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Health, Science and Environment

Northern Michigan river to undergo wildlife survey

Flickr User Benjamin Horn

A fish survey is expected to begin this week in the St. Mary’s River in Chippewa county.

The survey is a collaboration between a six environmental agencies including the DNR, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians,  the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada, and Lake Superior State University.

The survey is conducted roughly every five years to gauge fish populations and see how they’re trending and reproducing.

David Fielder is a fisheries research biologist for the DNR. He said there will be 44 net-set locations for sampling.

“So when the fish come on board we free them from the nets and identify them, record the number of each species, total length, weight. We will often take a bony structure such as a dorsal spine and from that we can age them, we’ll determine the sex of the fish we’ll do an internal examination. There’s a great deal of data that we will take from all these fish.”

Fielder said the survey is also done to keep an eye out for invasive species. He says the data will be used to update fishing regulations.

“So we have certain target species that we’re especially interested in, the game species naturally, the native species but we’re also on the lookout for invasive species too. Sometimes these surveys are frontline detection of new invasives.”

Fielder said the survey is expected to run through August. A final report is expected to be released to the public next spring. .

More information on the survey can be found at the DNR’s website.