January 2020

Letters to the Editor

BotEco plan offers variety for community
To the editor,
Your December issue included a letter to the editor addressing reuse of the Ore Dock at Marquette’s Lower Harbor. Mr. Furlane proposes a very good idea of adding urban farming to Marquette’s agricultural landscape.
He addressed a non-profit that I volunteer for, Friends of Ore Dock BotEco Center (BotEco). While BotEco plans include gardens, the center will encompass other project scopes as well. We plan to have an ecological education center, year-round botanical gardens, historical education and preservation, as well as community spaces for events and for just hanging out at Lake Superior. Though students and employees of NMU are providing their time and skills – some as grant-paid students, most as volunteers – to help make BotEco a reality, the Center is not affiliated with NMU.
We aim for a center that can educate the community on Great Lakes ecology through disseminating information from research labs around the Great Lakes to visitors at BotEco in a fun and interactive manner. The more we learn, the more we can protect our lakes.
BotEco’s year-round botanical gardens will be in a climate-controlled space so we can have a place to escape the snow and learn about plants, including flowers. Potential garden displays are, but not limited to, the following: Sister City garden displays, so we can learn more about our Sister Cities; Gardens of the UP; as well as memorial gardens, e.g. for those who lost their lives on Lake Superior. Spaces like the Domes at Mitchell Park in Milwaukee are where we look for insight. We want to have an engaging regional center. That way people in the UP can come to Marquette for an impactful botanical garden experience.
Historic Preservation and Education is one of our core pillars. I can visualize an image of an ore boat coming to load up, displayed on the side of the Dock. While other area museums present the history of mining, we will augment that by concentrating on how the hand-off of ore from the trains to the boats occurred and how that shaped our communities. This is a great way to nurture some of our cultural roots through educating our youth from this industrial standpoint that so influenced and touched lives throughout this locality. Any repairs or renovations that are made will be mindful of the historic significance of the dock. BotEco will be a resource for historical research where students can come for information and inspiration, collaborating with other wonderful nearby sources of history education.
I do not want to discount the idea of urban farming; this agricultural trend is a great business model for independent farmers, providing more local food to local consumers. BotEco will certainly implement gardens as part of our ecological education, and gardens will enhance community events such as festivals and gatherings. Having a hands-on space where we can get our green thumb on is at the core of what we are looking to do, however, just like the gargantuan steel and concrete dock, we need this space to be larger and far reaching. It will touch our community for generations to come, as well as communities around the Great Lakes.
Andrew J Laken, Gwinn

News, Events & Announcements

Beginning farming classes offered
People who are exploring new farm businesses will benefit from participating in the MSU Extension 2020 Beginning Farmer Webinar Series. From January to April 2020, MSU Extension will offer 13 on-line, Wednesday evening programs that provide valuable start-up information on general and more specific farming topics. A fee of $5 per webinar is required, or you can register for the entire series for $32.50. Webinar recordings will be provided to all registered participants. Participate from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Registration, a brochure containing details on each individual program, and on-line or mailed payment options can be found at If you experience any problems with registration, please contact us (information below). You may register for all or some of the courses at any time, even if the session has already taken place. In that case, you will get a link to the recorded program. Each one-hour, Wednesday night webinar begins at 7pm eastern time. A high-speed internet connection is required. You will receive webinar connection information after you register. Several archived recordings of MSU Extension Beginning Farmer Webinars on a variety of topics from previous years are available for viewing at Contact the Alger County MSU Extension office at 906-387-2530 or for more information.

UP in critical need of O- and B- blood types
The UP Regional Blood Center is currently experiencing a critical need for O negative and B negative blood types. The UP Regional Blood Center has collection sites in Marquette, Hancock, Escanaba, Sault Ste. Marie and is the primary supplier of blood to 13 UP hospitals. Please see our website at for center details and blood drive locations. Currently, the Marquette center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Walk-ins Welcome. Give the gift of life this holiday season. Donate Blood.

“Preserving the Roots” performances Jan. 15
The old time string band, All Strings Considered, and Friends, will present a program on Preserving the Roots – Early Rural Gospel Music for the opening Hiawatha Music Co-op HoTAAP (Traditional Acoustic Art Performance) concert on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 6-8 pm at the Ore Dock Brewing Company Community Space in Marquette. Rural gospel music has a significant history as a genre within traditional and folk music. This Preserving the Roots program will involve historical photos, early field recordings and live music by All Strings Considered with Bill Hart, John Gillette & Sarah Mittlefehldt, and Jim Janofsky. Come learn about Sacred Harp/Southern Harmony shape-note singing, lined out hymns of the Primitive Baptists, early country gospel and more. The evening will be topped off by performance of live music in a Grand Ole Opry format. Singing along will be encouraged. Admission is $5 for Hiawatha Music Co-op Members, $7 for non-members, $3 for youth 13-17 and free to those 12 and under. Complimentary snacks will be provided. For additional information contact the Co-op at 906-226-8575 or via email at

Jim Koski & Jack Deo take on North vs. South Marquette
On Thursday, January 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette,
the public is invited to join Jim and Jack as they go back in time to see photos and hear stories about South Marquette and North Marquette. Some say it was a rivalry that may have caused a scuffle or two. Many do not agree where the official boundary lies. Everyone agrees these neighborhoods were about family and friends and a sense of community. See photographs from the Superior View and Longyear Library collections. This is a fundraiser for the Marquette Regional History Center. The prices are $15 for first floor seating, $20 for balcony seating in advance; or $20 for first floor seating and $25 for balcony seating at the door. Tickets are on sale now. Visit or call 906.226.3571 for more information.

UPAWS’ park now open
The Upper Peninsula Animal Shelter’s Paws Park, the U.P.’s first year-round dog park is now open! The park, completely fenced in with 8-foot fencing, offers two separate entrances just 15’ apart to separate small dogs under 25 lbs from larger dogs. Waste dispensers and trash receptacles have been located throughout the park. This is designed to help your pet socialize and exercise safely. Both the small and large dog runs offer a water spigot; for extra health safety please bring your own collapsible/portable water dish with you for your dog. You may find a registration packet on UPAWS’ website at: You must purchase a permit to use UPAWS Dog Park. Proof of current vaccinations is required to purchase a permit. Memberships are now available at UPAWS during regular business hours. To purchase a membership, please fill out this registration packet and attach a copy of vaccination records for each dog being registered.  You can also have your veterinarian fax your vaccination record directly to UPAWS at (906) 475-6669.  (Annual Permits: $35 for individual/dog; $50 family/household up to 4 dogs. Seasonal—Nov-Apr, inclusive—$20 individual/dog; $35 family/household up to 4 dogs. Dog Park Hours: Winter, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Summer, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm)  You are legally and financially responsible for your dog’s actions and any harm it causes to others.  See Dog Incident Policy. If you have any questions or need to report an incident please e-mail For more information, please visit, stop by the shelter at 815 South State Highway M553 in Gwinn, or call us at (906) 475-6661. You’re always invited to visit the shelter, 7 days/week from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm, Thursdays until 6:30 pm. Thanks to our wonderful community for your continued support! The first 50 people to sign up for a membership at Paws Park will be eligible to earn a second year-long membership for free.

League of Women Voters to hold membership meeting
The League of Women Voters of Marquette County will hold its next membership meeting on Wednesday, January 15 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Location is Studio 1 in the lower level of Peter White Public Library. All are welcome to attend. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information send an email to or call 225-9103.

Women in Entrepreneurship event rescheduled 
Hosted by Innovate Marquette SmartZone, Women in Entrepreneurship: A Panel Discussion will take place on Thursday, January 16th from 6-8pm at Barrel + Beam. Participants are invited to hear from our artistic panel of local female entrepreneurs discussing the challenges they face by being a woman in entrepreneurship, ways they have overcome these challenges, and how they have paved the way for other women in the community. The evening is moderated by Ruth A Solinski of RTI Surgical and the featured panelists are Beth Millner of Beth Millner Jewelry, Sarah Lindholm Ruuska of Lutey’s Flower Shop, Michele Dupras of Revisions and Carrie Clevidence Pearson, children’s book author and consultant. The event is free and open to the public. A beer tasting by the experts at Barrel + Beam and food is included from Café Bodega. RSVP highly recommended, as our last event was at full capacity. To RSVP and find more information, visit their Facebook page: Women In Entrepreneurship.

Passport Parking App is now available in Marquette
Say hello to more convenient parking with the Passport Parking App, now available in Downtown Marquette. The Marquette DDA has partnered with Passport Parking to bring pay by phone parking to Downtown Marquette. Currently, Passport Parking is available at metered parking spaces on West Washington Street, as well as at the pay stations at the lower level of the Bluff Street ramp and North Main Street lot. Pay by Phone will be rolling out across the all of the metered parking spaces and pay stations in Downtown Marquette over the next month.
How does it work? It’s easy! Smart phone users can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store and create an account with their mobile phone number or email address. Park anywhere you see Passport Parking app signs and decals, then use the zone and meter number on the sign to pay for your parking session and small convenience fee from your phone. Pay, extend, and manage your parking session with just a few taps. What are the Benefits? No coins, no problem: Pay quickly and securely with your phone.  Forget refilling the meter in the rain or braving the cold. Get alerts when your parking session is about to end and instantly see how much time is left on the meter. Running late? Add time to your parking session directly from your phone, where parking regulations allow. Receive email receipts at the end of your parking session and manage your parking history through the mobile app.   Visitors to downtown need not worry if they don’t use a smart phone; they will still be able to pay directly at the meter and pay stations using coins or credit cards, just as before. “We’re excited to be able to add an additional and convenient way for visitors to pay for parking in Downtown Marquette,” stated Sarah Trumbley, Marquette Downtown Development Authority Operations Manager. “This makes tracking parking expenses and saving receipts a breeze. No more searching for spare change and fighting the weather while paying for parking.” For more information, contact the Marquette Downtown Development Authority office at (906) 228-9475.

Finnish American Heritage Center to host Finnish fiddling workshops
The Community Pelimannit, a series of six Finnish fiddling workshops, will be held January 6 to 23, hosted by Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center. The Community Pelimannit (“fiddlers” in Finnish) offers the opportunity to experience the rich Finnish musical heritage of the Upper Peninsula by providing quality fiddle instruction in a fun, supportive group learning environment.  Classes are open to the community, and to all levels of playing experience.  Participants will learn a variety of Finnish fiddle tunes, develop their fiddling technique, and experience the satisfaction of making music with others. Fiddlers of any age are welcome; multi-generational participation is encouraged.  This is a great activity for parents and kids to do together. The group will meet twice weekly for three weeks in January, leading up to Heikinpaiva. Beginner sessions are from 5 to 6 p.m.  Intermediate/advanced sessions are from 6 to 7 p.m.  Workshops are held at the Finnish American Heritage Center. Registration is $40 per parti-cipant. The workshops culminate with an optional performance at Heikinpaiva, Saturday, January 25. (Time TBD.) The Community Pelimannit is led by U.P. musician Carrie Dlutkowski, an experienced teacher and performer of many different styles of fiddle music.  She looks forward to helping other fiddlers experience the vibrant traditions of Finnish music that are both deep-rooted and current in our area. For more information, or to register, visit

Speaker to talk about women’s suffrage, 19th amendment
The League of Women Voters will feature a talk by Priscilla Burnham, the League of Women Voters vice president and director of Voter Services, on Wednesday, January 29th from 5 to 7 p.m., with the talk taking place at 5:30 p.m. Her talk, A Brief But Spectacular History of Women’s Suffrage in America, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the founding of the national League of Women Voters. The LWV of Marquette County presents this ‘living history project’ to chronicle the long, tumultuous, but ultimately successful struggle to win full suffrage for the women of America, culminating in the passage of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago. The story of the battle for women’s right to vote will be told through the voices, the writings, the images and events that marked this gripping, polarizing time in America’s history. At this event also enjoy time to chat with curator Jo Wittler about the exhibit. $5 suggested donation.

SHF now accepting health-centered grant applications
The Superior Health Foundation is now accepting large grant applications for its spring 2020 funding cycle. SHF will award more than $90,000 in large grants during the spring cycle. Eligibility information and on-line application forms are available on the SHF’s website at  Applications will be accepted from Dec. 15 through January 15, 2020. The Superior Health Foundation’s Grants Committee will review the applications and will make its recommendations to the SHF Board of Directors at its March board meeting. In October, the Superior Health Foundation awarded more than $500,000 in large grants, with $400,000 in funding to address non-emergent medical transportation. Since its inception in 2012, the SHF has awarded more than $2.7 million in grant funding. “We’re blessed to provide health-centered funding to many deserving causes all across the Upper Peninsula,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “We strongly encourage health-centered organizations to submit proposals, which will be carefully reviewed and acted upon by the SHF Grants Committee.” SHF’s mission is to assist with unmet healthcare needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health throughout the Upper Peninsula. Its vision is to improve the health of the residents of the Upper Peninsula. For more information, contact the SHF at 906-225-6914 or email

Caregiver Community to hold meeting
An informal group open to the public for caregivers and their loved ones will meet and share their experiences, ideas, socialize and learn. Anyone is welcome to attend. The group will meet on Wednesday, January 8th at 2pm at the Big Boy Restaurant conference room in Marquette, MI. Jake Bilodeau will present on the topic of Caregiver Burnout. There will be a different topic each month to discuss and learn about. The group will meet on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Coffee and dessert will be provided. Any questions call Tonya 906-225-7760.

Thin Mint Snowshoe Shuffle event
The Michigan Iron Industry Museum and local Girl Scouts invite the community to an afternoon family event of snowshoeing and learning about local mining history. Snowshoe at your own pace along the museum’s 1/3-mile Geology Trail or with a trail mentor enjoying the wooded views and the interpretive signs that illustrate the Carp River Forge. Along with snowshoeing, warm up and explore more with an indoor museum scavenger hunt. Snacks, prizes and patches provided. Bring your own, or snowshoes will be provided by Wilderness Sports. The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is located at 73 Forge Road, Negaunee. Event is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 1st. Drop in anytime. Pre-register at For more information contact Donations accepted to support local Girl Scouts.
Fifth graders can enter police poster contest
There are currently more than 800 missing children in Michigan. While many children return home, some unfortunately do not. To raise awareness, the Michigan State Police (MSP) Missing Persons Clearinghouse invites fifth grade students to participate in the 2020 National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest. The annual contest creates an opportunity to promote child safety while discussing the issue of missing and/or exploited children. Michigan’s winning artist will have a chance to compete in the national contest, which includes a free trip to Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to have their artwork featured as the National Missing Children’s Day poster. The application and contest rules can be found online at the Michigan State Police website; choose the Media Center tab. Submissions are due by January 31, 2020.

Savings accounts to be implemented at Marquette schools
In December the Education Foundation for Marquette Public Schools, Marquette Area Public Schools, and financial partners Range Bank and Incredible Bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to support the 1st to FINISH Child Savings Accounts (CSA) program. The program is a universal, automatic, long-term savings account for Marquette Area Public Schools students beginning in first grade. These CSAs will begin with an initial deposit by a local fiscal partner and allow for student, family and friend contributions to grow the account. 1st to FINISH CSAs will be eligible for withdrawal by the graduated student to support tuition, fees, books, program expenses, start up costs, equipment and more. A release from the foundation stated, “1st to FINISH CSA program will greatly benefit our community as it is proven that CSAs improve mental health, attendance, post-secondary completion, and the financial capability of families.” Meetings with first grade families will begin January 2020. The Education Foundation for Marquette Public School exists to acquire and distribute financial and other resources to the Marquette Area Public Schools for unique programs and activities that supplement and enhance the quality of education and provide students with extended learning opportunities. Contributions can be sent to MAPS Ed Foundation at 1201 W. Fair Ave, MI 49855.

Annual snowshoe hike at Black Creek Nature Sanctuary
The public is invited to join stewards Peter and Jill Pietila on Saturday, January 11th at 1 p.m. for a 3.5 mile hike through a varied dune and forest landscape to a lovely lagoon and a dramatic opening onto Lake Superior. Meet at the parking area at the trailhead along Sedar Bay Road. Participants are invited to the Pietila home nearby for warming refreshments afterwards. Dress for the weather and bring water, snacks, and snowshoes and poles.  Be sure to call Peter and Jill at 906-337-2144 for an update in case of inclement weather. Getting there:  From US-41 on the north end of Calumet, turn west onto M-203, and travel about 1.25 miles to Tamarack Waterworks Road and turn right. Travel 2.5 miles on Tamarack Waterworks Road to Sedar Bay Road and turn right again. Follow Sedar Bay Road approximately 2.5 miles until reaching the Black Creek trailhead sign on the right, about 0.2 miles from the end of the public road.

North Country Trail Hikers meeting to be held
The North Country Trail Hikers January General Membership Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday January 7 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Peter White Public Library. Chris Kovala, Environmental Coordinator, Forest Service, Ottawa National Forest, Kenton Ranger District, will do a presentation on the use of mules from Wyoming last fall (2018) in The McCormick Wilderness to help with repair of the White Deer Lake Trail. Afterwards, the NCT Hikers Chapter will present the 2019 NCTA Chapter Honor Awards to local members whose loyalty, commitment and hard work to the local chapter’s chosen activities. All volunteers from 2019 will be honored, those who helped maintain the Trail as well as those who helped promote the Trail though outreach events, serving on the chapter Board of Directors, and more. Everyone is welcome. Come learn about the North Country National Scenic Trail as it traverses the central U.P. Contact or 906-226-6210 for more information.

Eagle Mine announces organizational changes
Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining, announced today that Kristen Mariuzza, Managing Director, has accepted the position of Vice President – Environment & Social Performance for Lundin Mining effective January 1, 2020. After more than two successful years as Managing Director for Eagle Mine operations, Mariuzza will lead Environment and Social Performance functions for Lundin Mining. She will bring her recent experience from operations and previous roles in environment, safety, and permitting. Mariuzza has been with Eagle since 2010, first with Rio Tinto and subsequently Lundin Mining. Before Eagle, she worked in both consulting and as a Senior Environmental Engineer with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Mariuzza is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University. “Over the past two years, it has been an absolute privilege to lead the team at Eagle Mine as managing director,” said Mariuzza. “I’m excited to get back into the environmental field and look forward to continuing my work with Eagle from a different perspective. It is an opportunity to take the learnings, successes, and challenges I have experienced at Eagle and apply them on a broader scale at other Lundin Mining operations.” Eagle Mine officials further announced that Darby Stacey has accepted an offer to return to Eagle Mine in the position of Managing Director effective March 1, 2020. Stacey previously held the position of Mill Manager at Eagle Mine and will be returning to the Upper Peninsula with his family. Stacey is currently working as a consultant, and before his time at Eagle Mine, he worked with Rio Tinto at Resolution Copper and Greens Creek Mine. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering from Montana Tech. “Eagle is fortunate to have Darby re-join the Eagle team, and I have no doubt he will be a driving force, along with the rest of the management team, to continue operating Eagle as a safe, sustainable, and successful operation,” said Mariuzza. During the period of transition, Jeff Murray, Mine Manager at Eagle Mine, has agreed to assume the role of interim Managing Director, assuring continuity in operations at Eagle Mine.

IncredibleBank leads sponsorship of CopperDog sled races
IncredibleBank, with a branch location in Calumet, announced today their 11th consecutive year of being the Lead Sponsor for the CopperDog 150 and CopperDog 80 Dog Sled Races. The races are scheduled for February 29 to March 1, 2020 in Calumet’s historic downtown. In addition to the bank’s $10,000 donation to the race purse, IncredibleBank will also host a veterinary check-in, musher registration, and a light breakfast on Friday, February 28th.  Jamie Thyrion, Calumet Market Manager for IncredibleBank and a Resource Coordinator for the race’s planning committee, said, “At IncredibleBank, we are committed to the communities we serve, and Calumet is no exception. To ensure that the CopperDog race is a success, it takes financial contributions and a commitment to volunteerism, and IncredibleBank is delighted to give both. We are always here to help start something incredible, and help finish it.”  For the last 11 years, CopperDog, Inc. has been the organizer of the CopperDog 150, the CopperDog 80 and now the CopperDog 25 sled dog races in the town of Calumet, MI in the center of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The race features teams of 10 dogs traveling 150 miles over the course of three days. Along with the other races, the CopperDog is one of the area’s largest events, requiring more than 500 volunteers and attracting participants from all over the world. More information about the events can be found at: Brad King, Board Chairmen of CopperDog, Inc., expressed his enthusiasm for IncredibleBank’s involvement. “This race is an enormous undertaking, costing more than $80,000 to operate and requiring thousands of volunteer hours. Without the assistance of IncredibleBank, the CopperDog race would not be the caliber that it is today. The bank’s commitment to this race is a reflection of their commitment to the Calumet community, and quite frankly, that commitment is extraordinary.”

Marquette ReStore selected top in the state
Marquette County Habitat for Humanity ReStore selected as top ReStore in the State of Michigan. Bob Howe, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity ReStore Manager, accepted the award for Top ReStore in Michigan for 2019. The ReStore employs nine individuals in a variety of positions. Local volunteers log nearly 100 hours a month. The ReStore keeps approximately 400,000 pounds of debris out of our local landfills per year. If you are interested in being part of the mission of Marquette County Habitat for Humanity, please contact us at 906-228-3578. More information can be found at

USA Luge names natural track athletes to train and compete for World Cup and World Championship races
USA Luge has named Torrey Cookman, of Marquette, Mich., and Henry Anderson, of Appleton, Wis., as members of the United States Natural Track Luge Team. The announcement occurred at team headquarters Monday (Dec. 9) in Lake Placid. Cookman and Anderson, as national team members, will represent the United States in World Championship and World Cup races throughout Europe in December, January and February. “Cookman, who has been a member of the U.S. team for the past two years, and Anderson, who joined the team last year, were selected based on their excellent sliding ability and dedication to the sport,” said United States Natural Track Luge Team Coach, Keith Whitman, of Escanaba, Mich. The team is scheduled to depart in late December for Judenburg, Austria. The U.S. Team will train and compete in Italy, Austria and Germany before returning to the United States in February. The schedule will bring the American delegation to Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Austria over the course of their two-month stint abroad. Natural track luge is one of the two forms of the sport, the other being artificial track luge. Natural track courses are located on mountain roads and paths, and are constructed with snow and ice. The artificial track sport, part of the Olympic program since 1964, has competitors racing on pure ice along structures that are mostly elevated above the ground. Officials advised that trip details are currently being finalized between USA Luge, the Federation de International de Luge (FIL) and Whitman.


Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition now accepting applications for grants
The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) is now accepting applications for the 2020 round of its grantmaking program. Each year, UPEC—the oldest grassroots citizen environmental group in the U.P.—makes grants in the areas of Environmental Education and Community Conservation as part of its mission to ensure a healthy environment and vibrant communities across the Upper Peninsula. UPEC’s Environmental Education Grants Program seeks teachers with great ideas for getting their students interested in the environment. These grants, up to $500 each, support educator-promoted environmental projects within schools or other educational organizations. These grants, up to $10,000 each, are for planning or implementing local conservation projects that engage a variety of stakeholders within a community, from recreational and sportsmen’s groups to naturalists, township officials, churches, and schools. The deadline for applications is January 10, 2020. For more information and application forms, visit UPEC’s newly redesigned website,

National Forest and Research Station use eDNA for stream sampling
Hiawatha National Forest, USDA Forest Service’s (USFS) Northern Research Station (NRS) and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are launching an environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling project within the National Forest. As a first step, Forest Service staff sampled several streams with variable but known levels of Brook Trout abundance this fall to determine how detectable this species is using eDNA. Next spring the main project, focused on Lake Sturgeon, will begin. “Environmental DNA technology is revolutionizing the science of aquatic sampling by looking for genetic material in the water rather than by trying to locate individuals of a species,” said Eric Miltz-Miller, a Biological Science Technician working on the Hiawatha’s Fisheries team, and the project’s instigator. What is eDNA sampling? As fish and other living organisms move through their surroundings, they shed DNA, genetic material found in body cells, such as through sloughed scales. These bits of DNA accumulate in the environment, so a water sample from a stream may contain the DNA from any species (plant or animal) But the potential sensitivity and efficiency of eDNA sampling compared to traditional sampling methods makes it an attractive tool,” said Flory. “The main project will be to build an occupancy model for Lake Sturgeon on the Hiawatha,” said Miltz-Miller. “We will be sampling in the spring when adults should be migrating to spawn, and in the fall when juveniles will be leaving the river for Lake Michigan.” According to Miltz-Miller, they chose Lake Sturgeon as the focus for this initial project because the Michigan Natural Features Inventory considers the species “imperiled”; the State of Michigan identifies it as threatened; and the US Regional Forester lists it as a Sensitive Species for the Hiawatha National Forest.  “Given the species’ status, the data will be even more important,” he added.  Miltz-Miller and Flory also anticipate collaborating with Michigan Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and tribes during phases of the project.

Shoreline protection work continues at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Work begun in August to protect the main east access road to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is continuing in the face of violent late fall storms off Lake Superior. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Ontonagon County Road Commission have teamed up to protect County Road 107 to ensure continued east access to the 60,000-acre park and its signature attractions. The DNR is not typically involved in county road projects but is in this case because of the road’s importance to the park. About 80 percent of the 1.6-mile stretch of affected county road has less than 20 feet of shoreline between the lake’s edge and the road. “Without this main access way, should a road washout or undermining occur, visitors to the park’s east end may be required to take an 80-mile detour, via west end entry, or be prevented altogether from reaching numerous points of interest,” said Eric Cadeau, a DNR Parks and Recreation Division regional planner. Some of those points of interest include the Lake of the Clouds overlook, Union Bay Campground and the park’s ski area. “Access to the Lake of the Clouds and to the great resources of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is critical for visitors and area tourism,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. The DNR and road commission spent a combined total of $651,400 to place boulders and other protective measures between the county road and Lake Superior. In places where the work was completed since August, the remedies have worked.

Continued winter storm cleanup impacts recreational trails
The effects from a pair of severe late-November snowstorms are still being felt across much of northern Michigan as work crews continue efforts to clear and groom snowmobile and ski trails. “The number of downed trees and limbs is astonishing,” said Rob Katona, central Upper Peninsula trails specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division. “We haven’t seen conditions like this in recent history.” For up-to-date trail information visit the Michigan DNR website and choose the closures link on the newsroom page.

Successful conclusion of buoy season on Lake Superior
Braving rain, sleet and cold, a small scientific team recently ventured out onto Lake Superior to retrieve the last wave and weather monitoring buoy still deployed near the town of Grand Marais. This concludes the fifth consecutive year of the “Superior Buoys” program, now funded by Northern Michigan University and coordinated by the Superior Watershed Partnership in cooperation with Lentic Environmental Services. The program includes three state-of-the-art monitoring buoys that are usually deployed near Grand Marais, Munising and Marquette. Since 2015, the buoys have provided valuable nearshore marine weather and wave data to the National Weather Service, U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service, and recreational and commercial boating operations from Marquette to Grand Marais. This includes measurement of the largest wave height ever recorded on the Great Lakes (28.8 feet), which was measured by buoys at Granite Island and Munising on October 24, 2017.  The buoys are owned by Northern Michigan University (NMU) and operated in cooperation with the Superior Watershed Partnership. Reflecting on the 2019 buoy season, Dr. John Lenters from Lentic Environmental Services noted that the largest wave heights measured this year were a 14-foot wave event at Grand Marais on November 15 and a 9-foot wave event near Munising on October 16. “Grand Marais tended to see much more frequent large wave events this year than Munising,” said Lenters, “exceeding 8-feet at least 16 times this past season, while Munising only saw one wave event higher than 8-feet.” The large wave events over the past few years have also been occurring in conjunction with high Lake Superior water levels, causing a significant amount of coastal erosion along the lakeshore. As long as funding is available, the Superior Buoys program will resume operations early next summer, including redeployment of the Granite Island buoy at its location near Marquette. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and support from the communities and agencies that use the buoy data,” said Lenters, “and we look forward to continuing to provide them with valuable marine weather data in 2020.”

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