Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 28, 2012

Michigan in Brief: 11/28/2012


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DNR to host wolf management meeting

ST. IGNACE — The state Department of Natural Resources is hosting a meeting in the eastern Upper Peninsula next week on management of gray wolves, which federal officials recently removed from the endangered species list after 38 years.

The Michigan Wolf Forum meeting is Dec. 5 at Little Bear Arena in St. Ignace. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The DNR says its staff will update the public on current wolf management activities and gather opinions from forum participants.

Wolves have rebounded from near extinction in the Upper Peninsula, where the population is estimated at about 700. Wisconsin and Minnesota began allowing wolf hunts this fall.

A Michigan Senate committee has voted to designate the gray wolf a game species.

Invasive fish making way up Rouge River

INKSTER — An invasive fish called the round goby appears to be making its way up the Rouge River in southeast Michigan, raising concerns among those working to improve the health of the waterway.

A team on Friday found more than a dozen of the greedy predators while sampling sections of the Lower Rouge River in Inkster, said Sally Petrella of the nonprofit group Friends of the Rouge.

"There's huge potential for wiping out a lot of native fish," she told the Detroit Free Press.

Gobies hang around prime spawning areas and gobble up eggs laid by trout, whitefish and other species important to the Great Lakes region's commercial and sport fishing industries.

The find comes as groups including Friends of the Rouge work with cities and businesses to improve fish habitats by reopening sections of the Rouge River that were blocked by dams.

The Rouge River flows into the Detroit River, where the round goby had an initial period of large growth, the group said, but over time their numbers have stayed steady. The Rouge River survey team, however, also found some native fish in the river that fare poorly in the face of round gobies.

Gobies also spread botulism that has killed thousands of shorebirds.

Emergency manager issue still in talks

LANSING — Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said leaders continue to discuss alternatives to the law rejected by voters that lets emergency managers take over local governments and gives them sweeping powers.

Calley told The Associated Press Tuesday that "there have been a lot of discussions" but there's no single plan that Gov. Rick Snyder, legislative leaders and others have all embraced.

Some lawmakers hope leaders can craft legislation that helps turn around broke cities and school districts without running afoul of voters who rejected Proposal 1 earlier this month. A potential replacement of the former law known as Public Act 4 was drafted before the election but hasn't surfaced.

Calley said the state operates under a previous law that gives managers fewer powers "until conditions change."