New Project Benefits Fish And Wildlife Consumers

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

February 16, 2005

Citizens will be able to make healthier fish and wildlife consumption choices due to a new project released by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). This project is named the “Promoting Healthy Choices of Fish and Wildlife Consumption from the Saginaw, Shiawassee, and Tittabawasee Rivers”.

“Residents of Tittabawasee, Shiawassee and Saginaw Rivers interested in gaming will be educated on how to do so without concern of putting their health at risk,” said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. “The project will educate and inform people on where to find fish and wildlife that are considered low in chemical contamination and how to avoid those that are not.”

Although a wide range of populations within the general public will benefit from this project, the primary goal is to educate individuals that are regular consumers of fish and wildlife in or near the Tittabawasee, Shiawassee, or Saginaw Rivers.

Another objective in conjunction with this project is to identify the choices made by local fish and wildlife harvesters in that area. This is an expansion upon the Michigan Family Fish Consumption Guide, which has resource support from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.

MDCH is cooperating with local organizations in the target location to assess the educational needs of the population at risk of consuming tainted fish and wildlife. Focus groups are being formed in order to evaluate the new educational materials before full dissemination into the community. Anyone with questions or an interest in volunteering for the project should contact Kory Groetsch, project coordinator, at (517) 335-9935 or groetschk@michigan.gov.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided funding of grants of up to $2,000 for local non-profit organizations interested in projects helping underserved populations. Projects would be required to provide healthy fish and wildlife consumption education and can include the purchase of educational materials, fishing equipment or other materials and funds for educational sessions. Any non-profit organization that has questions or is interested in applying for funding should contact Susan Manente at (517) 335-9003 or manentes@michigan.gov.