February’s News to Us highlights promising new climate, water quality, and river recreation initiatives on the local and federal level. Also included are articles exploring the current dynamics of Michigan’s hunting and angling economies.

Milford 2021 plans include Central Park canoe/kayak launch, infrastructure upgrades
After being awarded a $43,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Village of Milford plans to install a walking path and canoe/kayak launch along the Huron River. The project will feature a six-foot wide path along the river in Milford’s Central Park and supply the area with a much-need paddling access point. Construction is expected to begin in late 2021.

Michigan fish producers recently sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources over new rules limiting fishing capacity. Photo credit: Mark Smith, Flickr Commons

Biden to place environmental justice as center of sweeping climate plan
After a month in office, President Biden is making a push to act on climate change, cut US greenhouse gas emissions, and create new clean energy jobs. At the center of his plan is a focus on low-income and minority communities that have historically been subject to environmental injustices. Some of his first actions include the establishment of a series of new task forces, councils, and offices across the federal government focused on climate equity and environmental justice.

Scio Township is looking to address pet waste in Honey Creek
In an effort to address the high E. coli bacteria levels in Honey Creek, the Scio Township Board is exploring the establishment of a pet waste ordinance aimed at reducing potential E. coli pollution. The ordinance would require pet owners to pick up their pet’s waste when it is deposited on public or private property owned by others. Following the recent completion of HRWC’s multi-year grant-funded bacteria reduction project in Honey Creek, this is great news!

Michigan commercial fishers bring MDNR rules to court
The Michigan Fisher Producers Association has filed a class action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources following changes to industry rules that limit where and when commercial fishers can operate. The suit claims the new provisions will make commercial fishing unprofitable. However, new developments as of February 12 indicate the DNR is walking back the new rules.

COVID brings Michigan a hunting boom. What that means for conservation.
The increases in new hunters and sale of hunting license sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic brings a badly needed financial influx to state wildlife management and conservation departments. While the pandemic-induced hunting uptick has provided some short-term funds to conservation efforts, it has also renewed questions about the sustainability of relying heavily on the hunting and angling economy to fund conversation efforts.