Trout Unlimited donates $25,000 toward reintroducing Grayling in Michigan

Trout Unlimited made a $25,000 donation for the reintroduction of Arctic Grayling into northern Michigan streams. The donation was announced by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, foundational partners of the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative which is made up of more than 45 entities. Michigan Trout Unlimited (TU) is a vital partner in the project, representing 20 local chapters and more than 8,000 individuals devoted to the conservation, protection and restoration of Michigan’s coldwater fish and their watersheds. Funds are provided through a Federal grant from the United States Forest Service to the National TU office.

“We are pleased to support this partnership effort to bring Grayling back to Michigan following the highly successful model established by the State of Montana,” said Jeremy Geist, Great Lakes Stream Restoration Manager for TU. “We appreciate that the DNR, Little River Band and partners are taking a methodical, research-based approach to the reintroduction process, including a thorough evaluation of streams to ensure Grayling will be a good fit with habitat and existing fisheries. We look forward to taking an active partnership role throughout the reintroduction process.”

“This generous donation puts an exclamation point on the excitement of anglers and lovers of wild, cold-water streams who will celebrate the return of this once predominate species,” said Jim Dexter, DNR Fisheries Division Chief. “Funds donated will be used to purchase supplies and cover labor costs to install the ultraviolet filtration system at Oden State Fish Hatchery where Grayling broodstock will be reared.”

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians also announced more rivers in northern Michigan that will be evaluated for habitat suitability to determine the feasibility of future stocking efforts, including the Maple, Jordan, Boardman and Little Manistee rivers.

Individuals who are interested in supporting the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative’s reintroduction efforts can donate online by going to Based in Elk Rapids, Michigan, ReWild Michigan is a newly formed nonprofit on a mission to enhance public understanding, advance stewardship and develop resources for fish and wildlife conservation in northwest Michigan.

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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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