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

Arctic Grayling

Northern Michigan University, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has received a Consumers Energy Foundation grant of $70,000 to support efforts to bring back the Arctic grayling 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 streams. Remote site incubator designs successfully used to rear eggs in Montana streams work well there, but their successful operation is less certain in Michigan streams. This project will evaluate alternative approaches to the RSI design in lab and stream environments to determine which will be most efficient and reliable for Michigan's stream environments. .

"This is the second contribution we have received from the Consumers Energy Foundation since we started our initiative to bring Arctic grayling back to Michigan," said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. "With their partnership we are able to get closer to meeting our goals and seeing success."

"Consumers Energy has been serving Michigan communities for 135 years, and we're committed to supporting organizations that strengthen environmental stewardship and work to preserve and protect our state's amazing natural resources," said Carolyn Bloodworth, Consumers Energy Foundation secretary/treasurer. "We're proud to partner with other Michigan organizations to bring native Arctic grayling back to their home waters."

"Northern Michigan University is looking forward to collaborating on this project with the Michigan DNR," said NMU assistant professor Brandon Gerig. "It's exciting that the data generated from this project will directly inform Arctic grayling restoration efforts in Michigan." 

The Arctic grayling is an iconic and treasured part of Michigan's history and was the only abundant stream salmonid (fish in the salmon family) in the Lower Peninsula. It has not been present in Michigan since the 1930s.

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 40 partners collaborating on the reintroduction. Members of Michigan's Arctic Grayling Initiative meet to identify knowledge gaps and to discuss management and stocking strategies and public outreach.

The information collected through this partner-supported project will guide management agencies in identifying the most effective and efficient approaches for stream-based reintroductions of Arctic grayling in Michigan. The Consumers Energy Foundation previously supported partner efforts to develop a system for rating select stream habitats where Arctic grayling are being considered for reintroduction. The report describing this effort can be found on the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative website. 

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

Contact: Todd Grischke, 517-388-7664 or Sierra Williams, 517-230-8788