Michigan’s Arctic grayling reintroduction supported by grant

Michigan’s historic effort to reintroduce Arctic grayling to the state’s waters will be supported by a grant of $11,000 from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation to the Michigan DNR’s Fisheries Division.

Arctic grayling thrived in northern Michigan’s cold-water streams until the onset of the 20th century. Fishermen and wildlife enthusiasts visited destinations such as the Au Sable River to see this beautiful fish. But by the 1930s, three factors contributed to their demise: habitat destruction from logging, overfishing and competition with introduced trout species. The local extinction of this wild, native fish was a tragic loss for Michigan.

“We are honored to receive this grant from the Community Foundation,” said DNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter. “The grayling reintroduction is a tremendous collaborative effort and there simply is no way we can bring this iconic fish back to Michigan without the generous contributions of others.”

“Our donors and review committee are extremely interested and supportive of this project,” said Sarah Ford, community and donor engagement officer with the foundation. “In fact, thanks to the generous support of individual donors who maintain funds with us, we were able to award $1,000 more than the $10,000 that was requested. They felt the project was important to support a legacy project for our region and Michigan.”

The DNR Fisheries Division and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians lead Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative. More than 45 organizations are supporting the landmark project. In addition to the DNR and Little River Band, project funders have included the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Rotary Charities of Traverse City and a private donor. A total of $418,175 has been secured for the project, which has an estimated cost of $1.1 million.

Funding will be used to support steps followed by the state of Montana, where fisheries biologists have been working to restore self-sustaining populations of Arctic grayling for nearly 30 years. Currently, fisheries biologists in Michigan, Montana and Alaska are collaborating on the initiative.

For more information about Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit migrayling.org.