What We Do
Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office works to rehabilitate and stock native species, conduct early detection and monitoring for, restore fish and wildlife habitat on private lands, address fish passage issues and provide fishery assistance on federal and tribal lands. Fish and wildlife conservation and management is conducted with assistance from federal, state, tribal, provincial and non-governmental partners.
Management and Conservation
Native Species Restoration
Native species are an intrinsic part of a healthy, natural ecosystem and they are a treasured natural, tribal, recreational and economic trust species. Concerns for these species include rare or declining natural populations, inadequate information for effective conservation, habitat loss or degradation and impacts of. Our mission is to preserve and restore native species. This is done by acquiring biological information on native species’ population status/trends, habitat availability/quality, controlling nuisance species and conserving habitat through protection, restoration and management. Restoration of native fish species and promoting healthy fish communities is a priority for the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. The station is actively involved with native species restoration and management in lakes Huron and Erie, the Huron Erie corridor and the St. Marys River. This work is accomplished by working with state, federal, tribal and provincial partners to recover species and gain more information about their population status, early life history and habitat requirements. Native species that the office routinely works with include lake trout, lake whitefish, cisco and lake sturgeon.
Aquatic Habitat Restoration
Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office focuses on improving aquatic habitat for federal trust resources including federally listed endangered or threatened species, interjurisdictional fish, migratory birds, refuge lands and resource conservation priorities. Efforts are focused on stewardship, partnerships, fish and wildlife and future generations. The station has been involved with on-the-ground habitat restoration for fish and wildlife resources through the National Fish Passage Program, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership. The conservation office administers the Fish Passage Program and the Fish Habitat Partnership for Lake Huron and western Lake Erie basins by providing funding and technical support, which includes information on fish habitat needs and methods to bypass barriers such as removing dams, replacing undersized culverts and constructing fish ladders. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is a voluntary habitat restoration program focused on benefitting fish and wildlife that provides restoration expertise and financial assistance to private landowners, tribes and other conservation partners that willingly restore habitat on their property including wetland restoration, native grassland restoration and opening river-miles to fish passage. The Aquatic Habitat Restoration Program works to restore brook trout and other native species.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic invasive species are non-native aquatic plants or animals that once they invade an area may compete with native species for food and habitat resources, threaten native species diversity or abundance and disrupt the ecological balance of the invaded area. Invasive species have been entering the Great Lakes at an increasing rate since the turn of the century. Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office monitors for invasive fish - targeting Eurasian ruffe and other species not native to the Great Lakes. Activities are focused around shipping ports and rivers to detect new invasive fish populations and to monitor existing fish communities. We also provide financial assistance for aquatic invasive plant management in partnership with other agencies across northeast Michigan. Public education about aquatic invasive species is a priority for the office. The office is actively involved with education in an effort to alert the public about the problems associated with invasive species, how to recognize invasive species and what they can do to deter or prevent their spread. The Aquatic Invasive Species Program works to detect invasive species including bighead carp, silver carp, grass carp, black carp, round goby, Eurasian ruffe, northern snakehead, dreissenids, red swamp crayfish and other species new to the Great Lakes.
Treaty Fishery Assistance
Great Lakes fishery resources are important to the culture of native peoples for food and spiritual purposes. Because of the linkage, the Service views its trust responsibilities to the Great Lakes fishery resources and tribal governments as one in the same. Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office works with tribes in the upper Great Lakes by investigating, protecting and managing important fisheries. The station is actively involved in managing lake trout and lake whitefish stocks in 1836 Treaty Waters and assessing tribally reared walleye in the St. Marys River. Technical assistance is provided through coordinated field surveys, consultation with tribal biologist and assisting with data and laboratory analysis.
Refuge Fishery Assistance
Healthy aquatic habitat and fish communities are valuable components of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has provided fishery and habitat assistance to refuges within our area of coverage. Surveys have been conducted to document the fish community of Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge and invasive species on Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. We have worked in cooperation with Shiawassee to examine northern pike passage at a refuge spillway and conducted a fishery assessment of the Metzger Marsh wetland restoration project at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. A number of projects were conducted to examine fisheries in the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge Fishery Assistance Program works to conserve native species including northern pike, walleye, northern madtom and lake sturgeon.