Research vessel purchase, fisheries hatchery upgrades covered in Michigan’s 2023 state budget

The Great Lakes survey vessel Steelhead (Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Fish hatchery infrastructure and maintenance and fisheries survey vessel modernisation efforts will benefit from the Michigan state budget recently approved for fiscal year 2023, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed recently.

The budget includes US$30 million for fish hatchery infrastructure improvements and US$4 million to replace an outdated Great Lakes survey vessel.

For more than 120 years, the DNR has operated fish hatcheries to produce fish for stocking lakes and streams across Michigan. Today, there are six hatchery facilities – in Alanson, Beulah, Harrietta, Manistique, Marquette and Mattawan – vital to managing and maintaining the state’s fisheries.

At 20 years old, Oden State Fish Hatchery is the newest facility, while the others range from 40 to over 50 years old. Though the DNR claims that its staff have done their best to keep operations running and fish thriving, the aging facilities have developed a large backlog of critical infrastructure maintenance needs.

With the US$30 million investment in hatcheries, the DNR will upgrade production water supplies, replace roofs, upgrade outdated electrical distribution systems, repair and replace deteriorating asphalt, upgrade water aeration systems, replace outdated backup power generators, and provide biosecurity enhancements that better protect fish health.

The remaining US$4 million will be used to replace the DNR survey vessel Steelhead (pictured), which has been in operation for 54 years.

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