Legislators thanked by cormorant committee
The Cormorant Control Advisory Committee recently recognized the work of two state legislators in helping to bring state and federal agencies together to control cormorant populations.
Outgoing State Representative Joel Sheltrown was given a plaque honoring his service to cormorant control in the state during his two terms in office. Also honored was incoming State Senator Darwin Booher.
Advisory Committee President Larry Meier of Prudenville said Sheltrown and Booher were instrumental in securing a $22,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment to have citizen volunteers federally trained to participate in cormorant control efforts.
Meier explained that due to federal regulations, only federal agents can be involved in cormorant control activities, which are conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DNRE and tribal departments of natural resources.
The funding for training and the ability to have civilian volunteers take part in cormorant control “is something we’ve been asking for for years,” said Meier.
Meier said a good example of the need for control of cormorants occurred in spring 2010 when the DNRE planted 26,700 brown trout in Lake Michigan near Escanaba, only to have the planting decimated by a flock of around 500 cormorants.
He said members of the Houghton Lake Sportsman’s Club and the Grayling Sportsman’s Club will be among the first volunteers trained to help in cormorant control efforts, including helping to curb cormorant activity during future planting efforts.
The advisory committee has also come up with a grid system to help identify where cormorant sightings occur on the Great Lakes.