Fisheries Conservation


Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Fisheries Biologists conduct fish population research, native species restoration, aquatic habitat restoration, improve fish passage, help monitor and eradicate aquatic invasive species, and provide outreach and education for the public.

  • Native Species Restoration

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    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 invasive species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 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 (FWCO). 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 Alpena FWCO routinely works with include lake trout, lake whitefish and Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens).

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  • Aquatic Habitat Restoration


    The Alpena FWCO 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 (NFPP), Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners Program), and the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership (GLBFHP). Alpena FWCO administers the NFPP and GLBFHP 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, constructing fish ladders. The Partners Program is a voluntary habitat restoration program focused on benefiting 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.

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    Learn More
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Issues


    Aquatic invasive species (AIS) 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 FWCO 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 AIS is a priority for the office. Alpena FWCO is actively involved with AIS 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.

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    Learn more about Aquatic Restoration Efforts on the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers:  

    Middle Channel Reef Restoration Project  

    Fighting Island Reef Project  

    Belle Isle Restoration Project  

    USGS YouTube Video: Lake Sturgeon Spawning on Middle Channel Reef, St. Clair River (Audio - underwater sounds) 

    University of Michigan News YouTube Video: Construction of rock spawning reefs on the St. Clair River  

  • 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 the tribal governments as one in the same. Alpena FWCO works with tribes in the upper Great Lakes by investigating, protecting and managing important fisheries. The station is actively involved in managing Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) stocks in 1836 Treaty Waters and assessing tribally reared walleye in the St. Marys River. Technical assistance is provided though coordinated field surveys, consultation with tribal biologist, and assisting with data and laboratory analysis.

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  • Refuge Fishery Assistance


    Healthy aquatic habitat and fish communities are valuable components of the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) system. Alpena FWCO has provided fishery and habitat assistance to NWRs within their area of coverage.

    Fisheries biologists at the Alpena FWCO have conducted a number of projects to examine fisheries with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. In addition, surveys have been conducted to document the fish community of Michigan Islands NWR and invasive species on Shiawassee NWR. The group has also worked in cooperation with Shiawassee NWR to examine northern pike passage at a refuge spillway and conducted a fishery assessment of the Metzger Marsh wetland restoration project at Ottawa NWR.

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  • Outreach & Education


    Today’s youths are tomorrow’s conservationists, but many are growing up unaware of the need to conserve America’s fisheries resources and habitat.

    The Alpena FWCO works in conjunction with non-profit, private and government partners to engage, educate, and employ young people. The group provides opportunities to learn about fish, other aquatic species and their habitats through outdoor learning areas, providing field study opportunities, hosting festivals and events and developing tools for teaching today’s conservation ethic. They also work to engage youth and adults through their Friends Group, via partnerships with States and Tribes and through various youth employment programs.

    Examples of the Alpena FWCO's involvment in outreach and education efforts with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge include participation in the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy's "River days Kid's Fishing Fest," an event designed to give families, parents and children an opportunity to enjoy fishing along the Detroit Riverfront while learning about environmental stewardship and sustainability. Last year, fisheries biologists at the Alpena FWCO received a grant for $4,8000 through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's connecting People with Nature initiative to support the event. The monies were used to purchase fishing poles, bait, tackle, and other equipment to help make the event a success. Approximately 400 children, parents and grandparents participated.

    LEARN MORE about the River Days Kids Fishing Fest on the Detroit River

    Watch the Tellus Detroit YouTube Video: 2012 River Days Kick-Off 

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