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Michigan Takes Initial Steps to Revive Grayling Populations

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Arctic grayling is a fish native to Michigan waters.

Only, the species hasn’t been seen in state streams for more than a century.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, has proposed an initiative to bring back the Arctic grayling.

“For this Arctic grayling initiative to work, we will seek to rely heavily on partnerships and collaboration from across the state,” says DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Over the next several years we will be taking methodical steps to move toward reintroduction of this historically and culturally significant species.”

The proposed initiative in the DNR’s 2017 Inland Trout Management Plan, which currently is being drafted, looks to establish self-sustaining populations of Arctic grayling throughout its historical range.

The fish is slate blue in color with a sail-like dorsal fin. The fish is native only to Michigan and Montana in the continental United States, says the DNR.

The native population of the species died off because of logging efforts in the 1800s, over-fishing and general habitat destruction.

The DNR says the process of reintroducing the fish to Michigan waters will include identifying interest and abilities of the partners, collecting baseline data, initiating the building of broodstock and stocking efforts.

The first area targeted for reintroduction? The Manistee River watershed, which was once known as a premier grayling river.

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Michigan Takes Initial Steps to Revive Grayling Populations