With warmer weather on the way (or so says Punxsatawney Phil), Michigan recreation providers are gearing up with improvements to the Border-to-Border Trail and the Michigan DNR hunting and angling license system. In addition, read about opportunities to reduce the spread of invasive species, the 2021 state budget proposal to increase environmental initiatives, and the latest federal efforts to reduce wetland and stream protection.

Despite its beautiful flowers, European frogbit is a very destructive aquatic invasive species introduced to Michigan waters via water gardens. Photo credit: Petroglyph, Flickr Creative Commons

Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species
Plants and animals used in water gardens or ornamental ponds can become invasive and inadvertently diminish Michigan’s native aquatic species. Get tips and solutions for dealing with potentially invasive aquatic plants and animals from Michigan State University Extension and the State of Michigan’s Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) program.

EPA weakens protections for streams and wetlands
The Trump administration finalized its Navigable Waters Protection Rule, diminishing protections for streams and wetlands. The new rule replaces the 2015 Waters of United States Rule and reduces the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction over waterways. If implemented, this new rule would leave nearly half of U.S. wetlands without protection. The Huron River Watershed Council is deeply concerned about the potential impact of this ruling on Michigan’s waters.

Whitmer’s $61.9B budget plan boosts environmental spending
In her proposed 2021 budget released in early February, Governor Gretchen Whitmer included more than $100 million to address threats to Michigan’s water and environment. Whitmer’s proposed budget includes funding to bolster environmental contamination response, climate resilient infrastructure, climate action planning, and lead remediation.

DNR to launch new license sales system Feb. 18
On February 18, Michigan anglers and hunters will be able to purchase licenses using the Michigan Department of Natural Resources new, more technologically advanced system. The new system will improve the customer experience by speeding up the sales process at retail locations, consolidating licenses into one printed license, and expanding online record keeping.

Construction continues on the Border-to-Border Trail
Construction of the Border-to-Border Trail along parts of the Huron River continues despite winter weather. Developments include cross-river bridges near Dexter Huron Metropark, boardwalks along Huron River Drive, and a new trailhead in Lyndon Township. In the coming months, work will begin on a pedestrian tunnel under M-52 in the Chelsea-Stockbridge section, as well as expansion and repaving in Ypsilanti’s Frog Island Park.