The Michigan DNR, or the Department of Natural Resources, says that 2015 was one of its busiest and most successful years.
From fighting invasive species and wildfires to enhancing outdoor recreation, the DNR points to seven successes that it’s most proud of from the past year.
1. Fighting invasive species
The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program awarded $3.6 million to projects around the state to fight invasive species, the DNR says. Two projects made good progress during the year: oak wilt mapping on private lands and a study on alternatives for controlling invasive aquatic plants.
2. Keeping invasive carp out
In 2015, the DNR, with various partners, kept up the fight to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. Efforts included stopping passage of the carp through the Chicago Area Waterway System and a summer removal project along the Illinois River.
3. Outdoor recreation trails
The DNR says it continued to make developments in the state’s recreation trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddling, skiing, snowmobiling, off-roading and exploring. One of the biggest developments was the naming of the state’s showcase trail, Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, which stretches from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula.
4. CWD battle
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was confirmed in Michigan, and DNR deer program managers say that surveillance and combat efforts have been successful. The DNR, local officials, hunters and landowners worked together to combat CWD, and a hunter-education campaign was launched to keep CWD-infected deer from Wisconsin out of Michigan.
5. Downtown Detroit Outdoor Adventures
Summer 2015 saw the opening of the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) in Detroit. The OAC is said to provide an indoor exploration of Michigan’s outdoors. Exhibits and activities include an interactive tree, various activity simulators, an indoor archery range, an aquarium and more.
6. Helping fight Western fires
The Michigan DNR sent 54 individuals to help fight wildfires in western states and a Canadian province in 2015. The firefighters aided efforts in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Manitoba.
7. New conservation officers
The DNR says another successful training academy concluded in June 2015 and that 35 officers were added to the department’s conversation officer ranks.