary Charities. The project will include a fund development strategy matching public and private funding sources with project phases and the development of the initial grant applications to secure funding for initial phases of the Arctic Grayling reintroduction.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our organizations to be a catalyst for what we hope will be the historic return of the Grayling to northern Michigan streams,” said Marsha Smith, executive director of Rotary Charities. “We are impressed by the scale of this partnership. This kind of collaboration is exactly what will generate important solutions for our region and all of Michigan.”

The first stage of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative is expected to take five years of research project development, acquisition of fertilized eggs from Montana and/or Alaska, raising fry (small fish) in a controlled environment, and research to assess acclimation, mortality and other factors.

“Securing this grant will lay the foundation for developing funds from public and private sources this project requires to move forward,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “This is an effort that needs to be owned by many organizations if it is to achieve its intended historic results.”

This is the second of two grants awarded to support the reintroduction of Arctic Grayling. The first came from the Consumers Energy Foundation to the tune of $117,000 to support identifying prime northern Michigan streams for this work.

For more information on Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, please visit

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The Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, announced a proposed initiative in June 2016 that aims to bring back an extirpated species to the state – Arctic grayling.  The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative seeks to establish self-sustaining populations of this species throughout its historical range in Michigan. The initiative has more than 50 partners collaborating on the reintroduction.

The next steps include identifying interest and abilities of partners, collecting baseline data, initiating the building of broodstock and stocking efforts. The Manistee River watershed, once known as a premier grayling river, will be the first location for reintroduction.

The DNR will work closely with partners as the proposed Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative moves forward. The Little River Band, located in Manistee County, has been engaged in extensive research for potential grayling reintroduction for several years.

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