January NRC: No commission orders up for consideration, several land transactions likely

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will kick off 2022 with a light agenda and no commission orders up for consideration.

Commissioners will meet at the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13. All NRC meetings are open to the public, and masks are required for all individuals entering MSU facilities.

At the December meeting, commissioners passed a pair of fisheries orders regarding walleye and steelhead — Fisheries Order 200.22 and 206.22. 

FO 200.22, as amended by commissioner Dave Nyberg, lowers the steelhead bag limit from three to one on select Michigan streams from March 15 through May 15. FO 206.22, as amended by commissioner Dave Coazad, opens up year-round fishing for walleye on the lower Saginaw River from Center Road down to the mouth.

The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) Fisheries Committee sent letters of concern regarding both amendments; however, the organization has no formal policy on either matter.

MUCC has heard concerns regarding passage of the recent fisheries orders, specifically the steelhead order, in recent weeks, said Nick Green, MUCC public information officer.

“MUCC feels strongly that communicating and breaking down regulation changes and the science behind those changes is the responsibility of all of us — stakeholders, conservationists, agencies, public bodies — in the conservation arena,” Green said. “Our hope is that the commission and department will work diligently to continue to communicate the reasons and science behind this regulation as we near the season.”

While there are no NRC orders up for discussion, there will be several updates related to wildlife, roads and trails from the DNR director. 

Director’s Report

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dan Eichinger’s report will feature several presentations:

  • DNR Law Enforcement Chief Gary Haggler will present the American Legion Award to conservation officer Jeff Ginn.
  • DNR Wildlife Division Chief Jared Duquette will brief the commission on the division’s 2022 schedule and what orders will be coming in front of commissioners.
  • Mark Monroe, from DNR Forest Resources Division, will provide a forest road inventory update. The director will consider an order regarding the matter.
  • DNR Deer and Elk Specialist Chad Stewart will provide a report from the 2021 elk hunting season.

Director’s Orders and Land Transactions

Of note, the director will consider the department’s acquisition of a 102.605-mile recreational trail easement in Baraga and Marquette counties for snowmobilers. In total, the purchase would cost about $1.8 million and would be funded through the Michigan Permanent Snowmobile Easement Fund.

Acquisition of this easement falls in line with why the easement fund was created, and MUCC supports this acquisition.

The rest of the orders and land transactions up for the director’s consideration can be found on the agenda.

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