State budget provides $34M for fish hatchery upgrades, new research vessel

Great Lakes survey vessel
Great Lakes survey vessel(Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) - The state budget is providing $34 million for fish hatchery infrastructure and maintenance as well as replacing an outdated Great lakes survey vessel.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says this will help support and understand the state’s world class fisheries.

“Michigan’s fish and aquatic habitats are among our state’s greatest natural, recreational and economic assets, and we must continue working together to protect them for future generations,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Together with the historic, $450 million investments in our parks and public lands under the Building Michigan Together Plan I signed earlier this year, our bipartisan budget represents a once-in-a-generation investment that will help us continue safeguarding our most precious natural resources.”

The DNR has operated fish hatcheries to produce fish for stocking lakes and streams across Michigan for more than 120 years.

To date, there are six hatchery facilities in Alanson, Beulah, Harrietta, Manistique, Marquette, and Mattawan. These facilities are vital to managing and maintaining the state’s fisheries, the DNR said.

With the $30 million investment, the DNR will upgrade production water supplies, replace roofs, upgrade outdated electrical distribution systems, repair and replace deteriorating asphalt, upgrade water aeration systems, replace outdated backup power generators, and provide biosecurity enhancements that protect fish health.

“Upgrading electrical distribution systems, replacing outdated backup power supplies and improving water supplies would all reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fish loss and increase our ability to manage disease issues,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Overall, this investment will improve rearing conditions, which will translate into more consistent fish production levels and high-quality fish.”

The DNR is also replacing a survey vessel Steelhead which has been in operation for 54 years with the remaining $4 million. The vessel helps conduct research and complete surveys of the Great Lakes. The data collected helps make management decisions, provides assessment capabilities for Tribal Consent Decree management, and supports aquatic invasive species surveillance.