New DNR Fisheries Division plan open for public comment

October 2017 Trending, Feature Vanessa Oler Web Exclusive

Michigan, USA -- Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries division released a draft of the strategic plan to guide management activities over the next five years. Before this plan can be adopted by the agency it must be made available for public comment, allowing Michigan residents an opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

“We want you to see yourself and the resources you love reflected in the plan,” says DNR Fisheries spokesperson Elyse Walter. “We want you to familiarize yourself with the first plan, then look at the new plan and take note of differences. Is this of value to you as you use the resource? Let us know if you think this is the right direction.”

This new strategic plan builds on the 2013-2017 plan and delivers a clearer, more precise vision of how to achieve DNR’s 2013 goals. For example, the 2013 strategic plan listed the following strategies under the goal of promoting a healthy aquatic ecosystem: “prevent introductions of new aquatic species; control the spread of existing aquatic invasive species.”

In welcome contrast, the 2018-2022 plan states more specifically the following objectives and tactics the DNR plans to use in order to achieve its lofty goal:

  • Conduct environmental permit reviews.  

  • Update the status of species and habitats identified in the Wildlife Action Plan.  

  • Protect and rehabilitate aquatic habitat through administration of grant programs (Aquatic Habitat Grant Program, Dam Management Grant Program).  

  • Produce healthy fish to meet annual fish rearing targets.  

  • Monitor, assess and adapt to impacts of climate change on aquatic resources.  Implement Fisheries Orders process.  

  • Review and issue public stocking permits.  

  • Collaborate with the Quality of Life invasive species workgroup to implement a statewide Early Detection and Response program.  

  • Work with tribal partners to develop and implement 2020 Consent Decree.  

  • Implement a new electronic reporting system (commercial, wholesale, charter).  

  • Maintain and improve biosecurity measures during fish production and egg-take procedures.

“We didn’t rewrite the whole plan.” says Walter. “We just wanted to hone in on what details we need in order to work on what’s next. We will evaluate the public comments and their feasibility, asking are we missing anything? Are there any gaps?”

According to the 2013 Strategic Plan, these two paired plans represent a departure from past efforts by DNR Fisheries. “ … the 2013 Strategic Plan is organized around broader goals for the division and Michigan’s resources, promotes enhanced integration across division programs, and focuses more directly on the importance of partnerships in achieving goals,” the report states. “The 2013 plan is a more concise formulation of division goals and strategies, and was developed through an enhanced process of public input that was facilitated by recent technological advances allowing collection and rapid analysis of thousands (in this case greater than 10,000 survey responses) of constituent comments on draft versions of the plan.”

To submit your comments on the DNR’s five-year plan, read the plan here and send any feedback to through October 24, 2017.

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