Good afternoon, Insiders.
Fresh off the heels of our 2021 Annual Convention, MUCC staff are already working on implementing some of the policy resolutions passed less than two weeks ago.
Staff is energized and reinvigorated after convention, and we are all excited to get back to work carrying the torch of conservation in Michigan.
MUCC’s 84th Annual Convention
Conservationists throughout the state convened at Treetops Resort in Gaylord for MUCC’s 84th Annual Convention to consider, debate and pass policy resolutions guiding MUCC’s advocacy efforts. To see a summary of the passed resolutions see here.
MUCC also recognized several outstanding conservationists including former DNR Upland Game Bird Specialist Al Stewart, Dowagiac Conservation Club and several organizations involved in the passage of Proposal 1 of 2020 modernizing the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The next Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting is on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9 am. The meeting will be at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory located at 4125 Beaumont Road Lansing, MI 48901. An agenda can be found here and keep an eye out for MUCC’s NRC preview on our blog page.
Commissioners are expected to act on a number of fisheries orders, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be presenting on the fiscal year 2022 budget, sandhill cranes and preliminary elk season results.
DNR Public Land Strategy
MUCC testified last week before the House Natural Resources Committee supporting the DNR Public Land Strategy, which is awaiting final approval before the Michigan Legislature.
MUCC worked to provide comments to the DNR during their stakeholder feedback process and had several incorporated into the final draft.
HB 5358 sponsored by Rep. Howell (R-North Branch)
HB 5359 sponsored by Rep. Cherry (R-Flint)
HB 5360 sponsored by Rep. Martin (R-Davison)
This package of bills seeks to form a baseline for commercial guides in Michigan. MUCC worked on a similar package during the 2019-20 legislative session, and little changes have been made to that package of bills since. The organization has a 1997 policy resolution on the matter.
Compared to the inception of this proposed legislation in 2015, many changes have been made in reaction to stakeholder feedback and concerns, including removing the liability insurance requirements and lowering the license fees.
HB 4088 (H-1) sponsored by Rep. Borton (R-Gaylord): This bill has passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature and is awaiting approval or veto from Gov. Whitmer.
MUCC worked to ensure a substitute of this bill would better align with member-passed policies. Compared to the introduced bill, the substitute retains commission authority of the feeding of deer and elk and requires that the feed be within 300 feet of a residence, rather than 600.
This bill would not overturn the current ban on deer and elk feeding in the Lower Peninsula.
Wolf Management Advisory Council
The next Wolf Management Advisory Council meeting will be held at Gogebic Community College located at E4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, MI 49938. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Central Standard Time and an agenda for the day can be found here.
MUCC will not be live streaming the advisory council meeting.
The DNR is slated to present on factors limiting deer abundance in the Upper Peninsula. Council members will be reviewing certain sections of the 2015 Wolf Management Plan.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow has signed onto a bipartisan wildlife conservation bill, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, that would dedicate $1.4 billion annually to locally-led efforts to help at-risk wildlife species nationwide.
The bill, if passed, will send $27 million to the Department of Natural Resources which the agency will use to implement its wildlife action plan. Roughly 301 local species would benefit – including the Karner blue butterfly, lake sturgeon and common loon.
MUCC also recently provided comments at an Environmental Protection Agency listening session regarding the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. Comments included expressing the economic value of recreational fishing in Michigan being a staggering $2.3 billion and the importance for having strict ballast water regulations using the best available technology and data to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
MUCC is currently looking to hire our new AmeriCorps member for the 2021/2022 year. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for the position, please visit the Huron Pines website to learn more.
On Oct. 2, MUCC's On the Ground (OTG) program partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation and Camp Grayling staff to plant approximately 100 soft mast-producing trees throughout multiple openings within Camp Grayling. A group of 31 volunteers met at the DNR Field Office in Grayling before traveling as a group to the project sites located along County Road 612. The two species of crabapple that were planted will benefit wild turkey, ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer and an abundance of other wildlife species. Thank you to all of the volunteers that attended and made this event a success.
Volunteers are currently needed for a native wildflower planting at Petersburg State Game Area in Southeast Michigan this weekend. A free lunch and OTG t-shirt or coffee mug is given to every registered volunteer at each event. More details are provided below.
Please visit the OTG website at www.mucc.org/on-the-ground for updates about the program and details regarding all habitat events.
Wildflower Planting at Petersburg State Game Area with The Nature Conservancy – Saturday, October 9, 2021 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Join MUCC and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as we return to the Petersburg State Game Area to enhance native pollinator habitat. Volunteers are needed to help plant approximately 600 native blazing star plants within the Petersburg SGA. Blazing star is a host plant for the state imperiled blazing star borer moth, and this planting will benefit wildlife like wild turkey, songbirds and pollinators.
As fall seasons continue to get underway and your calendar gets filled, remember to take someone new afield or to the stream with you. Share your harvested protein with a friend or family member who might not get the opportunity to get out.
The pooches and I have various trips planned across both peninsulas and other states. I look forward to chasing the duck migration as it works its way south, and I know there will be a few ruffed grouse and woodcock waiting for me in my hometown coverts when my annual grouse camp kicks off in a couple of weeks.
I hope to see you in the woods or on the stream.
Yours in Conservation,
Nick Green, Editor