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E-M:/ PORTAGE MARSH TO BE FOCUS FOR PUBLIC MEETING



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Enviro-mich folks:

Below is an announcement by DNR of upcoming meetings on a special ecosystem --
other such meetings have been held in other parts of the state as well.  While
these are still not being routinely listed on the DNR Calendar, the move
toward broadly publicized public forums of this sort is a welcome one for the
agency.  Kudos to DNR staff for reaching out to the public for input on
management issues that effect sensitive ecosystems!!

Anne Woiwode

>
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
>26 MARCH 1998

>CONTACT:  Craig Albright, 906-786-2351
>
>PORTAGE MARSH TO BE FOCUS FOR PUBLIC MEETING
>
>Escanaba --- Discussion of proposed management activities for Portage 
>Marsh, which is located south of Escanaba in Delta County, will be the 
>focal point of a public meeting to be hosted by the Michigan 
>Department of Natural Resources.  The meeting will be held on 
>Wednesday, April 8, at Bay de Noc Community College, in the 
>Learning Resources Center Auditorium, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
>
>DNR staff will open the meeting with an overview of the ecology and a 
>history of past management practices of Portage Marsh.  Suggested 
>future management methods will then be discussed. The public is 
>encouraged to provide comment.
>
>Portage Marsh is a Great Lakes coastal marsh and one of the few 
>remaining along the northern Lake Michigan shoreline.  It is bounded 
>on the north by the City of Escanaba  and on the south by Portage 
>Point.  Most of the marsh is a shallow bay of Lake Michigan covered to 
>varying degrees by cattail and open water.  The Marsh is recognized as 
>an important habitat for many species of wildlife and fish.  Hunters have 
>used the area for waterfowl hunting for many years, and the addition of 
>a dike system to Portage Point in 1984 opened the area to a variety of 
>other popular uses, such as hiking, nature observation and swimming 
>off the nearby sand beach.  
>
>In 1994, Portage Marsh was named one of 121 sites in Michigan to be 
>included in the "Michigan Wildlife Viewing Guide," published by 
>Michigan State University Press.  
>
>"Although recreational use of the marsh by humans has increased in the 
>aftermath of the dike construction project,  the negative impacts of the 
>dike system are giving us pause," noted Craig Albright, Wildlife 
>Biologist in the DNR's Escanaba office.  "Due to the high leakage rate,  
>the sandy dikes have not allowed the water level control capabilities 
>originally intended, and, in addition, we have noted a disruption to 
>wildlife activities, including to fish looking for a place to spawn."
>
>Albright went on to point out that the presence of the dikes have also 
>interrupted the cycle of Lake Michigan water levels, which provide 
>natural and desirable changes in wildlife habitat over time.
>
>"We have reached a critical juncture at Portage Marsh, and in order to 
>do the best job we can in planning our future course in accommodating 
>the needs of the public and the natural resources, we need to hear from 
>the public, especially those who use the area for varying purposes," 
>said Jim Hammill, District Wildlife Supervisor, Crystal Falls.
>
>"Additionally, we have gained a tremendous amount of new knowledge 
>about marsh habitats and their unique ecology, which the public will 
>find interesting and may help guide future management of Portage 
>Marsh, too," he added.
>
>For further information, contact Craig Albright, DNR Escanaba office, 
>at 906-786-2351. 
>
>###
>
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>



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