Unlocking the Mysteries of Saginaw Bay Fish, Funding a Huron Coastal Preserve and Upgrading a Kawkawlin River Park

For Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

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1 – The mysteries of fish movement in Saginaw Bay will be examined in a new research project.

The work will give scientists a better idea of the health of Saginaw Bay’s fishery, with a focus on sturgeon and walleye.  

An array of 45 monitors will track sturgeon tagged with transmitters so researchers can learn more about the life cycle, habitat requirements and spawning locations of the fish.

Proposed Lake Huron Acoustic Monitoring Network. Credit: Saginaw Bay WIN

Sturgeon will be implanted with transmitters and released into the Cass, Flint, Shiawassee and Tittabawassee rivers so researchers can track them as they pass receivers located in the rivers and Saginaw Bay. 

Little is known about where stocked sturgeon spend their time. Organizers with the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network in Bay City say new information from the research will help guide the future of a multi-year restoration program.

A juvenile sturgeon prior to tagging. Credit: Saginaw Bay WIN

The Saginaw Bay project is part of a larger effort by the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System, also known as GLATOS

The array across the bay also will track walleye movement beginning in 2022, with help from charter fishing captains and recreational anglers.

2 – A total of $1.7 million has been approved for a Lake Huron Coastal Preserve. 

Earlier this month, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund recommended the grant go to Alabaster Township. 

The $1.7 million would allow the township to purchase a 145-acre property in southern Iosco County for permanent protection and public use.

The nonprofit Huron Pines bought the property in 2020 as a temporary measure with a loan from The Conservation Fund. The township plans to use the Trust Fund grant to purchase the property from Huron Pines to create a lakeshore township nature park. 

The Trust Fund money comes from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned minerals (primarily oil and gas). 

The next step is for funds to be appropriated by the Michigan Legislature in the spring. The goal is to transfer the property from Huron Pines to Alabaster Township by the end of 2022. The property is open to the public for hiking and exploring. 

3 – A smaller Trust Fund grant also is recommended for a Kawkawlin River Access Project in Bay County’s Monitor Township.

Steih Park. Credit: Monitor Township

The $269,400 grant would be added to more than $180,000 already raised to improve access, increase fishing opportunities and make other upgrades at Steih Park along the river’s main branch. 

That would include a kayak/canoe launch, riverbank stabilization measures, a parking area, fishing access points, a pavilion and benches. 

Via Monitor Township

Local officials say public access to the river is severely limited. The Kawkawlin covers 14 townships across four counties, but Steih Park is the only functional access public point, according to The Conservation Fund in Bay City

Improvements at the site are anticipated to occur in 2023.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Public Radio 90.1 FM (listen). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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