Written by Charlie Booher, MUCC Policy Intern
The Natural Resources Commission will meet on Thursday, Dec.12 at the Pepsi Stadium Club of Fifth Third Ballpark (4500 West River Road, NE Comstock Park, MI 49321). If you are unable to attend in person, check out the MUCC Facebook page for live streaming! A full agenda for the day can be found here.
Thursday’s meetings will start at 10:30 a.m. with the NRC Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries. This month’s agenda includes an update from the chiefs of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) fisheries and wildlife divisions. MDNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter is slated to update the committee on updated sportfishing regulations and MDNR Interim Wildlife Chief Rex Ainslie will present on preliminary results from the firearm deer season.
At 12:30 p.m., the NRC Committee of the Whole will convene. As usual, the Commission will receive an update from MDNR Director Dan Eichinger on the state of the agency. This month’s update will include the presentation of the Thomas L. Washington Award for Lifetime Commitment to Conservation and Outdoor Recreation. Director Eichinger will also brief the commission on a new Parks and Recreation Division Land Use Order regarding the management of state forest campgrounds. MDNR Legislative Liaison Craig Brunet will also provide an update.
Before moving to business, the NRC will host public appearances. Those wishing to speak must submit notice to the clerk prior to the meeting.
Commissioners will receive information on an order regarding statewide trout, salmon, whitefish, cisco, grayling, and smelt regulations. This order has been debated at previous commission meetings regarding brook trout limits on Upper Peninsula inland streams.
A regulation that increased the bag limit from five to 10 for brook trout on certain U.P. streams sunsetted on Oct. 1. The commission reinstated the rule at their November meeting by a narrow margin. MUCC is opposed to the regulation; the best available science suggests that it will likely decrease brook trout populations over time and have a negative impact on the species and their sizes.
The commission will vote on open and closed hunting areas within the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. This tract of public land is located adjacent to the Barry State Game Area and will provide ample opportunities for public hunting in the southwest part of the state.
There are a number of items up for action by the director at this meeting, including an update on an October oil and gas lease auction, a short amendment to an order on target shooting at the Lapeer State Game Area and the establishment of a private land disease management deer hunt in Alpena county.
There are also a number of land acquisitions and sales up for approval at this meeting which can be viewed on the agenda.