Michigan Natural Resources Commission to Meet April 7 in Lansing

Deer Baiting, Budget and Recreation Passport among the topics on agenda

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, April 7, at the Lansing Center, located at 333 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing. Regular visitors to the NRC meetings should note this is a change from the previously published location of the meeting.

Prior to the meeting of the Committee of the Whole, there will be several policy and advisory committees meeting. At 8:30 a.m. the NRC Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will meet in Rooms 201-202. The committee will receive updates from Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Chief Kelley Smith and Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason and receive informational presentations on proposed changes to deer regulations and fall wild turkey regulations.

At 10 a.m., the second in a series of public discussions about deer baiting in the Lower Peninsula will begin in Rooms 201-202. There will be two brief presentations prior to the public comment period. First, researchers from New York will discuss their recent study of the behavior of deer in the presence and in the absence of bait. The second presentation will be by DNR Law Enforcement Division Assistant Chief Dean Molnar on statistics related to deer baiting in the last three years. The public comment period will immediately follow the presentations. Persons wishing to participate can sign up at the meeting location with DNR staff.

At 1 p.m., the NRC Policy Committee on Finance and Administration will meet in Room 203. The committee will review Fiscal Year 2011 spend plans for the DNR, review the DNR’s quarterly revenue report and discuss future meeting topics.

Also at 1 p.m., the NRC Policy Committee on Parks will meet in Room 205 to review the Highland State Recreation Area’s first phase management plan, an update on the Recreation Passport grant program and marketing plan, and a review of the Recreation Passport’s participation rate among Michigan motorists.

At 3 p.m., the NRC Committee of the Whole will convene in Rooms 201-202. DNR Director Rodney Stokes will give a report on various items before him for consideration. DNR Legislative Liaison Gary Owen will provide the committee with a report on recent legislative activity that impacts the department.

At 4:15 p.m., the NRC and DNR will present two Partners in Conservation Awards to Carolyn Kane and the family of the late Robert James Copland.

Public appearances before the NRC will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Rooms 201-202. Persons wishing to make public comments to the commission should contact Deb Whipple, the NRC’s executive assistant, at whippled1@michigan.gov or by calling 517-373-2352 to sign up prior to the meeting. Persons can also sign up the day of the meeting at the meeting location.

Among the action items eligible for NRC consideration at this meeting include a change in bear hunting regulations to prohibit the use of chocolate as bait and proposed changes to the 2011 elk hunting regulations and license quotas. Among the action items eligible for consideration by DNR Director Rodney Stokes are proposed changes to fishing regulations for trout, salmon, whitefish and lake herring in northern Lake Huron, approval of a proposed oil and gas lease auction on May 3, and an order to designate the DNR’s Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Crawford County as a state park. Stokes also will consider authorizing five land acquisitions and one sale of an easement across state-owned land.

For more information on the NRC, including the agenda, informational memos for this meeting, and past meeting minutes, go to www.michigan.gov/nrc.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state's environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/dnre.