Whitmer taps ex-Michigan Lottery commissioner to run DNR

Carol Thompson

The Detroit News

September 6, 2023

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed former Michigan Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen as director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Bowen will lead the department as it undertakes “historic renovations and upgrades at state parks across Michigan,” Whitmer said in a Tuesday press release announcing Bowen’s appointment. “Together, we will leave our public lands in better shape.”

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Minnesota DNR Regains Authority to Manage Captive White-Tailed Deer Facilities

August 2023  WMI Outdoor News Bulletin Vo. 77, No. 8

The Minnesota legislative process this year produced significant changes to the management of captive Cervidae facilities. In addition to transference of management authority from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), there were important changes to fencing requirements, prohibition of new registration of captive white-tailed deer (WTD) facilities, movement of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)-infected captive WTD, and importation of live captive Cervids, detailed below. It should be noted that MBAH retained authority over captive cervid species other than WTD.

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Fry New Midwest Fish & Wildlife Health Coordinator

June 14, 2023

The Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has recently hired a Midwest Regional Fish and Wildlife Health Coordinator.  This position will support MAFWA’ s Fish and Wildlife Health Committee with regional efforts connected to Wildlife Health and ensure strong cross communication and coordination within the region and on a national scale.  MAFWA is pleased to announce that Dr. Tricia Fry has accepted the position.

Tricia recently completed her PhD in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Madison studying the influence of climate change on polar bear physiology. Tricia is a Wisconsin native and got her start in wildlife ecology as an intern at the International Crane Foundation after a B.S. in Zoology from Colorado State University.  After earning an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from UW in 2004, she worked as part of the Wisconsin DNR Wildlife Health Team focusing her work on chronic wasting disease and West Nile Virus. Tricia spent 8 years working for the USDA at the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado where her research focused on prominent wildlife diseases including rabies, avian influenza, and chronic wasting disease. Tricia also taught ecology and Principles of Wildlife Management at the University of Wisconsin. Tricia’s family includes two great kids and two pretty good dogs.

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Wecker Appointed to Great Lakes Fishery Commission

May 25, 2023

Rhinelander, WI– President Biden has appointed Kendra Wecker of Ohio to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Commission). Commissioner Kendra Wecker, an avid outdoor enthusiast who emphasizes the importance of wilderness, has spent her career working in conservation to protect the wildlife resources of Ohio. She currently serves as Chief of the Division of Wildlife for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Before that, Wecker served as Wildlife Diversity Coordinator and Information and Education Executive Administrator for ODNR. Wecker has also served as Legislative Chair of the Ohio Wildlife Management Association and served on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Biological Survey. During her time with ODNR, Wecker received multiple awards including Wildlife Conservationist of the Year from the League of Ohio Sportsmen.

The Commission is a bi-national, treaty-based organization charged with cross-border collaboration in the interest of maximizing sustained productivity of fish stocks of shared concern between Canada and the United States. Commissioner Wecker will work with her American and Canadian colleagues to establish the Commission’s programs, identify priorities, and take other measures necessary to protect and maintain the $6 billion Great Lakes fishery.

Established in 1954 by the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has three primary duties: to support fisheries research; control the invasive sea lamprey in the Great Lakes; and facilitate fishery management among provincial, state, U.S. tribal, and federal agencies, which it does through implementation of the consensus-based agreement, A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries. The Commission consists of four Canadian commissioners appointed by the Privy Council of Canada, and four U.S. commissioners (plus one alternate) appointed by the President.

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First zoo-raised hellbender successfully reproducing in the wild

April 13, 2023 by MDC News

Missouri hits significant milestone in endangered hellbender population recovery.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces a significant milestone in population recovery efforts of the endangered Ozark hellbender. A zoo-raised hellbender has successfully reproduced within the Current River.

“We are very excited to announce this news,” said Missouri State Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. “This is the first documented event of a zoo-raised animal fathering a clutch of eggs in the wild.”

Rivers in southern Missouri and adjacent northern Arkansas once supported up to 27,000 Ozark hellbenders. Today, fewer than 1,000 exist in the world – so few that the Ozark hellbender was added to the federal endangered species list in October 2011.

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