Consumers Energy Foundation awards $70,000 to support Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative

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February 1, 2022

Northern Michigan University, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, received a $70,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support efforts to bring Arctic grayling back to Michigan waters.

Combined with support from the Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, the Consumers Energy Foundation grant will fund an evaluation of several types of chambers for rearing Arctic grayling eggs in Michigan waterways. The remote site incubator designs used successfully to raise eggs in Montana streams work well there, but their successful operation is less certain in Michigan streams. This project will evaluate alternative approaches to RSI design in laboratory and stream environments to determine which will be most effective and reliable for Michigan stream environments. .

“This is the second contribution we’ve received from the Consumers Energy Foundation since we launched our initiative to bring arctic grayling back to Michigan,” said MNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Through their partnership, we are able to move closer to our goals and experience success.”

“Consumers Energy has served Michigan communities for 135 years, and we are committed to supporting organizations that strengthen environmental stewardship and work to preserve and protect our state’s incredible natural resources,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, Secretary/Treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We are proud to partner with other Michigan organizations to bring native Arctic grayling back to their native waters.”

“Northern Michigan University looks forward to collaborating on this project with Michigan DNR,” said NMU assistant professor Brandon Gerig. “It’s exciting that the data generated by this project is directly informing arctic grayling restoration efforts in Michigan.”

Arctic grayling is an iconic and treasured part of Michigan’s history and was the only abundant stream salmonid (salmon family fish) in the Lower Peninsula. It hasn’t been in Michigan since the 1930s.

The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative seeks to establish self-sustaining populations of this species throughout its historic range in Michigan. The initiative has more than 40 partners collaborating on the reintroduction. Members of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative meet to identify knowledge gaps and discuss management and stocking and public outreach strategies.

Information gathered through this partner-supported project will guide management agencies in identifying the most effective and efficient approaches to reintroducing Arctic grayling to Michigan. The Consumers Energy Foundation has previously supported partners’ efforts to develop a rating system for certain riverine habitats where the reintroduction of Arctic grayling is being considered. The report outlining this effort can be viewed on the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative website.

For more information on the history of arctic grayling in Michigan, visit MiGrayling.org.

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