$1 Million Asian Carp Challenge

Fish On, photo by Terry Murphy

ABC News reports that the State of Michigan is turning to the public for new ideas and plans to offer a prize to whoever comes up with a way to stop the voracious Asian carp:

Michigan’s global search challenge comes after the U.S. government and others have spent hundreds of millions searching for a solution to stop the carp from entering the world’s largest freshwater system. If they aren’t stopped, officials fear the aggressive fish will crowd out prize native fish and hamper recreational boating in large sections of the lakes, which stretch from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in the west to New York and Pennsylvania in the east and from Ontario, Canada, in the north to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in the south.

“I think in the fight against Asian carp, there aren’t really any bad ideas,” said Molly Flanagan, vice president of policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “We have to try a bunch of different things.”

Michigan alone has a $38 billion tourism industry, much of it focused on the outdoors, and the Great Lakes region has a $7 billion fishing industry. Asian carp have been spotted 45 miles from Lake Michigan. If the fish make it into that lake, they could make their way into the other Great Lakes.

Details on how much prize money will be offered are still being worked out. Officials also haven’t determined how many winners might be chosen.

The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder allocated $1 million to develop the challenge. Most of the money will go toward a prize for an idea or ideas that are deemed feasible, Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Joanne Foreman said. The rest will be used to create the challenge, which includes working with InnoCentive, a crowdsourcing company that will host the event online. The campaign is expected to go live this summer.

If you have an idea, now’s the time to start working!

View Terry’s photo background big and see more in his Terry Murphy Portfolio Selects slideshow.

Against the Daylight

Some fish for fun others fish for food

Some fish for fun; While others fish for food, photo by Luther Roseman Dease, II

The term “contre-jour” is French for “against the daylight”, a photographic technique in which the camera is pointing directly toward a source of light.  In Shooting into the light: mastering the contre-jour technique, Jeremy Walker writes:

One of the first pieces of advice I was given was: ‘Don’t shoot into the light – always have the sun over your left shoulder.’ At the time I was young and naïve, and it seemed like good advice – but it wasn’t. In landscape photography you will often be looking for cross lighting to bring out the texture and character of the countryside. This is fine, but I would also advise trying your hand at contre-jour technique, or to put it more simply, shooting into the light. This technique creates a striking backlight behind your subject and will help to emphasise lines, shapes and silhouettes.

Read on for a bunch of tips and tricks.

View Luther’s photo bigger,  see more in his Contre-jour slideshow, and visit his website to view more work

Return of the Grayling to Michigan?

michigan-grayling

Michigan Grayling, photo courtesy Old Au Sable Fly Shop

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to bring back the Arctic grayling. Grayling were native to Michigan but are long vanished from our waters. Slate blue in color with a sail-like dorsal fin, they are of the salmon family and efforts will begin in the Manistee River watershed.

Regarding the grayling, the Old Au Sable Fly shop says in part:

According to William J. Mantague, “One spring the Grayling were running up the Hersey. We noted they had some difficulty passing an obstruction in the stream, so we placed a canoe crosswise at that point and caught over seven hundred one afternoon.”

The Grayling were eaten. They were packed in ice, loaded onto railway cars, and shipped by the thousands of tons per year to the larger metropolitan areas. In some instances, they were tossed on the banks and buried in mounds.

At the same time, the lumbermen came and cut down centuries-old growth of virgin white pine. The land leading to the rivers was stripped as well, slashed and burned, and the logs floated downstream to the large mills and cities during the spring run-off. The rivers were cleared of logs and debris, places were the Grayling flourished. Shallow riffles were trenched out and deepened, and dams were built so that the flow of the river could be better controlled. Vegetation on the banks of the rivers was cleared as well, and the river slowly filled with sand. The sand filled the deepest pools and covered the Grayling’s spawning beds. By 1885, the Grayling had disappeared from the AuSable River. And in a period of ten to twenty years, a land unrivaled for its fishing and beauty, became a barren wasteland of stumps and empty pools.

More about graylings at the Old Au Sable Fly Shop where you can pick up gear and learn about fish & fishing on Michigan’s most storied fishing river.

More fish & fishing on Michigan in Pictures!

Doing nothing about Asian carp probably isn’t going to work

Salmon Fishing on the Sable River Outlet

Salmon Fishing on the Sable River Outlet, Ludington Michigan, photo by Craig Sterken

Traverse City based AP Environmental Writer John Flesher is (for my money) one of the best reporting on Great Lakes issues. His latest piece Effort to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes appears stymied begins:

When scientists discovered six years ago that aggressive Asian carp had made their way up the Mississippi River’s tributaries toward the Chicago area, the Obama administration and alarmed state officials pledged swift action to head off an invasion they feared could devastate fishing and boating on the vital Great Lakes.

Since then, federal agencies have spent more than $300 million on stopgap measures, including placing electric barriers on one likely route, a shipping canal that leads to Lake Michigan. But as the carp get closer_some are within 80 miles of the lake— the quest for a surefire deterrent seems to be coming up empty.

An advisory panel that has debated solutions for several years is scheduled to hold what may be its final meeting Thursday, with no sign of a consensus plan, several members said in interviews.

Even if talks continue, chances are growing that the carp will arrive before anything conclusive is done to stop them. At their recent pace, the first young carp could reach Lake Michigan within two years, although a number of obstacles could slow them considerably.

“It’s one of the things that keep me up at night,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat whose state borders four of the five Great Lakes. “Asian carp could devastate our Great Lakes and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on them.”

…Environmental groups and the region’s fishing and boating industries, which generate $23 billion annually on the lakes, are most worried about two varieties of Asian carp: bighead and silver, which weigh dozens of pounds and gorge on the same tiny plant and animal life that feeds the lakes’ other fish. Scientists are still measuring their impact in rivers, but under worst-case scenarios, the large carp could leave popular sport fish to go hungry and suffer population drop-offs. Asian carp are edible but bony, and most Great Lakes fish connoisseurs regard them as a poor substitute for the walleye and whitefish.

Additionally, silver carp are notorious for springing from the water when startled, sometimes ramming boaters with bone-cracking force — a hazard that some fear could damage the Great Lakes’ tourism industry.

Read on for much more, and be sure to follow John on Twitter for more of the story. And please, make it clear to every elected official you interact with how important the health of the Great Lakes is to Michigan!

View Craig’s photo bigger, see lots more Great Lakes goodness in his slideshow and view & purchase photos from him on his website.(this one is in the Ludington collection)

More about the threat of Asian carp on Michigan in Pictures.

 

 

Michigan Wild & Scenic Rivers: Over the (Pine) River

HDRtist Pro Rendering - http://www.ohanaware.com/hdrtistpro/

Pine River Bridge Wellston, Michigan, photo by John Mickevich

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
~Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968

Michigan has 16 nationally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers, and one of these is the Pine River. The Pine River Management Plan says (in part):

Visitors to the Pine River Corridor continue to enjoy a variety of recreation experiences in natural appearing settings. Visitors may encounter both non-motorized and motorized recreation on land within the Pine River corridor (such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and auto touring) while only non-motorized recreation is encountered in the river channel. High quality commercial services are available for recreation activities, particularly for boating and fishing.

Watercraft use, particularly canoeing, is an important recreation activity on the Pine River. The river character provides watercraft users with a moderate challenge in practicing boating and water safety skills and a high degree of interaction with the natural environment.

…Fishing on the Pine River is another popular recreation activity. The Pine River is considered a “blue ribbon” trout fishery and many anglers take advantage of the early morning and evening hours and weekdays to fish with some degree of solitude.

Click to view it on a map!

View John’s photo background big and see more in his Manistee County slideshow.

More Michigan Wild & Scenic Rivers on Michigan in Pictures – safe travels everyone!

PS: Marilyn Wilkie shared that this is the Mortimer E Cooley Bridge on M-55. It’s a Metal Cantilever 12 Panel Rivet-Connected Pratt Deck Truss bridge built in 1935.

This salmon is going up. The salmon population in Lake Michigan is headed the other way!

EDITOR’S NOTE: It looked for a minute that we had another Turtlegate brewing and that this might not be a Chinook but a brown trout. Read more in the comments on Facebook.

Salmon up and over the dam

Up & Over……….., photo by Julie

The Detroit Free Press reports that the salmon population is plummeting in Lake Michigan. The article begins:

They are the king of the Great Lakes sport fish, luring thousands of anglers to Michigan waters every year for a chance to try to land them — and helping fuel a multibillion-dollar fishing and boating tourism industry.

But the Chinook salmon’s numbers are plummeting in Lake Michigan due to a combination of natural forces, unnatural invasive species, and the state Department of Natural Resources’ own efforts to dial back the population and prevent a more permanent population crash as happened in Lake Huron about a decade ago.

The salmon population on Lake Michigan is down 75% from its 2012 peak, said Randy Claramunt, a DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist based in Charlevoix.

A leading cause is a reduction in alewives, a silvery fish up to 10 inches long that is the salmon’s primary prey on the Great Lakes. The alewife population has been decimated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have changed the nutrient dynamics of the lakes.

Read on for more at the Freep.

View Julie’s photo of a salmon jumping up into the weir at Charlevoix bigger and see more in her Wildlife slideshow.

More about Chinook salmon and more fish on Michigan in Pictures.

Cooler Tour … Fishtown

Cooler Tour ... fishtown, dam view

Cooler Tour … fishtown, dam view by Ken Scott Photography

Ah, November in Michigan. The Fishtown Preservation Society explains:

Fishtown is a unique historical attraction composed of weather-beaten fishing shanties and small shops lining the mouth of the Leland River. The site has endured and adapted over the last 150 years as an ever-evolving working waterfront that still operates as one of the only unmodernized commercial fishing villages in the state of Michigan.

One of the most important characteristics of Fishtown is its core of historic shanties. Though only a few are still used for commercial fishing operations, most of the structures in Fishtown had their origins as commercial fishing buildings. These buildings served many purposes, including net-mending sheds, ice houses, smoke houses, and storage. Though processes like ice-making are now mechanized in a commercial fishery, running a fishery still requires extensive space for equipment storage and net repairs.

Many buildings have come and gone from the Fishtown landscape with the changing fortunes of the industry, yet Fishtown survives as a rare working waterfront and an authentic and active commercial fishing village.

Head over to fishtownmi.org for more.

Click to see Ken’s photo bigger, check out his Cooler Tour photos and be sure to follow him at Ken Scott Photography on Facebook.