Arctic grayling reintroduction gets critical support from Oleson Foundation

Contact: Todd Grischke, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839
Agency: Natural Resources

June 13, 2018

eyed Arctic Grayling eggs Michigan’s historic effort to reintroduce Arctic grayling to the state’s waters will be supported by a $5,000 grant from the Oleson Foundation to the Department of Natural Resources. 

To develop Michigan’s broodstock – a group of mature fish used for breeding – the DNR plans to source wild Arctic grayling eggs from Alaska. However, a vital piece of equipment is needed first at Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County where the broodstock will be developed. Support from the Oleson Foundation will help the DNR acquire this urgently needed piece equipment that will ensure no invasive disease or virus is inadvertently introduced to Michigan’s waters.  

“The Oleson Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to support this incredible project,” said Kathy Huschke, executive director of the Oleson Foundation. “It’s an amazing opportunity to recapture what was lost from northern Michigan’s environment more than 80 years ago due to overfishing and clear-cutting of our forests. This is truly a legacy project for all of Michigan.”

The DNR’s Fisheries Division and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians lead Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative. More than 45 partners – including state and tribal governments, nonprofits, businesses and universities – support reintroducing Arctic grayling to its historical range.

Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter said the cost to reintroduce Arctic grayling is expected at around $1.1 million, with virtually all of that amount being supplied through private and foundation support. To date, nearly $425,000 has been raised for the initiative.

“A diverse group of partners has invested themselves toward attaining a shared goal, and that says something about the nature of this project,” said Dexter. “Michigan's Arctic Grayling Initiative serves as a template for future efforts that include a variety of stakeholders.”

Other contributions from foundations include support from the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City and the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. Plans are under way to recognize donors at Oden State Fish Hatchery.

“We encourage everyone to get involved so we can bring back this native fish,” said Huschke.  

The Oleson Foundation is a family foundation founded in Traverse City, Michigan, in 1962 to “help people help themselves.” The foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations in northwestern Michigan in all areas of grantmaking. They are very supportive of environmental work to preserve and steward the beautiful landscape that makes our area spectacular and unique.

For more information about Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative and answers to frequently asked questions, visit MiGrayling.org.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

IMG_4271: Research is a critical part of Michigan's Arctic Grayling Initiative, like the work being done with these eyed Arctic grayling eggs. (Photo courtesy Michigan State University.)

DSC_0237-1000px: Additional research is being done to determine how best to rear future Arctic grayling in Michigan's streams using remote site incubators, pictured here.