Michigan Energy & Environment

IPR brings you the stories and sounds of nature Up North. Hear about our changing natural world, and the challenges northern Michigan faces with a growing economy and a fragile ecosystem.

Last May, oil and gas companies spent of hundreds-of-millions of dollars buying up rights to drill in Michigan. By summer, private landowners in northern Michigan had signed leases promising record payments to drill for their minerals.

But by the end of the year, the frenzy over the new gas play had fizzled, and hundreds of people were claiming they'd been cheated. Lawsuits now say gas developers didn't just break their word, but they allegedly engaged in fraud and conspiracy to manipulate the market.

Wolf Shot In Eastern U.P.

Feb 22, 2011

State officials are offering an award for information about an illegal wolf kill in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The wolf was found February 11th, with an apparent gunshot wound, south of Newberry.

Wolves are still considered an endangered species in Michigan. They can't be killed unless in defense of human life.

Just last month, state officials reported that a wolf pup was likely poached in the northern Lower Peninsula as well.

Wolf  poaching has been on the rise in recent years, even as the state is trying to get Michigan wolves off the endangered list.

State wildlife biologists suspect one of two young wolves in northern Lower Michigan has been illegally killed.

Two female pups were mistakenly caught in coyote traps last fall. Technicians with the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment put radio collars on them.

Radio trackers found live signals on January 14th and then a mortality signal for one of the young wolves on the 19th.

Lieutenant Jim Gorno with the DNRE says the radio collar had been cut off and left by the side of a road east of Pellston.

Managing Michigan's Wildlife

Sep 16, 2010

Russ Mason knows managing wildlife is not just about science. Mason runs the state's wildlife division. It's his job to make sure we don't have too many deer, but not too few. He's also trying to keep wild pigs from overrunning Michigan's forests and fields. He says the state needs to be able to shoot wolves that are causing problems but his federal counterparts have failed to take the animal off the endangered species list three times. Mason joins us this week on Points North. Live Friday morning at 9 a.m.

A federal wildlife agency will consider taking wolves off the endangered species list for the fourth time in Great Lakes states. Minnesota and Wisconsin and various sportsman groups asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the animal from the list. Michigan also supports the change.

Wildlife biologists have evidence that wolves are breeding in the Northern Lower Peninsula. They trapped a wolf pup last week in Cheboygan County. They were trying to capture an adult to put a radio collar on it.

Biologists put an ear tag on the pup and released it.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment confirmed two small packs in the Lower Peninsula. This is the first evidence of wolf breeding south of the Bridge since their population was wiped out in the early 1900's.

State wildlife officials say there's a lot of public anger about the high number of wolves in the Upper Peninsula, and people are taking matters into their own hands.

In the most recent case, a court in St. Ignace convicted a man for illegally shooting a wolf last December and fined him two thousand dollars. But, state officials also are frustrated because wolves are still given the highest protection under federal law. 

The state of Michigan is asking federal officials for the authority to kill wolves that prey on livestock or attack pets. Right now, only wolves that threaten people can be killed, because wolves are still protected under the endangered species act.

But most problems are from wolves that attack livestock or pets, state wildlife officials say. And the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment no longer captures and moves problem animals.

Wolves Below The Bridge

Mar 23, 2010

For the first time, state wildlife officials say there's a wolf pack in northern Lower Michigan. A pack is defined as two or more animals travelling together, but it doesn't necessarily mean there's a breeding pair.

"The pack designation has more to do with the fact that they hunt together," says Tim Reis, wildlife supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

He says officials found two separate sets of tracks at the same time on private land in northern Cheboygan County.

World Record Trout Pulled From Manistee

Sep 11, 2009

What may be the world's largest brown trout was caught Wednesday on the Manistee River. Tom Healy landed a 41 lb 7 oz fish. That's a pound heavier than the current world record. State biologists verified the weight and declared it the new state record. Healy was fishing with a guide from Cadillac, Tim Roller. 

Roller says they have all the documentation to register the fish and claim the world record. He expects the attention to drive a lot of anglers to the Manistee area.

"But They need to know they're not going to catch a forty pound brown trout," says Roller.

Chub Fishery Disappearing

Aug 10, 2009

The smell of smoked fish mixes with apple and maple wood outside of Monte's Original Smoke House in Frankfort.

The owner Monte Finkhouse says he can't supply enough smoked chub for his customers.

Chubs were THE smoked fish of choice at local retailers up until the mid 90s.  They accounted for 90 percent of all smoked fish sold at Monte's small store in Frankfort.  

"Chubs are the deepest fish we have," Finkhouse said. "So they're real oily and that makes for good smoked fish."

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