Volunteer Sturgeon Patrol Continues at Black River|
Over the next several weeks, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is again joining forces with local citizens in Cheboygan County to protect spawning lake sturgeon in the upper Black River.
"When lake sturgeon come to spawn in the shallow upstream riffles of the river, they are very vulnerable to poachers," said Sgt. Greg Drogowski, DNR Law Enforcement. "With the help of the Sturgeon for Tomorrow volunteers, we will be able to monitor key areas 24 hours a day."
When sturgeon are in the river to spawn, local citizens, members of the local Vietnam Veterans chapter, volunteers from the Michigan National Guard and members of the local chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow stand watch and use cellular phones, provided by Cellular One of Cheboygan, to report suspicious activity to the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline. The information is forwarded to conservation officers on patrol in the area.
"The volunteers are a visible deterrent. Since this effort began in 1999, we've had only one fish illegally taken that we're aware of," Drogowski said. "The sturgeon patrols have really made a difference."
A reward of up to $1,000 has been offered by Sturgeon for Tomorrow and the RAP program for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons illegally taking lake sturgeon. To report any illegal activity, call the RAP hotline at (800) 292-7800. A person convicted for the illegal harvest of a lake sturgeon faces penalties of not less than 30 days in jail and not less than $2,000 in fines and restitution, or both.
For more information on the volunteer Black River sturgeon patrol, contact Brenda Archambo, Sturgeon for Tomorrow, at 231-625-2776, or visit their Web site at www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org.
The DNR is committed to conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.