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Michigan fisheries get a boost in state budget

The Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah will undergo repairs and upgrades in 2023.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah will undergo repairs and upgrades in 2023.

Repairs and upgrades are planned for Michigan's fish hatcheries, which are crucial to the state's $7 billion sport fishing industry.

The state’s 2023 budget provides $34 million for fish production and research. Most of those funds will be used for backlogged maintenance projects.

“There’s nothing super flashy about them,” said Ed Eisch, Fish Production Program Manager for the Department of Natural Resources. “Nothing that’s going to necessarily increase production. But it’s going to shore up production for decades into the future.”

Eisch said that out of the six facilities across Michigan, the Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah is the most overdue for repairs.

“Platte River is the oldest of our modernized hatcheries, and there’s a lot of projects that will happen there,” said Eisch. “There’s some structural upgrades that need to happen to some of the buildings – we’ve got some crumbing concrete and that sort of thing.”

Upcoming projects at the hatchery include roof replacements and upgrades to the electric distribution system, which pumps water through the hatchery.

The 2023 state budget also provides $4 million for a new survey ship at the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station.

Patrick Shea was a natural resources reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Before joining IPR, he worked a variety of jobs in conservation, forestry, prescribed fire and trail work. He earned a degree in natural resources from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and his interest in reporting grew as he studied environmental journalism at the University of Montana's graduate school.