Prolonged wintry conditions in the Upper Peninsula have forced the Michigan DNR to postpone a release of sharp-tailed grouse in the western part of the region, a place where they have not been seen reliably since the mid-1990s.
DNR wildlife biologists had planned to capture about 20 birds from the eastern U.P. and re-introduce them to Ontonagon County this spring. However, late winter snowfall and a persistent groundcover of snow, as deep as 3 feet in some places, have delayed the effort until next spring.
"We have been working diligently to get our team in place to capture and re-release these birds, but at this point, we are concerned about likely low survival and poor nesting success of birds relocated under these extreme conditions," said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. "We will continue to monitor and survey sharp-tailed grouse populations in the eastern U.P. in advance of completing our relocation effort next spring."
By ANDY EVANS, MDNR
It was early May, and a certain spring activity was on my mind - looking for some tasty morel mushrooms in the beautiful hardwood forests of northern Lower Michigan.
As that Fridays work shift was drawing to a close, I thought about places on state-managed land that I might find a new honey hole - a spot covered with morels.
A new weekend adventure would soon be at hand, and an amazing forest with rolling hills awaited. We are quite fortunate here in Michigan, having over 4.6 million acres of state land to explore.
By Bob Gwizdz, MDNR
A Michigan conservation officer takes down information alongside an off-road vehicle.
For conservation officers Jason King and Will Brickel, who patrol Saginaw County, the second Saturday of March offered an atypical work assignment.
They were paired to patrol a section of the Saginaw River on the last Saturday before walleye season closed for six weeks.
The officers were part of a four-boat crew that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had deployed during a saturated patrol, a technique the DNR uses when it expects a lot of traffic in a specific area.
King, 32 and a conservation officer for three years, and Brickel, 29 and serving in the role for four years, said they work alone 90 percent of the time. But both said they prefer to partner up when they're working in a watercraft.
"Typically for marine patrol, we try to work in pairs because it's easier and safer," Brickel said.