The Mud Snail, the State of Michigan, and the Au Sable Fish Farm…a timeline.
June 6, 2016. Dr. Mark Luttenton discovered mud snails directly below (and at that time ONLY directly below) the hatchery during a routine water quality inspection. AotA notifies DNR and DEQ immediately. AotA and TU groups post NZMS info signs at access points to educate anglers and boaters on how not to spread the snails.
DNR releases State of Michigan’s Status and Strategy for New Zealand Mudsnail Management WHICH STATES: “Managing potential pathways of introduction for the New Zealand mudsnail is essential in preventing dispersal into new waterways. Pathway specific management plans include close visual inspection and the treatment of fish hatcheries and aquaculture operations.” They did not inspect the hatchery.
July 29, 2016. Nearly two months later the DNR sent Anglers their first response essentially blaming anglers for the spread of the mud snails. Also noted in this response is the hatchery operator’s refusal of admittance to state agencies to do testing of the facility for NZMS.
In late August, DNR fisheries biologists write in a draft trout management plan: “Improperly operated fish hatcheries have the potential to harm coldwater streams and their aquatic communities in a number of ways….Stocking of hatchery fish can serve as a vector for aquatic invasive species such as the New Zealand mud snail, unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent their spread… Many of the hatchery threats identified above are exacerbated in poorly designed flow-through systems” (like the Grayling hatchery). Still no inspection. The plan in place to prevent spread to other waterways in the state via stocking is questionable and likely to fail according to experts.
Sept 6, 2016. AotA sends letter to Governor Snyder asking for Snyder to order state agencies to do the required testing at the hatchery.
Sept 14, 2016. Gongwer publishes article with this opening paragraph: “The Department of Natural Resources agrees that the Grayling Fish Hatchery could be a source of invasive snails and has been working with the owners to prevent further transport, officials said late Tuesday.”
Sept 28, 2016. DNR director Keith Creagh sent a letter to AotA stating: “We are making arrangements to inspect the hatchery. We are planning to have representatives of all three QOL agencies onsite to verify that appropriate measures are being implemented to reduce the risk of NZMS movement and to test for the presence of snails inside the hatchery.”
Oct. 4, 2016. DNR press release stating they have inspected the hatchery. See below: