DNR nears completion of fisheries strategic plan

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division is encouraging the public to give feedback on it’s new 2018-22 draft plan to manage fisheries.

According to officials this draft plan expands on the division’s 2013-2017 effort, “Charting the Course: Fisheries Division’s Framework for Managing Aquatic Resources” and can be found at michigan.gov/fishing.

According to officials the new draft plan expands the plan and is designed to assist the division in meeting its long-standing responsibilities to protect, manage and enhance fisheries for future generations.

Public feedback can be sent via email to DNR-FISH-SP2017@michigan.gov through Oct. 24.

Assistant Chief of Fisheries Division Todd Grischke said the plan is a major overhaul of the strategic plan that was first created during 2011-12.

“That document was in place for five years and we’re doing the update now,” he said.

For the 2011-12 plan Grischke said DNR staff reached out and had personal interviews with dozens of constituent groups to help shape what the highest priority issues are for the fisheries division.

“That framework that is in the current strategic plan is a pretty sound framework which we’re saying is essentially still intact in this new plan; we did not take on this effort to completely rewrite this strategic plan.”

According to Grischke the protection of habitat, public input and partnerships, efficient operations and resource evaluation and assessment are high-level goals that have not changed in the new plan.

When asking the constituent groups this time around about things in the plan Grischke said the feedback was greatly reduced.

“We’re in about month 11 of this rewrite effort, we reached out to them again, and the feedback was greatly reduced, were we literally had interviews with dozens before and we only had approximately 10 of them this time provide substantial comments and suggestions,” he said. “The rest of the comments were very accepting and supporting, but there were not substantive changes.”

Grischke said for the DNR that reaffirms they have a very good document in place though it is more for larger overall goals in the fishery.

“The structure of the plan is high level goals and it breaks it down to broader objectives on how to accomplish those goal,” he said. “Our final step in the actual plan is strategies, they are more tactical but not so specific that it’s getting down to individual tasks, those kind of things can change daily and weekly we may change how we do things on the ground.

“As this public input time period closes this internal team is going to take the feedback and review it and identify those areas where we can tweak the plan where we can make any changes and then we’re going to be making the final draft,” he said. “And sharing it with the department hope to have the final product.”

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.