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Full text of "Fish, wildlife and recreational values of Michigan's coastal wetlands / prepared for Great Lakes Shorelands Section, Division of Land Resource Programs, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, by Eugene Jaworski and C. Nicholas Raphael"

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Wetlands 
Value 
Study 
PHASE I 




Fish, Wildlife, and Recreational Values 
of Michigan's Coastal Wetlands 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/fishwildliferecrOOjawo 




Fish, Wildlife, and Recreational Values 
of Michigan's Coastal Wetlands 

Prepared For 

Great Lakes Shorelands Section 

Division of Land Resource Programs 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources 



By 

Eugene Jaworski and C. Nicholas Raphael 

Department of Geography-Geology 

Eastern Michigan University 

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 



This document was prepared through financial assistance provided by the 
Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 administered by the Office of Coastal 
Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 



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Printing compliments of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service 
Region III, Twin Cities, Minnesota. 



February 1978 



PREFACE 

Pursuant to the Shorelands Protection and Manage- 
ment Act of 1970 (Public Act 245) , as amended, the 
director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources 
(DNR) may designate, as environmental areas, those coastal 
wetlands necessary for the preservation and maintenance of 
fish and wildlife. Accompanying the designation of en- 
vironmental areas is the imposition of shoreland use 
restrictions (i.e., General Rules, filed 27 Dec. 1973) 
which the DNR deems appropriate for the preservation of 
fish and wildlife. However, a local governmental agency, 
or affected property owner, who contests the designation 
or shorelands use regulations, will be granted due recourse 
upon proper petition. At subsequent administrative hearings 
and litigation, the Department must document the fish and 
wildlife values of the designated area in question. Various 
other state and federal programs requiring permits for 
work in wetlands may also need to document wetlands values 
and functions to justify permit application decisions. 

At present, the Land Resource Programs Division 
of the DNR is sponsoring a research program referred to 
as the Coastal Wetlands Value Study. The goal of this 
research activity, which is to be accomplished in several 
phases by a university in Michigan acting as a third party, 
is to collect and summarize existing data on the ecological 
functions and economic value of Michigan's coastal wetlands. 
These wetland data will be used to justify the environ- 
mental area designations as well as the shorelands use 
regulations, particularly at future hearings involving 



li 



coastal wetlands. Many other wetland-related programs 
will benefit from this study, as well. The "Wetlands 
Inventory Preparatory Study of Michigan" by EMU Wetlands 
Team, 1977, discovered that a large percentage of the 
questionnaire respondents are in need of wetlands data to 
more effectively manage or protect natural resources. 
The Wetlands Value Study is a beginning toward providing 
people with improved wetlands data. 

Phase One of the Coastal Wetlands Value Study, 
which is concerned with the fish, wildlife and recreational 
values, was initiated in February, 1977. In addition to 
the analysis of selected ecological functions, including 
fish spawning, shorebird use, furbearer production, and 
waterfowl breeding and migration, several economic values 
were documented for Michigan's 105,855 acres of coastal 
wetlands. 

Specifically, Phase One research consisted of a 
literature review of available source materials concerning 
wetlands values, analysis of data by geographic area, and 
map comparisons to document the historical loss of depicted 
coastal wetland vegetation. Because the study addressed 
topics of large scope and because the time frame was 
limited to four months , original research was a minor 
part of this effort. Moreover, emphasis was placed on 
annotating key references containing documented wetland 
values and formatting these annotations to a computer 
retrieval system. Over 200 references have been annotated. 
The annotated bibliography is available from the Division 
of Land Resource Programs. By thoroughly reviewing the 
available literature, data gaps could be identified which 
will be utilized to direct future research activities. 

The authors employed general analytical techniques 
which took advantage of available data in standard form, 
e.g., the 1970 National Survey of Fishing and Hunting . 
Economic values in this Phase One Report are based on 



in 



average annual expenditures by participants engaged in 
fishing or hunting, or on estimated values of recreation 
days. Other techniques including willingness to pay 
models, which may yield less conservative economic values 
for the coastal wetland resources, could be adopted to 
the data presented herein. The economic values presented 
are by no means inclusive because only fish, wildlife and 
recreation values were examined. Furthermore, the values 
are not meant to represent current real estate values of 
the land, but rather dollar productivity of the state's 
Great Lakes wetland resources. 

In perspective, the data contained in this Phase 
One report represent an interim product which will be com- 
plemented by Phase Two and other research activity. For 
example, the value of Michigan's coastal wetlands with re- 
gard to water quality improvement and primary productivity 
will be addressed in Phase Two (scheduled to be completed 
May 31, 1978). It should be noted that the Phase One 
literature review was hampered because the data sources 
are widely dispersed among many agencies and institutions, 
and that much of the material is unsummarized in agency 
reports or otherwise inaccessible. Much of the DNR data 
collection and presentation methods utilize a broad regional 
basis as opposed to county or site-specific formats. Thus, 
data on individual wetland areas were often not available. 
Changes will be proposed to collect more site-specific wet- 
lands data in the future. This study, although it has some 
shortcomings, still constitutes a very important effort to 
quantify and expand the wetlands data base and sets a 
standard to build upon with additional research. 

Chuck Wolverton 

Wetlands Value Study Coordinator 



IV 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

The authors wish to acknowledge the research 
assistance provided by Brooks B. Williamson and John M. 
Worthington, Masters degree candidates in the Department 
of Geography-Geology at Eastern Michigan University. 
Robin Fox, an undergraduate, also contributed to this 
report. 

This research project was sponsored by the Divi- 
sion of Land Resource Programs, Michigan Department of 
Natural Resources, Lansing. Special thanks go to Chuck 
Wolverton and Fred Clinton who provided valuable guidance 
throughout this study. Gerald Martz and Leo Pospichal of 
the Wildlife Division of the Michigan Department of 
Natural Resources were also of assistance during the data 
collection. 

This publication was produced by Michigan's Coastal 
Program through funding provided by the Coastal Zone Man- 
agement Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office 
of Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmos- 
pheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce. 



v 



ABSTRACT 

A survey of the existing literature pertinent to 
Michigan's coastal wetlands reveals that these environ- 
ments provide important ecological functions and economic 
values to the general public. Compared to the state's 
total, approximately 21 percent of the waterfowl harvest, 
14 percent of the duck production, 11 percent of the 
muskrat take, 15 percent (by value) of the commercial 
fish landings, and a large proportion of the sport fishing 
occurs in the coastal wetlands or adjacent shallow waters. 
This is significant because a 1972 inventory revealed that 
Michigan has 105,855 acres of coastal wetlands which repre- 
sents only 3.5 percent of the state's to total wetland acreage. 

In terms of average economic value for fish, 
wildlife and recreation, Michigan's coastal wetlands con- 
tribute an estimated $489.69 per wetland acre/year, for a 
total of $51.8 million. Depending on site conditions 
and recreational use, the annual economic return from 
individual wetland parcels may vary considerably about 
this average value. Specifically, these economic values, 
in decreasing order of value, are: sport fishing ($286), 
nonconsumptive recreation ($1 38 . 24 ) ,waterf owl hunting 
($31. 2 3) , trapping of furbearers ($30 . 44) , and commercial 
fishing($3. 78 ) per wetland acre/year. Inclusion of other 
values, e.g., for waste assimilation and filtering of 
suspended solids, as well as ecological values, e.g., use 
of wetlands by endangered species, could increase the average 
annual economic return per acre to over $3,000. Techniques 
more comprehensive than those employed in thi-s study 



VI 



may yield even less conservative economic values for the 
fish and wildlife resources . 

Historical data reveal that Michigan, since the 
mid-1800 1 s, has lost approximately 70 percent of its 
original coastal wetlands. Moreover, available data sug- 
gests that at least 20 percent of the existing coastal 
wetlands may be developed by private interests within the 
next decade. This projected wetland loss should be care- 
fully evaluated in terms of previous losses, loss of 
revenue provided by the coastal resources, and by the fact 
that unsatisfied participant demand for waterfowl hunting 
and sport fishing already exist in many coastal counties. 
Waterfowl habitat projections to the year 2000 A.D. reveal 
deficiencies for fall migration use in Saginaw Bay and 
along the southeastern Michigan coast. Although detailed 
information by individual wetland areas is generally 
not available, wetlands in Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair, 
Lower Detroit River, and along the western shore of Lake 
Erie appear to be more significant economically, support 
the heaviest recreational use, and are, in selected areas, 
subject to the most intensive developmental pressures. 



vn 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PREFACE ii 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS v 

ABSTRACT vi 

LIST OF TABLES x 

LIST OF FIGURES xv 

CHAPTER ONE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 1 

CHAPTER TWO: LOSS OF COASTAL WETLANDS 11 

Coastal Wetland Distribution 11 

Wetland Environments 14 

Wetland Loss .18 

Lake Erie/Detroit River Wetlands 2 2 

Lake St. Clair Wetlands 2 3 

Saginaw Bay Wetlands 31 

Wetland Losses in the Les Cheneaux Islands . .35 

Little Bay de Noc Wetlands 38 

Discussion 41 

Prospects 45 

Dollar Value of Wetland Losses 4 8 

A Regional Perspective of Wetland Loss .... 49 

CHAPTER THREE: VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO 

WATERFOWL 51 

Use of Coastal Wetlands for Migration 51 

Fall Migration 5 5 

Spring Migration 66 

Economic Value of Waterfall Migration. ... 70 

Loss of Migration Habitat 7 

Use of Coastal Wetland as Breeding Habitat . . 7 5 
Value of Waterfowl Hunting in Coastal 

Wetlands 8 8 

CHAPTER FOUR: VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO 

FURBEARERS 97 

Muskrat Value 9 7 

Raccoons 104 

Conclusion 106 



Vlll 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued) 



CHAPTER FIVE: COMMERCIAL AND SPORT FISHING VALUES 

OF THE COASTAL WETLANDS 108 

Spawning of Fish in the Coastal Wetlands . . 108 
Value of Coastal Wetlands to Commercial 

Fishing 114 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Sport Fishing . 121 

CHAPTER SIX: NONCONSUMPTIVE WETLAND VALUES .... 136 

Unique Geomorphological and Biological 

Values 137 

Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Species . . 137 
Nesting and Migration of Shorebirds, 
Passerines and Birds of Prey in Great 

Lake Shorelands 150 

Other Important Migratory Birds 153 

Species Diversity 158 

Other Fauna 159 

Wetland Use by Nature Groups 160 

Values of Coastal Wetlands for Non- 
Consumptive Recreation Uses 161 

Summary of Nonconsumptive Recreational 

Use 170 

Efforts to Protect Unique Coastal Sites for 

Use 171 

CHAPTER SEVEN: FISH AND WILDLIFE PRODUCTIVITY BY 

GEOGRAPHIC REGION 174 

Matrix of Coastal Wetland Values 179 

An Overview of Wetland values 180 

Key References 182 

APPENDIX 191 

REFERENCES CITED 192 






IX 



LIST OF TABLES 

Table Page 

1. LINEAR MILES OF SHORELAND IN MICHIGAN 11 

2. ACRES OF COASTAL WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN, 1972 ... 12 

3. CORRELATION BETWEEN CIRCULAR 39 AND THE 

NATIONAL WETLAND INVENTORY. . . 19 

4. ACRES OF WETLAND LOSSES IN SELECTED COASTAL 

AREAS 2 2 

5. COASTAL WETLAND LOSSES AND GAINS IN LAKE ERIE 

AND LOWER DETROIT RIVER 2 3 

6. WETLAND LOSSES IN LAKE ST. CLAIR 2 8 

7. COASTAL WETLAND LOSSES AND GAINS IN SAGINAW BAY . 34 

8. WETLAND LOSSES IN THE LES CHENEAUX ISLANDS. ... 38 

9. WETLAND LOSSES IN LITTLE BAY DE NOC 1910-1958 . . 41 

10. PROBABLE CAUSES OF WETLAND LOSSES IN SELECTED 
AREAS 4 2 

11. EXISTING AND PROJECTED SHORELAND USE IN LINEAR 
MILES 47 

12. ESTIMATED ACQUISITION COST OF SELECTED COASTAL 
WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN 5 2 

13. DUCK, GOOSE, AND SWAN SPECIES WHOSE PRIMARY AND 
SECONDARY MIGRATION CORRIDORS TRAVERSE THE STATE 

OF MICHIGAN 5 7 

14. WATERFOWL CONCENTRATION AREAS IN COASTAL WET- 
LANDS FALL MIGRATION, IN MICHIGAN, 1976 58 

15. ESTIMATED WATERFOWL DAY USE BY COASTAL WETLAND 

IN MICHIGAN, 1955 60 



x 



LIST OF TABLES (Continued) 



Table Page 

16. SPECIES COMPOSITION OF WATERFOWL OBSERVED 
DURING FALL MIGRATION LAKE ST. CLAIR, MI, OCT. 

7 THROUGH DEC. 3, 1974 6 2 

17. UTILIZATION OF PLANT FOODS BY 150 DUCKS AND 

COOTS HARVESTED AT ERIE SHOOTING CLUB, 1959. . . 64 

18. SPRING MIGRATION CALENDAR BY WATERFOWL SPECIES 

IN MICHIGAN'S COASTAL WETLANDS 6 8 

19. AERIAL SURVEY OF SPRING WATERFOWL MIGRATIONS 
FISH POINT AND SEBEWAING BAY, 1967, 1969, 1971, 
1977 69 

20. LIST OF THREATENED COASTAL WETLANDS WHICH 
FUNCTION FOR WATERFOWL MIGRATION, IN MICHIGAN, 
1976 72 

21. DEFICIENCIES IN FUTURE MIGRATION AND WINTERING 
HABITAT IN MICHIGAN BY FLYWAY HABITAT REGION, 
YEAR 2000 A. D. , IN 1000's OF WATERFOWL 74 

22. SPECIES OF DUCKS NESTING IN THE COASTAL WETLANDS 
AND IN FORESTED INTERIOR OF MICHIGAN, AND MAGEE 
MARSH, N. OHIO 76 

23. NUMBER OF BREEDING PAIRS OF DUCKS IN MICHIGAN, 
1976 78 

24. ESTIMATE PROPORTION OF MICHIGAN'S ANNUAL DUCK 
HARVEST WHICH DERIVES FROM STATE-REARED WATER- 
FOWL 7 9 

25. AVERAGE SPECIES COMPOSITION OF RETRIEVED DUCK 
SAMPLE STATE AVERAGE (1965-1974) vs. ST. CLAIR 
FLATS SGA (1974-1975) 80 

26. DUCK NESTING DENSITIES IN COASTAL WETLANDS OF 
MICHIGAN, 1951-1966 81 

27. DENSITY OF DUCK BROODS IN MICHIGAN WETLANDS, 

1949 8 2 

28. BIOLOGISTS' ESTIMATES OF NESTING PAIRS AND 
DUCKLING PRODUCTION IN MICHIGAN COASTAL WET- 
LANDS, 1975 83 



XI 



LIST OF TABLES (Continued) 



Table Page 

29. WATERFOWL BREEDING HABITAT IN COASTAL WET- 
LANDS THREATENED BY PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT WITHIN 

5 YEARS, MICHIGAN, 1976 8 7 

30. ANNUAL WATERFOWL HARVEST IN MICHIGAN, 1971- 

1975, DNR ESTIMATES 89 

31. AVERAGE DUCK HARVEST IN THE COASTAL COUNTIES OF 
MICHIGAN, 1961-1970 ANNUAL AVERAGE, U. S. 

F AND W ESTIMATES 91 

32. COMPARISON OF NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS TO NUMBER 
OF AVAILABLE WATERFOWL HUNTING RESERVATIONS AT 
FISH POINT, NAYANQUING POINT, AND ST. CLAIR 

FLATS STATE WILDLIFE AREAS, 1976 93 

33. FURBEARERS, TRAPPERS AND FUR VALUE IN 

MICHIGAN (1971-1972) 98 

34. MUSKRATS HARVESTED BY TRAPPERS, 1967-1971 IN 
MICHIGAN 99 

35. MUSKRAT TAKE IN SELECTED COUNTIES OF SOUTH- 
EASTERN MICHIGAN, 1965-1970 100 

36. MUSKRAT TAKE PER WETLAND ACRE AND PER CATTAIL 
ACRE IN SELECTED COUNTIES OF SOUTHEASTERN 
MICHIGAN 102 

37. ESTIMATED RACCOON HARVEST IN MICHIGAN, 1971- 

1975 104 

38. FISH SPECIES SPAWNING IN COASTAL WETLANDS OF 
MICHIGAN 109 

39. COMMON FISH SPECIES UTILIZING THE COASTAL 
WETLANDS OF MICHIGAN 114 

40. FISH SPECIES INHABITING COASTAL WETLANDS WHICH 
ARE TOLERANT TO TURBIDITY, SILTATION, AND 
POLLUTION 115 

41. VALUE OF COMMERICAL FISH LANDINGS FROM MICHIGAN 
WATERS OF THE GREAT LAKES, BY LAKE AND BY 
SPECIES, 1976 116 



Xll 



LIST OF TABLES (Continued) 



Table Page 

42. COMMERCIAL FISH LANDINGS IN SAGINAW BAY 

(LAKE HURON) BY SPECIES, 1975 118 

43. COMMERCIAL FISH LANDINGS FROM MICHIGAN'S 

COASTAL WATERS OF LAKE ERIE, BY SPECIES, 1975 . .120 

44. NUMBER OF SPORT FISHERMEN AND FISHING EFFORT 

BY TYPE OF SPORT FISHING, IN MICHIGAN, 1975 . . .123 

45. NUMBER AND RESIDENCE OF GREAT LAKES YELLOW 

PERCH FISHERMEN BY REGION, IN MICHIGAN, 1975. . .124 

46. SPORT FISH CATCH AND FISHING EFFORT IN SAGINAW 

BAY BY SPECIES, 1975 128 

47. MICHIGAN NON-SALMONID SPORT FISH CATCH AND 
FISHING EFFORT, LAKE ST. CLAIR VS. OTHER 

MICHIGAN GREAT LAKES WATERS, 1975 130 

48. ESTIMATED ECONOMIC VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS 
TO SPORT FISHING, SELECTED COASTAL AREAS, IN 
MICHIGAN, 1977 133 

49. PROJECTED ANGLER PARTICIPATION IN SPORT FISHING 
IN MICHIGAN, RESIDENT DEMAND VS. TOTAL DEMAND, 

BY SUBAREA, 1980. 135 

50. ENDANGERED, THREATENED AND RARE FAUNA IN GREAT 
LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS 140 

51. ENDANGERED, THREATENED AND RARE FLORA IN GREAT 
LAKES SHORELANDS 146 

52. HABITATS OF PROBABLY EXTINCT, ENDANGERED, AND 
THREATENED PLANTS IN MICHIGAN 151 

53. AVIFAUNA IN THE COASTAL GREAT LAKES 152 

54. COASTAL MIGRATION SITES OF SHOREBIRDS, 
PASSERINES AND RAPTORS 155 

55. WETLAND USE BY NATURE GROUPS (NUMBER OF PEOPLE) . 162 

56. NON-HUNTING VS. HUNTING USE OF PUBLIC WATER- 
FOWL GAME AREAS 164 



Xlll 



LIST OF TABLES (Continued) 



Table Page 

57. NON-HUNTING AND HUNTING USE OF ST. CLAIR FLATS 
WILDLIFE AREA PRELIMINARY DATA FOR LOWER 

HARSENS ISLAND 167 

58. UNSATISFIED PARTICIPATION IN NONCONSUMPTIVE 
USE OF WILDLIFE HABITAT BY PLANNING SUBBASIN 
IN MICHIGAN, FOR SELECTED YEARS, IN 1800' S OF 

MAN DAYS 170 

59. PROPOSED NATURAL COASTAL AREAS UNDER CONSIDER- 
ATION BY THE DNR 173 

60. POTENTIAL AVERAGE ANNUAL COASTAL FISH AND 
WILDLIFE PRODUCTION 175 

61. POTENTIAL AVERAGE ANNUAL ECONOMIC VALUE OF 

FISH, WILDLIFE, AND NONCONSUMPTIVE RECRE- 
ATIONAL RESOURCES OF COASTAL WETLANDS IN 
MICHIGAN BY GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, 1977 177 

62. MATRIX OF PAGE NUMBERS FOR DOCUMENTED VALUES 

OF COASTAL WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN 184 



xiv 



LIST OF FIGURES 

Figure Page 

1. DISTRIBUTION OF COASTAL WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN . . 13 

2. THE LACUSTRINE ECOLOGICAL SYSTEM, WETLANDS 
CLASSIFICATION 16 

3. THE PALUSTRINE ECOLOGICAL SYSTEM, WETLANDS 
CLASSIFICATION 17 

4. DISTRIBUTION OF RAISIN RIVER WETLANDS IN 1915. . 24 

5. DISTRIBUTION OF RAISIN RIVER WETLANDS IN 1974. . 25 

6. COASTAL WETLANDS OF SOUTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN 
1901 26 

7. COASTAL WETLANDS OF SOUTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN 
1974 27 

8. COASTAL WETLANDS IN LAKE ST. CLAIR, 1873 .... 29 

9. COASTAL WETLANDS IN LAKE ST. CLAIR, 1973 .... 30 

10. SAGINAW BAY WETLANDS IN 1857 3 2 

11. SAGINAW BAY WETLANDS IN 1963-1973 33 

12. THE LES CHENEAUX WETLANDS IN 1904 36 

13. THE LES CHENEAUX WETLANDS IN 1964 3 7 

14. THE LITTLE BAY DE NOC WETLANDS IN 1910 39 

15. THE LITTLE BAY DE NOC WETLANDS IN 1958 4 

16. PROJECTED COASTAL LAND USE FOR LAKE HURON AND 
LAKE ERIE 46 

17. FALL MIGRATION CORRIDORS OF DIVING DUCKS ACROSS 
MICHIGAN 52 



xv 



LIST OF FIGURES (Continued) 



Figure Page 

18. FALL MIGRATION CORRIDORS FOR DABBLING DUCKS 
ACROSS MICHIGAN 5 3 

19. FALL MIGRATION CORRIDORS FOR CANADA GEESE 

ACROSS MICHIGAN 54 

20. FALL CONCENTRATION AREAS FOR MIGRATORY WATER- 
FOWL, IN MICHIGAN, 1977 (MICHIGAN'S COASTAL 
WETLANDS) 5 6 

21. THREATENED MIGRATION HABITATS IN THE COASTAL 
WETLANDS OF MICHIGAN 7 3 

22. SPORT FISHING AREAS IN THE COASTAL WETLANDS OF 

THE ST. CLAIR DELTA 129 

23. VEGETATION TRANSECT ON HARSENS ISLAND, ST. 

CLAIR RIVER DELTA 138 

24. MIGRATION SITES OF SHOREBIRDS, PASSERINES AND 
RAPTORS, IN MICHIGAN 154 

25. PROPOSED NATURAL AREAS IN COASTAL MICHIGAN. . .172 



xvi 



CHAPTER ONE 
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

The following conclusions have been determined in 
this study. 

Coastal Wetland Loss . According to the 19 7 2 
shoreland inventory, the state has 105,855 acres of 
coastal wetland or 3.3 percent of Michigan's total wet- 
lands. Historically, Little Bay de Noc, Les Cheneaux 
Islands, Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit 
River/Lake Erie (Monroe County) had 70,125 acres of 
coastal wetlands. These areas now total 28,522 acres. In 
these investigated areas, the wetland loss totalled 41,550 
acres. Based on the present market price, the value of 
the dollar loss totals $45,133,687. This loss however, 
does not include dollar losses for fish, wildlife and non- 
consumptive recreation which is estimated to be 4)20,346,619. 

In the past, significant wetland losses have occur- 
red because of land being drained for agricultural pur- 
poses. More recently, urbanization to include industrial 
expansion, has been responsible for wetland losses. 
Future projections indicate that residential, industrial 
and commercial expansion in the state's shorelands will 
continue to increase. 

Use of Coastal Wetlands by Migratory Waterfowl . Be- 
cause the main flyway corridor of several species, including 
the whistling swan, Canada geese, canvasback, bufflehead, rud- 
dy duck, hooded merganser and American goldeneye traverse 
Michigan, these waterfowl are dependent upon Michigan's coastal 
wetlands and shallow water habitats for resting and feeding. 
A number of coastal wetlands, in particular those along 
Portage Bay, St. Martins Bay, Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair, 



lower Detroit River, and coastal Monroe County, function 
as concentration areas during fall and spring migrations. 
The economic value of concentration areas for these con- 
tinental waterfowl populations cannot be measured. 

Projection of migratory waterfowl habitat needs 
indicate that southeastern Michigan is exhibiting habitat 
deficiencies for fall and spring migration and for winter- 
ing of waterfowl. Likewise, at Saginaw Bay-Thumb area, 
habitat deficiency for fall migration in year 2000 A.D. 
has been projected. At present, an estimated 32,645 acres 
of coastal migration habitat, particularly in southern 
Michigan, is threatened by private development within the 
next decade. This amounts to 31 percent of the total coastal 
wetland area. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Waterfowl Breeding . 
The mute swan nests in the Grand Traverse Bay area, and the 
redhead duck, which breeds in Michigan only in restricted 
areas, nests in the St. Clair delta. The most common water- 
fowl species nesting in the coastal wetlands besides coot, 
in ranked order, are mallards, blue-winged teal, and black 
ducks. High-density breeding areas include Nayanquing Point, 
Tobico Marsh, St. Clair Flats, Arcadia Marsh, Quanicassee, 
Portage Entry Marsh (Houghton County) , and Portage Marsh 
(Delta County) . 

The coastal wetlands produce an average of 0.31 
flying ducklings per acre, or 32,815 total ducks annually. 
This production contributes an estimated 14 percent of the 
annual duck production within the state. Though the number 
of Canada geese reared within the state is relatively small, 
state-produced geese are expanding in numbers and are 
making an increasing contribution to the annual goose 
harvest. Even though the coastal wetlands are of limited 
extent, production of ducks and coots is comparatively 
high. Unfortunately, an estimated 18,362 acres of coastal 
waterfowl breeding habitat are threatened by development 



within the next 5-10 years. This acreage amounts to 17 
percent of the total coastal wetlands area. 

Standard Values for Economic Assessment of Wetland 
Values . The economic value of the fish, wildlife and non- 
consumptive recreational resources were based on estimates 
of sport and commercial harvests, average annual expendi- 
tures by participants engaged in fishing and hunting, and 
on values of recreation days. (See table of standard values 
on the next page). This methodology was employed to esti- 
mate the average annual dollar value generated directly 
from an acre of Michigan's coastal wetlands. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Waterfowl Hunting . 
Because waterfowl tend to concentrate, during migration, in 
the coastal wetlands and because large areas of wetlands 
have been set aside for public hunting, approximately 21 
percent of the annual harvest of ducks occurs therein. 
Waterfowl hunting in the coastal wetlands, which centers 
on dabbling ducks, contributes $3,305,913, including carcass 
value, to the economy of Michigan. This economic assess- 
ment is based on $130.25 per waterfowl hunter per year and 
$1.13/pound of waterfowl carcass value, resulting in a value 
of approximately $30.00 per retrieved waterfowl, or $31.23 
per wetland acre/year. An estimated annual harvest of 
85,9^0 waterfowl or 0.81 birds/acre/year has been calculated 
for the coastal wetlands. A proportion of the waterfowl 
reared in Michigan's coastal wetlands also provide hunting 
opportunities in other states as well. 

The annual harvest of waterfowl at the Fish Point 
and St. Clair Flats Wildlife Areas is exceptionally high. 
Present waterfowl hunting participation and latent demand 
in southeastern Michigan and in the Saginaw Bay-Thumb 
area indicate a deficiency of hunting opportunities, parti- 
cularly at high-quality hunting areas during preferred times. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Furbearers . The 
principal furbearers in the coastal wetlands are raccoons 



and muskrats. The number of muskrats trapped increases 
from north to south with 11 percent of the state's harvest 
recorded in the coastal counties of Region III. Given an 
average harvest of three muskrats per acre and a combined 
pelt and carcass value in 1977 of $8 . 70/animal , muskrats 
generate a value of $26 . 10/wetland acre/year. In the cat- 
tail marshes, the average annual value for muskrats is 
$29.75/acre. Raccoons, wiiicn average 0.11 furbearers per 
wetland acre and $39 . 40/animal , yield a dollar value of 
$4 . 34/wetland acre/year. Together these two mammals pro- 
duce an average annual return of $30 . 44/wetland acre/year. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands as Fisn Spawning, 
Nursing and Feeding Habitat. The coastal wetlands of 
Michigan provide spawning habitat for northern pike, 
yellow perch, carp, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, 
bluegill, bullheads, and several other species including 
forage minnows. Loss of habitat due to agricultural and 
residential encroachment and water quality deterioration due to 
agricultural, urban and agricultural runoff have greatly frag- 
mented and degraded many coastal spawning areas , especially 
along western Lake Erie, lower Detroit River, and Saginaw 
Bay. A deficiency of spawning habitat may exist for 
wetland dependent species, e.g., the northern pike. Three impor- 
tant wetland spawning areas are located in Lake St. Clair, 
St. Marys River, and Little Bay de Noc. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Reptiles and 
Amphibians . Turtles, snakes and frogs are important pred- 
ators as well as a food source for higher wetland predators. 
Turtles are particularly significant as scavengers. Though 
not well researched, this group represents an important 
link in the wetland food web, adds species diversity, and 
provides non- consumptive recreation. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Commercial Fishing . 
Because of environmental deterioration and subsequent 
decline in fish stocks, and the restriction on many high- 
value species such as walleye and northern pike, commercial 
fishing in the coastal wetlands focuses on medium- to -low- 
value, warmwater species, e.g., carp, yellow perch, channel 



catfish, and freshwater drum. In 1977, the total harvest 
by 33 fishermen amounted to approximately 1,810,000 pounds, 
which was valued at about $400,000. Most of the fishing 
activity occurs in Saginaw Bay, with small commercial 
landings also in the St. Marys River and along western 
Lake Erie. 

The catch in the coastal wetlands contributes 12 
percent of the total weight of the statewide harvest, and 
approximately 15 percent of the total value. Given 
105,855 acres of coastal wetland, the harvest therein on 
the average amounts to 17.1 pounds per acre/year, for an 
economic value in 1977 of $3.78 per wetland acre/year. 
However, if carp are raised in wetland ponds, the return 
is estimated to be $30 . 85/wetland acre/year. If all of 
Michigan's Great Lakes commercial fish catch was considered 
to be wetland dependent , then the average value would amount 
to approximately $30.00 per wetland acre/year. 



STANDARD VALUES FOR ESTIMATING ANNUAL ECONOMIC RETURN 
FROM MICHIGAN'S COASTAL WETLANDS 

W etland Uses or Products 

Average Annual Waterfowl Hunter's Expenditures 

Waterfowl Hunting Day 

Average Annual Freshwater Fisherman's Expenditures 

Angler Day (Freshwater Sport Fisherman) 

Source : U.S. Dept . of Interior, 1972, "1970 National Survey of Fishing 
and Hunting", Resource Pub. 95 , Wash., D.C. , 108 pp. Extra- 
polation from 1970 to 1977 based on 1.542 cost-of-living factor. 



1977 Value 


$130. 


,25 


15. 


,00 


196, 


,10 


9, 


.72 



Commercial Fish (Wholesale Price to Fishermen) 

Average for Warmwater Coastal Fish $0.22/ lb. 

Furbearers 

Muskrat - Pelt $7.00 each 

Carcass (average 1% lb. /animal) 1.13/lb. 

Raccoon - Pelt $31.50 each 

Carcass (average 7 lbs. /animal) 1.13/lb. 

Waterfowl Carcass Values: 

Duck (average 1 lb. /bird) $1.13/lb. 

Goose (average 4 lbs. /bird) 1.13/lb. 

Coot (average 1 lb. /bird) 1.13/lb. 

Source : Current Files, Fisheries Division and Wildlife Division, Michigan 

Dept. of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI. Furbearer carcass and 
waterfowl carcass values were extrapolated from 1975 to 1977 using 
a 1.129 cost-of-living factor. 



Nonconsumptive Recreation: 

Average Annual Participant Expenditures $200.75 

Recreation Day 23.12 

Source : Based on Payne B. B. and R. M. DeGraaf , "Economic Value Associated 
with Human Enjoyment of Nongame Birds", General Technical Report 
No. WO-1, Wash., D.C, USDA, Forest Service, 1975, pp 6-10. 



Value of Coastal Wetlands to Sport Fishing . Some 
of the Great Lakes non-salmonid sport fishing in Michigan, 
which amounts to 4.4 million angler days per year and is 
valued at $43.4 million annually, occurs in coastal wet- 
lands. Because many of the warmwater species which com- 
prise most of Great Lakes sport fishery, such as northern 
pike and yellow perch, spawn in or are otherwise dependent 
on coastal wetlands, the coastal environments contribute to 
the fishery even though much of the actual catch may not 
take place directly in wetlands. Yellow perch is the 
species of primary importance to Great Lakes non-salmonid 
fishermen. 

Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron account for 75 
percent of the Great Lakes non-salmonid fishing effort and 
81 percent of the total yellow perch catch. Lake St. 
Clair, including its deltaic wetlands, is probably the 
most valuable sport fishing area in the Great Lakes. The 
economic value of sport fishing in the coastal wetlands 
varies considerably, but on the average amounts to $286 
per wetland acre/year. Proximity to large urban centers 
is a major factor influencing use rates. At present, 
Lake St. Clair and Saginaw Bay are receiving heavy hook 
and line fishing pressure. Current and projected angler 
demand indicate that a lack of sufficient inland fishing 
opportunities in southern Michigan is being compensated 
to some extent by the exporting of demand to Lake St. 
Clair, Saginaw Bay, and to northern Michigan. 

Value of Coastal Wetlands to Nonconsumptive Uses. 
Coastal wetlands are utilized for nesting and concentration 
areas by endangered, threatened, and rare fauna and flora 
as well as by the many abundant species of shorebirds, pas- 
serines, and birds of prey. Recreational non-hunting and 
non-fishing activity hours greatly exceed hunting activities 
and this demand is increasing. The economic value of non- 
consumptive recreational use is estimated to be $138.24/ 
acre/year . 



Summary of Wetland Values Per Acre . The economic 
value of Michigan's wetlands with regard to fish, wildlife 
and nonconsumptive recreation uses totals $477 . 78/acre/year 
and is divided as follows: 

Sport Fishing $286 . OQ/acre/year 

Nonconsumptive Recreation $138.24 

Waterfowl Hunting $ 31.23 

Trapping of Furbearers $ 30.44 

Commercial Fishing $ 3.78 



TOTAL $4 89. 6 9/ acre/year 

Non-economic values, e.g., 
use by endangered species. 

According to a 1972 survey, the coastal wetlands in 
Michigan total 105,855 acres. Employing an average annual 
return of $489.69 per acre, fish, wildlife and nonconsump- 
tive recreation generate a direct annual gross value of 
$51,836,137 to the State of Michigan and its users. Most 
of the annual economic return in this economic assessment 
are public values as opposed to an average income a private 
landowner might expect from his property. Thus, provided 
the public has access to the wetlands and multiple use is 
made of the available resources, wetlands may generate 
several hundred dollars worth of gross annual return per 
acre . 

These economic values do not represent all the 
economic values of an acre of coastal wetland. At the 
National Wetland Symposium (Washington, D.C., June 6-8, 
1977) many investigators suggested that the role of wet- 
lands with regard to pollution-absorbing capabilities 
greatly exceeds the dollar value of wildlife and agricu- 
lture. It has been determined that the dollar value per 
wetland acre for phosphrous removal, secondary and tertiary 
waste treatment may be $3 , 730 /acre/year (Sullivan, 1976, 
p. 4). 



Potential Wetland Value by Geographic Region . By 
multiplying the total estimated wetland value per acre 
($489.69) by the acreage of wetland, the potential average 
annual return per geographical region was calculated. 





Wetland 


Dollar Value 


Percent of 




Acreage 


of Wetlands 


Grand Total 


Lake Superior 


1,200 


$ 587,628 


1.1 


St. Marys River 


11,978 


5,865,507 


11.3 


Lake Michigan 


29,846 


14,615,288 


28.2 


Lake Huron, excl. 








Saginaw Bay 


5,686 


2,784,378 


5.4 


Saginaw Bay 


33,380 


16,345,851 


31.5 


Lake St. Clair 








& St. Clair R. 


15,630 


7,653,854 


14.8 


Detroit River 


1,420 


695,361 


1.35 


Lake Erie 


6,715 


3,288,270 


6.35 


TOTALS 


105,855 


$51,836,137 


100.0% 



The Lake St. Clair wetlands, because of its intense 
sport fishing and high potential nonconsumptive recreational 
use, probably comprises Michigan' s most valuable coastal 
wetland. Saginaw Bay wetlands appear to rank second. Both 
areas are in close proximity to large urban centers , have 
the highest latent participation demand for sport fishing, 
waterfowl hunting, and nonconsumptive recreation, and exhi- 
bit forecasted habitat deficiency for migratory waterfowl. 

Data Availability and Sources . Most data used in 
this report were obtained by the Fisheries Division and 
Wildlife Division of the Michigan DNR. The data in gen- 
eral consisted of typed or xerox reports and were often 
presented on a region or at best, county level. In many 
cases , the data were collected by counties through the 
mid-1950' s. The data on file since that time were reported 
by region. There were only fragmentary data available by 
wetland location. 

Since the DNR may be required to protect wetlands 
in the near future, it is recommended that a file be pre- 
pared for each of the state's wetlands. With the present 



10 



organization of the data, it is not possible to promptly 
obtain wetland information on a specific wetland. Because 
of the potentially high value per wetland area, sport 
fishing and nonconsumptive recreation should be emphasized 
in value assessments. 



11 



CHAPTER TWO 
LOSS OF COASTAL WETLANDS 

In recent years, with record high lake levels, a 
great deal of concern, research, and funding has been con- 
centrated on coastal erosion problems in the Great Lakes. 
Most investigations by state and federal agencies concen- 
trated their efforts on bluff erosion and coastal flooding 
(Great Lakes Basin Commission, 1975b; Bryan, 1976). The 
concern for wetland losses, although perhaps more signifi- 
cant because of their vital link between terrestrial and 
aquatic habitats has not been adequately identified, 
mapped, or addressed. In this chapter an overview of 
coastal wetland changes is presented based upon the avail- 
able literature and the mapping of selected wetlands in 
the state of Michigan. 
COASTAL WETLAND DISTRIBUTION 

Michigan has some 2,138 miles of mainland shoreline 
(Table 1) which is composed of a variety of geologic 
materials such as bedrock, glacial debris and finer lake 
plaii. sediments. 

TABLE 1 
LINEAR MILES OF MAINLAND SHORELINE IN MICHIGAN 



Lake 


Total Shore 
(miles) 


Wetlands 
(miles) 

63.8 


1 
Wetlands 


Superior/St. Marys River 


580.8 




11.0 


Michigan 


845.0 




80.3 


9.5 


Huron 


565.0 




163.2 


28.9 


St. Clair and St. Clair 
and Detroit Rivers 


115.0 




18.1 


15.7 


Erie 


32.5 




14.3 


44.0 


Total Miles 


2,138.3 




339.7 




Source: Great Lakes Basin, Commission, 1975, 
and Erosion, Appendix 12, Section 5. 


Shore Use 













12 



Coastal wetlands occupy only 340 miles or 16 percent of 
the State ' s shorelands. The highest percentage of 
Michigan's wetland communities occur on low, clay plains 
on Lake Erie and Lake Huron. However, significant con- 
centrations occur in protected embayments surrounded by 
bedrock or thin glacial deposits such as in Little Bay de 
Noc, Potagannissing Bay, and Munuscong Bay. 

Figure 1 illustrates the distribution of coastal 
wetland acreage in Michigan. As determined by these data, 
a total of 105,855 acres of coastal habitat existed in 
1972. As noted in Table 2, the habitat concentration is 
greatest in Lake Huron. Four counties (Huron, Tuscola, 
Bay, and Arenac) adjacent to Saginaw Bay account for 
34,726 acres or 33 percent of the state's total coastal 
wetland acreage. In the Upper Peninsula, significant wet- 
land areas occur in eastern Chippewa County (11,978 acres) 
Most of the 29,785 acres in Lake Michigan are located in 
lakes and estuaries landward of Lake Michigan such as the 
estuary of Grand River, Lake Macatawa, and Muskegon Lake. 



TABLE 2 
ACRES OF COASTAL WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN, 1972 

Lake Acres 

Lake Huron 39,107 

Lake Michigan 29,785 

Lake St. Clair, Detroit and St. 

Clair Rivers 17,050 

Lake Superior 13 , 198 

Lake Erie 6,715 



Total 105,855 

Source : Michigan DNR, Shorelands Inventory , 1973 



13 



FIGURE 1- -Distribution of coastal wet lands in Michigan 




Source : Department of Natural Resources, (1973c). 
*Other sources indicate this acreage should be 590 acres. 



14 



WETLAND ENVIRONMENTS 

In Michigan's coastal zone, wetlands occur in four 
primary environmental settings. These settings are: 

1) deltas (e.g., St. Clair River, Whitefish River); 

2) shallow shelves (e.g., Wildfowl Bay, Fish Point); 

3) sheltered bays and estuaries (e.g., St. Martin Bay, 
Portage Bay); and 4) barrier/ lagoons (e.g., Tobico Marsh, 
Nayanquing Point) . 

1. Delta Coasts occur where river sediments are 
introduced into a lake and coastal currents 
and wave action are too weak to remove the 
sediment. As sediments accumulate at the 
river mouth, deltas expand and the wetland 
habitat is increased. Such habitats are 
diverse and support abundant waterfowl, fish, 
mammals, and reptiles. 

2. Shallow Shelves generally support linear 
coastal wetlands paralleling the shoreline. 
Such wetlands normally occur between the beach 
and the 6-foot submarine contour, and are 
protected from strong wave action. The adja- 
cent land areas (e-g. Saginaw Bay) are most often 
composed of ancient clay-like plains. 

3. Sheltered Bays and Estuaries are relatively 
shallow areas protected from wave action and 
strong currents. Wetlands in these areas are 
often discontinuous and occur in isolated 
localities and on the leeside of small islands. 
Examples include the St. Marys River, Lake 
Michigan and Mismer Bay. 

4. Barrier/Lagoon Complexes commonly support 
dense wetland communities. Wetlands occur 
behind sand barriers and may be extensive, 
particularly during lower water periods. 
During high water periods and storms, the 



15 



unstable barrier may be breached or destroyed, 
exposing the adjacent wetlands to erosion such 
as at the Erie State Game Area. 
Based on the proposed National Wetland Classifica- 
tion (Cowardin & Carter, 1975), as updated in April, 1977, 
the coastal wetland habitats of the state may be tenta- 
tively classified within the Lacustrine or Palustrine 
Ecological System. The Lacustrine System includes all 
habitats where a wave- formed (beach or barrier) or bedrock 
shoreline feature forms all or part of the boundary. 
Where such a topographic or geologic feature is present, 
the habitats lakeward of it are included in the Lacustrine 
System regardless of the density of the vegetation. 
Figure 2 represents the hierarchy for the Lacustrine Eco- 
logical System. 

The Palustrine Ecological System includes a wet- 
land where adjacent wave-generated or bedrock features 
are absent. As now defined, the wetlands associated with 
this system are not subjected to intensive wave or current 
action. The hierarchy of this system is presented in 
Figure 3 . 

With regard to Michigan's coastal wetlands, the classes 
(Figures 2 and 3) which appear to be most significant in 
each system are the "Submergent Bed" and "Emergent Wet- 
land" categories. Dominant emergent aquatics are the 
sedges ( Carex spp ) , bulrushes ( Scirpus spp ) and cattails 
( Typha spp ) . In terms of a state-wide distribution, based 
on the 1972 DNR coastal inventory, the following acreages 
have been determined: sedges, 10,823; bulrush, 42,153; 
cattail, 30,809; and Potamogeton , 22,338 acres. 

Since the Lacustrine and Palustrine Ecological 
Systems of the pending National Wetland Inventory are 
associated with landf orms , and wave and current conditions, 
the systems may be related to the environmental settings 
as outlined above. The Littoral Subsystem 



16 



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of the Lacustrine System, characterized by beach deposits 
and current action, is associated with wetlands adjacent to 
barriers such as coastal Tuscola County and selected areas 
of Lake St. Clair. Shoals associated with some delta 
regions (e.g., St. Clair) and shallow shelves (e.g., Fish 
Point) support aquatic habitats because of weaker cur- 
rents and lower wave energies, and are generally within the 
Palustrine (vegetated) System. The sheltered bays and 
estuaries probably occur in both categories on a state- 
wide scale. If, for example, the head of an embayment 
is occupied by a beach deposit, the adjacent marsh would 
be lacustrine. If, however, a protected bay is composed 
of glacial laRe-plain deposit extending out into the lake, 
the wetland would be categorized as palustrine. 

Elsewhere in this report, wetland habitats are 
identified according to the classification of Shaw and 
Fredine (1956). Based on that classification, the wet- 
land types which are most significant with regard to 
coastal Michigan are Types 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. A com- 
parison of wetland types in Circular 39 by Shaw and 
Fredine with the proposed National Wetland Classification 
is presented down to Class/Subclass in Table 3 as deter- 
mined by Cowardin and Carter (1975) . To adequately type 
the wetland habitats in detail, each wetland must be 
investigated and mapped on a large scale (e. g. , 1:24,000) 
and additional data on water regime modifiers , water chem- 
istry, soil type (organic or mineral) and special modi- 
fiers (e.g., diking, farming, etc.) must be included. 
WETLAND LOSS 

With the use of old maps and modern U.S. Geological 
Survey topograhic maps a comparison of past and present wet- 
land distributions were made in selected localities. The 
coastal areas include the four principal environmental set- 
tings discussed above and hence a diversity of wetland types 
were chosen. The coastal areas selected were: 



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20 



Monroe County to St. Clair County 
Huron County to Tuscola County 
Bay County to Arenac County 
Delta County (Little Bay de Noc) 
Eastern Mackinac County 

Specifically mapped sites were selected by older 
map availability and scale. In most cases the premodern 
wetland vegetation was planimetered from U. S. Army Engi- 
neers field survey charts with map scales between 
1:10,000 to 1:20,000. The identical areas were then map- 
ped on modern topographic maps, the majority of which had 
a scale of 1:24,000, and the wetland acreage difference 
recorded. 

The following charts obtained from the Submerged 
Lands Section of the Michigan Department of National 
Resources (DNR) were used to determine historical wetland 
acreages of the areas outlined above: 

Lake Erie and Detroit River 

J. C. Sanford, 1915, Lower Detroit River, Chart 
No. 1-1311, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
1:20,000. 

M. M. Patrick, 1916, West End of Lake Erie , Chart 
No. 1-1312, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
1:20,000. 

F. G. Ray, 1919, Head of Detroit River , Chart No. 
1-1392, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
1:10,000. 

Lake St. Clair 

J. R. Mayer, 1868, Lake St. Clair , Chart No. 
1-412, U. S. Army of Engineers, 1:16,000. 

A. Molitor and F. M. Towar, 1868, West Shore of 
Lake St. Clair , Chart No. 1-413, U. S. Army 
Corps of Engineers . 

W. F. Raynolds and C. B. Comstock, 1873-74, Lake 
St. Clair, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
1:50,000. 



21 



Saginaw Bay 

G. C. Meade, 1857, Part of the South East Shore 
of Saginaw Bay , Chart No. 1-165, U. S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, 1:16,000. 

J. N. Macomb, 1859, South Shore of Saginaw Bay, 

Chart No. 1-153, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
1:16,000. 

G. C. Meade, 1857, South East Shore of Saginaw 
Bay , Chart No. 1-166, U. S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, 1:16,000. 

W. H. Hearding, 1856, West Shore of Saginaw Bay , 
Chart No. 1-154, U S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, 1:16,000. 

G. C. Meade, 1857, West Shore of Saginaw Bay , 
Chart No. 1-169, U. S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, 1:16,000. 

Little Bay de Noc 

W. L. Fisk, 1904-5, Little Bay de Noc, and Ap - 
proaches to Green Bay , Chart No. 718, U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers , 1:40,000. 

Les Cheneaux Islands 

W. L. Fisk and E. E. Haskell, 1904, Les Cheneaux 
Islands. Brulee Point to Government Bay , Chart 
No. 1041, U. S . Army Corps of Engineers , 
1:10,000. 

The best accuracy was obtained with map scales of 1:10,000 

to 1:20,000. Therefore, the planimetering in the lower 

5reat Lakes is more representative of the actual wetland 

acreage because of tne ±arger scale maps. Another reason 

for more accurate evaluation in the lower peninsula is 

that the modern topographic maps are more detailed and 

more recent than in the upper peninsula. Topographic maps 

available in Bay de Noc area were at a scale of 1:62,500 

whereas all other areas were mapped since 1958 at a scale 

of 1:24,000. 

Table 4 represents wetlands losses of selected 

areas planimetered. Considering all areas investigated, 

there has been a total wetland loss of between 50 to 77 

percent. In sum, 41,608 acres of wetland were lost to 

natural or cultural causes. However, it must also be 



22 



noted that some areas (e.g., Wildfowl Bay), have gained 
wetland vegetation. In the subsections below, the above 
areas are tabulated and discussed individually. 

TABLE 4 
ACRES OF WETLAND LOSSES IN SELECTED COASTAL AREAS 



Area 

Lake Erie/Detroit R. 
Lake St. Clair 
Saginaw Bay 
Little Bay de Noc 
Les Cheneaux 

TOTAL 



Wetland 


Date 


Wetland 


Date 


Loss 


% 
Loss 


10,109 


1916 


3,871 


1967-73 


6,240 


61 


18,001 


1873 


5,007 


1973 


12,999 


72 


37,437 


1856 


17,818 


1963-73 


19,620 


53 


2,931 


1910 


1,458 


1958 


1,473 


50 


1,652 


1904 


374 


1964 


1,278 


77 



70,130 



28,522 



41,608 



LAKE ERIE/DETROIT RIVER WETLANDS 

Table 5 presents, in detail, the coastal wetland 
losses of Monroe and Wayne Counties. As noted, most of 
the data are based on years between 1916 and 1973. Most 
wetland acreage, particularly in coastal Lake Erie, is 
located in lagoons behind sand barriers. Adjacent to 
wetlands at Point Mouillee, (i.e., Erie Marshes and the 
Monroe/La Plaisance area) the land in 1916 was often in 
pasture suggesting that many fields were already drained 
or were used extensively during lower water periods. 

Water levels in Lake Erie during 1915 and 1916 
averaged 570.3 feet, slightly below the 1900 to 1976 
average of 570.54 feet. Therefore, the wetland distri- 
bution represents average conditions. The modern wetland 
acreage in Table 5 represents conditions approaching 
record high lake levels (573.30 feet in 1973) which 
accounts for zero acreage at Humbug Marsh in 1973 and 
smaller acreages in other sites investigated 



23 



TABLE 5 

COASTAL WETLAND LOSSES AND GAINS IN LAKE ERIE AND 

LOWER DETROIT RIVER 



Location 


Acres 


Date 


Acres 


Date 


Net 


Change 


Erie Marshes 


2 


,285 


1916 


1 


,329 


1967 


- 


956 


Toledo Beach 




354 


1916 




182 


1967 


- 


172 


Monroe/La Plaisance 


3 


,666 


1916 




408 


1973 


-2 


1,258 


Stony Point 




147 


1916 




41 


1973 


- 


106 


Swan Creek 




698 


1916 




323 


1973 


- 


375 


Stony Creek 




55 


1916 




10 


1973 


- 


45 


Pointe Mouillee 


1 


,376 


1916 


1 


,040 


1973 


- 


336 


Milleville Beach 




146 


1916 




18 


1973 


- 


128 


Lower Detroit River 


















and Marsh Creek 




441 


1916 




263 


1973 


- 


178 


Grosse Isle 




541 


1916 




63 


1973 


„ 


656 


Humbug 




144 


1916 




U 


1973 


- 


144 


Stony Island 




105 


1916 




113 


1973 


+ 


8 


Celeron Island 




152 


1916 




80 


1973 




72 


TOTAL 


10 


,110 


3 


,870 





Significant losses due to construction are known 
to have occurred throughout the western Lake Erie shore- 
line. The development of the city of Monroe has had a 
particularly significant impact on the coastal wetlands 
and only 408 acres remain physically unaltered today. A 
comparison of Figures 4 and 5 reveals that filling by 
public, as well as private, concerns are responsible for 
losses. A comparison of the Woodtick Peninsula (Figures 
6 and 7) demonstrates that losses have occurred in areas 
of less industrial /commercial pressure. 
LAKE ST. CLAIR WETLANDS 

The wetlands of Lake St. Clair are nationally 
known for their waterfowl and fish habitats. In 1868-1873 



24 



FIGURE 4- -Distribution of Raisin River Wetlands in 1915 
(after Jaworski and Raphael, 1976). 




25 

FIGURE 5 --Distribution of Raisin River Wetlands in 1974 
(after Jaworski and Raphael, 1976). 




76 



FIGURE 6- -Coastal Wetlands of Southern Monroe County in 
1901 (after Jaworski and Raphael, 1976). 




LAKE ERIE 



4V 
47' 



83° 25' 



27 

FIGURE 7--Coastal Wetlands of Southern Monroe County in 
1974 (after Jaworski and Raphael, 1976). 



41° 4 7 



LAKE ERIE 




41°45- 



83°25' 



28 



the U. S. portion of Lake St. Clair supported 18,000 acres 
of wetland vegetation (Table 6) . By 1973 this habitat 
dwindled to 5,000 acres. Significant losses not only 
occurred on the St. Clair delta and St. Johns Marsh, but 
on the entire margin of the lake as well. Gaukler Point 
(St. Clair Shores) supported 462 acres of wetlands and the 
Clinton River had over 3200 acres of wetlands at its 
mouth . 

TABLE 6 
WETLAND LOSSES IN LAKE ST. CLAIR 



Location 


Acres 


Date 


Acres 


in 1973 


Losses 


St. Clair Flats 


13,547 


1873 


4 


,403 


9,144 


Swan Creek 


185 


1868 




4 


181 


Mar sac Point 


149 


1868 




5 


144 


New Baltimore 


52 


1868 







52 


Salt River 


400 


1868 




44 


356 


Clinton River 


3,206 


1873 




546 


2,660 


Gaukler Point 


462 


1873 







462 


TOTAL 


18,001 


5 


,002 


12,999 



Some coastal areas, particularly north of the 
Clinton River, appear to have been converted to agricul- 
ture by the 1860's suggesting that prior to that time the 
wetlands were more extensive. In 1973, a total of 16,220 
acres of coast were occupied by residential, recreational 
(i. e., marinas) , and commercial uses, as compared to the 
area in 1873 (Figures 8 and 9) . Attempts in recent months 
to expand residential development in the Clinton marshes 
have been stopped by the courts ( U. S. vs. Riverside 
Bayview Homes, Inc. and Allied Aggregate Transportation 
Company ) . 



29 




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31 



SAGINAW BAY WETLANDS 

Navigation charts published in 1857 were used to 
map wetland vegetation extending from Sand Point south- 
westward to Garner Road in Tuscola County. Additional 
charts extend from one-half mile east of Knight Road in 
Bay County northward to Point Au Gres. The wetland south 
of Gordon Road in Arenac County was included as part of 
the Au Gres wetland. 

The wetland vegetation as planimetered on the 
1857 charts totalled 37,437 acres. By 1963-73 these wet- 
lands totalled 17,816 acres (Figures 10 and 11). As 
noted in Table 7, increases in wetlands were recorded in 
the offshore islands of the Wildfowl Bay Wildlife Area, 
the offshore marshes of Huron and Tuscola Counties, par- 
ticularly southwest of Sebewaing and the wetlands of Au 
Gres. Elsewhere, wetland acreage declined. 

Permanent losses have occurred in Huron/ Bay 
Counties and in the Kawkawl in /Saginaw River area. On 
the 1857 charts a wetland paralleled the shoreline and 
extended inland 7,000 feet. Based on U. S. Geological 
Survey topographical maps of this area (Fish Point Quad. , 
1973) the elevations here are less than 585 feet; an ele- 
vation nearly equal to that of the modern shoreline. The 
area has been drained for agriculture and the fields have 
been tiled. In 1857, the wetland landward (south) of the 
coastal barrier occupied 11,701 acres. By the 1960's, 
the entire wetland had been drained. 

A wetland separated from Saginaw Bay by a coastal 
barrier extended from the Kawkawlin River southeastward 
beyond the Saginaw River to the Quanicassee Wildlife Area 
The wetland lakeward of the 585 foot contour covered 
3,313 acres in 1857. Due to draining and urban and com- 
merical growth, this marsh was reduced to 721 acres by 
1973. 



32 




33 




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34 



TABLE 7 
COASTAL WETLAND LOSSES AND GAINS IN SAGINAW BAY 



Location 

Wildfowl Bay Wildlife Area 
(Offshore Islands) 

Sand Point to Fish Point 
Wildlife Area to Garner 
Road (Quanacassee Wildlife 
Area) 

a) Lakeward of barrier 

b) Landward of barrier 

SUBTOTAL 

Saginaw River /Kawkawl in 
Area (^ mile east of 
Knight Road) 

Tobico Marsh 

Linwood 

Nayanquing Point 

Pinconning River Reach 

Saganing River 

a) Lakeward 

b) Landward 

Pine River 

Rifle River (Wigwam Bay) 
(To Greeks Point) 

Au Gres (Greens Point to 
Gordon Road) 

TOTAL 



Acres in 1857 Acres 



1,578 



2,281 
9,420 

11,701 



3,076 



Net 
Date Change 

1970 +1,498 



6,903 


6,903 



1963-73 
1963-73 



-4,798 



3,313 


721 


1973 


-2,592 


1,040 


599 


1973 


- 441 


352 


60 


1973 


- 292 


2,023 


952 


1973 


-1,363 


1,765 


689 


1973 


-1,076 


1,383 
786 


489 



1973 
1973 


-1,970 
- 786 


4,913 


424 


1967 


-4,489 


5,620 


586 


1967 


-5,034 


2,963 


3,318 


1966 


+ 355 



37,437 



17,817 



Reduction of wetland habitat at Tobico Marsh 
attributed to residential encroachment and erosion of the 
coastal, barrier . Dwellings occupy the entire barrier and 
additional filling appears to have occurred especially at 
Tobico Beach. With the exception of Au Gres, the wetlands 
north of Tobico have deteriorated. A 352 acre wetland 
just south of Linwood has been drained and only 60 acres 
remain. Most of the remaining wetland acreage with the 



35 



exception of Nayanquing Point and Au Gres, occurs on 

shallow shelves in Saginaw Bay. 

WETLAND LOSSES IN THE LES CHENEAUX ISLANDS 

The wetland losses for a portion of the Les 
Cheneaux Islands and the mainland of southern Mackinac 
County were determined. The area investigated extends 
from Government Island westward to Brulee Point (Figures 
12 and 13) . The lakeward limit of this site was latitude 
57° 29' north and included the northern half of Marquette 
Island. Many of the wetlands with the exception of Mismer 
Bay, Hessel Bay, and Mackinac Bay appear to be offshore 
or within the Palustrine Ecological System. Table 8 rep- 
resents wetland losses between 1904 and 1964. 

The wetlands of the Les Cheneaux Islands are 
scattered and occupy embayments protected from strong 
wave action. The largest intact wetland acreage is in 
northern Mismer Bay at the mouths of the Steele and Law 
Creeks (140 acres) . The Les Cheneaux area is unique 
because of the specific areas of wetland loss. Based on 
the 1904 survey approximately one-half of the wetland 
acreage was situated between the shoreline and the minus 
6- foot submarine contour. During the summer of 1902 and 
1903 when the mapping was probably done, Lake Michigan 
was at 578.7 feet above sea level. In the 2-year period 
from 1962-63, lake level ranged from 575.8 to 577.9 feet; 
considerably lower than the 1902-1903 levels. Thus, 
despite the lower levels of the 1960's, lacustrine wet- 
land loss had occurred. Human disturbance due to agri- 
cultural and urban encroachment appears to have been min- 
imal in the areas examined. The only exception is in 
Mackinac Bay east of Hessel, where artificial drains 
have been excavated, probably, for agricultural expan- 
sion. 



36 




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38 



TABLE 8 
WETLAND LOSSES IN THE LES CHENEAUX ISLANDS 



Location 


1904 Acreage 


1964 Acreage 


Loss 


Mismer Bay 


232 


140 


- 92 


Hessel Bay 


128 


51 


- 77 


Mackinac Bay 


276 


29 


-247 


Sheppard Bay 


62 





- 62 


Cedarville Bay 


100 





-100 


Flowers Bay 


133 


24 


-109 


Hill Island and 
Channel 


93 


20 


- 73 


Island Number 8 


16 


5 


- 11 



La Salle and Little 

La Salle Islands 267 

Marquette Island 

(Northern half) 298 

Long Island 15 

Birch Island 15 

Moscoe Channel 17 

TOTAL 1,652 



56 

49 





374 



-211 

-249 

- 15 

- 15 

- 17 



LITTLE BAY DE NOC WETLANDS 

The wetlands of Little Bay de Noc were plani- 
metered using 1910 navigation charts at a scale of 
1:40,000. With topographic maps at a scale of 1:62,500, 
the 1958 wetland acreages were determined (Figures 14 and 
15). Based on these data, approximately 50 percent of the 
wetlands were lost (Table 9) . The 1910 acreage totalled 
2,930 acres. By 1958 these wetlands were reduced to 
1,457 acres. 

The level of Lake Michigan in 1908-10 averaged 
570.45 feet whereas the average between 1956-58 was 
572.65 feet. The higher levels of the mid-1950' s suggests 
that some wetlands may have been lost due to high water. 
North of Gladstone, a delta has been deposited at the 



39 



87° - 10' 



87° - 00' 



- 45° - 50' 



1 

I 1 L 




RAPID RIVER /Cy/fc 



LAKE MICHIGAN 



87° -00' 
I 



45°-50 > - 




45° -40' 



FIGURE 14- -The Little Bay de Noc Wetlands in 1910 



40 



»7°- 00" 




LAKE MICHIGAN 



87° -00' 
I 



FIGURE 15--The Little Bay de Noc Wetlands in 1958 



41 



TABLE 9 
WETLAND LOSSES IN LITTLE BAY DE NOG 1910-1958 



Location 1910 


Acreage 


1958 


Acreage 


Loss 


Whitefish River Delta 


633 




486 


- 147 


Escanaba River to 










Portage Point 


480 




362 


- 118 


Ford River Delta 


148 




62 


86 



Shoreline from Bark 

River to and including 

Wilsey Bay 1,670 548 -1,122 



TOTAL 2,931 1,458 

mouth of the Whitefish River. The 1958 map suggests that 
147 acres of this deltaic wetland have been drained for 
agricultural purposes. Other losses, such as in the 
vicinity of Escanaba, appear to be associated with urban 
and commercial expansion. 
DISCUSSION 

Based upon the sites investigated, it may be con- 
cluded that over 41,000 acres of coastal wetlands have 
been lost (Table 4) . The wetland acreage differences 
between two time frames are due to natural causes such as 
flooding and/or erosion or to cultural modifications such 
as urban/residential growth. A third possibility is a 
combination of natural and cultural impacts. Table 10 
may be premature without more intensive on-site investi- 
gation; however, based on this investigation, some basic 
insights may be presented. As noted historically, at all 
investigated sites several factors may be related to wet- 
land losses. With the exception of coastal flooding, all 
factors were determined from the comparative map study 
and the available literature. The "coastal flooding" 
category was obtained from The National Shoreline Study 
(U. S. Army, 1971). 



42 



TABLE 10 

PROBABLE CAUSES OF WETLAND LOSSES IN SELECTED 

AREAS 



Wetlands 


Acres Lost 


Probable Cause 


Lake Erie and 
Detroit River 


6,240 


Draining, Commercial/ 
Residential Growth, 
Erosion, Flooding. 


Lake St. Clair 


12,999 


Draining, Local Commer 
cial/ Urban Expansion, 
Coastal Flooding. 


Saginaw Bay 


19,620 


Draining, Coastal 
Erosion, Local Commer- 
cial/Residential 
Growth . 


Bay de Noc 


1,473 


Coastal Flooding, Loca! 
Draining, Local Urban 
Expansion. 


Les Cheneaux 


1,278 


Erosion, Local Drain- 
ing. 


TOTAL 


41,550 





Due to natural conditions, wetland losses have 
been most severe over the years where coastal sand bar- 
riers have been destroyed by erosion, and by high water 
levels. Once the coastal barrier is eroded, the adjacent 
wetlands are exposed to wave action. At the mouth of the 
Huron River, for example, between 1940 and 1972, some 900 
acres of marsh have been lost to Lake Erie due to the 
destruction of the coastal barrier lakeward of Pointe 
Mouillee (Sellman, et al . , 1974, p. 21). 

The impact of recent high lake levels on deltas, 
shallow offshore shelves , and sheltered bays is poorly 
known. However, some preliminary investigations suggest 
that as lake levels rise and fall the wetlands are tem- 
porarily drowned or shift landward or lakeward with the 
changing levels. In the St. Clair delta, a vegetation 
transect monitored between 1972 and 1974 documents this 



43 



horizontal displacement (Jaworski and Raphael, 1976, 
p. 306-307). Aerial photograph studies comparing the 
St. Johns Marsh in 1938 and 1974 revealed that the wet- 
land acreage increased despite the higher lake levels 
(Lowe, et_al. , 1976, p. 28-30). 

In coastal Lake Michigan, wetlands are located in 
drowned estuaries and protected from the lake by coastal 
sand dunes. In most cases these estuarine lakes are con- 
nected to Lake Michigan by rivers and hence are affected 
by Great Lakes water level oscillations . The impact of 
the lake level on the wetland communities appears to be 
similar to that in other bays. In Lake Macatawa near 
Holland, as lake level rose in the early 1970' s, the cat- 
tail marsh became increasingly less dense. By 1975 only 
a cattail fringe occupied the north shore of the lake 
(Greij, 1976, p. 3). 

Conversely, at the Les Cheneaux area permanent 
loss of wetland appears to be associated with changing 
lake level since human disturbance was minimal. In an 
unpublished manuscript, Core (1949) concludes that there 
has been a significant loss of aquatic vegetation in 
western Lake Erie. Possible causes for the losses as 
suggested by the author included changing lake levels, 
water movements, carp feeding habits and agricultural 
activity. 

Wetland losses are more severe where cultural 
modifications have occurred. These modifications include 
dredging and filling, draining for agricultural purposes 
and commercial/residential expansion (e.g., see Kaatz, 
1955). In most cases, such activities have a permanent 
effect and occur in all types of coastal wetlands identi- 
fied. Also, such changes may alter the water quality of 
adjacent wetlands and hence degrade wetland habitats 
(see for example, Regier and Hartman, 1973). 



44 



As rural migration into the Great Lakes basin 
occurred in the early 19th century, wetlands were drained 
and cleared for agriculture. The wet prairie zone from 
Port Clinton, Ohio to Detroit, where Spartina was abundant 
was permanently lost (Bednarik, 1975, p. 1). This region, 
known as the Great Black Swamp, occupied a 40-mile by 
120-mile area in the 1850' s. Between 1854 and 1900 the 
wetland was drained for agricultural purposes (Langlois, 
1954, p. 22). By 1950, 1,800 miles of drainage ditches 
were constructed in the region. Based on 1856 field 
survey charts, similar losses have occurred in Huron and 
Tuscola counties. The Detroit River is a highly in- 
dustrialized/commercial area. On the Michigan side of 
the river, the shoreline was colonized by at least 3,000 
acres of wetland in 1796 (Kreisman, et al . , 1976, p. 13). 
By 1967, only 390 acres of wetland remained and that is 
of questionable quality. 

P?<?t loss rates of coastal wetlands can be deter- 
mined if more time periods were included. As noted by 
Panzner (1955, p. 10), the removal of water from wetlands 
in Michigan through agricultural drainage occurred, to a 
large degree, prior to 1930. Also, between 1934 and 1941, 
the Works Progress Administration and Federal Relief 
Agencies carried out drainage projects in Michigan designed 
for malaria control ( ibid . , p. 10). Miller (1954) identi- 
fied areas in the state where past drainage had occurred 
and areas of probable future drainage of wetlands. Ac- 
cording to his report, areas where industrial and urban 
development destroyed high-quality wetland habitat included 
St. Clair, Macomb, Wayne, and Monroe Counties as well as 
Bay County. According to Miller, the other coastal 
counties of southeastern Michigan (Tuscola, Huron and 
Sanilac) were severely damaged in the past, but future 
damage was anticipated to be limited. The remaining 
coastal counties of the state, according to that report, 



45 



had limited loss in the past and future wetland loss was 
also to have been limited as well. 

Wetland losses are not restricted to high popula- 
tion centers in southeastern Michigan. Wetland losses 
have been identified elsewhere. Between 1857 and 1973, a 
352-acre marsh south of Linwocd was reduced to 60 acres. 
Between 1910 and 1958 the Whitefish River delta (in the 
Upper Peninsula) was reduced from 630 acres to 486 acres. 
PROSPECTS 

Significant wetland losses have occurred in 
coastal Michigan due to natural and cultural factors. In 
some instances (e.g., Lake St. Clair and Saginaw Bay) 
flooding and high lake levels may temporarily drown 
coastal wetlands. However, as water levels fall, it may 
be anticipated that such habitats will regenerate. Con- 
versely, cultural impacts are irreversible. Draining, 
commercial growth and residential expansion permanently 
destroy the wetland habitat. 

Table 11 summarizes shoreland use in 1970 and 
projected use to the year 2020. Substantial increases are 
anticipated for industrial/ commercial use and especially 
residential use. Conversely, a 400 mile decrease of 
shoreland is expected in the Agriculture/Forest/Undeveloped 
category. This category is not defined. However, it may 
be conceivable that "Forest" includes swamps and that 
"Undeveloped" includes marshes. 

Figure 16 represents coastal land use changes in 
Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The pattern evident is a pat- 
tern similar to the remaining Great Lakes, i.e., a decrease 
in agricultural/forest/undeveloped use and an increase 
in residential uses. 

A common historical pattern for wetland losses is 
the drainage of these habitats for agriculture followed 
by commercial and residential uses. In recent years, due 
to rapid and uncontrolled urban expansion, indiscriminate 



46 



300 














250 
£ 200 





I--'-'""'"" 

















OF SHORELI 

e 


- 




• 








to 

—J 

5 100 














50 


• 










PROJECTED SHORELINE USE 




1 


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• 


i 


19 


70 


1980 


1990 2000 

LAKE HURON 


2010 


2020 




RESIDENTIAL 












RECREATIONAL 


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AGRICULTURAL/ FOREST/ 

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1980 


1990 2000 


2010 


2020 






LAKE ERIE 









FIGURE 16- -Projected Coastal Land Use for Lake Huron and 
Lake Erie (Great Lakes Basin Commission, Appendix 12, 
1975) . 



47 



208 


23^ 


265 


293 


1,119 


1,628 


1,246 


1,331 


321 


328 


352 


365 


57 


55 


55 


55 



filling of wetlands has occurred (Jaworski and Raphael, 
1976, p. 308-315). In addition, dredging and filling, 
which aid Great Lakes navigation and recreational boating, 
have contributed to wetland losses. Subsequently, in- 
creased soil erosion and turbidity have degraded the 
quality of adjacent wetlands (see Hartman, 1973; Wells 
and McLain, 1973) . 

TABLE 11 

EXISTING AND PROJECTED SHORELAND USE IN LINEAR 

MILES* 

Use 1970 1980 2000 2020 

Indus trial /Commercial 

Residential 

Public Park/Recreation 

Fish and Wildlife 

Agriculture/Forest/ 

Undeveloped 1,691 1,566 1,393 1,267 

Source : Modified after the Great Lakes Basin Commission, 
1975, Shore Use and Erosion, Appendix 12 , Great 
Lakes Basin Framework Study, Ann Arbor, pp. 59- 
79. 

^Includes only U. S. shore of Lakes Superior, Michigan, 
Huron, and Erie. Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River and 
Detroit River date are included only in the 1970 column. 

Based on this investigation it is clear that 
wetland losses are most severe near urban areas. However, 
such losses are not restricted to southeastern Michigan, 
but are occurring throughout the Great Lakes basin. Based 
on the land use projections of the Great Lakes Basin Com- 
mission, shoreline urban/ commercial expansion will in- 
crease in the future at the expense of agricultural, 
forested, and undeveloped land. Hence, additional wet- 
land losses and degradation may be anticipated. 



48 



DOLLAR VALUE OF WETLAND LOSSES 

As of September, 1976, the DNR held 284,235.47 
acres of state game and wildlife areas at a purchase cost 
of 12.3 million (DNR, 1976c). The average cost per acre 
of this land was $43.33. The present cost of acquisition 
of coastal wetlands is extremely variable (Table 12) . 

TABLE 12 

ESTIMATED ACQUISITION COST OF SELECTED COASTAL 
WETLANDS IN MICHIGAN 



Location 




Acres* 


Cost/Acre 


Total Cost 


Huron Point 




440 


$ 1,500 


$ 


660,000 


Salt River 




125 


1,500 




187,500 


Ford Marsh 




290 


1,500 




435,000 


Humbug Marsh 




332 


1,500 




498,000 


Saginaw Bay Shoreline 


8,300 


500 


4 


,150,000 


Munuscong WA 




200 


390 




78,000 


Cheboygan R. Marsh 


289 


300 




86,700 


Source : Martz , 


Wildli 


.fe Division, 


DNR, March 


19 


, 1977. 



*In previous sections of this report only emergent vege- 
tation acreages were determined. Therefore, the acre- 
ages in this table, which include open water and sub- 
merged aquatics, do not necessarily correspond with 
computations in the previous subsection. 

The cost to acquire additional wetland acreage at the Ford 
Union Camp, and Humbug marshes for example is estimated at 
$1,500 per acre. Over the years, Nayanquing Point was 
acquired for $161.20 per acre, the Erie Marshes for $55.00 
per acre and the St. Clair Flats for $22.00 per acre (DNR, 
1976c) . 

Generally, wetland acquisition in the past has 
been less expensive than suggested acquisition in the 
future. As noted in Table 12, to purchase a parcel of 
the Munuscong shoreline, it is anticipated that the DNR 



49 



may have to pay $390.00 per acre; the Cheboygan Marsh may 
cost $300.00 per acre. It is becoming increasingly clear 
that the real estate value of wetlands is increasing 
rapidly. Furthermore, market value of coastal wetland is 
generally higher than inland wetlands. Coastal wetlands 
are valued at $1,086.25 per acre whereas the average cost 
of the Muskegon River, Indian River, Sand River and Galien 
River floodplain areas is estimated to be $338.75 per acre 
(Martz, 1977a) . 

As noted in a previous subsection, the planimetered 
areas revealed a loss of 41,550 acres of coastal wetland. 
Assuming that these losses are permanent, the maximum value 
of wetland loss at the present market price ($1,086.25 per 
acre) of just the investigated areas totals $45,133,687. 
It is recognized that some wetlands were planimetered at 
near-record high lake levels and the marshes may regenerate 
as lake levels fall. However, it must also be recognized 
that significant permanent losses have occurred (i.e., 
southern Michigan) , where maximum values per wetland acre 
are achieved (i.e., $1,500 per acre). 
A REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF WETLAND LOSS 

On the historical topographic maps, the wetland 
vegetation was planimetered, and was found to total 
70,130 acres. The present acreage, planimetered on 
recent topographical maps, totaled 28,522 acres. A com- 
parison of the two time periods reveals a loss of some 
41,000 acres, or 59 percent of the original wetlands. 

Panzner (1955, p. 10) notes that by 1940, 8 million 
acres of the state's wetlands had been drained for agri- 
culture and for malaria control. Panzner ( ibid , p. 8) 
also determined that the state's total wetland acreage in 
1955 was 3.2 million acres. This suggests that histori- 
cally Michigan had at least 11.2 million acres of wetland. 
An earlier estimate by Veatch (1938, p. 93) closely cor- 
responds to Panzner 's data. Veatch states, "The total 
area of land in Michigan which is, or was originally 



• 



50 



swampy, including marsh, bog and wet timbered land, may 
comprise more than 10 million acres of which perhaps 
nearly 4 million are peat and muck" ( ibid , p. 93). 

Of the present 3.2 million acres of wetlands, 
105,855 acres, or 3 . 3 percent, occupy the coastal zone. 
Assuming that the coastal wetland acreage in the past 
existed in the same proportion to the state's total wet- 
land area, coastal wetlands may have totalled 369,000 
acres. If Michigan historically had 369,000 acres of 
coastal wetland and the present acreage is 105,855 it may 
be concluded that 263,145 acres or 71 percent has been 
lost. As noted in Table 4, historically there were 70,130 
acres in the wetlands studies whereas between the 1958- 
1973 period, these same coastal wetlands totaled only 
28,522 acres. In the investigated areas therefore, the 
coastal wetland losses totaled 41,608 acres for a loss of 
59 percent of the original resource. 

The 59 percent loss estimate does not consider 
some important variables. Panzner's objective was to 
determine wildlife habitat, therefore some open water and 
upland cover were included in his evaluation. The 1973 
DNR Shoreland Inventory , taken during high-water levels 
of 1972, considered only emergent and submergent vegeta- 
tion. Therefore, quite possibly the 3.2 million acres 
recorded in 1955 may actually be less in area while the 
1972 inventory underestimated the wetland acreage, 
causing a higher estimate of the actual wetland acreage 
lost. 



51 



CHAPTER THREE 
VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO WATERFOWL 

Important waterfowl in Michigan include ducks , 
geese and swans, as well as other water birds. Scientific 
names of waterfowl common in Michigan are listed in 
Appendix 1. As discussed below, waterfowl provide for 
both consumptive (i.e., hunting) and nonconsumptive uses 
with the latter increasing at a faster rate. It will be 
demonstrated that the coastal wetlands of Michigan provide 
resting and feeding habitat for migratory waterfowl as 
well as shooting areas on private and public lands. 
Because a considerable percentage of the annual harvest 
of waterfowl is derived from birds reared within the 
state, Michigan's wetlands, including the coastal wetlands, 
are also important as breeding areas. Finally, as non- 
consumptive use of coasts near cities increases, including 
that of state game areas, more demand will be generated 
for interpretive and other types of nonconsumptive recrea- 
tion in the coastal wetlands. 
USE OF COASTAL WETLANDS FOR MIGRATION 

At least 3 million waterfowl migrate annually 
through the Great Lakes region (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 
1975c, p. 54). The spring and fall migrations consist of 
relatively large numbers of diving ducks (Figure 17) , 
dabbling ducks (Figure 18) , Canada geese (Figure 19) 
as well as some snow geese, blue geese, swans, and 
coots. As illustrated by these maps, Michigan is 
situated at the intersection of the Atlantic and Missis- 
sippi Flyways. Spring migration corridors are similar to 
fall routes except that the spring movements are more 
diffuse and occur along a broad front. Based on the 



52 



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55 



corridor data, an estimated 700,000 diving ducks, 500,000 
dabbling ducks, and 250,000 Canada geese migrate each fall 
across some part of the State of Michigan. Because large 
numbers of waterfowl utilize the coastal wetlands of Michigan 
for resting and feeding during migration, these coastal 
environments have value to many states in the United States 
as well as to Canada. 
Canada . 
Fall Migration 

In mid-summer, duck and coot broods being reared 
in Michigan wetlands begin congregating in somewhat deeper 
wetland environments because of the greater abundance of 
foods, including insects and invertebrates preferred by 
the young (Hunt and Mickelson, 1976, p. 51). By September, 
the local nesting waterfowl have gathered in large wet- 
lands, referred to as concentration or staging areas, 
where plant and animal foods are plentiful. For example, 
a mallard brood may move from a small inland wetland in 
Ontario to the St. Clair flats. In September and October, 
severe weather in more northerly breeding grounds forces 
other waterfowl to funnel southward toward Michigan and 
into these same concentration areas. 

The fall concentration areas for migratory water- 
fowl are illustrated in Figure 20. In general, important 
coastal wetland areas include coastal Monroe County, Lower 
Detroit River and adjacent Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, St. 
Clair River, Saginaw Bay, St. Marys River, and Big and 
Little Bay de Noc. Diving ducks, e.g., canvasbacks , 
lesser scaup, and redheads tend to migrate across Lake 
Michigan and to stopover in the coastal wetlands and adjacent 
shallow waters of southeastern Michigan (Bellrose, 1968, p. 12). 
Lake St. Clair, with its extensive beds of submerged aquatics 
and relatively calm waters for resting, is nationally recog- 
nized as a concentration area for canvasbacks and redheads 
(Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975c, p. 55). 



56 




FIGURE 20--Fall concentration areas for migratory waterfowl, 
in Michigan, 1977, (Michigan's Coastal Wetlands), modified 
after Panzner, 1955. 



57 



For several migratory waterfowl species which 
utilize the Great Lakes-Chesapeake Bay migration corridor, 
the coastal wetlands and shallow waters of Michigan con- 
stitute critical resting and feeding habitat. As shown in 
Table 13, the primary and secondary migration corridors of 
several duck species, whistling swans, and Canada geese lie 
across Michigan. The principal migration corridors of 
whistling swans, canvasbacks, buf f leheads , and ruddy ducks 
extend diagonally across the state, from the northwest to 
the southeast, with a resting stopover in the vicinity of 
Lake St. Clair (Bellrose, 1976, p. 96, 304, 414 and 468). 
Species whose secondary migration corridors traverse the 
state in similar fashion include redheads, greater scaup, 
and lesser scaup. Peak concentrations of canvasback during 
the 1954-1958 period, along Lake St. Clair, lower Detroit 
River, and adjacent Lake Erie numbered 260,000 whereas 
today flocks rarely exceed 50,000 birds. Because larger 
numbers of canvasbacks and other divers are being observed 
along the northern shores of Lake Erie in recent years, a 
loss and/or degradation of migration habitat in south- 
eastern Michigan is suspected ( ibid . , p. 305). 

TABLE 13 

DUCK, GOOSE, AND SWAN SPECIES WHOSE PRIMARY AND 
SECONDARY MIGRATION CORRIDORS TRAVERSE THE 
STATE OF MICHIGAN 



Primary Corridors 

American Goldeneye 
Buf f leheads 
Canvasbacks 
Hooded Merganser 
Ruddy Duck 
Canada Geese 
Whistling Swan 

Source: Bellrose, 1976. 



Secondary Corridors 

Black Ducks 
Greater Scaup 
Lesser Scaup 
Redhead 



Coastal wetlands which currently are important 
concentration areas are listed individually in Table 14 



58 



TABLE 14 

WATERFOWL CONCENTRATION AREAS IN COASTAL WETLANDS 
FALL MIGRATION, IN MICHIGAN, 1976 



Wetland Area 



Upper Peninsula 



Portage Entry 

Portage Marsh, Big & Little Bay de Noc 

St. Marys River, including Munuscong & 
Potagannissing Bays 



County (s) 
Houghton 
Delta 

Chippewa 



Lower Peninsula 



Wetland Area 



Grand Traverse Bay 

Mouth of Benzie Creek 

Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay River mouth 

Mouth of Manistee River, Lake Manistee 

Hamlin Lake, Pere Marquette Lake 

Tawas Bay, and adjacent Lake Huron 

Au Gres Ma^sh and Wigwam Bay 

Nayanquing Point, Tobico Marsh 

Sebewaing and Wildfowl Bays, Fish Point, 
Quanicassee Marshes 

Mouth of Muskegon River, Lake Muskegon, 
White Lake 

Pentwater River mouth marshes 

Lower Grand River 

Lake St. Clair, Anchor Bay, marshes and 
embayments of Flats, including St. Johns 
marsh 

Lower Detroit River, near Grosse Ille, 
Celeron Island, Horse Island, and 
adjacent Lake Erie 

Pointe Mouillee and adjacent Lake Erie 

Erie Shooting and Fishing Club, Erie State 
Game Area, and waters of N. Maumee Bay 



County (s) 
Grand Traverse 
Benzie 
Alpena 
Manistee 
Mason 
Iosco 
Arenac 
Bay 

Huron & Tuscola 

Muskegon 

Oceana 

Ottawa 

St. Clair & Macomb 

Wayne 
Monroe 



Source ; Modified after Panzner, 1955. 

Gerald Martz and Edward Mikula. 



Monroe 
Personal communication, 



59 



The wetlands at the mouth of the Saginaw River, in the 
Lower Detroit River south of Grosse Isle, near Monroe in 
La Plaisance Bay, and at the mouth of the Raisin River, 
which were major concentration areas during the 1940' s 
(Miller, 1943, p. 3), no longer attract large numbers of 
migrants due to water pollution, siltation and decrease 
in waterfowl foods (U. S. Dept. of Interior, 1967, p. 75 and 
77; Bednarik et al . , 1975, p. 3). 

Detailed, long-term census of migratory waterfowl 
using specific wetlands are expensive to conduct, hence 
complete data are not available for analysis. The vari- 
ability in dates of main flights due to the unpredict- 
ability of severe weather, as well as nocturnal flights 
and timing of surveys all affect the accuracy of census 
counts. To gain an impression of the relative importance 
of the various coastal wetlands with regard to fall migra- 
tion, an examination of available waterfowl day use by wet- 
land area is helpful (Table 15) . A waterfowl day represents 
the use of a wetland by one bird for one day. The data in 
Table 15 do not suggest heavy waterfowl use of some coastal 
wetlands. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources considers 
a coastal wetland to be of high value to waterfowl if the 
waterfowl use exceeds 39 bird days per acre annually 
(Weeks, 1974, p. 6). If the Ohio standard is adopted, then 
the western Lake Erie shore, lower Detroit River, Lake St. 
Clair (U. S. side) and selected shorelands of Saginaw 
Bay can be regarded as high value resting sites for migratory 
waterfowl . 

Documentation of the use by migratory waterfowl 
of specific coastal wetlands in Michigan is possible only 
for selected wetlands. Many wetlands along the western 
coast, such as the Hamlin Lakes areas adjacent to Lake Michigan 
have not been extensively inventoried by aerial surveys. 
Moreover, the available data contained in the Permanent 



60 





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61 



Files of the Wildlife Division, Michigan Department of 
Natural Resources, have yet to be reduced and summarized. 

With regard to specific species using the coastal 
wetlands for resting and feeding, the available data were 
scattered and incomplete. The data in Table 16 suggest 
that the relative numbers and species composition varies 
considerably from one wetland type to another. Note the 
concentration of mallards and other dabbling ducks on 
Harsen's Island where shallow marshes and grain are avail- 
able, whereas diving ducks prefer the open-waters and wetlands 
of Anchor Bay and the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair. 

The use of wetlands by migratory waterfowl appears 
to be a function of the species 1 food and resting prefer- 
ences as well as the physical characteristics of the wet- 
lands. Protection from wave action is a major factor in 
determining the location of waterfowl concentrations 
(Anonymous, 1945, p. 4). For example, the shoreline con- 
figuration, shoals, and islands collectively provide 
protection from waves generated in the open waters of 
Saginaw Bay for ducks and geese resting in Sebewaing and 
Wildfowl Bays (Miller, 1943, p. 71). Because the Portage 
Entry Marsh, Munuscong and Potagannissing Bays, Little and 
Big Bay de Noc, Thunder Bay, Nayanquing Point, Tobico 
Marsh, Lake St. Clair, lower Detroit River, and western 
Lake Erie marshes are protected from the prevailing 
westerly winds and subsequent wave action, these areas 
are potential waterfowl resting areas. Rafts of over 
10,000 redhead ducks have been observed in St. Martin Bay, 
which is also protected from wave action (personal com- 
munication, Gerald Martz) . 

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ness of a fall concentration area is availability of pre- 
ferred food items. Mergansers feed primarily on fish, 
especially forage species, and some diving ducks, e.g., 
American Goldeneye, prefer crayfish, clams and other 



62 



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63 



invertebrates. Other divers, particularly canvasbacks , 
redheads, and scaup, feed on submersed aquatics including 
wild celery ( Vallisneria americana ) , pondweeds ( Potamoge - 
ton spp . ) and waterweed ( Elodea canadensis ) (Miller, 1943; 
Bellrose , 1976) . It is generally felt that submersed plants 
and their associated communities provide most of the 
foods required by diving ducks (Anonymous, 1945, p. 2). 

In contrast, dabbling ducks, including mallards 
and black ducks, and Canada Geese, feed on plant foods 
found in shallow wetlands and on waste grains in nearby 
agricultural fields (Miller, 1958, p. 2). A study of 126 
mallard ducks shot at the Erie Shooting and Fishing Club 
during the 1967 waterfowl season revealed that corn con- 
stituted 69 percent of the food volume ingested (Hunt and 
Mickelson, 1976, p. 53). Due to hunting pressure, mal- 
lards and Canada Geese often feed atduskorat night in corn- 
fields, but return after dawn to the protection of open 
waters. Thus, the proximity of feeding areas, i.e., in 
agricultural fields and in shallow marshlands, to open- 
water areas, as in Sebewaing-Wildfowl bays, characterize 
high value concentration areas for many species of dab- 
bling ducks and Canada Geese. For that reason, many game 
managers, as at Fish Point, St. Clair Flats, and at Erie 
Shooting and Fishing Club, plant corn and other grains to 
attract a segment of the waterfowl population. 

Few studies have been conducted on the food prefer- 
ence of waterfowl feeding in coastal Great Lakes wetlands. 
One such study (Hunt and Michelson, 1976), however, at 
the Erie Shooting & Fishing Club revealed that the emer- 
gents, softstem bulrush ( Scirpus validus ) and nodding 
smar tweed ( Polygonum lapathifolium ), and the submergents 
sago and curly- leaved pondweeds ( Potamogeton pectinatus 
and P. richardsonnii ), are preferred food items in the 
diet of mallards, black duck, teal and other ducks com- 
monly harvested in that wetland (Table 17) . This study 



64 



also demonstrated that plant foods are sufficiently 
abundant in the managed wetland to maintain waterfowl 
populations throughout the year, not just primarily during 
the fall and spring migrations ( ibid . , p. 51). 

TABLE 17 

UTILIZATION OF PLANT FOODS BY 150 DUCKS AND COOTS 
HARVESTED AT ERIE SHOOTING CLUB, 1959 

7o of Waterfowl Mean Seed Yield 
Plant Species Utilizing the Species in lbs . per Acre 

Softstem bulrush 76.7 525.7 

Nodding smartweed 63.3 870.8 

Sago Pondweed 34.0 201.0 

Curly-leaved 

pondweed 32.7 319.9 

Source : Hunt and Mickelson, 1976, p. 48. 

Other investigations of available waterfowl foods 
in coastal wetlands include Miller's 1943 study of Sebe- 
waing-Wildfowl Bays, Hunt's 1952 and 1963 surveys of sub- 
mergent vegetation in the lower Detroit River, and some 
quantitative estimates of plant foods present along the 
St. Marys River contained in International Lake Superior 
Board of Control, 1974. These three areas are important 
concentration areas. 

A recent decline in scaup harvests along Saginaw 
Bay may be related to a decrease in the extent of sub- 
mersed aquatics as a result of siltation and increased 
turbidity (Martz and Ostyn, 1977, p. 15). Water pollu- 
tion is also associated with a decline in the abundance of 
wild celery in the Detroit River (U. S. Dept. of Int., 
1967, p. 90). In addition, siltation, turbidity and other 
forms of water pollution have drastically reduced the 
once abundant wild celery and other submersed aquatics 
within the western Lake Erie wetlands. This vegetation 



65 



change has been associated with the decrease in the har- 
vest of divers, including canvasback, redhead, and scaup, 
which until recently constituted the basis of duck hunting 
in the area ( ibid . , p. 88-89). Because of differences in 
food preferences, dabbling ducks and Canada Geese appear 
to have been less impacted by this environmental degrada- 
tion (Bednarik et al . , 1975, p. 3). 

In contrast, a recent study of Anchor Bay, located 
in northern Lake St. Clair, suggests that only a small 
percentage of the desirable aquatic plants and inverte- 
brates available to migrant diving ducks is currently 
being utilized (Dawson, 1975, p. 69). Hunting pressure 
and disturbance by boaters and fishermen, even in the 
refuge area, forces the main flocks to leave the U.S. 
waters of Lake St. Clair before the food supplies are 
consumed (personal communication, Leo Pospichal) . In the 
1930' s and 1940' s, as many as 750,000 ducks congregaged 
on Lake St. Clair during the fall migration (Miller, 1943), 
p. 9). This availability of waterfowl foods is signifi- 
cant because Lake St. Clair is nationally renowned as a 
fall concentration area for migrating canvasbacks , red- 
heads, scaup, and buffleheads ( ibid , p. 5). 

Based on data collected in the fall of 1941 and 
1942, the average length of stay by migratory waterfowl 
in a given wetland in Michigan was 33 and 35 days, respec- 
tively (Miller, 1943, p. 9 and 35). Unless forced to move 
on by severe weather or hunting pressure, ducks tend to 
linger in the concentration areas. The main flights of 
dabbling ducks occur in late September or October, whereas 
divers appear somewhat later in October and November. 
Fall flights of canvasbacks, redheads and scaup generally 
appear first at the western Lake Erie-Lower Detroit River 
concentration area, then within a few days thereafter in 
Lake St. Clair and along Saginaw Bay. Compared to some 
other ducks, canvasbacks are prone to utilize specific 



66 



geographic concentration sites such as Lake St. Clair 
(Martz et al., 1972, p. 9). In contrast, redheads tend 
to be more widely scattered along the flyway corridors. 
Scaup tend to arrive at western Lake Erie-Lower Detroit 
River sites in November where they are harvested by hunters 
in relatively large numbers (Martz and Ostyn, 1977). 

As illustrated in ngure 19, Canada Geese tend to 
migrate along the coasts of Michigan. At present, the major 
fall concentration areas include the Fish Point State Game 
Area, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Baraga Plains Wildlife 
Area, Shiawassee River National Wildlife Refuge and State 
Game Area, Fenville Farm area, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Leidy 
Lake State Game Area, and other small sites (personal com- 
munication, Gerald Martz). Miller (1943, p. 123) listed the 
coastal concentration areas important during the 1940 's, and 
emphasized the islands and marshes of Saginaw Bay. In 1975 
Canada Geese began arriving at the Fish Point area of Saginaw 
Bay in mid-September and peaked at about 4,000 in number in 
early October (Jarvis, 1975a). Though many geese from the 
Saginaw Bay area migrate south toward Ohio, a significant 
number also move diagonally across the state toward the southwest 

Spring Migration 

In general, the spring migration of waterfowl 
follows the same corridors as during the fall migration. 
However, the movement is less restricted to specific 
wetlands as waterfowl are often observed on lakes and in 
wetlands which they did not frequent in the fall. Hence, 
the waterfowl tend to be somewhat more scattered, and 
therefore draw on aquatic foods over a larger area than in 
the fall. Submersed aquatic plants such as wild celery, 
are particularly important to waterfowl during spring 
migration. With regard to dabbling ducks and Canada Geese, 
waste grain in agricultural fields is most important. If 
the food supplies are inadequate, waterfowl may arrive at 
breeding areas in poor condition, which, in turn, can 



67 



reduce nesting success (personal communication, Leo 
Pospichal) . In Michigan's breeding grounds, the estab- 
lishment of territories and nesting may be initiated in 
late March (Hunt and Mickelson, 1976, p. 34). 

The northward advance of waterfowl in spring is 
governed by the ice breakup (Miller, 1943, p. 13). As 
snowmelt occurs and ice- free areas appear in the water 
bodies, a wave of northward migration follows. Main 
spring flights begin in mid-March in the southeast corner 
of Michigan (Table 18) . Ducks usually congregate along 
western Lake Erie, in Lake St. Clair, and along the shore- 
lands of Saginaw Bay. If the weather is mild, flights 
appear by March 10, and most flocks have departed by 
April 1st. The main flights require only approximately 
45 days to pass through the state ( ibid . , p. 11). By May 
1st, most flocks of ducks and geese have passed through 
the northern part of the state. 

In contrast to the fall migration, the spring 
migrants appear restless and hurried, even though there 
is no hunting pressure and less disturbance by boaters. 
Many ducks arrive in concentration areas already paired. 
The average time spent by waterfowl at a concentration 
site is 11 days ( ibid . , p. 11). On March 27, 1941, an 
estimated 400,000 ducks congregated on the east side of 
Grosse lie on the Detroit River. Ninety percent of these 

ducks were divers, the most numerous of which, in order, 
were: canvasbacks, scaup, redheads, buff leheads , and golden 
eyes ( ibid . , p. 7). Lake St. Clair is a usual resting and 
feeding stop for these spring migrants. 

Census of spring waterfowl migrations are incom- 
plete in Michigan. However, to provide a perspective of 
the species composition and relative numbers of migrants, 
some census data pertaining to southeast Saginaw Bay is 
presented in Table 19. Note that the aerial survey revealed 
a large variation in the species present as well as in 



68 



TABLE 18 

SPRING MIGRATION CALENDAR BY WATERFOWL SPECIES 
IN MICHIGAN'S COASTAL WETLANDS 



Wetland Area 
Monroe Marshes 



Arrival 
of 1st 
Migrants 

Mar. 10 



L. Detroit River Mar. 10 
Lake St. Clair 



Sebewaing Bay 

Squaw Bay and 
Thunder R. 

Hayward Lake 
Green Bay 



Munuscong Bay 



Mar. 28 

Apr. 10 

Apr. 10 

Apr. 4 



Arrival 
of Main 
Flights 

Mar. 15 

Mar. 20-25 
Mar. 20-30 

Apr. 1 

Apr. 16 

Apr. 15 



Apr. 10-18 



Departure 
Date 

Mar. 20 



Mar. 30 
Mar. 30 

Apr. 4 
Apr. 20 

Apr. 20 

Apr. 15 
(ducks) 
Apr. 30 
(geese) 



Principal 
Species 

Widgeon, pintail 
Mallards, B. duck 

Scaup, canvasback 

50-50 Divers and 
Dabblers 

70% divers 
Canada Geese 

Both divers and 
dabblers 

Both divers and 

dabblers 
Canada Geese 
Black ducks 

Mallards, BW 
teal, scaup, 
goldeneye. 
Many geese. 



Source: Miller, 1943, p. 14. 



the total numbers of waterfowl. Timing of aerial census 
flights, as well as nocturnal flights and leapfrogging of 
concentration areas cause variations in the data which must 
receive careful interpretation. 

Canada Geese, in spring, utilize the Kalamazoo 
River and the eastern side of Saginaw Bay as concentra- 
tion areas. A main flight of Canada Geese in spring 
occurs diagonally across the state from the southwest 
corner to the Saginaw River valley and Saginaw Bay, then 
north along the eastern side of the state (Miller, 1943, 
p. 11). As many as 30,500 Canada Geese congregate at a 
time in the Sebewaing-Wildfowl Bay area of Saginaw 
Bay (Table 19). Resting and feeding also takes 



69 





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70 



place in Squaw and Misery Bays of the Thunder Bay area 

(Miller, 1943, p. 125). 

Economic Value of Waterfowl Migration 

An economic value for Michigan's coastal wetlands 
with regard to waterfowl migration cannot be established at 
this time. First, data regarding the average waterfowl day 
use of each wetland area by species are not available except 
for selected areas, particularly in southeastern Michigan. 
Secondly, because the migratory waterfowl provide both con- 
sumptive and nonconsumptive uses in Michigan and in other 
states, as well as in Canada, a dollar value based on Michigan's 
utility greatly underestimates the actual total value. Mig- 
rants, sucn as whistling swans, canvasbacks , buffleheads, 
ruddy ducks, and coots, are dependent upon Michigan's coastal 
wetlands and shallow waters for resting and feeding during 
migration, and in general travel from the Canadian prairie 
provinces to and from the Atlantic coast. 

The value of wetlands recently purchased by the 
state of Michigan for wildlife purposes ranged from $300 
to $1,500 per acre (see Table 12). Wetlands and asso- 
ciated uplands of Pointe Mouillee, which were purchased 
during the past few years, cost the state approximately 
$1,500 per acre. Many of the coastal wetlands purchased 
by the state are considered to be of high value to water- 
fowl as indicated elsewhere in this chapter. 
Loss of Migration Habitat 

.In 1952-1955, a survey revealed that there were 
310,500 acres of high-value waterfowl habitat in the 
state of Michigan (Miller, 1958, p. 1). A survey in 
March, 1976 indicated that 259,443 acres of high-quality 
waterfowl habitat were inadequately protected from 
private development (Martz, 1976, Table 1). Of the 
259,443 existing acres, 219,000 acres serve as high- 
quality migration habitat. An analysis reveals that 
nearly 24 percent, or 53,286 acres, of quality migration 



71 



habitat is contained within or immediately adjacent to 
the coastal wetlands. Current projections indicate that 
32,645 acres of high-quality coastal migration habitat 
may be impacted by development, at least in part, within 
five years (Table 20) . Only the tracts of publicly-owned 
land, or that contained within the Erie Shooting and 
Fishing Club, appear reasonably safe from foreseeable 
development by the private sector. Moreover, record 
high-water levels in the Great Lakes during the 1972-75 
period aggravated this migration habitat loss by tempor- 
arily drowning deepwater marshes and rupturing diked marsh 
enclosures . 

The threatened migration habitats which are 
located within coastal wetlands are mapped in Figure 21. 
A comparison of these threatened areas with the fall 
migration concentration areas in Figure 20 reveals con- 
siderable overlap. Wetlands which are threatened or have 
already been developed include: Raisin River mouth, lower 
Detroit River, Saginaw Bay shoreline near Bay City, St. 
Marys River, Nuns-Prentiss Bays and vicinity, Houghton 
Entry Marsh, Grand Haven Marsh, Muskegon Lake and marsh, 
and Lake Macatawa Marsh (Table 20) . 

A preliminary survey by the U.S. Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife revealed serious future migration 
habitat deficiencies in Michigan. The potential for 
waterfowl use of migration and wintering habitat was 
studied for six regions of Michigan as shown in Table 21. 
In all three habitat projections — fall migration, spring 
migration and wintering, southeastern Michigan exhibits 



72 



TABLE 20 

LIST OF THREATENED COASTAL WETLANDS WHICH FUNCTION 
FOR WATERFOWL MIGRATION, IN MICHIGAN, 1976 



Upper Peninsula 






County 


Wetland Acres* 


Portage Entry Marsh 




Houghton 


470 


Baie de Wasai 




Chippewa 


410 


Munuscong Bay 




Chippewa 


900 


Raber Bay 




Chippewa 


300 


Shingle Bay 




Chippewa 


380 


Duck Bay 




Mackinac 


250 


Epoufette Bay 




Mackinac 


300 


Flowers Bay 




Mackinac 


185 


Hessel Bay (Mackinac Bay) 


Mackinac 


500 


Nuns Creek 




Mackinac 


290 


Prentiss Bay 




Mackinac 


270 


Northern 


Lower 


Peninsula 








County 


Wetland Acres* 


Squaw Bay 




Alpena 


1,000 


Cheboygan River Marsh 




Cheboygan 


120 


Nayanquing Point 




Bay 


480 


Tobico Marsh 




Bay 


700 


Quanicassee Marsh 




Bay 


960 


Southern 


Lower 


Peninsula 








County 


Wetland Acres* 


Muskegon Lake marshes 




Muskegon 


4,000 


Grand Haven River floodplain 


Ottawa 


1,200 


Lake Macatawa marshes 




Ottawa 


210 


Wildfowl Bay shoreline 




Huron 


400 


Quanicassee State Game 


Area 


Tuscola 


480 


Saginaw Bay shoreline 




Tuscola 


220 


Ford Marsh 




Monroe 


180 


Union Camp Marsh 




Monroe 


240 


Lake Erie, offshore of 




Monroe & 




Huron River 




Wayne 


4,500 


Huron Point marshes 




McComb 


380 


Detroit River 




Wayne 


11,350 


Humbug Marsh 




Wayne 


180 


St. Johns Marsh 




St. Clair 


1,790 



TOTAL 
Source: Martz , 1976, Table 2. 



32,645 



*Wetlands and associated uplands expected to be impacted 
by some development within five years (1981, A.D.). 



73 



W 



~W 



w 



8^> 8§ 



W 




Gogebic 



# 



Wetlands Projected 
to be Impacted 
by Development 



n- 

I 



o » io n » a .» 

SCUE OF MILES 




Figure 21. Threatened migration habitats in the coastal wetlands of Michigan. 
Data from Martz, 1976, Table 2. 



74 



habitat deficiencies for the year 2000 A. D. The Saginaw 
Bay-Thumb area likewise shows a large fall migration 
habitat deficiency and has little surplus in the other 
seasons. Since it is state policy not to encourage 
wintering of waterfowl in Michigan, the lack of adequate 
wintering habitat, except for selected localities, is not 
significant. 

TABLE 21 

DEFICIENCIES IN FUTURE MIGRATION AND WINTERING 

HABITAT IN MICHIGAN BY FLYWAY HABITAT REGION, 

YEAR 2000 A. D., INIOOO'S OF WATERFOWL 



Flyway Habitat 
Region 

W. Upper Peninsula 

E. Upper Peninsula 

N. Lower Peninsula 

Saginaw Bay -Thumb Area 

SW Lower Peninsula 

SE Lower Peninsula 



Habitat Deficiency or Surplus* 
Spring 
Migration 

+848 

+604 

+578 

+ 4 

+622 

-273 



Fall 
Migration 

+397 

+208 

+155 

-262 

+276 

-295 



Wintering 
+341 
+248 
+248 
+ 41 
+250 
- 76 



Source : U. S. Dept. of Interior, 1971, FHUMP Report No. 8 

"Includes wetland types 3 and 4 (shallow and deep fresh 
marsh) , Circular 39, (see Table 3 of this report) . 



Usually the elimination or degradation of migra- 
tion habitat causes shifts in the migration patterns of 
waterfowl as opposed to creating absolute habitat defi- 
ciencies which might reduce the waterfowl population 
(personal communication, Harold Prince) . Thus the habi- 
tat projection data suggest reduced use by migratory 
waterfowl of the Saginaw Bay and southeastern Michigan 
regions, including the coastal wetlands therein. Changes 
in the migration patterns, in turn, affect the economy of 

the regions involved because of reduced participation 
rates in waterfowl hunting and birdwatching. 



75 



USE OF COASTAL WETLANDS AS BREEDING HABITAT 

Michigan's kettle lakes, river-bottom wetlands, and 
coastal marshlands are important breeding areas for water- 
birds, including ducks, geese, coots, grebes, loons, gal- 
linules and rails. With regard to nesting of puddle (or 
dabbling) ducks e.g., mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks 
and black ducks, Michigan is part of a large breeding area 
which includes the Great Lakes region (Johnsgaard, 1975, 
pp. 224, 246 and 275). Although some diving ducks do breed 
in the northern Great Lakes states, e.g., the ring-necked 
duck and the red-head, the prairie provinces pothole region 
of the Dakotas and adjacent Canada as well as the northwest 
territories and Alaska comprise the principal nesting grounds. 
In comparison to ducks, Canada Geese do not nest in Michigan 
in large numbers except in sizeable wetlands especially where 
aided by muskrat houses and natural or artificial islands and 
nesting structures. Pairs of breeding coots and gallinules 
are frequently even more numerous in Michigan's wetlands than 
nesting ducks. 

Important species of nesting ducks in Michigan are 
indicated in Table 22. At present, breeding ducks in the 
coastal wetlands are dominated by dabbling ducks including 
mallards, blue-winged teal, and black ducks. If nesting 
boxes are available, as in the Erie Shooting and Fishing Club 
Marsh, then wood ducks may also be quite numerous. Diving 
ducks, e.g., redheads, though never very abundant, were more 
common in the past. Currently, small numbers of redheads 
nest in St. Johns Marsh along Lake St. Clair (Dept. of Natural 
Resources, 1976b), but a significant population breeds on 
Harsens Island and along lower Walpole Island (personal com- 
munication, Leo Pospichal) . 

Duck species nesting in the coastal wetlands, i.e., 
the common mallard and the blue-winged teal, are classi- 
fied as meadow nesters. Preferred nesting habitat includes 
grassy meadows, adjacent hayfields, and shallow marsh 



76 



TABLE 22 

SPECIES OF DUCKS NESTING IN THE COASTAL WETLANDS 
AND IN FORESTED INTERIOR OF MICHIGAN, AND MAGEE 

MARSH, N. OHIO 





Erie Shoot- 


Nayanquing 


Forested 


Mag< 


^e Marsh 




ing Club 


Point 


Interior 


N 


. Ohio 


Species 


1957-1968 


1969 & 1973 


1968-69, 


73 


1953-1969 


Mallard 


39.0% 


48.5% 


40% 






30.7% 


Blue winged teal 13.0 


35.5 


48 






41.5 


Wood duck 


12.0 


0.0 


1 






16.7 


Black duck 


18.5 


4.0 


6 






7.4 


Pintail 


3.5 


4.0 









0.7 


Shoveler 


0.0 


7.0 


3 






0.9 


Redhead 


2.0 


0.0 









1.2 


Green Winged 














teal 


0.0 


1.0 


2 






0.9 


Unknown ducks 


12.0 


0.0 









0.0 



TOTAL 100.0% 100.0% 100% 100.0% 

Source : Hunt and Mickelson (1976), Martz (1977) and Bednarik and 
Weeks, (1971). 

environments. As agricultural and other development 
occurred along the landward margin of the coastal wetlands, 
particularly within the dogwood meadows and sedge marshes 
along Saginaw Bay, lower Detroit River and coastal Monroe 
County, a loss of habitat for meadow nesters resulted. 
The continued abundance of mallards may be partially due 
to this species 1 remarkable versatility with regard to 
nesting sites. Mallards generally prefer blue-joint grass 
meadows (Andrews, 1952, p. 137), but will nest in hayf ields , 
sedge meadows, along artificial dikes, and atop abandoned 
muskrat houses. Mallards will also use artificial nesting 
structures of various design (Jarvis , 1975b, p. 2). 

Coots and gallinules have nesting habitat prefer- 
ences similar to diving ducks in that floating nests are 
commonly constructed on rafted debris within deep-water 
cattail or bulrush marshes. Redheads nest atop muskrat 



77 



houses and rafted debris or construct nests in vegetation 
along the shoreline (Miller, 1943, p. 78). A loss of deep- 
water marsh habitat to nest in, and a decline of submersed 
aquatic foods, perhaps due to increased turbidity, are sug- 
gested as causes for the general decrease in nesting divers 
(Bednarik et al . , 1975, p. 3). The building of summer camps, 
dredging of boat slips, and other disturbance factors, in- 
cluding filling, boating and fishing, are associated with 
the decline of tne redhead and other diving ducks nesting 
along the main channels of the St. Clair delta (personal 
communication, Leo Pospichal) . In Michigan, Canada Geese 
commonly nest on muskrat houses within large cattail marshes 
(Mich. DNR, 1975b, p. 315) . 

Several species of ducks, i.e., ringnecks , wood 
ducks, and hooded and common mergansers, have primary 
breeding ranges which include portions of Michigan (Bell- 
rose, 1976, p. 180, 327, 441 and 457). However, with the 
exception of wood ducks, these species do not commonly nest 
in the coastal wetlands (see Table 22) . The wooded flood- 
plain of the Kalamazoo River and other rivers constitutes 
a prime breeding area for wood ducks in Michigan. Although 
whistling swans once nested in Michigan, at present the only 
swan commonly nesting in the coastal wetlands is the mute 
swan which breeds in the Grand Traverse Bay Region (Koechlein, 
1971, p. 2) . 

For the purpose of this report, it will be assumed 
that the duck species nesting in the coastal environments 
consist of 40 percent mallards, 30 percent blue-winged teal, 
10 percent black ducks and 21 percent all other species . 
Current estimates of the number of breeding pairs of ducks 
in Michigan are indicated in Table 23. The number of 
breeding pairs of mallards may actually be as high as 
40,000 (personal communication, Gerald Martz) . If one 
accepts that there are 40,000 pairs of breeding mallards 






78 



then Michigan may have approximately 100,000 pairs of 
breeding ducks each year. The remaining 60,000 breeding 
pairs are primarily blue-winged teal, wood ducks and 
black ducks. Some incidental species may also nest in 
Michigan in small numbers, e.g., ringnecks, redheads, 
mergansers, etc. The data concerning breeding pairs will 
be utilized to estimate the number of ducks produced in 
Michigan's coastal wetlands. 

TABLE 23 

NUMBER OF BREEDING PAIRS OF DUCKS IN MICHIGAN, 1976 

Species " Estimated No. of Pairs 
Mallards 23,500* 

Wood duck 20,000** 

Blue-winged teal 17,500 

Black duck Unknown 

Ringnecked duck 5 , 000 

Source : Bellrose, 1976 

*Waterfowl biologists at Michigan DNR believe this figure 
to be 40,000. 
**This figure is also felt to be somewhat underestimated. 

Waterfowl breeding in the coastal wetlands is 
significant because birds produced locally increase the 
success of hunters within the state as well as that of 
other hunters in nearby states. It has been estimated 
that between 25 and 40 percent of Michigan's annual 
harvest consists of ducks produced within the state 
(personal communication, Edward Mikula) . Banding data 
indicated that 40 percent of all mallards (Greis, 1971, 
p. 32) and 82 to 95 percent of all wood ducks (Bowers 
and Martin, 1975, p. 314) shot annually 



79 



in Michigan are reared within the state. Using the 1971- 
1975 average duck kill as a base, it is shown in Table 24 
that state-produced mallards and wood ducks alone comprise 
2 2 percent of the total duck harvest. 

TABLE 24 

ESTIMATE PROPORTION OF MICHIGAN'S ANNUAL DUCK 
HARVEST WHICH DERIVES FROM STATE-REARED 

WATERFOWL 



1971-1975 average duck harvest in Michigan was 
358,280. If one assumes that 30 percent of ducks 
were state produced, then: 

358,280 

X .30 



107,484 



7o of Total % Reared No. Locally Produced 

Species Duck Harvest in Michigan harvested in Michigan 

Mallard 31 40 44,430 

Wood Duck 11 89 35,080 



TOTAL 79,510 

Source : Martz, 1976; and Table 25. 

When the species composition of Michigan's annual 
duck harvest is examined, one notes that mallards, scaup, 
wood ducks , black ducks , and teal dominate the yearly take 
(Table 25). In contrast to the state, the main species 
harvested in the coastal wetlands, as exemplified by the St. 
Clair Flats State Game Area data, are the mallard-- 76 percent 
of the area's kill, along with lesser numbers of black 
ducks, pintails and teal. In open-water areas, however, 
such as Sebewaing and Wildfowl Bays of Saginaw Bay, Lake 
St. Clair, Lower Detroit River ana adjacent Lake Erie, where 
hunting from boats and floating blinds occurs, a majority 
of the duck kill are divers rather than dabbling ducks. 



80 



TABLE 25 

AVERAGE SPECIES COMPOSITION OF RETRIEVED DUCK 

SAMPLE STATE AVERAGE (1965-1974) vs. ST. CLAIR FLATS 

SGA (1974-1975) 





State of 


Michigan 


St. Clair 


Flats SGA 


Species No 


. of ducks % of Total 


Annual Harvest % of Total 


Mallard, incl. 










domestic 


29,890 


30.48 


4,362 


76.30 


Scaup (Bluebills) 


13,100 


13.36 


34 


0.60 


Wood Duck 


10,370 


10.57 


28 


0.49 


Black duck and 










hybrids 


7,550 


7.70 


498 


8.71 


Green-winged 










teal 


6,000 


6.12 


173 


3.03 


Ringed-neck duck 


5,280 


5.38 


78 


1.36 


Bufflehead 


4,580 


4.67 


18 


0.31 


Blue-winged teal 


4,160 


4.24 


71 


1.24 


Redhead* 


4,050 


4.13 


4 


0.07 


Goldeneye 


3,020 


3.08 


9 


0.16 


Baldpate (Am. 










widgeon) 


2,540 


2.59 


138 


2.41 


Canvasback* 


1,640 


1.67 





0.00 


Pintail 


1,620 


1.65 


242 


4.23 


Mergansers 


1,240 


1.26 


19 


0.33 


Scoter 


740 


0.76 





0.00 


Ruddy duck 


700 


0.71 


3 


0.05 


Old squaw 


640 


0.65 





0.00 


Gadwall 


610 


0.62 


30 


0.53 


Shoveler 


350 


0.36 


10 


0.18 


TOTAL 


98,080 


100.00% 


5,717 


100.00% 


Source: Mississipp 


i Flyway 


Retrieved Harvest Data, 1965 


, 1974; and 



Pospichal (1975 and 1974) 
*Redhead and Canvasback harvests are now restricted in most states. 

In Ohio, mallards, black ducks, wood ducks, and blue-winged 
teal comprise 75 percent of the annual duck harvest 



81 



(Bednarik, 1976, p. 4). A comparison of Table 22 with 
Table 25 reveals that the coastal wetlands constitute 
both nesting habitat and shooting grounds for several of 
Michigan's important game ducks, especially mallards and 
black ducks. 

One index of the nesting value of a coastal wet- 
land is the density of nesting waterfowl per areal unit. 
Some of the available duck nesting densities derived from 
ground surveys are presented in Table 26. (Aerial surveys, 
in comparison, frequently underestimate actual 
nesting densities, especially of wood ducks). Although 
an average density of 83 nesting pairs per square mile 
was determined, the standard deviation is high with densi- 
ties ranging from 18 to 169/ square mile. Given 105,855 
acres of coastal wetlands in Michigan (Table 2) and a 
duck nesting density of 83 breeding pairs per square mile, 
then there may be 14,000 breeding pairs of ducks in the 
coastal wetlands. Likewise, the acres per nesting pair of 
ducks varies considerably about its mean of 12 acres per 
pair. 

TABLE 26 

DUCK NESTING DENSITIES IN COASTAL WETLANDS OF 
MICHIGAN, 1951-1966 

Average Number Average Acres 
of Nesting of Wetland/ 
Wetland Area Councy Pairs/Mile^ Nesting Pair 

Portage Marsh Delta 169 pairs 3.8 acres 

Tobico Marsh Bay 139 4.6 

Portage Entry Houghton 101 6.3 

Harsens Island St. Clair 72 8.9 

Munuscong Bay Chippewa 63 10.2 

Pointe Mouillee Monroe 56 11.4 

Po tag annis sing Chippewa 45 14.2 

Sebewaing Bay Huron and 18 35.6 

Tuscola 9 

AVERAGES 83 pairs/mi z 12 acres/pair 

Source : Martz, undated, "Waterfowl Breeding Ground Sur- 
veys," and field data survey sheets, Wildlife 
Div. , DNR. 



82 



Although the data are not complete (Table 26) , 
two coastal wetlands—Portage and Tobico marshes, appear 
highly productive. Also, under controlled level impound- 
ment, an average of 134 pairs per square mile was obtained 
during 1969 and 1973 at Nayanquing Point State Game Area. 
Unrefined sampling techniques as well as disturbance by 
humans may explain the apparent low densities of nesting 
ducks on Harsens Island and in the coastal marshes of Monroe 
County (Miller, 1943, p. 85, personal communication, Pospichal) 

Because broods are difficult to observe among the 
marsh vegetation, available brood count data are sparse. 
Table 27 represents some of the early extant data. 

TABLE 27 
DENSITY OF DUCK BROODS IN MICHIGAN WETLANDS, 1949 

No . of Broods No . of 
Wetland Area County Per Sq . Mile Duck Species 

Portage Marsh Delta 116.0 4 

Dead Stream* Roscommon 80.0 4 

Hayward Marsh* Menominee 72.7 2 

Thunder Bay 

River* Alpena 12.5 I 

Nayanquing Point Bay 11.3 6 

Sebewaing Bay Huron 8.7 4 

Portage Marsh Houghton 5.4 2 

Kalamazoo River* Allegan 3.7 3 

AVERAGES 39 3.3 

Source : Miller (1949). 

*Inland Marshes 

Portage Marsh, again, stands out as a most productive 
wetland. Some of the coastal wetlands, e.g., Nayanquing 
Point and Portage Marsh, exhibit considerable species 
diversity among the nesting pairs compared to inland 



83 



wetlands. Although these data suggest an average of 39 
broods per square mile and a species diversity of 3.3 
species per wetland area, more sampling should be carried 
out to derive nesting standards for evaluation purposes. 

The actual production of waterfowl young per areal 
unit of wetland is a more useful measure of productivity 
than nesting densities. Table 28 contains field biolo- 
gists' estimates of the production of ducklings in the 

TABLE 28 

BIOLOGISTS' ESTIMATES OF NESTING PAIRS AND DUCKLING 
PRODUCTION IN MICHIGAN COASTAL WETLANDS, 1975 





Potential No. 


No. 


of 


Wetland 




of 


Young/ 


Nesting 


Acres 


Wetland Area 


County Wetland Acre 


Pair/Sq. 


Mile 


Per Pair 


Salt River 


Macomb 


4.0 


430 




1.5 


Nayanquing Pt. 


Bay 


1.6 


200 




3.2 


Huron Pt. Marsh 


Macomb 


1.3 


130 




4.9 


St. Johns Marsh 


St. Clair 


0.98 


102 




6.3 


Arcadia Marsh 


Manistee 


0.98 


82 




7.8 


Harsens Island 


St. Clair 


0.96 


103 




6.2 


Quanicassee WA 


Bay 


0.89 


113 




5.7 


Tobico Marsh 


Bay 


0.80 


100 




6.4 


Saginaw Bay Shore 


Tuscola 


0.65 


75 




8.5 


Old Rifle R. Lodge 


Arenac 


0.40 


60 




10.7 


Quanicassee SGA 


Tuscola 


0.14 


13 




49.2 


Misery Bay 


Alpena 


0.12 


12 
118 




53.3 


AVERAGES 


1.1 


14 


Source: Martz, "The Mississippi 


Flyway Waterfowl Habitat 


Reconnais- 


sance, 1976, " Data Sheets. 









coastal wetlands of Michigan. Additional data regarding 
the number of ducks and coot broods reared in the Erie 
Shooting and Fishing Club Marsh for the period 1957-1968 
have been published, but it is not possible to derive 



84 



density statistics (Hunt and Mickelson, 1976, p. 37). 

An average of 1.1 ducklings per acre was generated 

from the data in Table 28. Based on the nesting pair 

densities presented in Table 26, the duckling production in 

Table 28 appears to be a maximum potential figure as 

opposed to a realistic estimate of actual production. A 

current estimate of nest success for dabbling ducks in 

Michigan is 40 percent, while along the Lake Erie marshes 

where nest terminations due to seiche floods and other 

causes are common, a nest success of 20 percent may be 

realistic (Kartz , 1977, p. 11). If one assumes six young 

per brood (Miller, 1949, then: 

83 pairs/sq. mi. X 0.40 nest success = 33 success- 
ful nests/sq. mile 

33 nests X 6 young per brood = 198 ducklings/sq. 
mile. 

A production of 0.31 ducklings/acre/year for the wetlands 
(198 ducklings per square mile divided by 640), does not compare 
well with the 1.1 contained in Table 28. However, if a 
100 percent nesting success is assumed, then the estimated 
number of ducklings produced per acre appears correct. 
Therefore, the biologists' estimates of nesting pair 
density and production of ducklings per acre may be too 
high. During his 1962-1963 study, Thompson (1964) found 
in the 729-acre Ottawa Shooting Club Marsh along Lake Erie 
in northwest Ohio, a total of 197 flying ducklings, or 
0.27 flying ducklings per acre. On the other hand, 
Miller's data from Table 27, when analyzed, reveals an 
average production of 0.36 ducklings per acre. Thus, an 
average productivity of 0.31 ducklings per acre is prob- 
ably a representative statistic for Michigan's coastal 
wetlands . 

Although each waterfowl species has its own nesting 
habitat preferences, four general components of a nesting 
territory include: nesting cover, food for the entire brood, 
open water, and loafing sites (Andrews, 1952, p. 141). 



85 



Some coastal wetlands (e.g., Dickinson Island in Lake St. 
Clair) contain both grassy meadow and deep-water marshes 
for nesting of dabbling and diving ducks. The Lake St. 
Clair wetlands as well as those protected by coastal barriers 
(e.g., Tobico Marsh), or artificial dikes (e.g., Erie 
Shooting Club) are secure from large seiches and other 
sudden water level fluctuations which characterize the 
coastal wetlands. Many game managers of managed wetlands, 
e.g., at Fish Point, not only dike the marshlands but 
strive to increase the linear extent of the marsh-open 
water boundary or 'edge' by opening up the dense cattail 
stands, thereby increasing the number of potential nesting 
territories. 

Diking and other management practices can greatly 
improve waterfowl production in the coastal wetlands. 
Using artificial dikes, Ohio hopes to reclaim from Lake 
Erie 1,857 acres of coastal marshland which were recently 
washed out by wave action (Weeks, 1974, p. 8). In addi- 
tion to protection from high-water conditions , as in the 
case of the diked marsh at Pointe Mouillee, dikes were 
also constructed to impound water during low 
laKe level periods. Succession during low-water conditions 
often results in dense stands of emergent vegetation 
which, in turn, reduces the availability of preferred food 
items and nesting habitat. The abandonment of nesting 
territories by breeding ducks in the managed Ottawa 
Shooting Club Marsn of northern Ohio following artificial 
water drawdown substantiates the adverse impact of low 
water-level conditions on duck productivity (Thompson, 
1964, p. 75). Finally, the erection of nesting boxes, 
nesting structures, and artificial nesting islands (Martz , 
1977, p. 10), as well as predator control (Urban, 1968, 
p. 70) may significantly increase nesting success and 
production of 0.50 ducklings per acre, which was estimated 
at Nayeinquing Point during 1969 and 1973, may be feasible 



86 



in the coastal wetlands when Great Lakes water levels 
approximate average conditions. 

If the state of Michigan has 105,855 acres of 
coastal wetlands (see Chapter 2) , it is possible to esti- 
mate the total annual duck production per acre. Assuming 
0.31 flying ducklings per acre, then a total annual pro- 
duction of 32,815 ducks is obtained for the coastal wet- 
lands. This coastal production may contribute 14 percent 
of the state's total production. A total duck produc- 
tion of 240,000 was estimated by assuming that each year 
Michigan has 100,000 breeding pairs (see Table 23), that 
the nesting success rate is 40 percent and that six young 
are produced per brood (see earlier discussion, this Chapter) 

Assuming that there are 32,815 ducks produced in 
the coastal wetlands and that 40 percent of these ducklings 
are mallards (see earlier discussion), then a total of 13,125 
flying mallard ducklings may be produced within the coastal en 
vironments. This would amount to an estimated 15 percent 
of the state's total annual mallard production, provided 
there were 40,000 breeding pairs of mallards. Thus, the 
coastal wetlands, particularly if properly managed, are 
most productive waterfowl breeding areas. 

A survey conducted during the 1952-1955 period 
revealed that Michigan possessed 310,500 acres of wetlands 
which were considered to be of high value to waterfowl 
(Miller, 1958, p. 1). In 1976, a study indicated that 
the state had 259,000 acres of wetland and adjacent uplands 
which served as high quality waterfowl habitat (Martz , 
1976, p. 1). Approximately 212,000 acres of the 259,000 
acres were considered of importance to waterfowl breeding 
( ibid . , p. 1). Excluding land contained within public 
refuges and wildlife areas, some of this prime breeding 
ground is currently being threatened by private develop- 
ment. The threatened coastal wetlands are indicated in 
Table 29. An estimated 18,362 acres of coastal breeding 



87 



TABLE 29 



WATERFOWL BREEDING HABITAT IN COASTAL WETLANDS 
THREATENED BY PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT WITHIN 5 
YEARS, MICHIGAN, 1976 



Upper Pen 


insula 




Wetland Area 


County Wetland Acres* 


Portage Entry Marsh 


Houghton 


470 


Gladstone Marsh 


Delta 


28 


Portage Marsh 


Delta 


500 


Baie de Wasai 


Chippewa 


410 


Munuscong Bay 


Chippewa 


900 


Raber Bay 


Chippewa 


300 


Duck Bay 


Mackinac 


250 


Epoufette Bay 


Mackinac 


300 


Flowers Bay 


Mackinac 


185 


Hessel Bay (Mackinac Bay) 


Mackinac 


500 


Nuns Creek and Bay 


Mackinac 


290 


Prentiss Bay 


Mackinac 


270 


Northern Lower Peninsula 




Wetland Area 


County Wetland Acres* 


Squaw Bay 


Alpena 1 


,000 


Cheboygan Marsh 


Cheboygan 


120 


Au Gres (Old Rifle River 


Arenac 




Lodge** 


Arenac 1 


,229 


Quanicassee Wildlife Area 


Bay 


960 


Tobico Marsh** 


Bay 


700 


Southern Lower Peninsula 




Wetland Area 


County Wetland Acres* 


Lake Muskegon Marshes 


Muskegon 4 


,000 


Grand Haven River Marshes 


Ottawa 1 


,200 


Lake Macatawa Marshes 


Ottawa 


210 


Wildfowl Bay Shoreline 


Huron 


400 


Quanicassee State Game 






Area** 


Tuscola 


480 


Saginaw Bay Shoreline 


Tuscola 


220 


Galien River Marsh 


Berrien 


550 


Ford Marsh 


Monroe 


180 


Port of Monroe Marsh 


Monroe 


60 


Union Camp Marsh 


Monroe 


240 


Humbug Marsh 


Wayne 


180 


Huron Point Marshes 


Macomb 


380 


Salt River Marshes 


Macomb 


60 


St. Johns Marsh 


St. Clair 1 


,790 


TOTAL 


18 


,362 


Source: Martz , 1976, "The 


Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl 


Habitat Reconaissance. " 




*Development is expected to be initiated within 


5 years 


(1981 A.D.) . 






**Publicly- owned holdings are 


i protected from private 


s develop- 


ment . 







88 



habitat are faced with some degree of residential develop- 
ment and other encroachment within the next five years or 
so. Assuming that Michigan has only 105,855 acres of 
coastal wetlands, then 17 percent of the total would be 
adversely impacted within less than a decade. In order 
to establish a priority system for protecting these breed- 
ing areas, the waterfowl productivity of each wetland, 
coastal and inland, must be determined and comparisons 
made . 

Protecting waterfowl breeding areas in Michigan 
is important since a large and slowly increasing propor- 
tion of the state's annual duck harvest derives from 
state-produced young. At present, though resident breed- 
ing populations are increasing, state-produced Canada Geese 
probably provide less than 10 percent of the annual Canada 
Goose harvest in Michigan (personal comunication, Gerald 
Martz) . The productivity of the coastal wetlands takes 
on greater significance when drought or wetland destruction 
in inland Michigan and elsewhere in North America reduces 
waterfowl breeding opportunities. 
VALUE OF WATERFOWL HUNTING IN COASTAL WETLANDS 

The harvest of waterfowl, particularly ducks, in 
Michigan during the October-November hunting season is an 
important recreational activity (Table 30) . During the 
period 1971-1975, an annual average of about 116,750 waterfowl 
hunters purchased federal duck stamps and spent an average 
annual total of 639,950 recreation days (average of 6.3 
days per hunter) . The state estimate for number of hunters 
in 1975 (see Table 30) is used in this report because it 
includes those hunters under the age of 16 not requiring 
a federal duck stamp and gives a closer approximation to 
the actual number of waterfowl hunters. 



89 



Estimates of the annual waterfowl harvest in 
Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife 
Division, exceeds that of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service. For example, the state Department of Natural 
Resources estimated the average annual retrieved duck 
harvest during 1971-1975 to be 597,966, whereas data from 
the Fish and Wildlife Service suggests an average of 
358,284 retrieved birds (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
1976). The state and federal estimates are arrived at 
using different sampling techniques which may account for 

TABLE 30 

ANNUAL WATERFOWL HARVEST IN MICHIGAN, 1971-1975, 

DNR ESTIMATES 





Number of 


Number of 


No. of 


No. of 


No. of 


Year 


Hunters* 


Recreation Days 


Ducks 


Geese 


Coots 


1975 


118,500 


1,205,630 


651,860 


32,430 


32,450 


1974 


116,780 


1,200,980 


615,440 


43,090 


48,280 


1973 


116,310 


1,324,930 


598,290 


38,610 


54,260 


19 72 


109,130 


1,120,040 


530,960 


25,550 


34,560 


19 71 


123,000 


1,311,050 


593,280 


38,000 


87,750 


AVG. 


116,744 


1,232,526 


597,966** 


35,536 


51,500 



Source ; Michigan DNR Biennial Reports. 

*Includes waterfowl hunters under the age of 16 not requiring a 
federal duck stamp. 

**U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service data for 1971-1975 reveals an 
average of 358,284 ducks. 



the variability of the harvest figures. The more con- 
servative Fish and Wildlife Service estimate of the average 
duck harvest of 358,284 retrieved birds, excluding cripple 
losses, will be utilized in this report. 

Long-term waterfowl harvest data are available for 
the managed state game areas, including Fish Point, Pointe 



90 



Mouillee, and St. Clair Flats, as well as from the Erie 
Shooting Club. As an example, during the past few years, 
the annual kill of ducks at Fish Point (2,475 acres) and 
St. Clair Flats (2,600 acres of managed wetland) has aver- 
aged about 5,000 and 6,000 ducks, respectively (Pospichal, 
1975; Jarvis, 1975a). Because of extensive coastal erosion 
resulting in the loss of the marsh habitat, the managed 
public hunt at Pointe Mouillee has been temporarily dis- 
continued. For most private coastal wetlands, however, 
the harvest data have not been collected for the entire 
season or are badly fragmented. 

Data are not readily available to determine the 
proportion of the annual waterfowl harvest in Michigan 
which occurs in the coastal wetlands. However, the pro- 
portion may be quite high because several of the main fall 
migration concentration areas are located within coastal 
wetlands (see Figure 20). A comparision of the harvest in 
11 coastal counties with that taken in the remainder of the 
state reveals that 39 percent of the waterfowl kill (94,188 
divided by 240,965) derives from counties with extensive 
coastal wetlands (Table 31). Because dabbler ducks, not 
divers, are commonly harvested in the coastal wetlands, the 
proportion of the coastal wetland waterfowl harvest is 
estimated to be 21 percent of the state total (50,735 divi- 
ded by 240,965) . 

The top six counties in the entire state with the 
highest waterfowl harvest, in descending order, are St. 
Clair, Saginaw, Huron, Monroe, Tuscola and Bay counties. 
Among this group of counties, only Saginaw is an inland 
county. It should be pointed out that all six counties con 
tain large state holdings and public waters where public 
hunting occurs. 

If 21 percent of Michigan's annual duck harvest 
occurs in coastal wetlands, then approximately 75,240 ducks 
are taken yearly from the coastal wetlands. This estimate 



91 



TABLE 31 



AVERAGE DUCK HARVEST IN THE COASTAL COUNTIES 
OF MICHIGAN BY COASTAL COUNTY IN MICHIGAN, 1961-1970 
ANNUAL AVERAGE, U.S.F. AND W.S. ESTIMATES* 



Upper Peninsula 



County 


Dabblers 


Divers 


Chippewa 


1,376 


3,838 


Delta 


3,412 


1,337 


Mackinac 


1,334 


3,497 



Total 



Subtotal 



6,122 



Lower Peninsula 



8,672 



5 


214 


4 


749 


4 


,831 



14,794 



County 

Alpena 

Arenac 

Bay 

Cheboygan 

Huron 

Monroe 

Tuscola 

St. Clair 

Wayne 

Subtotal 



Dabblers 

670 
1,628 
7,681 

440 
7,383 
8,239 
7,887 
8,475 
2,210 

44,613 



Divers 

439 
1,047 
2,987 
641 
8,170 
2,565 
3,111 
7,951 
7,870 

34,780 



Total 

1,109 

2,675 

10,668 

1,081 

15,553 

10,804 

10,998 

16,426 

10,080 

79,393 

94,187 



146,777 
240,965 



Lower Peninsula and U.P. Total 

Totals for 

Non-Coastal 

Michigan 

Counties 102,581 44,196 

STATE TOTAL 153,316 87,649 

Source ; Carney, Sorenson, and Martin, 1975. 
*Note: Current harvest of 358,284 birds based on 1971-75 
average . 

was obtained by multiplying 0.21 times 358,284 birds (the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service average for 1971-1975; see 
footnote, Table 30). According to the U.S. Fish and Wild- 
life Service harvest data, including ducks, geese and 
coots, an estimated 85,987 waterfowl were taken from the 
coastal wetlands (0.21 x 409,460 birds). 



92 

Although Michigan has approximately 116,750 water- 
fowl hunters annually (Table 30, DNR data), there exists a 
substantial number of latent or potential hunters who do 
not participate because of a lack of accessible quality 
hunting. As evidenced by the popularity of duck shooting 
clubs which trace back to the mid-1800's, Michigan has 
long enjoyed a tradition of quality duck hunting. 

Today the prospective hunter, particularly from 
metropolitan southeastern Michigan, usually applies for 
a reservation at a public game area because permission 
from private shooting clubs or owners of the few remain- 
ing wetlands is difficult to obtain. Most hunters want 
a reservation for the opening day and frequently for the 
first or second weekend of the hunting season in selected 
wetland areas. 

Some concept of the unsatisfied waterfowl hunting 
demand may be obtained by comparing the number of appli- 
cants for reservations at the public game area to the 
number of available blinds or hunting areas. Although 
little of the existing raw data have been summarized, some 
preliminary data are presented in Table 32. For the 
three public game areas, which are located within coastal 
wetlands, there was a total of 13,450 applicants, but 
only 3,475 possible reservations. Each application repre- 
sents a potential party of 2.5 people, and each reserva- 
tion will accommodate a party of 2 or 3 hunters . The 
data in the table indicate that only 26 percent of the 
applicants could be served. It is realized that many 
hunters apply for reservations at more than one public 
shooting area. Nevertheless, the disparity between appli- 
cants and available reservations, especially on opening 
day, suggests that there exists a large unsatisfied demand 
for quality waterfowl hunting. 

A study by the Great Lakes Basin Commission (1975) 
examined the waterfowl hunting demand by planning sub- 
basin in Michigan. The Commission's data indicate that 
in each of the seven planning sub-basins which comprise 
the state, there is a projected increase in hunters, but 



93 





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94 

a projected decrease in acres of wildlife habitat and a 
decrease in potentially huntable land (Great Lakes Basin 
Comm. , 1975c, p. 29, 73 and 100). Similarly, a study 
which provides some data on the southeastern corner of 
Monroe County reveals that wildlife in North Maumee Bay 
are suffering from a degraded and decreasing habitat 
base. Besides the fact that degraded habitat decreases 
a person's desire to hunt, future waterfowl hunting oppor- 
tunities in the North Maumee Bay area are limited due to 
restricted access, poor water quality, lack of supportive 
facilities, and vandalism (Great Lakes Basin Comm., 1976, 
p. 3-8 and 3-9). A small increase in the number of hunters 
over time places more pressure on the resource base. 

Waterfowl hunting and the game harvested in 
coastal wetlands contribute materially to the economy of 
Michigan. Preliminary estimates for 1977, based on the 
1970 National Survey of Hunting and Fishing (U. S. Dept. 
of Interior, 1972), indicates that each waterfowl hunter 
spent on the average $130 . 25 on equipment, licenses, 
transportation, and so forth. This figure was obtained 
by multiplying the 1970 annual hunter expenditure of $84.47 
times 1 . 542 , which is the cost-of-living increase factor 
for Detroit, Michigan (personal communication, Bob Craig). 

Although most waterfowl hunters orginate from rural 
areas and hunt in nearby counties, hunters from Detroit, 
Lansing, Grand Rapids and Flint often travel considerable 
distances to their shooting grounds. Because the trans- 
portation component of the estimated annual waterfowl 
hunter expenditures is less than $5.00, it is believed 
that an economic evaluation based on annual expenditures 
may yield conservative values. For example, at Magee 
Marsh of northern Ohio, the value of a goose hunting day 
or trip is valued at $9.73 (Ohio Div. of Wildlife, 1976). 
Nevertheless, because of ease of calculation, average 
annual waterfowl expenditures will be employed to estimate 
the value of waterfowl hunting. 



95 



Utilizing the estimated 1977 annual waterfowl 

hunter expenditure value of $130.25, Michigan's waterfowl 

hunters contribute to the state economy as follows : 

116,750 Number of Waterfowl Hunters in 
Michigan, 1971-75 Average 
X 130.25 Estimated 1977 Hunter Expenditures 

$15,206,687 

As the above calculation illustrates, waterfowl hunting 
in Michigan contributes an estimated $15.21 million 
annually. If data on number of hunters and distance 
travelled were available for each coastal wetland, then 
the economic importance of waterfowl hunting could be 
determined and protection priorities established. Fur- 
ther, if latent demand were included (see Table 32) , the 
total annual value of waterfowl hunting in Michigan may be 
at least double, therefore equal to $30 million or more. 

The meat contained in the waterfowl carcasses is 
also important because many families, particularly in 
rural areas, supplement their diet with wild game. Fur- 
ther, in most instances, except at game areas with a 
cropping program, the waterfowl are utilizing food 
resources which man is not effectively exploiting. There- 
fore, the game can be regarded as a "free" resource. The 
economic value for 1975 of Michigan's annual waterfowl 
harvest in terms of carcasses is indicated below. A cost- 
of-living factor of 1.129 was employed (personal communi- 
cation, Bob Craig) to project the total 1975 carcass value 
of $474,263 to a total 1977 value of $535,443. 

Average 
Annual Harvest* Weight 

Ducks 358,284 1 lbs. 

Coots 29,575 1 lbs. 

Geese 21,601 4 lbs. 



Carcass 
Value 


Total 
Value 


$l/lb. 


$358,284 


$l/lb. 


29,575 


$l/lb. 


86,404 



TOTALS 409,460 $474,263 

Source : Current Files, Wildlife Div. , Michigan DNR. 
*U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service figures of 1975 were used. 



96 



If we sum the total average annual hunter's ex- 
penditures and the value of the carcasses for the year 
1977, then the total economic value of Michigan's water- 
fowl hunting is $15.74 million. In terms of waterfowl 
harvested, waterfowl hunting is worth $37.79 per bird 
(obtained by dividing 409,460 waterfowl into the total 
value of $15,742,130) . 

During the 1971-1975 interim, an average of approxi- 
mately 116,750 people (see Table 30) hunted waterfowl in 
Michigan. Data as to where this hunting activity occurred 
are not available. However, by comparing the waterfowl 
harvest from coastal counties , where several large coastal 
public shooting areas have been established, with that 
harvested from the entire state, it was estimated that 
21 percent of the annual duck kill derives from the coastal 
wetlands. Further, if 21 percent of Michigan's water- 
fowlers hunt in the coastal wetlands, this accounts for 
some 24,518 hunters (116,750 x 0.21 = 24,513). If an 
average waterfowl hunter spends $130.25 annually, then 
the coastal wetlands provide an annual hunter expenditure 
value of $3.19 million (24,518 x $130.25 = $3,193,470). 
When carcass values are included ($535,443 x 0.21 = 
$112,443), the total annual return from waterfowl hunting 
amounts to $3,305,913. Given 105,855 acres of coastal wet- 
land, the average annual value per wetland acre is $31.23 
(i.e., $3,305,913 divided by 105,855 acres). 

Other economic techniques, for example, methods 
based on opportunity costs or on the willingness of parti- 
cipants to pay, may yield values which exceed that of the 
above analysis. Other values, including the harvest of 
Michigan reared birds in other states, in addition to those 
estimated above, may also increase the value of waterfowl 
hunting. However, it is felt that economic value of water- 
fowl hunting as determined herein using average annual hunter 
expenditures and carcass values yield a simple, yet reason- 
able economic estimate. 



97 



CHAPTER FOUR 
VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO FURBEARERS 

In this chapter the value of coastal wetlands 
with regard to furbearing animals is presented. Raccoon 
and muskrat generate the largest trapping revenues, fol- 
lowed by red fox, coyote, beaver, mink and others (Table 
33). Because of changes in licensing, the 1970-71 trap- 
ping season was the last year when reliable data on the 
number of trappers on a state level were available. 
During the winter trapping seasons between 1956-1976, 
Michigan averaged 5,560 trappers (Jenkins, 1977, p. 40). 
As revealed in Table 33, muskrat trappers outnumber other 
trappers. Although the muskrat is the most abundant fur- 
bearer, a licensed trapper will trap other furbearers as 
well. Therefore, the total number of trappers in Table 
33 is not an accurate estimate of the total number of 
trappers, but rather represents a "doubling up" of trap- 
pers . 

It must be noted that the value of furbearers is 
extremely variable from year to year. As noted in Table 
33 for example, the mean value of raccoons for 1971-1972 
is $4.00. Based on the 28th Biennial Report for 1975- 
1976 (Jenkins, in press, p. 38), the average pelt price 
of raccoons ranges from $25 to $30. Similarly, the 
muskrat pelt value has increased significantly from $1.75 
to $2.50-$3.0( 
MUSKRAT VALUE 



to $2.50-$3.00 during the same time period ( ibid . , p. 38) 



The principal mammal inhabiting Michigan's coastal 
wetlands is the muskrat. Based on its feeding and lodging 
habits, a muskrat density per unit of coastal wetland can 
be determined. The literature and statistical data of 



1 Pelt values have increased in value significantly since 
the June 1976 values given here but this conservative 
value is used until a definite trend of higher pelt prices 
is established. 



98 



TABLE 33 

FURBEARERS, TRAPPERS AND FUR VALUE IN MICHIGAN 

(1971-1972) 



Species 


Trappers 


Harvest 


Mean Value ($) 


Pelt Value ($) 


Muskrat 


6,240 


348,400 


1.75 


609,700 


Mink 


2,580 


10,050 


10.00 


100,000 


Raccoon 


2,840 


13,350 


4.00 


929,600 


Oppossum 


1,630 


8,690 


.50 


4,345 


Badger 


350 


400 


4.00 


1,600 


Skunk 


1,100 


6,350 


2.00 


12,700- 


Weasel 


480 


980 


1.00 


980 


Coyote 


no data 


65,530 


3.00 


196,590 


Fox 


no data 


32,150* 


8.00 


257,200 


Otter 


2,318 


584 


25.00 


14,600 


Beaver 


2,318 


7,212 


20.00 


144,240 


TOTAL 


2,272,055 


Source: 


DNR, 26th Biennial Report 


. 1971-1972. 




*Rough estimate. 









the DNR reveal that the distribution of this furbearer is 
greatest in the southern half of the lower peninsula (Zone 
3). Table 34 shows that between 1967-68 and 1970-71 an 
estimated total of 962,700 muskrats were trapped in Zone 
3 compared to 166,700 and 233,530 in Zone 1 and Zone 2 
respectively. Approximately 68 percent of the muskrat 
catch is from wetlands in the southern half of the lower 
peninsula. 

Baumgartner (1942, p. 30) who surveyed 33 muskrat 
sites in the state, concluded that habitats on streams in 
Zone 1 and 2 are exceptionally poor except at their 
sources and at their mouths because of food scarcity. He 
also evaluated marsh habitats and determined that all 
coastal habitats investigated support better than average 



99 



TABLE 34 

MUSKRATS HARVESTED BY TRAPPERS, 1967-1971 IN 

MICHIGAN 



Area 


1967-68 


1968-69 


1969-70 


1970-71 


Zone 1 


27,320 


40,400 


49,120 


49,860 


Zone 2 


44,720 


58,060 


64,490 


66,260 


Zone 3 


162,550 


174,940 


292,930 


232,280 


TOTAL 


234,590 


273,400 


406,540 


348,400 


Source : 


Hawn, Michigan Furbearer Catch 


by Trappers, 1970- 




71, DNR, Research and 
257 , Jan. , 1972. 


Development Report No. 



muskrat populations. These exceptional habitats were: 
Muskegon Lake Little Bay de Noc 

Pere Marquette River Portage Marsh 
Manistee River Munuscong Bay 

Arcadia Marsh Saginaw Bay 

Big Bay de Noc Lake Erie Marshes 

The food supply of muskrats may be diverse, espec- 
ially during times of stress. Baumgartner ( ibid . , p. 15) has 
identified 34 food items of the muskrat in Michigan. The 
preferred food is cattail, bulrush, and blue joint grass. 
Based on the literature, the most common food type is 
cattail and in some cases bulrush, (Bellrose and Low, 1943; 
Mathiak and Linde, 1954; and Kadlec and Wentz , 1974). 
Panzner concluded that Type 4 and Type 5 wetlands are the 
optimum habitats in terms of food and cover for Michigan's 
muskrats (1955, p. 9). Type 4 wetlands are characterized 
by cattails, reeds and other emergent vegetation. In open 
areas, aquatics such as pondweeds, naiads, watermilfoils , and 
waterweeds are abundant. According to Shaw and Fredine 
(1956, p. 21), the Type 4 wetland is an "Inland deep fresh 
water marsh." Type 5 wetlands are "Inland open fresh 
water marshes usually less than 10 feet in depth and 



100 



bordered by emergent vegetation (ibid., p. 21-22). The 
deeper waters of the Type 5 wetlands are colonized by 
pondweeds and other aquatics. Shaw and Fredine also note 
that these two wetland types are more commonly used by 
muskrats than any other furbearer ( ibid . , p. 42). 

Most of the muskrat data in the past have been col- 
lected and tabulated on a county by county basis. Table 
35 represents the muskrat in eight coastal counties in 
southeastern Michigan (Zone 3) over a six-year period. 
The muskrat habitat in these counties is primarily in the 
coastal zone. What may be concluded from Table 35 is 
that muskrat populations are high in coastal wetlands and 
the number of muskrats generally increases from north to 
south. 

TABLE 35 

MUSKRAT TAKE IN SELECTED COUNTIES OF SOUTHEASTERN 

MICHIGAN, 1965-1970 



County 


1965 


1966 


1967 


1968 


1969 


1970 


Average 


Arenac 


854 


11 


1,210 




786 


1,750 


769 


Bay 


1,718 


1,485 


7,878 


18,482 


27,158 


11,307 


11,338 


Tuscola 


919 


225 


3,738 


5,110 


2,104 


10,603 


3,783 


Huron 


2,702 


8,000 


16,386 


10,103 


14,759 


8,740 


10,115 


St. Clair 2,675 


15,515 


24,335 


13,395 


16,063 


30,350 


18,722 


Macomb 


1,272 


4,084 


2,658 


5,469 


6,012 


3,479 


3,829 


Wayne 


112 


2,700 


392 


1,006 


1,484 


1,149 


1,141 


Monroe 


12,155 


18,834 


5,185 


15,743 


15,811 


8,481 


12,702 


Source: 


Data summarized by Ryel, 


Office o 


f Survey; 


3 and Statistics, 




DNR. 















A survey similar to that presented in Table 35 
was taken from 1950 through 1958. In the same eight 
county area the 1950-1958 survey noted that the muskrat 
take was largely within two miles of the Great Lakes' 
shorelines (Permanent File, 1959, Wildlife Division, DNR) 



101 



That survey, which included the urbanized areas of south- 
eastern Michigan, concluded that 8.5 percent of Michigan's 
total area produces 11 percent of the state's muskrats. 
Consistently outstanding harvests reflected in both surveys 
included the wetlands of St. Clair and Monroe Counties. 

The coastal wetland acreage of the selected coun- 
ties (see Figure 1) may be tabulated and compared to the 
average muskrat production of the preceding table. As 
noted in Table 36 below, a ratio of muskrats per acre has 
been determined. The "Wetland Acres" and "Cattail Acres" 
were obtained from the DNR Coastal Wetland Inventory (1973) 
The wetland acreage for Macomb County is probably higher 
than 30 acres as indicated in that report. Based on Table 
5 the acreage of coastal wetland for the coastal zone (Salt 
River and Clinton River areas) totalled 590 acres in 1973. 
If the total take in Macomb County is 3,829 "rats," the 
take per acre is 6.48 "rats." Based on our investigations 
most of the acreage in coastal Macomb County is in cattail. 
Therefore, it will be assumed that all 590 acres are 
colonized by cattails. As discussed in the above para- 
graphs , muskrats occupy and feed mainly in the cattail 

2 
areas in a given wetland. Therefore, if the muskrats 

taken per acre of cattail is used the ratio increases 



2 In 1973, the DNR completed a coastal wetland 
inventory. Basically, the acreages of different marsh 
vegetation, including cattails were determined. It must 
be noted that in 1972 when the survey was conducted, lake 
levels were approaching record high levels. For example, 
in the summer of 1972 Lakes Michigan and Huron were at an 
elevation of 580.3 feet, Lake St. Clair at 575.3 feet and 
Lake Erie at 572.4 feet. The average levels between 1900 
and 1976 for Lakes Michigan and Huron, St. Clair and Erie 
were 578.34, 573.61 and 570.85 feet, respectively. 
Therefore, due to drowning, the wetland acreages may not 
represent "normal" conditions. 



102 



(column 6) . The average sustained muskrat take of the 
eight county area is 3.42 "rats" per cattail acre. 

TABLE 36 

MUSKRAT TAKE PER WETLAND ACRE AND PER CATTAIL ACRE 
IN SELECTED COUNTIES OF SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN 





Avg 


. Muskrat Take 
(1965-1970) 


Wetlands 


Cattail 


County 


Acres 
4,740 


Take /Ac re 
.16 


Acres 
2,850 


Take/Acre 


Arenac 




769 


.27 


Bay 




11,338 


9,790 


1.16 


5,760 


1.97 


Tuscola 




3,783 


5,250 


.72 


1,130 


3.35 


Huron 




10,115 


14,946 


.68 


3,110 


3.25 


St. Clair 




18,722 


15,600 


1.20 


4,488 


4.17 


Macomb 




3,829 


590 


6.49 


590 


6.49 


Wayne 




1,141 


1,420 


.80 


730 


1.56 


Monroe 




12,702 


6,715 


1.89 


1,995 


6.37 



Compared to other wetlands, 3.42 "rats" per acre 
is a reasonably high productive average. Within Horicon 
Marsh of Wisconsin is a 95-acre managed marsh which pro- 
duced 5.48 "rats" per acre (Mathiak and Linde, 1954, 
p. 11). In the Magee Marsh, which is also a controlled 
system, 40,000 "rats" were harvested from a 2,000-acre 
area (U. S. Dept. of Interior, 1967, p. 77). A muskrat 
take of two to six per acre is an average for many coastal 

wetlands of the state, whereas a sustained yield of five 
to six per acre is considered to be very high (personal 
communication, Leo Pospichal) . For the purposes of this 
study, it will be assumed that average annual muskrat 
harvest from cattail marshes is 3.42 animals per acre but 
only 3.0 animals/ acre from the coastal wetlands in general. 

If the current value of a muskrat pelt is $7.00 (perso- 
nal communication, Karl Bednarik) and the density is 3.42 
muskrats per acre of cattail, the selected wetlands in 
southeastern Michigan have a fur value of $23.94 per cattail 



103 



■z 

acre. The carcass value of a muskrat in 1975 was $1.50 
per "rat" (lh pound animal x $1.00/lb.). Based on the 
1975-1977 cost-of-living factor, which is 1.129, the pre- 
sent carcass value of a muskrat is $1.70 (1.5 lbs. x $1.13). 
Since the density of muskrats is 3.42, the carcass value, 
per cattail acre, would be $5.81. This means that the total 
average annual muskrat value per acre of cattail in the 
selected southeastern Michigan counties, to include fur 
and carcass values would be $29.75 ($23.94 + $5.81). The 
coastal cattail habitat in Michigan in 1972 totalled 30,809 
acres. If the value of muskrats is $29.75 per cattail acre, 
the state's muskrat value is $916,568. 

Although there is general agreement among researchers 
in Michigan that the muskrat population increased from 
north to south, there are exceptional habitats in Zone 
2 (e.g., Arcadia Marsh) and Zone 1 (e.g., Munuscong Bay). 
Also, it has been noted by Baumgartner (1942, p. 30) that 
low muskrat productivity occurs between the river source 
and the coast. Therefore, high production may be antici- 
pated in the coastal wetlands especially if a cattail habi- 
tat is abundant. 

Because muskrats are rather omniverous herbivores and 
occur in most coastal wetland environments, the value of 
this furbearer for the coastal wetlands in general must 
also be estimated. Given an average annual take of 3.0 
muskrats per wetland acre and a combined pelt and carcass 
value of $8.70/animal ($1.70 for carcass + $7.00/pelt), 
muskrats generate an average annual return of $26.10/wet- 
land acre. If there are 105,855 acres of wetlands along 
Michigan's coasts, a total average annual value of 
$2,762,816 is obtained. 



3 It is recognized that the current pelt price is high 
compared to past prices. Between 1971-1976 pelt prices 
ranged between $2.00 and $3.50. However, the quality of 
fur from the coastal areas is better, hence the fur prices 
in these areas are usually highest (personal communication, 
Richard Julian) . 



104 
RACCOONS 

As noted in Table 33, the most significant furbearer 
in terms of pelt value is the raccoon. The DNR data in 
the past were collected by zones , therefore only rough 
estimates of the value of the raccoon can be determined 
with regard to coastal wetlands. As with muskrats , 
the number of raccoons hunted increases from north to 
south (Table 37) . 

TABLE 37 
ESTIMATED RACCOON HARVEST IN MICHIGAN, 1971-1975 

197T 197? I97T 1974 1975 

Region 1 790 7,430 9,200 6,260 6,810 

Region 2 33,400 26,580 44,830 66,460 66,840 

Region 3 209,480 207,130 213,870 300,330 257,190 



TOTAL 243,670 241,140 267,900 373,050 330,840 

Source: Hawn, Michigan Small Game Kill Estimate , 1975, 
DNR, AugustT 1976, p. 4. 

In recent years with increased fur prices , the 
harvest for raccoons has increased. In the 1960's for 
example, the annual harvest totalled approximately 130,000 
animals. By 1975, the harvest more than doubled. High 
value habitat for raccoon includes Types 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 
wetland (Table 3) for food and cover (Panzner, 1955, p. 9) 
These habitats as classified by Shaw and Fredine (1955, 
p. 21) range from Type 2-Inland fresh meadows (i.e., 
sedges, grasses and various broad-leaved plants) to all 
habitats normally occupied by muskrats. Also included 
are wooded swamps which may occupy portions of drowned 
estuaries in coastal western Michigan. The most intensive 
use by raccoons is the Type 2, 3, 6 and 7 wetlands ( ibid . , 
p. 42). The vegetation of a Type 3 wetland includes bul- 
rushes, spike rushes and various other marsh plants such 
as cattails and smartweeds . Type 6 wetlands, colonized 
by willows, buttonbush and dogwood, normally occur along 
sluggish streams rather than in the coastal zone. The 
diverse habitats are probably related to the movement of 
raccoons to different environments throughout the year. 



105 



The raccoon density per acre of wetland has not 
been well researched and hence is poorly known. Leo 
Posphical (personal communication) reports that 30 racoons 
evacuated a 200-acre site which was burned in the St. 
Clair Flats. Urban (1968, p. 60) determined a density of 
45.3 raccoons per square mile at the Winous Point Shooting 
Club, Ohio, which is a diked marsh with water level con- 
trols. Stuever (1941, p. 163) has suggested a mean density 
of 50 raccoons/ square mile. Therefore the average 
density, based upon these reports, is 0.11 raccoons per 
acre. 

The coastal wetlands acreage in Michigan totals 
105,855 acres. If there are 0.11 raccoons per acre, the 
harvested population in the coastal wetlands is 11,647 
raccoons. Based on the 28th Biennial Report of the DNR 
for 1975-1976, the average price per pelt is $28.00. How- 
ever, if a cost-of-living factor (1.129) is multiplied by 
the 1975-1976 price, the current value per pelt is $31.50. 
The total estimated fur harvest of raccoons in the coastal 
wetlands is the value per pelt ($31.50) multiplied by the 
annual harvest (11,647). This value totals $366,880.50 
or $3.47 per coastal wetland acre. 

The carcass value of raccoons was $7.00 per animal 
in 1975 (7 lbs. /animal x $1.00/ lb; unpublished report, 
Michigan DNR). If the price is updated to 1977, using the 
cost-of-living factor of 1.129, then the current value is 
$7.90 per animal (1.129 x $7.00). Therefore, the esti- 
mated carcass value of raccoons harvested in coastal wet- 
lands is $92,011 (11,647 x $7.90) or $0.87 per acre of 
coastal wetland. Given a raccoon harvest of 0.11 animals/ 
acre and a combined pelt ana carcass value of $39.40/ 
animal ($31.50/pelt + $7.90 carcass value), raccoons yield 
an average annual dollar value of $4.34 per wetland acre. 
Assuming 105,855 acres of coastal wetland, a total return 
to the state of $459,411 is estimated. 



106 



CONCLUSION 

Pelt and carcass values of furbearing wildlife with 
regard to coastal wetlands is significant. The pelt and 
carcass value of muskrats with regard to coastal wetlands 
total $2,762,816, or $26.10 per wetland acre. If only 
cattail wetlands are considered, muskrats generate a total 
average return of $916,568 or $29 . 75/cattail acre. The 
value of raccoons is $459,411, or $4.34 per acre of coastal 
wetland. Therefore, the total value of muskrats and rac- 
coons is approximately $3,222,227, or $30.44 per wetland 
acre per year. 

The 3.2 million dollar value is based on just two 
furbearers. Other animals taken from wetlands include mink, 
deer and rabbits. The total mink harvest in Michigan in 
1970-1971 was 10,050 animals and the fur price of mink in 
1971 was $10.00 per pelt (unpublished report, Michigan DNR) . 
The total pelt value therefore, is approximately $100,000 
annually for the entire state. What portion is derived 
from coastal wetlands compared to other areas of the state 
is not known. However, what is significant is that the 
muskrat and raccoon values discussed above represent a 
minimum fur and carcass value. If, for example, a red 
fox, which has an approximate fur value of $65.00, is trapped 
in a coastal wetland, the furbearer value would, of course, 
be considerably higher than $30 . 44/wetland acre/year. 

Although the dollar value of raccoons is not as high 
as muskrats, the wetland is important to the ecology of 
this animal. As noted, the raccoon may occupy a range of 
different habitats. Although wooded swamps (Type 7 wet- 
land) are a favored habitat for dens, in autumn raccoons 
may predate on muskrats which favor deeper water marshes 
(Type 4 and Type 5 wetland). Also, a favorite and common 
food is crayfish which inhabitats waterlogged soils. The 
value of this furbearer may be low with regard to coastal 
wetlands but this habitat does support the life cycle of 



107 



the species. Also, considering the value of raccoons to 
the state as a whole in 1970 was 10 million dollars, or 
over one-third of the total value of all wildlife harvested 
in Michigan ( ibid . ) , preservation of its habitats warrant 
consideration. 



108 



CHAPTER FIVE 

COMMERCIAL AND SPORT FISHING VALUES OF THE 
COASTAL WETLANDS 



This chapter examines the value of the coastal 
wetlands of Michigan with regard to fish spawning, com- 
mercial fishing, and sport fishing. It will be demon- 
strated that many of the coastal fishes which support the 
commercial and sport fisheries are warmwater species that 
are dependent on wetland habitats for spawning, feeding 
and other functions. Also, the economic value of sport 
angling in coastal wetlands will be shown to greatly 
exceed the commercial fishing value. 
SPAWNING OF FISH IN THE COASTAL WETLANDS 

Through a survey of the literature, fish species 
spawning in the coastal wetlands of Michigan have been 
identified (Table 38). In some instances, e. g. , the 
spawning of the Great Lakes muskellunge in the coastal 
marshes of western Lake Erie, destruction of the wetlands 
has since eliminated the spawning habitat (Trautman, 1957, 
p. 18 and 20). Little coastal spawning data were avail- 
able for the coast of the Upper Peninsula and for the 
western coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. One of 
the most intensive surveys of fish conducted in the coastal 
environments was that of Beak Consultants Inc. (1976) in 
Saginaw Bay. 

Fish entrainment studies of cooling water intakes 
have enabled the Fisheries Division, Michigan DNR, to 
determine the fingerling production per wetland acre for 
walleye, northern pike, and several other fish species 
(personal communication, John Shauver) . Based on data 
from 22 marshes, both inland and coastal, including lower 



109 



TABLE 38 



FISH SPECIES SPAWNING IN COASTAL WETLANDS OF MICHIGAN 



Lake Superior 



Coastal Wetland Area 
Apostle Islands 



Species Spawning 
Lake trout, lake white- 
fish 



Nipigon Estuary (Canada) Walleye 



St. Marys River 



Northern pike, yellow 
perch 



Literature Source 
Lawrie & Rahrer, 
1973, p. 39, 44. 

Lawrie & Rahrer, 
1973, p. 54. 

Intern '1 Lake 
Superior Bd. of 
Control, 1974, 
p. 2-18. 



Lake Huron 



Coastal Wetland Area 
Potagannissing Bay 



Saginaw Bay 



Saginaw Bay, Fish Pt. 
to Sand Point 



Species Spawning 
Northern pike, walleye 



Perch, northern pike 



Yellow perch 



Literature Source 
Wright & Schorf- 
haar, 1976, p. 4. 

Consumers Power 
Co., 1974, Vol. 2, 
p. 2-7-49 & 51. 

Greg Olson (Pers. 
commun. ) . 



Saginaw Bay shoreline, 
E. of Saginaw River 



Yellow perch, spottail 
shiner, carp, alewife, 
gizzard shad, N. pike. 



Beak Consultants, 
Inc., 1976, p. 10, 
32, 33, 34, 37, & 
41. 



St. Joseph Channel 
(Ontario) 



Lake Trout 



Berst & Spangler, 
1973, p. 15. 



Lake Erie 



Coastal Wetland Area Species Spawning 
Coastal marshes, N. Ohio N. pike, Great Lakes 

muskellunge 

Kellys Island-Bass Is. , Walleye 
Lake Erie 



Lake Erie Wetlands 



Raisin River mouth, 
Monroe County 



Perch, white bass, 
gizzard shad, alewife 
& yellow pickerel 

Carp 



Literature Source 
Trautman, 1957, p. 
214 & 217. 



Reiger et al . , 
1969, p. 50. 

Kreisman, McDonald, 
Rosenbaum & Snyder, 
1976, p. 19. 

Parkhurst, 1971, 
p. 63. 



Shoreline, W. Lake 
Erie 



Walleye 



Reiger et al . , 
1969, p. 18. 



110 



TABLE 38 (Continued) 



Lake Michigan 



Coastal Wetland Area 
Grand Traverse Bay 



Green Bay marshes 



Lake Michigan drowned 
river mouths 



Little Bay de Noc 



Little Bay de Noc, 
mouth of Whitefish R. 

Little Bay de Noc 

Lower Little Manistee 
River 

Muskegon River mouth 



Whitefish River, of 
Green Bay 



Species Spawning 
Bowfin, carp, golden 
shiner, blacknose minnow, 
N. pike, banded killi- 
fish, yellow perch. 

Northern pike 



N. pike, panfish, bass, 
Largemouth bass, carp, 
goldfish. 



Perch 

Walleye 

Spottail shiner 
Northern pike 

Walleye 

Walleye 

Lake St. Clair 



Literature Source 
Price and Kelley, 
1976, p. 12, 28, 
30, 31, 37, 41, & 
47. 

GLBC, App. 8, 
1975, p. 97. 

GLBC, App. 8, 
Draft, no. 2, 

1972, p. 223; 
Richard Julian, 
pers. commun. 

Wagner, 1972, 
p. 56. 

Crowe, 1962, 
p. 353. 

Basch, 1968, p. 3. 

Wickland & Dean, 
1957, p. 10. 

Wells & McLain, 

1973, p. 41. 

Wells & McLain, 
1973, p. 41. 



Coastal Wetland Area 
Big & Little Muscamoot 
Bays 

Dickinson Island 



Eastern Anchor Bay 

Lake St. Clair 
wetlands 



Species Spawning 
Smallmouth bass 



Northern pike and 
muskellunge 

Smallmouth bass 



Literature Source 
Latta, 1954, p. 1, 



Mich. DNR, EIS, 
1975a, p. 11. 

Latta, 1954, p. 1. 



N. pike, walleye, perch, Kreisman, McDonald, 

smallmouth bass, channel Rosenbaum & Snyder , 

catfish, muskellunge, 1976, p. 18. 
and lake sturgeon. 



Mitchell Bay 



Smallmouth bass 



Doan, 1940, p. 259. 



Ill 



TABLE 38 (Continued) 
Lake St. Clair (Continued) 



Coastal Wetland Area 
St. Clair Flats 



St. Clair Flats, sedge 
meadows 

St. Clair Flats 



St. Clair Flats, deep 
cattail marsh 



St. Johns Marsh 



Species Spawning 
N. pike, bluegill, carp 



Northern pike 



Smallmouth bass 



Smallmouth bass, large- 
mouth bass, carp, blue- 
gill. 

N. pike, muskellunge, 
smallmouth bass, large- 
mouth bass, walleye, 
yellow perch, and 
bluegill. 



Literature Source 
Greg Olson (pers. 
communication) . 

Leo Posphical 
(pers. commun.). 

Latta, 1957, 
p. 23. 

Leo Pospichal 
(pers. commun.) 



Michigan DNR, 
1976a, Proposed 
St. Johns Rec. 
Area, p. 4. 



Harsens Island, fingerling production of walleye and 
northern pike in 1976 were estimated to be 1,220 and 374 
fingerlings /wetland acre/year, respectively (Current Files- 
Fingerling Production Data, Fisheries Div. , Michigan DNR) . 
Using the Thompson- Be 11 method of projecting the annual 
recruitment of fingerling fish to various year classes 
(Ricker, 1975, p. 237), it is possible to estimate the 
annual wetland acre production of adult fish. By employing 
the fingerling data and the penalty system (whereby the 
Michigan DNR may impose a fine of $10 per pound of game 
fish illegally taken or lost to the fishery) , northern 
pike production in lower Harsens Island may be valued at 
$170/wetland acre/year. 

A diversity of warmwater, non-salmonid species of 
fish spawn in the coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes. 
The northern pike ( Esox lucius ) is one of the wetland- 
dependent species which spawns in the wetlands, usually 
distributing its eggs in shallow sedge marshes or in 
flooded fields (Trautman, 1957, p. 214; Williams and 
Jacob, 1971, p. 3). Carp ( Cyprinus carpio ) commonly 



112 



broadcast their eggs over vegetation or debris in warm, 
shallow coastal bays and marshes (Trautman, 1957, p. 285; 
Lake Erie Research Unit Staff, 1976). The yellow perch 
( Perca flavescens ) can also be categorized as a wetland 
spawner because the species strews its eggs over aquatic 
vegetation or submerged brush of inshore waters (Lake 
Erie Research Unit Staff, 1976). Nesting of smallmouth 
bass ( Micropterus dolomieui ) has been observed among 
bulrush clumps on the sandy, nearshore flats along the 
margin of the St. Clair River delta (Doan, 1940, p. 259; 
Latta, 1954, p. 1). 

Man's impact on the coastal environment has severely 
degraded and/or eliminated the spawning and nursery habitats 
in many wetlands. The clearing and draining of the Black 
Swamp of northwest Ohio and adjacent Michigan, the Saginaw 
Bay lowlands , and the lower Green Bay marshlands for agri- 
culture may be the primary cause of the collapse of the 
commercial fisheries in these areas. Agricultural crops 
now flourish where northern pike, Great Lakes muskellunge 
and lake sturgeon once spawned in coastal Ohio (Trautman, 
1957, p. 20). Until 1890 when industrial expansion began 
to occur, lake whitefish commonly spawned in Maumee Bay 
and the Detroit River (Hartman, 1973, p. 26). Turbid 
waters and silt-covered bottoms hinder sight-feeding 
gamefish, but favor bottom feeders such as carp, redhorse, 
and white suckers (Shepherd, 1973, p. 23). 

In addition to agricultural development, extensive 
urbanization and industrialization of the lower Fox River 
Valley has resulted in the deterioration of the aquatic 
environment of the lower Green Bay (Great Lakes Basin 
Comm. , 1975a, p. 97). Populations of tolerant species 
such as carp and suckers have subsequently increased, 
while common whitefish, walleye, northern pike and yellow 
perch have declined. Draining of the coastal wetlands 
eliminated the spawning habitat of the northern pike. 



113 



The paper industries have caused thermal pollution, wood 
fiber deposition, and chemical deterioration which, in 
turn, has eliminated both warm- and coldwater fisheries 
in the lower tributaries and nearshore environments of the 
Green Bay ( ibid . , p. 97). 

Along the coast of Saginaw Bay a fine, black 
anaerobic layer of ooze has recently been observed ( ibid . , 
p. 141). Other water quality problems along the shoreline 
of the inner bay include increases in dissolved solids, 
chlorides and sulfates and a decrease in oxygen levels 
especially during calm summer days. Dredge and fill 
operations have also eliminated fish habitat. Currently, 
the main commercial fish species in Saginaw Bay, in 
decreasing order of importance by value, are: channel 
catfish, yellow perch, carp, black crappie, bullheads and 
quillback (U. S. Dept. of Interior, 1976). Northern pike 
and walleye were removed from the list of commercial 
species in 1966 and 1970, respectively. Through habitat 
degradation and restriction on the taking of certain 
species, e.g., northern pike, only medium- to low-valued, 
warmwater species remain for the commercial fishermen to 
pursue. 

Under natural conditions, the coastal wetlands are 
capable of supporting a diverse and balanced fish com- 
munity. The species common to the wetlands of Michigan 
have been listed in Table 39. Note the diversity, 
including predator fish such as northern pike and small- 
mouth bass as well as forage minnows such as the black- 
nose shiner and golden shiner. When siltation and chem- 
ical pollution occur, large predators and forage minnows 
disappear and fast-growing detritivores increase (Table 
40) . This species succession toward more tolerant 
species is in an advanced stage in the coastal wetlands 
of western Lake Erie. Habitat changes in coastal Lake 
Erie favor low-value species such as freshwater drum, 



114 



TABLE 39 

COMMON FISH SPECIES UTILIZING THE COASTAL 
WETLANDS OF MICHIGAN 



Common Name 

Northern longnose gar 

Bowf in 

Northern pike 

Great Lakes muskel lunge 

Walleye 

Yellow Perch 

Largemouth bass 

Smallmouth bass 

Bluegill 

Pumpkins eed 

Green sunfish 

Black crappie 

Western banded killifish 

Carp 

Goldfish 

Pugnose minnow 

Blackchin shiner 

Blacknose shiner 

Spottail shiner 

Emerald shiner 

Golden shiner 

Pirate perch 

Channel catfish 

Black bullhead 

Brown bullhead 

Yellow bullhead 

Freshwater drum 

Redhorse 

White sucker 

Gizzard shad 

Johnny darter 

Trout-perch 



Scientific Name 
Lepisosteus osseus oxyurus 
Amia calva 
Esox lucius 
Esox masquinongy 
Stizostedium vitreum 
Perca flavescens 
Micropterus salmoides 
Micropterus dolomieui 
Lepomis macrochirus 
Lepomis gibbosus 
Lepomis cyanellu s 
Pomoxis nigromaculatus 
Fundulus diaphanus menona 
Cyprinus carpio 
Carassius auratus 
Opsopoeodus emiliae 
Notropis heterodon 
Notropis heterolepis 
Notropis hudsonius 
Notropis antherinoides 
Notemigonus crysoleucas 
Aphredoderus say anus 
Ictalurus punctatus 
Ictalurus melas 
Ictalurus nebulosus 
Ictalurus natalis 
Aplodinotus grunniens 
Mo xo stoma spp. 
Catostomus commersoni 
Dorosoma cepedianum 
Etheostoma nigrum 
Percopsis omiscomaycus 



Source : Compiled from Trautman, 1957; Hubbs and Lagler, 
1958; and Scott and Crossman, 1973. 



alewife, gizzard shad, carp, and goldfish (Great Lakes 

Basin Comm. , 1975a, p. 163). 

VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO COMMERCIAL FISHING 

Commercial fishing in Michigan is not a large 
industry. In 1975 there were 161 licensed commercial 
fisherman who landed 11.51 million pounds of fish valued 



115 



TABLE 40 

FISH SPECIES INHABITING COASTAL WETLANDS WHICH 
ARE TOLERANT TO TURBIDITY, SILTATION, AND 

POLLUTION 

Species Tolerant to an Increase in Turbidity and 
Siltation: 

Gizzard shad White crappie 

Big mouth buffalofish Black crappie 

Channel catfish Green sunfish 

Brown bullhead Sauger 

Black bullhead Freshwater drum 

(Sheepshead) 

Species Tolerant to Organic and Inorganic Pollution: 

Common white sucker 

Carp 

Goldfish 

Source : Pinsak and Meyer, 1976, p. 154. 

at approximately $3.0 million (Scott, 1977, p. 4). By 
weight, Lake Michigan alone accounted for 64 percent of 
the total state harvest, with its alewife landings con- 
tributing 32 percent of the entire statewide catch. With 
regard to the value of fish landings, in 1976 the most 
important commercial species, in descending order by value 
of total harvest, were common whitefish, chubs, channel 
catfish, yellow perch, carp, smelt, lake trout, alewives , 
black crappie, Menominee whitefish, and all others (Table 
41). 

Little commercial fishing occurs within coastal 
wetlands per se , except for the harvesting of carp and 
other medium- to low- value, warmwater species. The 
coastal wetlands are too shallow and the bottoms either 
too unconsolidated or strewn with obstacles to permit 
efficient fishing with trawls or gill nets. Haul seines 



116 



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are utilized in the shallow bays of western Lake Erie to 
catch carp, goldfish, and freshwater drum (Reiger and 
Hartman, 1973, p. 1249). Seines are a common gear type 
in waters with depths of 7 to 12 feet, whereas trap nets 
are usually set in slightly deeper water so as to allow 
pleasure craft to pass over without snagging the gear 
(Howard, 1972, p. 35). 

With the possible exception of suckers, there 
appears to be less commercial fishing activity in the coastal 
wetlands of either Lake Superior or Lake Michigan. Much 
of this lack of activity can be explained by the closing 
of bays, such as Bay de Noc to commercial fishing. Yellow 
perch are not abundant in Lake Superior, and in Lake 
Michigan the perch fishery has been closed to commercial 
fishermen since 1970. Some fishing of yellow perch does 
occur in the Wisconsin waters of lower Green Bay, and in 
the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan (personal communica- 
tion, Ned Fogle) . Other warmwater species, such as carp 
and channel catfish, do not sustain a commercial fishery 
in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior. 

Commercial fishing in Potagannissing Bay (St. 
Marys River) of Lake Huron has been an important industry 
since the late 1800' s. During the 1930' s, for example, 
the commercial harvest in Potagannissing Bay consisted 
primarily of suckers, along with walleye, muskellunge and 
yellow perch (Westerman and van Oosten, 1937, p. 27). In 
1966, the northern pike was closed to commercial fishing 
in Lake Huron waters as was the walleye in 1970. By 
removing these species from the commercial list, sport 
fishing now dominates in the St. Marys River -Drummond 
Island-Les Cheneaux Island area. Nevertheless, suckers 
are still an important commercial species, although most 
of the catch is taken in rivers during spring spawning 
runs. Carp are becoming more abundant near the Potagan- 
nissing River in Potagannissing Bay, but the low- value 



118 



species does not suppport a permanent commercial fishery 
at this location. 

Saginaw Bay supports the largest commercial fishery 
which extends into the coastal wetland environments of 
Michigan. In 1975, 28 commercial fishermen, principally 
from the Bayport-Sebewaing-Linwood area, landed 1,323,847 
pounds, valued at $313,190 (Table 42). Most of the yellow 
perch, carp, and sucker harvest, as well as a large portion 

TABLE 42 

COMMERCIAL FISH LANDINGS IN SAGINAW BAY (LAKE 
HURON) BY SPECIES, 1975 



Species 




Pounds Landed* Value 


Carp 






626,398 


$ 47,174 


Channel catfish 






282,148 


109,198 


Yellow perch 






257,203 


91,927 


Black crappie 






85,451 


56,354 


Bullheads 






37,354 


4,229 


Quillback 






16,468 


2,525 


Freshwater drum 






15,937 


1,698 


Bowfin 






2,331 


58 


Gizzard shad 






440 


23 


White bass 




1 


117 


4 


TOTAL 


,323,847 


$313,190 


Source : Current 


Files, 


Fisheries 


Div. , Michigan DNR. 


*A small percentage of 
Tawas and Thunder Bays 


this catch 


may also derive from 



of the channel catfish landings from Lake Huron derive 
from Saginaw Bay (Parsons, 1974, p. 34). Channel catfish, 
yellow perch, black crappie, carp, and bullheads, in 
that order by value, clearly dominate the total landings. 
Although the black crappie is a commercial species in 



119 



Saginaw Bay, elsewhere in Michigan it is designated as a 
sport fish. 

Commercial fishing on the United States side of 
Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River has been closed 
since the 1930' s, except for the temporary fishing of 
catfish during the 1960's. At present there may be an 
underutilized stock of channel catfish offshore from the 
Clinton River cutoff (personal communication, Bob Haas). 
The only commercial fishery in Lake St. Clair is operated 
by the Walpole Indians of Ontario who harvest northern 
pike from the wetlands of Walpole Island. Commercial 
fishing in the Detroit River has also been discontinued 
for several decades. 

With regard to the Michigan shoreline of western 
Lake Erie, only the shallow bays, such as La Plaisance 
Bay, support any commercial fishing activity. In 1975, 
five commercial fishermen, most of whom ported out of 
Monroe, Michigan, harvested 483,879 pounds of fish, valued 
at $41,560 (Table 43). Of these five fishermen, three 
seine for carp in waters that may be as shallow as 4 to 
6 feet deep (personal communication, Ned Fogle) . Some 
fishing by Ohio commercial fishermen occurs in Maumee Bay. 
In 1974, the principal catch in Maumee Bay was carp, with 
smaller quantities of white bass, channel catfish, yellow 
perch, bullheads, and freshwater drum (Pinsak and Meyer, 
1976, p. 165). 

Several commercial fishermen along western Lake 
Erie place carp caught from the lake shore into holding 
ponds or barges before marketing. The carp are usually 
held six weeks awaiting holiday market days, during which 
time the fish are fattened or "cured" on shelled corn 
(Howard, 1972, p. 86). In contrast to Michigan's carp 
ponds which function as holding or fattening pens , in 
Asia and the Near East, carp ponds are used for rearing 
from eggs or small fry. In Israel and Germany, carp 



120 



ponds produce an average of 386 pounds of carp per acre/ 
year (Pirie, 1973, p. 324). At 8 cents per pound (current 
price of carp in Michigan), this amounts to $30.85 per 
acre/year. 

In summary, the economic value of commercial 
fishing in the coastal wetlands of the state of Michigan 
is small. In 1975, the commercial harvest in coastal 
wetlands amounted to 1,807,726 pounds, which was valued 

TABLE 43 

COMMERCIAL FISH LANDINGS FROM MICHIGAN'S COASTAL 
WATERS OF LAKE ERIE, BY SPECIES, 1975 



Species 

Carp 

Buffalo fish 

Channel catfish 

White bass 

Bullheads 

Freshwater drum 

Suckers (incl. redhorse) 

Yellow perch 

TOTAL 



Pounds Landed 



Value 



422,204 


$21,749 


33,965 


10,078 


13,950 


6,453 


4,558 


1,511 


3,221 


624 


2,218 


148 


1,964 


49 


1,799 


948 



Source 



483,879 
Current Files, Fisheries Div. 



$41,560 
Michigan DNR. 



at $354,750. Using a cost-of-living factor of 1.129 to 
convert the 1975 value to a 1977 value, the total com- 
mercial fish harvest from the coastal waters in 1977 is 
worth $400,513, or an average of 22<£/pound. For the 33 
fishermen involved in the fishing of coastal areas, the 
average annual income per fisherman would be $12,135. This 
wetland catch is approximately 12 percent of the total 
weight of the statewide commercial harvest, and approxi- 
mately 15 percent of the total value. Given 105,855 acres 
of coastal wetland in Michigan, commercial fishing therein 
yields 17.1 pounds per acre/year, for a value of $3.78 per 



121 

acre/year. However, if carp are raised in wetland ponds, 
the value may be $30.85 per acre/year. If all of Michigan's 
Great Lakes commercial fish catch (see Table 41) is con- 
sidered to be wetland dependent, then the commercial fish 
value would average approximately $30/wetland acre/year 
($3,177,827 divided by 105,855 acres). 

Commercial fishing in the Great Lakes coastal 
wetlands has deteriorated from its former status due to 
environmental degradation, species succession, overfishing, 
and restrictions on the catching of several high value 
species. Nevertheless, there are underutilized fish 
stocks including freshwater drum, white bass, bullheads, 
channel catfish, suckers, and carp (Cable, 1971, p. 357). 
Many wetlands have populations of fast-growing forage 
fish such as carp and gizzard shad, which presently have 
little commercial value (Messman et al . , 1977, p. 89; 
Greenwood, 1971, p. 415). 
VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO SPORT FISHING 

The economic value of sport fishing may be cal- 
culated by several methods. A common technique, and the 
one employed herein, is to utilize the 1970 freshwater 
fisherman's average annual expenditures of $127 or the 
$6.30 value of an angler day (U. S. Dept of Interior, 
1972, p. 9). Using cost-of-living factors, these 1970 
values can be extrapolated to the year 1977. In contrast, 
Stroud (1977, p. 2), based on the amount of money a fisher- 
man would require in compensation to forfeit a day of 
fishing, suggests that the value of an angler day of 
inland, warmwater fishing is worth $49.66. Another method 
would involve fixing a dollar value on each fish in the 
fishery. At present the Fisheries Division of Michigan's 
DNR may impose a fine of $5 to $10 per pound of game 
sport fish illegally taken or lost to the fishery (per- 
sonal communication, Bill McClay) . However, in order to 
be consistent with the estimated values of waterfowl 
hunting, the first technique described above will be 
utilized in this report. Specifically, angler day values 
will be employed as opposed to average annual expenditures 
because data on the number of fishermen may not be avail- 
able. 



122 



In 1975 approximately 1.16 million sportsmen 
fished in Michigan's waters and expended a total of 20 
million angler days (Jamsen, 1976, p. 2). Based on the 
1970 National Survey of Fishing and Hunting (U. S. Dept. 
of Interior, 1972, p. 9), as extrapolated to the year 
1977 by employing a 1.542 cost-of-living factor for 
Michigan (personal communication, Bob Craig) , each fresh- 
water fisherman in 1977 spent $196, or $9.72 per angler 
day. Given an estimated 1,164,160 Michigan sport fisher- 
men and an average annual expenditure of $196, the total 
economic value of sport fishing in Michigan is $228 mil- 
lion. Using an angler day value of $9.72 and 20 million 
angler days, the total economic value is estimated to be 
$194.4 million. A study in press regarding the economics 
of Great Lakes sport fishing indicates that in 1977 the 
value of an angler day ranged between $7 and $10 and that 
the total value of Michigan's sport fishery is $250 
million (Talhelm, in press, p. 8). Thus, a total economic 
value of $200 million for Michigan's sport fishery appears 
corroborated. 

Data on the number of sport fishermen and fishing 
effort in Michigan are presented in Table 44. Information 
specific to the coastal wetlands is not available. Warm- 
water sport fishing in the coastal wetlands, and in other 
shore environments , is contained within the Great Lakes 
non-salmonid fishing category. In comparison, fishing 
of inland lakes and streams, which focuses on non- 
salmonid fish, e.g., panfish, yellow perch, and bass, 
clearly dominates the state's sport fishing activity 
(Jamsen, 1973, p. 28). Great Lakes fishing of non- 
salmonids involved an estimated 413,100 participants, for 
a total of 4,361,180 angler days. Yellow perch was the 
most sought after species (Jamsen, 1976, p. 2). Assuming 
a current fishing effort of 4,361,180 angler days per 
year and using the $9.72 figure per angler day, the Great 



123 



TABLE 44 

NUMBER OF SPORT FISHERMEN AND FISHING EFFORT BY 
TYPE OF SPORT FISHING, IN MICHIGAN, 1975 



Great Lakes Inland 

Non-Salmonid Non-Salmonid 



No. of Fishermen 

Angler Days 

Economic 
Values*** 



413,100 
4,361,180 



816,340 
10,109,220 



All Others* 
758,880 
5,534,520 



Totals 
1,164,160** 
20,004,920** 



$42,390,670 $98,261,620 $53,795,535 $194,447,820 



Source : Jamsen, 1976, p. 2 and 6; Current Files, Office of Surveys 
and Statistics, Michigan DNR. 

*i.e. Great Lake Salmonid, Anad. Salmonid, Inland Trout. 
**The number of fishermen are not additive, as a given fisherman 
could be represented in more than one category. The total angler 
days, however, were obtained by summing the individual categories. 
***Figures are based on an angler day value of $9.72. 

Lakes non- salmonid sport fishery for 1977 is estimated to 
be worth $42 4 million to the state of Michigan. 

Because yellow perch accounts for 71 percent of the 
Great Lakes non-salmonid hook and line catch (Jamsen, 
1976, p. 2), it is instructive to examine the geographic 
distribution of this fishery. The southern Lower Peninsula 
is the source of 83 percent of the state's Great Lakes 
yellow perch fishing demand (Table 45) . This large per- 
centage appears reasonable considering that 81 percent of 
the state's licensed sport fishermen reside in southern 
Michigan (Jamsen, 1973, p. 23). Wayne County alone gen- 
erates nearly 20 percent of the total Great Lakes yellow 
perch sport fishery demand (see Table 45). Hence, that 
much of the non-salmonid fishing demand derives from the 
urban centers in southeastern Michigan is beyond question. 

It is felt that much of the Great Lakes sport 
fishing effort is expended in open-water areas as compared 
to the coastal wetlands. Nonetheless, because some of 
the species being fished either spawn or feed in wetland 



124 



TABLE 45 

NUMBER AND RESIDENCE OF GREAT LAKES YELLOW PERCH 
FISHERMEN BY REGION, IN MICHIGAN, 1975 



Region 

Upper Peninsula 
N. Lower Peninsula 
S. Lower Peninsula 



Fishermen Percent 



Number of Perch 
Fishermen in the 
4 Leading Counties 



10,200 


4 


Wayne 


55,600 


35,800 


13 


Macomb 


30,200 


218,800 


83 


Oakland 


19,200 



TOTAL 
Source : 



264,800 100.0% Sa S inaw 18,600 



Current Files, Office of Surveys and Statistics , 
Michigan DNR. 



environments, e.g., northern pike and yellow perch, a por- 
tion of the Great Lakes non-salmonid fishing activity can 
be considered part of the coastal wetland fishery. 

Lake Superior has traditionally been renowned for 
its high quality sport fishery, especially in bay and 
shoal areas, including the Apostle Islands, Keweenaw 
Bay, and tributary streams (U. S. Dept. of Interior, 
1970b, p. 2). A 1970 creel census in Michigan waters of 
the lake revealed that the following species , in ranked 
order by number caught, constituted the main sport fish: 
smelt, yellow perch, suckers, centrarchid panfish, 
northern pike, walleye, and bass (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 
1975a, p. 58). With the exception of smelt, these 
species inhabit the warmwater, shore environments and 
tributary streams as well as many of the inland lakes 
(U. S. Dept. of Interior, 1970, p. 44). 

Some information is available on the sport fishing 
of coastal wetlands in the Upper Peninsula along the 
northern shore of Lake Michigan. The 1971 creel census 
revealed that the principal non-salmonid sport fishes 
were yellow perch, smelt, suckers, smallmouth bass, 
northern pike, walleye, and centrarchid panfish (Great 



125 



Lakes Basin Comm., 1975a, pp. 88-89). The catch on the 
lower Menominee River generally consists of northern pike, 
bullheads, walleye and other species (State of Michigan, 
1967, p. 36). A creel census in 1965 in Little Bay de 
Noc indicated that the principal sport fishes , in order 
of catch, were yellow perch, brown bullhead, rock bass, 
pumpkinseed sunfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, 
bluegill, walleye, and black crappie (Wagner, 1968, p. 3). 
Ice fishing generates somewhat more angling activity than 
open-water fishing in the Bay de Noc area. 

In 1965 , ice fishing at Little Bay de Noc generated 
29,322 hours, while open-water anglers fished 16,785 
hours, for a total of 46,107 angler hours ( ibid . , p. 1). 
For calculation of economic value, it is assumed that the 
current sport fishing demand is 50,000 angler hours and 
that an angler day is equivalent to six hours of fishing. 
The economic value of sport fishing in Little Bay de Noc, 
using $9.72 as the value of an angler day, is $81,000. 
Given 1,458 acres of coastal wetland in the bay (see 
Table 4) , the value of sport fishing is $56 per wetland 
acre/year. 

With regard to Michigan sport fishery along the 
eastern shore of Lake Michigan, little information is 
available. In this area, much of the fishing effort was 
traditionally expended on the inland lakes and streams 
(Great Lakes Basin Comm., 1975a, p. 109). Nevertheless, 
important sport fish along the coast include the yellow 
perch, smelt, suckers, smallmouth bass, northern pike, 
walleye, and centrarchid panfish. Yellow perch fishing 
from piers and jetties open to the public is particularly 
intense in southern Lake Michigan ( ibid . , p. 90) and may 
be increasing as additional structures are built. With 
regard to the coastal wetlands, the drowned river mouths 
and the estuary- like lakes furnish habitat for northern 
pike, bass, and panfish not found elsewhere along the 



126 



coast due to the absence of nearshore wetlands. Sport 
fishes of Grand Traverse Bay include yellow perch, large- 
mouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, rockbass, white 
sucker, and northern pike along with smelt and several 
anadromous species (Price and Kelly, 1976, p. 54). 

The St. Marys River, which connects Lake Superior 
and Lake Huron, has long been a highly regarded sport 
fishing area. Recent studies indicate that the fishing 
potential for yellow perch, walleye and northern pike in 
Potagannissing Bay is excellent (Wright and Schorfhaar, 
1976, pp. 2-4). The Old Channel currently supports yellow 
perch, northern pike, walleye, and sucker populations 
(Parsons, 1974, p. 75). In Munuscong Bay and in areas 
north of Drummond Island, valuable aquatic vegetation 
grows in water depths up to 25 feet. At St. Marys 
Rapids, south of Lake Superior, over 100,000 angler days 
are expended annually on the United States 1 side. How- 
ever, much of this activity is directed toward lake white- 
fish and rainbow trout (Intern 1 1 Lake Superior Bd. of 
Control, 1974, pp. 2-19). Some pier fishing by local 
residents also takes place at the Rapids for yellow perch. 

Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair fishermen generate 
75 percent of the Great Lakes non-salmonid fishing demand 
and account for 81 percent of the total yellow perch catch. 
Within the Great Lakes, Saginaw Bay and Lake St. Clair 
receive the heaviest hook and line pressure for yellow 
perch, panfish, walleye, bass, northern pike, and muskel- 
lunge (Jamsen, 1976, p. 2). With reference to Lake Huron, 
by far the majority of warmwater sport fishing effort 
takes place in Saginaw Bay, Les Cheneaux, and Drummond 
Island areas. The 1970 creel census revealed that the 
following ranked order of species by number caught 
comprised the important sport fishes of Lake Huron: yel- 
low perch, centrarchid panfish, suckers, bass, northern 



127 



pike and muskellunge (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975a, 
p. 137). 

Saginaw Bay is a popular area for the sport 
fishing of yellow perch, walleye, and channel catfish 
(Parsons, 1974, p. 34). Sixty-one percent of the Lake 
Huron non-salmonid sport fishing activity in 1975 occurred 
in Saginaw Bay (Jamsen, 1976, p. 2). Fishing for yellow 
perch accounts for 54 percent of the fishing effort of 
Lake Huron, but much of this occurs in Saginaw Bay. In 
summer, perch fishing is particularly intense between 
Fish Point and Sand Point, and near Port Austin (personal 
communication, Greg Olson). Ice fishing for yellow perch 
is also popular in winter at Fish Point (personal communi- 
cation, Randy Eshenroder) . 

In 1975, an estimated 125,630 sport fishermen 
expended 863,600 angler days to catch 12.46 million fish 
in Saginaw Bay (Table 46) . If we assume that the current 
annual warmwater sport fishing effort in Saginaw Bay, 
excluding smelt and salmonid fishing, is 787,000 angler 
days and using the $9.72 figure as a value of an angler 
day, then the warmwater, non-salmonid sport fishery of 
Saginaw Bay is valued at $7.66 million. At present, 
Saginaw Bay has 17,816 acres of coastal wetland (see 
Table 4). On an area basis, the warmwater, non-salmonid 
sport fishery of Saginaw Bay is valued at $429 per wetland 
acre/year. 

Lake St. Clair is the most valuable Great Lakes 
area for non-salmonid sport fishing in Michigan. In 1975, 
33 percent of all Great Lakes fish catch and 48 percent of 
the fishing effort were expended on Lake St. Clair (Table 
47). In spite of its relatively small area, more walleye, 
bass, and centrarchid panfish are taken from Lake St. 
Clair than from any other Michigan Great Lakes water body. 
Charter boat operators exploit the fact that one-half of 
the state's muskellunge catch comes from Lake St. Clair 



Personal communication, Gale Jamsen 



128 



TABLE 46 

SPORT FISH CATCH AND FISHING EFFORT IN SAGINAW 
BAY BY SPECIES, 1975 



Species 


No 


. of 


Fish Caught 


% of Total Catch 


Yellow perch 




10 


,962,790 




88 


Panfish and white 
bass 






707,030 




6 


Bullheads and 
Catfish 






523,430 




4 


Bass 






94,690 




<1 


Suckers 






64,430 




<1 


Northern pike 






36,210 




<1 


Salmon and Trout 






35,360 




<1 


All others 






36,890 




1 


TOTAL 


12 


,460,830 


100% 


Number of 
Angler Da] 


Fi 


shermen 125 
863 


,630 
,600 





Source : Current Files, Office of Surveys and Statistics, 
Michigan DNR. 

(Schrouder, 1975, p. 4). Because of the lake's popularity 
and accessibility, many unlicensed fishermen from Wayne, 
Oakland, Macomb, and St. Clair counties fish in Lake St. 
Clair (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975a, p. 187). 

The St. Clair River delta consists of approxi- 
mately 16,000 acres of coastal wetland, the lower part of 
which provides fishing opportunities for metropolitan 
Detroit and adjacent Ontario. As indicated in Figure 22, 
the shallow, marshy bays, river channels and weedy lakes 
provide high quality sport fishing of northern pike, 
smallmouth bass, perch, bluegill, and walleye. In St. 
Johns Marsh, the fishing of yellow perch, bluegills, 
largemouth bass, and northern pike is popular from shore 
sites as well as from small boats (Michigan DNR, 1976a, 



129 




130 



TABLE 47 

MICHIGAN NON-SALMONID SPORT FISH CATCH AND 
FISHING EFFORT, LAKE ST. CLAIR VS. OTHER 
MICHIGAN GREAT LAKES WATERS, 1975 





Yellow 








Northern 


% of 




Perch 


Walleye 


Bass 


Panf ish 


Pike 


total 


St. Clair 


6,803,060 


809,030 


399,500 


1,490,900 


114,410 


33 


All 














Others 


17,856,660 


96,560 


329,630 


1,294,040 


168,300 


67 



TOTAL 24,659,720 



905,590 729,130 2,784,940 282,710 100 





Angler Days 


Percent of Total 


St. Clair 


1,996,990 


48 


All Others 


2,137,750 


52 


TOTAL 


4,134,740 


100 



Source; Jamsen, 1976, p. 6 



p. 4). Ice fishing, particularly in eastern Anchor Bay, 
attracts many sportsmen from a wide area. 

It has been estimated that lower Harsens Island, 
which is 2,600 acres in size, supports an estimated 
100,000 angler days per year of sport fishing activity 
(Pospichal, undated, p. 8). At an angler day value of 
$9.72, this amounts to a total of $972,000 per year, for 
an area value of $374 per wetland acre/year. 

The United States portion of the St. Clair River 
delta consists of approximately 8,500 acres of wetlands. 
It has been determined that the value of sport fishing 
on Lake St. Clair totals $19,410,740, which is obtained 
by multiplying 1,996,990 angler days (see Table 47) by 
$9.72 (the value of one angler day). Given 8,500 acres 
of wetland on the United States side of the delta, the 
value of sport fishing per wetland acre in Lake St. Clair 
equals $2,284 per year. However, much of the actual 



131 



fishing effort appears to be expended in the bays and other 
open water areas as opposed to wetland areas. 

A current estimate reveals that the 118,000 acres 
of Lake St. Clair, which is situated on the United States 
side, experiences a sport fishing use rate of 20 angler 
days/acre/year (personal communication, Ron Spitler) . 
Again employing the angler day value of $9.72, this amounts 
to $195 per water acre/year of economic value. However, 
if the angler day figures from Table 47 are employed-- 
1,996,990 angler days from Michigan waters of Lake St. 
Clair, then a use rate for the 118,000 acres of 16.92 
angler days /water acre/year is obtained, for an economic 
value of $165 per water acre/year in Lake St. Clair. 

Several charter boat captains feel that somewhat 
more fishing activity occurs on the Canadian side than on 
the American side of the lake. This may be a response to 
overcrowding and overfishing or to the environmental 
deterioration occurring along western Lake St. Clair. 

The non-salmonid sport fishing of carp, catfish, 
bullheads, yellow perch, walleye, and white bass is common 
along the Detroit River. Salmonid fishing opportunities 
are also present because of the stocking of chinook salmon 
and steelhead trout in the river since 1973 (Scott, 1977, 
p. 2). Creel census data during the period 1953 through 
1955 revealed that the yellow perch fishing was declining, 
and that game fish constituted only 13 percent of the 
catch, whereas panfish and coarse fish accounted for 35 
and 52 percent of the total catch, respectively (Fukano, 
1956). At present the fishing of carp, catfish, bull- 
heads and panfish in the Belle Isle area by Detroit urban 
fishermen is particularly intense. There are 14 shore 
sites and 1 pier as well as 8 boat launching facilities 
which provide angling opportunities along the Detroit 
River for Metro -Michigan fishermen. 



132 



Sport fishing in the coastal wetlands of Monroe 
County along western Lake Erie has deteriorated consider- 
ably during the past few decades. Yellow perch was and to 
some extent still remains the most popular species along 
the nearshore area (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975a, p. 
168) . The current water quality at the mouth of the 
Raisin River is so degraded that a sport fishery for 
species other than carp is not possible at this time 
( ibid . , p. 187). Muck areas in Maumee Bay negate the 
existence of fish life and prevent the migration of 
anadromous species ( ibid . , p. 177). Since the early 
1960's, carp archery carnivals have been held at Pointe 
Mouillee which attract up to 4,000 participants annually 
(Schemenauer , 1963, p. 3). 

At present there are two shore sites for sport 
fishing along coastal Monroe County. One is located at 
the State Game Headquarters at Pointe Mouillee along the 
lower Huron River, while the other is a public boat launch 
site near the Whiting power generating plant near Erie, 
Michigan. Bullheads and carp appear to be the primary 
species caught by bank fishermen along the lower Huron 
River. At the site near the Whiting plant, many sport 
fishermen walk along the shoreline to the hot water dis- 
charge canal and fish from shore for catfish, white bass, 
freshwater drum, and carp. On several occasions, during 
weekends , the authors have observed 30 to 40 fishermen 
both on shore and in small boats fishing near the dis- 
charge canal. It is estimated that 1,000 angler days per 
year are expended at this site. 

As discussed above, the coastal wetlands vary 
considerably as to their value to sport fishing (Table 
48) . Part of this variation may be due to habitat quality 
and part to the difficulty of separating the open-water 
catch from the wetland harvest. However, as indicated in 
the section on spawning, most of these warmwater species 



133 



TABLE 48 

ESTIMATED ECONOMIC VALUE OF COASTAL WETLANDS TO 
SPORT FISHING, SELECTED COASTAL AREAS, IN 
MICHIGAN, 1977 

Wetland Area Value per Acre/Year 

Lake St. Clair Wetlands 

(U. S. side only) $2,284* 

Saginaw Bay coastal wetlands 429 

Harsens Island, St. Clair 

River delta wetlands 374 

Little Bay de Noc wetlands 56 

AVERAGE 286** 

^Includes all waters of Lake St. Clair as well as the 
wetlands 
**The first entry, Lake St. Clair wetlands, was not in- 
cluded in the average calculation of this statistic. 

are at least indirectly dependent on the coastal wetlands. 
Another factor influencing the sport fishing use rate 
appears to be the proximity of the area to urban centers. 
Lake St. Clair, because of its proximity to metropolitan 
Detroit, has extremely high participation rates and 
sport fishing value. If the Lake St. Clair wetlands data 
are excluded (see first row in Table 48) , then an average 
economic value of sport fishing, based on the three wetland 
areas, is estimated to be $286 per wetland acre/year. 

Projections of sport fishing participation rates 
have been made by the Great Lakes Basin Commission for the 
seven planning subareas in Michigan for the years 1980, 
2000 and 2020 A. D. If the resident participation gen- 
erated within a planning subarea is compared to the total 
participation, which accounts for imported and exported 
demand, then regions with insufficient angler opportuni- 
ties can be identified. At present, southwestern Michi- 
gan, southeastern Michigan, and the Saginaw Bay-Thumb 
area cannot supply their residents with sufficient sport 



134 



fishing opportunities (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975a, 
pp. 115, 155 and 189). Projections to 1980 indicate that 
in the future the Upper Peninsula and northern portion of 
the Lower Peninsula must absorb much of this outside 
demand (Table 49). Currently, 30 percent of the demand in 
southeastern Michigan and 40 percent in southwestern 
Michigan is supplied by planning subareas in northern 
Michigan ( ibid . , pp. 115 and 189). As resident demand 
increases in the Saginaw Bay-Thumb region, increased 
pressure will be exerted on the Saginaw Bay fishery as 
well as on those further north. 

Latent demand is another factor which should be 
considered when evaluating the future status of sport 
fishing. In southeastern Michigan, latent demand, or 
excess demand as it is otherwise referred to, could more 
than double the projected resident sport fishing demand 
in 1980 ( ibid . , p. 190). Throughout southern Michigan, 
the cost of providing more fishing opportunities in inland 
areas must be weighed against the cost of developing 
alternate opportunities in Lake St. Clair, Saginaw Bay, 
other Great Lakes, or in northern Michigan. The mobile, 
relatively affluent segment of the population may be 
satisfied by outmigration opportunities, but the less 
mobile may be defranchised from participation. 



135 



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136 



CHAPTER SIX 
NONCONSUMPTIVE WETLAND VALUES 

In this chapter, selected nonconsumptive uses, 
or non-fishing and non-hunting uses, of coastal wetlands 
are examined. Many unique values cannot be assigned a 
dollar value; however, they are recognized as important 
contributors to the wetland and the adjacent environments. 
Conversely, many birds and other unique flora and fauna 
use coastal wetlands to maintain their normal life func- 
tions. It is perhaps these unique values which draw many 
visitors to the state's wetlands. The recreation values 
are examined and a dollar value estimated. 

An approach in determining the value of a wetland 
is to document certain unique characteristics. Wetlands, 
which are outstanding and hence merit preservation, 
include areas that have significant geological and/or 
biological traits which are invaluable for scientific 
research and education (Larsen, 1976, p. 7). As outlined, 
an outstanding geobotanical wetland unit involves the 
juxtaposition, in sequence, of several serai stages of 
hydrarch succession. In addition, diversity may be con- 
sidered a unique characteristic of a wetland. A wetland 
supporting a wide spectrum of wildlife, such as fish, 
birdlife and mammals, is indeed exceptional. 

A second entity for the identification of an out- 
standing wetland is based on its fauna and flora. Three 
criteria which would classify a wetland as outstanding 
are : 

1) The presence of rare, restricted, endemic or 
relict fauna or flora, 

2) The presence of flora of unusually high visual 
quality and infrequent occurrence, 



137 



3) The presence of flora or fauna at, or near, 
the limits of their range. 

UNIQUE GEOMORPHOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL VALUES 

Along the Great Lakes, normal wetland succession 
is disrupted as a result of lake level fluctuations. 
However, vegetation zonation from submersed aquatics to 
shrubs and finally to upland hardwoods is present and shifts 
occur as lake levels change. Examples of such a basic 
ecological principle as determined in the literature with 
few exceptions is not well researched or documented. 
Figure 23 demonstrates that such a spectrum occurs in the 
St. Clair delta (Jaworski and Raphael, 1976). It may be 
expected that similar vegetation profiles occur on other 
wide, undisturbed wetland zones such as at Little Bay de 
Noc and perhaps the Au Gres wetlands. 

Compared to other Great Lakes' coasts, the St. 
Clair delta has been reasonably well researched by geo- 
graphers and geologists (Jaworski and Raphael, 1973). 
Based on the literature, the delta is the largest in the 
Great Lakes' basin and is characterized by unique geomor- 
phic features and hence merits preservation. 
ENDANGERED, THREATENED, AND RARE SPECIES 

In Michigan, an Endangered Species Program was 
organized under the authority of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973 (P. L. 93-205). The first state lists on 
endangered and threatened species were presented to the 
Natural Resources Commission in February, 1976. The data 
on endangered and threatened species documented in this 
section are based upon the proposed annotated list of 
plants and animals resident in Michigan that is proceeding 
toward final approval in accordance with the Administra- 
tive Procedures Act. Location of the fauna and flora was 
primarily obtained from environmental impact statements. 
The location of most threatened birds was largely taken 
from "The Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Habitat Recon- 



138 






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139 



naissance" (Martz, 1976). Floral data on endangered, 
threatened and rare vascular plants have recently been 
documented by Wagner et al . (1977) for the DNR. 

For convenience, two tables are presented. Table 
50 includes coastal endangered, threatened, and rare 
fauna observed and documented in the literature. Table 
51, largely determined from Wagner et al . (1977) locates 
endangered, threatened, and rare plants in coastal Mich- 
igan. The latter table is not limited to wetland flora 
but includes plants which have been documented on islands 
(e.g., Isle Royale) and on coastal cliffs. In some 
instances, the flora which were identified on sandy shores 
and dunes are included as well. Many coastal wetlands 
exist and are maintained because of barrier beaches (e.g., 
Tobico) . Such barriers are morphologically related to 
the adjacent wetland and may be part of the wildlife 
habitat, thus the flora are included. 

Based on Table 50 and 51 certain wetlands of the 
state do possess endangered, threatened and/or rare 
fauna and/or flora. The wetlands of the lower Detroit 
River and western Lake Erie contain flora and fauna which 
are not only threatened, but are endangered, such as the 
American lotus. Similarly, in the St. Clair River delta 
a similar cluster of endangered, threatened and/or rare 
species emerges. Other wetlands in Michigan where endan- 
gered or threatened species have been documented include : 
the south shore of Saginaw Bay (Quanicassee) , Tobico, 
Epoufette Bay, Mismer Bay, St. Martin Bay, Little Bay de 
Noc, Baie de Wasai, Nuns Creek and the Cheboygan Marsh. 

As determined by Beaman (1977) and illustrated on 
Table 52, 38 percent of the probably extinct, endangered 
and threatened species occupy or have occupied aquatic 
and wetland habitats. Also as noted, more plants have 
probably been extinguished in this habitat than any other 
habitat. Assuming that the proposed list of endangered 



140 



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and threatened plants and animals is approved and Larson's 
criteria for outstanding wetlands is acceptable, unques- 
tionably high nonconsumptive value may be assigned to 
these selected wetlands. 

NESTING AND MIGRATION OF SHOREBIRDS, PASSERINES AND BIRDS 
OF PREY IN GREAT LAKES SHORELANDS 

As determined by Scharf (1977) , the principal avi- 
fauna of the Great Lakes shorelands are documented in 
Table 53. It is evident that a diversity of habitats is 
required for feeding and resting of migratory birds and 
for nesting cover for the resident populations. The 
habitat varies from isolated wooded areas and herbaceous 
cover preferred by the herring gulls to marshland require- 
ments of the black terns and the great blue herons. 

Nesting sites of the birds occupying shorelands, 
have substrates varying from beach grasses and shrubs, to 
cobbles and gravels, to spoil disposal sites. Two coastal 
marshes in Michigan appear to be most significant to 
colonial nesters per se . At Portage Point, 64 common 
tern nests and three green heron nests occur within the 
wetland ( ibid . , p. 76 and 84). Other migratory birds 
breeding in Michigan include the killdeer, piping plover, 
upland sandpiper, spotted sandpiper, Wilson's phalarope 
and the American woodcock (Sanderson, 1977, p. 306-308; 
Cottrille, 1957, p. 27). An important breeder in the 
wetlands is the mute swan. Koechlein (1971, p. 2) has 
identified 72 nests situated in cattails, sedges, and 
bulrushes of the Grand Traverse Bay area. He also deter- 
mined that 275 to 300 swans utilized the ice-free areas 
of Grand Traverse Bay during January, February, and March, 
1970 ( ibid . , p. 3). Cottrille (1957, p. 27) has mapped 
the breeding sites of the piping plover in Michigan. 
The more significant coastal sites of the plover occur in 
Monroe, Macomb, Huron, Schoolcraft and Alger Counties. 
On the lower Detroit River, Celeron Island provides 



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152 



TABLE 53 
AVIFAUNA IN THE COASTAL GREAT LAKES 



Bird 

1. Herring Gulls ( Larus a 
argentatus ) 

b 



2. Ring-billed gulls a 
(Larus delawarensis) 



3. Common terns 

(Sterna hirundo) 



4. Caspian terns a 
( Hydroprogne caspia ) 

5. Black terns a 
( Childonias niger ) 

6. Great Blue Heron a 
( Ardea herodias ) and 
Common Egrets 
( Casmerodius albus ) 

7 . Black-crowned night a 
heron ( Nycticorax 
nycticorax ) 

8. Double-crested cor- a 
mo rant ( Phalacrocorax 
auritus ) b 

9. Snowy Egrets a 
( Leucophoxy thula ) 

10. Cattle Egrets a 
( Babulcus ibis ) 

11. Green Heron (_B. a 
irrescens) 



Habitat 
Bedrock outcrop 

Herbaceous Cover 

Tree cover 



Clay soils, 
dredged spoil 



Gravelly, sandy 

soils, wooded 

areas 

Heavy herbaceous 

cover, dredging 

sites 

Remote gravel, 
sand islands 

Marshes on Great 
Lakes. 

Tall deciduous 
trees 



Bush, low trees a 



Trees 



Gravelly sediment b 



Medium shrub 



Medium shrub 



Marsh 



Site Examples 

Apostle Islands; 
St. Marys River. 
Bellows Island, 
Lake Michigan. 
Gull Island, Lake 
Mich, Goose Island, 
Lake Huron. 

Round Island and 
Gull Island, Wis.; 
Shelter Island, 
Saginaw Bay. 

High Island, St. 
Vital Island, 
Lake Michigan. 
St. Marys River. 



Hat and High Island, 
Lake Michigan. 

Green Bay area. 



Winous Pt . , Lake 
Erie. 



Saginaw Bay, 
Smith's Island, 
Lake Erie. 

Cat Island, Green 

Bay. 

Fish Island, 

Green Bay. 

Oconto Marsh 



Oconto Marsh 



a) Portage Pt. , 
Lake Michigan. 



Source : Scharf, Nesting and Migration Areas of Birds of the U. S . 
Great Lakes, 1977 



153 



nesting habitat for the osprey (Goodwin and Niering, 1975, 
p. 232). Also, according to these authors bald eagles 
and sandhill cranes visit the island ( ibid . , p. 232). 
Just to the south at Plum Creek, a black-crowned night 
heron heronry has been identified and mapped (Hoffman and 
Prince, 1975, pp. 95-99). 

Table 54 identifies significant migration sites 
and staging areas of passerines, raptors and shorebirds. 
Important focal and funneling points are mainly islands 
(e.g., South Fox Island) and peninsulas (Figure 24) jut- 
ting into the Great Lakes (e.g., Keweenaw Point). However, 
wetlands such as the Elberta Marsh, the Muskegon River 
Mouth and Saginaw Bay are also significant migration 
sites. 

The value of wetlands and adjacent areas is vari- 
able with regard to migration. As noted in the table 
below, the vaj-ue of sites in Saginaw Bay and western Lake 
Erie has decreased due to damage to the vegetation by 
recent high water. Other wetlands, such as the Grand 
Haven marshes and the Elberta Marsh have also experienced 
similar high lake levels in the early 1970' s, but have 
remained important migration sites. The latter coastal 
wetlands are protected by coastal dunes or barriers which 
prevent serious erosion of che wetlands. Also, the pro- 
tective coastal barrier, if vegetated, probably provides 
additional cover for migratory and nesting birds. 
Other Important Migratory Birds 

As noted in the introduction of this chapter, one 
important criterion for the identification of outstanding 
wetlands is the presence of fauna at or near the limits 
of the breeding range. Geographically, several migratory 
birds are at their range limits in Michigan. The list 
includes : 

Virginia rail King rail 
Yellow rail Common gallinule 
Black rail American coot 



154 




w 



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FIGURE 24--Migration sites of shorebirds , passerines and 
raptors, in Michigan (after Scharf, 1977). See Table 54 
for site locations. 



155 



TABLE 54 

COASTAL MIGRATION SITES OF SHOREBIRDS, PASSERINES 

AND RAPTORS 



Migration Sites 

1. Keweenaw Point 

2. Sand Point Marsh 

3. Point Abbaye 

4. Whitefish Point 

5. Shoreline west of 
Mackinac City 

6. Waugoshance Point 

7. Garden Peninsula 

8. Harbor Springs 

9. Ptobego Marsh 

10. Old Mission Point 

11. South Fox Island 

12. Sleeping Bear Dunes/ 
Benzie State Park 

13. Pointe Betsie 

14. Elberta Marsh 



15. Ludington State Park 
(Hamlin Lake) 

16. Muskegon River mouth 



17. Grand Haven Marsh 



18. Kalamazoo Lake and 
Saugatuck Marsh 



Comments 

Full spring migration site. 

Concentration area for passerine and 
shorebirds. 

Concentration area for passerine and 
hawks . 

Spectacular migration focal point for 
passerines, owls, common loons and hawks. 

Funnelling point for spring migration, 
especially for birds of prey. 

Large numbers of shorebirds. 

Major shorebird migration area. Heavy 
raptor, waterfowl and common loon flights, 

Large numbers of passerines in fall and 
spring. 

Shorebird concentrations during low 
water. 

Large concentrations of passerine and 
small numbers of hawks in spring. 

Northward extension of the South Manitou- 
North Manitou migration route. 

Large number of shorebirds during low- 
water. 

Seasonally heavy passerine and shore- 
bird migrations. 

Resident Canada geese; excellent shore- 
bird, passerine and hawk migration 
resting points. 

Hawk, passerine, and shorebird migra- 
tions; hawks and warblers in the spring. 

Important for passerine, hawk and 
shorebird migration. 

Important for migrating King rails, 
Virginia rails and migrating and nesting 
Sora rails. Yellow-headed blackbirds 
commonly seen here. 

Very important as a stopover for large 
numbers of passerine and shorebirds. 



156 



Migration Sites 

19. Grand Beach, Warren 
Dunes State Park 

20. Calcite Flats 

21. Presque Isle Point 

22. North Point near Misery Bay 

23. South Point on Thunder Bay 

24. Au Sable Point 

25. Tawas Point 

26. Saginaw Bay wetlands 

27. Pointe Mouillee 

28. Sterling State Park 

29. Woodtick Peninsula 



30. North and South Manitou 
Islands 



TABLE 54 (Continued) 
Comments 



Major staging area for waterfowl, loons, 
grebes and shorebirds. 

Large shorebird migration. 

Fairly heavy passerine and hawk migration, 

Passerine and hawk migrations. 

Exceptional concentrations of nocturnal 
and diurnal passerine birds. 

Mainly shorebird migration point. 

Prime focal point for migration; some 
hawks, but large numbers of shorebirds 
and passerines. 

Usefulness damaged by high water; very 
productive shorebirds and passerine 
birds in low-water years. 

Point of departure for the great hawk 
migrations to Canada. 

Same function as Pointe Mouillee. 

Damage by high water, formally very 
productive passerine and hawk migration 
point. 

A very large and important flyway for 
passerine birds and hawks. 



Source : Scharf, Nesting and Migration Areas of Birds of the U. S. 
Great Lakes , 1977. 

On a national scale, the limits of the breeding 
ranges of the above listed birds are the wetlands of 
Michigan. The southern breeding limit of the yellow rail 
is the Michigan-Ohio state line (Sanderson, 1977, p. 68). 
The northern limit of the black rail and the king rail in 
North America is approximately a line from Port Huron 
westward to Muskegon (i bid . , pp. 74 and 98). The eastern 
limit of coot breeding according to Sanderson ( ibid . , 
p. 132) is western Lake Erie. The common gallinule's 
northern boundary breeding limit is the south shore of 
Lake Superior ( ibid . , p. 112). Finally, the highest 
breeding density of the Virginia rail is confined (northern 



157 



and southern boundary) to the lower peninsula of Michigan 
(ibid. , p. 49). 

The habitat need for these birds includes wetlands 
or reasonably wet areas for resting and feeding. Informa- 
tion and specific site inventories are not adequately 
documented over time to identify high value coastal wet- 
lands. However, since many of these birds are at the 
limits of their range and need wetlands to perform their 
normal life functions, based on Larson's criteria, many 
of the state's coastal wetlands must be considered valu- 
able. 

The occurrence of many migratory shorebirds and 
birds of prey other than those discussed above have been 
documented in the literature. Tawas Point (Kelley and 
Kelley, 1973, pp. 111-115) appears to be an important 
staging area, particularly for passerine birds. Large 
hawk migrations in fall are well known over western Lake 
Superior, Tawas Point, Beaver Island, Whitefish Point, 
Stonington, and the Garden Peninsula (Sheldon, 1965, 
pp. 79-83). The Erie Marshes are one of the few areas 
in southern Michigan where large assemblages of shorebirds 
occur (Butsch, 1954, pp. 46-53). Fifteen species were 
observed here exclusive of the killdeer and spotted sand- 
piper which are resident breeders at North Cape. The 
Woodtick Peninsula and adjacent marshes are important 
since they provide resting areas for birds migrating along 
the periphery of western Lake Erie to and from the Little 
Cedar Point Wildlife Refuge in coastal Ohio (personal com- 
munication, Karl Bednarik) . Spring migrations of birds 
of prey including several threatened species such as 
the Peregrine falcon, osprey, eagle, and double-crested 
cormorants have been observed at Whitefish Point (Kelley, 
1972, pp. 69-75). Yellow-headed blackbirds utilize the 
Saginaw Bay wetlands especially Tobico, Nayanquing Point 
and the St. Clair Flats (personal communication, Chuck 



1.5 8 



Wolverton and Gerald Martz) . Snowy owls winter at Fish 
Point (personal communication, Gerald Martz) . 
Species Diversity 

A unique value of wetlands is their diversity of 
aquatic and terrestrial life. An attractive aspect of the 
Cheboygan Marsh as illustrated by Thobaben (1974a) is 
that 77 animal species occur in that 96-acre wetland. 
Bird diversity is as equally varied. Thobaben (1974b, 
pp. 8-9) recorded 10 nesting species such as the American 
bittern, coot, black tern and eastern kingbird within 
that wetland. He also notes that the marsh is used by 
yellow-headed blackbirds and as a wintering area by snowy 
owls ( ibid . , p. 1). In the Magee Marsh some 271 species 
of birds have been sighted (Bednarik, 1975, p. 16). On 
Dickinson Island (St. Clair Flats), a party of four 
observed 43 bird and duck species in two hours (U. S. 
Army Corps of Engineers, 1974b, p. 126). In St. Johns 
Marsh DNR wildlife biologists observed 34 species of birds 
in a single day (DNR, 1976b, p. 4). Included were the 
threatened marsh hawk and the rare black-crowned night 
heron as well as six species of herons and bitterns. 
During spring migration about 50 percent of North America's 
whistling swan population utilize the southeastern Michigan 
wetlands (Bellrose, 1976, pp. 95-98), some of which rest 
and feed in the St. Johns Marsh and presumably the St. 
Clair Flats to the immediate southeast. 

It is clear from such reports that coastal wet- 
lands provide valuable nesting functions as well as cover, 
food, and migratory resting areas for a diversity of 
shorebirds, passerines, and birds of prey. Ecologists 
have suggested that symbiotic relationships exist between 
bird colonies and wetlands. On the Florida coast, for 
example, the presence of bird excretions is essential for 
the rich aquatic plant growth which in turn supports the 
bird colonies (Wing, 1956, p. 211). Similar important 



159 



relationships have been noted elsewhere. Welty (1975, 
for example, notes that small marshes may be more import- 
ant (nests/area) than larger marshes because of the 
greater edge effect. 
Other Fauna 

Animals other than waterfowl, furbearers , fish 
and birds have received less attention in the literature. 
Notable exceptions include snails and mussels, and a few 
mammals such as the shrew, lemming and Indiana bat, some 
of which are endangered, threatened or rare species (Table 
50). Also, the occurrence of reptile species have been 
documented in Table 50. Other common fauna occupying 
Michigan's coastal wetlands are a variety of snakes and 
amphibia. 

According to Switzenberg (1954, p. 1), Michigan 
has 17 species and subspecies of snakes most of which are 
decidedly beneficial since they help control rodents 
such as rats and mice. Other foods commonly provided in 
wetlands include crayfish, a variety of insects, fishes, 
frogs, snails and slugs, as well as toads ( ibid . , p. 8). 
Snakes in turn are fed upon by hawks , raccoons and owls . 
Manville (1952, pp. 13-19) notes that the snakes commonly 
found in Michigan's wetlands include the hog-nosed snake, 
green or grass snake, queen snake, Kirtland's snake and 
the Massasauga rattlesnake. 

Ten species of turtles have been identified in 
the state, nine of which are native (Lagler, 1954, p. 1). 
These include: 

Snapping turtle Spotted turtle 

Soft-shell turtle Wood turtle 
Box turtle Map turtle 

Blandings turtle Musk turtle 
Painted turtle Slider turtle 

Turtles are beneficial in that most of them act as scav- 
engers in keeping the waters free of dead fish and animals 



160 



Lagler (ibid., p. 3) notes some turtles feed on mosquito 
pupae, on insects which prey on fish, and on mollusks 
which harbor fish parasites during certain stages of 
their life cycle. Snapping turtles are trapped and sold 
for human consumption. At Fish Point a trapper took over 
100 twenty-pound snapping turtles in the summer of 1977 
which were valued at $2.00 per pound. 

These and other fauna enhance the diversity of 
wetland wildlife and they fill an ecological niche as 
well. As noted in Saginaw Bay, a variety of reptiles and 
amphibians occur (U. S. Department of Interior, 1970b, 
p. 291). Included are: 

Reptiles Amphibia 

Snapping Turtle American Toad 

Painted Turtle Spring Peeper 

Blandings Turtle Tree Frog 

Softshell Turtle Cricket Frog 

Red Bellied Snake Pickerel Frog 

Brown Snake Chorus Frog 

Water Snake Leopard Frog 

Garter Snake Green Frog 

Hognose Snake Wood Frog 

Ringneck Snake Bull Frog 

Green Snake Mud Puppy 

Blue Racer Blue-spotted Salamander 

Rat Snake Spotted Salamander 

Red-backed Salamander 
There is little precise data on the abundance and 
occurrence of reptiles and amphibia with regard to Mich- 
igan' s coastal wetlands. Nevertheless, these fauna are 
significant to the food webs which support the more 
economically important fish and game species. 
Wetland Use by Nature Groups 

Data on coastal wetland use by nature groups such 
as the Michigan Audubon Society are not routinely collected, 



161 



A questionnaire was designed and sent to the 39 chapters 
of the Society asking each chapter to document which wet- 
lands were visited, the number of people in each group and 
the purpose of the visit. Fourteen chapters (36 9 ) res- 
ponded to this inquiry. Table 55 represents the response 
of those groups. The data included for Fish Point, also 
includes group visits and vehicle counts made by the 
Michigan DNR at Fish Point in 1977. 

As noted in Table 55, a variety of non- consumptive 
activities occur in the coastal sites to include not only 
birdwatching, but research, photography and botanical 
study as well. Based on the limited response, Fish Point, 
Waugoshance Point, Cheboygan, and the wetlands of Lake 
St. Clair are popular nature study areas. It must be 
noted that the data represent minimal wetland use essen- 
tially by one organization. Field trips by individuals, 
other organized groups or educational institutions would 
reflect greater use than what is presented on Table 55. 

VALUES OF COASTAL WETLANDS FOR NONCONSUMPTIVE RECREATION 
USES 

Other nonconsumptive uses of wildlife in Michigan 

are presently considered to be at least equal in man days 

to consumptive uses. The latter, however, is projected 

to increase at a faster rate than hunting uses. Currently, 

Michigan has 284,200 acres of public hunting areas, and 

only 128,200 acres of state parks and recreation areas 

which provide for recreation other than hunting and 

trapping (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1975c, p. 27 and 28). 

Yet, future projections reveal that nonconsumptive uses 

of wildlife and wildlife lands will increase more rapidly 
than hunting use and will compensate for decreases in 
consumptive uses wherever they occur ( ibid . , p. 73). 
These nonconsumptive uses are: 

Nature and ecology trails. 

Interpretative and photography centers. 



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164 



State game area visitor stations. 
Scientific and educational study areas. 
Migration stopover viewing sites. 
Wildlife wintering and feeding stations. 
Non-adult sport fishing areas. 

Nonconsumptive use of Michigan's coastal wetlands 
has not been studied. A survey of public use of southern 
Michigan game and recreation areas, however, does provide 
some pertinent data. Based on a postcard questionnaire, 
the survey of 15 waterfowl game areas revealed that non- 
hunting use exceeded the consumptive use (Table 56) . 
Although an inland waterfowl game area, the Shiawassee 
River State Game Area, was a major unit in the study, the 
sample also included the following coastal wetlands : 

Erie State Game Area 

Fish Point Wildlife Area 

Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area 

Pointe Mouillee State Game Area 

Quanicassee Wildlife Area 

St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area 

Tobico Marsh State Game Area 

Wigwam Bay Wildlife Area 

Wildfowl Bay Wildlife Area 

TABLE 56 

NON-HUNTING VS. HUNTING USE OF PUBLIC WATERFOWL 

GAME AREAS 

Acres of Hours of Hours of Total Hours 

Public Non-hunting Hunting of Recrea- 

Waterfowl Use/Acre Use/Acre tion per 

Game Areas Year Year Acre/Year 

42,475 21.94 (71.9%) 8.57 (28.1%) 30.51 (100%) 

Source : Belyea and Lerg, 1976, Public Use of Southern 
Michigan Game and Recreation Areas , Michigan 
DNR, p. 19. 



165 



The sample design regarding the data in Table 56 
does not allow generalization about specific wetlands. 
The main use of these waterfowl areas is as follows : 
fishing (57.1%), waterfowl hunting (23.97o), camping (2.67<>), 
and all other uses (16.47o) (Belyea and Lerg, 1976, p. 34). 

Based on a "1976 Statewide Telephone Survey" the 
Michigan DNR tabulated nonconsumptive recreational use 
in the state's game and wildlife areas (personal communica- 
tion, Daniel Kitchel) . Several coastal game and wildlife 
areas have a large proportion of wetland (e.g., Erie, St. 
Clair Flats, Wildfowl Bay, Tobico, Pentwater and Betsie 
River) . It has been estimated that 580,000 participations occurred 

in non-hunting and non- fishing activities by Michigan 
residents while visiting 15 coastal state game and wildlife 
areas in 1976. The 15 state game and wildlife areas 
included: 

Betsie River Pointe Mouillee 

Erie Tobico 

Manistee River Fish Point 

Muskegon Nayanquing Point 

Pentwater Quanicassee 

Petobego St. Clair Flats 

Wigwam Bay Wildfowl Bay 

Beaver Island 
The acreage of the above coastal state game and wildlife 
areas totals 97,000 acres. Nonconsumptive activities in 
these areas include sightseeing, boating, hiking, picnick- 
ing, snowmobiling and nature study. 

Data derived from a national survey suggests that 
dollars spent per participant is significant to the value 
of coastal wetlands. As determined by Payne and DeGraaf 
(1975, pp. 6-10), the direct expenditures attributable to 
the enjoyment of nongame birds in 1975 was 1.7 times the 
amount spent by waterfowl hunters exclusive of indirect 
expenditures for transportation, lodging and food. As 



166 

determined by the 1970 National Survey of Fishing and Hunting 
(U.S. Dept. of Int., 1972, p. 11), the average annual ex- 
penditure of a waterfowl hunter was $84.47. If the cost-of- 
living factor of 1.542 for interpolating from 1970 to 1977 
is multiplied by $84.47, the updated value is $130 . 25/hunter/ 
year. If food, transportation and lodging costs are sub- 
stracted as indirect costs from the $130.25 average annual 
waterfowl hunter's expenditures ($130.25 - $29.53 = $100.72), 
and the remaining direct costs are multiplied by 1.7 ($100.72 
x 1.7 = $171.23), then the average annual participant ex- 
penditure by nonconsumptive recreat ionalists would amount 
to $200.76 ($171.23 + $29.53). Proportionally, the value of 
a nonconsumptive recreation day, compared to a waterfowl 
hunting day of $15.00 would be $23.12. Assuming that 
580,000 recreation days or trips were involved in the 15 
coastal state game and wildlife areas, then these public 
coastal environments generate a total annual value of 
$13,409,600 (580,000 x $23.12). Given 97,000 acres of wet- 
lands and associated upland environments in these coastal 
game and wildlife areas, the annual economic value per acre 
is $138.24 ($13,409,600 divided by 97,000 acres). Potenti- 
ally, Michigan's 105,855 acres of coastal wetlands may have 
an average annual nonconsumptive recreation value of $128.24/ 
wetland acre. 

Not only are expenditures for nongame bird enjoy- 
ment high, but they have been increasing rapidly in the 
past several years. For example, gift bird book sales in 
the U.S. rose from $1.5 million in 1970 to $3.1 million in 
1974 (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1977, p. 85). Dues 
paid to the National Audubon Society doubled in five years , 
increasing from $1.6 million in 1970 to $3.1 million in 
1974 ( ibid . , p. 85). Other evidence of interest in the 
nonconsumptive appreciation of wildlife is suggested by 
growth in subscriptions to National Wildlife magazine from 
60,000 in 1963 to 350,000 by 1975 ( ibid . , p. 85). These 
indicators suggest that the future value of the state's non- 
consumptive recreational resource will increase. 



167 

Locally, some preliminary data regarding non- 
hunting uses are available for the St. Clair Flats Wild- 
life Area, specifically Lower Harsens Island (Table 57). 
Sport fishing in summer, particularly bank fishing along 
the main channels and canals, accounts for the heaviest 
use of this wetland (Pospichal, undated, p. 8). Wildlife 
and flora viewing from canoes and non-motorized boats is 
spectacular on Harsens Island, as well as on nearby 
Dickinson Island, because canals and abandoned river 
channels allow access to most interior areas. Based on 
the data in Table 57, nonconsumptive use of this coastal 
wetland provides 41.92 man days of recreation per acre/ 
year. In comparison, waterfowl hunting which traditionally 
was the main recreational use, amounted to only 2.73 
recreation days per wetland acre/year. 

TABLE 57 

NON-HUNTING AND HUNTING USE OF ST. CLAIR FLATS 

WILDLIFE AREA PRELIMINARY DATA FOR LOWER 

HARSENS ISLAND 

Estimated Man Days 
Non-Hunting Uses Man Days Acre/Year 

Sport Fishing 100,000 

Bow and Arrow Carp Fishing 3-5,000 

Bird Watching 3,000 

Canoeing and Boating 2,000 

SUBTOTAL 109,000 41.92 

Hunting Uses 
Waterfowl Hunting 7,108 2.73 

Source: Pospichal, Undated, Preliminary Management Plan 
for St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area . 

Coastal wetlands are important viewing areas for 
several reasons. As discussed earlier, many of the 
coastal wetlands function as concentration areas for 
migration of waterfowl, shorebirds, passerines, and birds 
of prey. Point Pelee, Ontario, is internationally 
renowned as a fall migratory viewing area for not only 



38. 


,46 


1. 


,54 


1. 


,15 


0. 


,77 



168 
waterfowl, but also Monarch butterflies, songbirds and 
shorebirds. Moreover, several coastal counties in 
Michigan, including Berrien, Cheboygan, Emmet, Isle 
Royale, Keweenaw, Monroe, and Wayne Counties, have large 
numbers of rare or threatened species (Beaman, 1977, 
p. 111). Three endangered and 79 threatened plants are 
located within aquatic and wetland environments of Michigan 
(Table 52). With regard to birds, Cheboygan Marsh, for 
example, provides habitat for the marsh hawk and the 
American bittern, a threatened and rare species, respect- 
ively (Thobaben, 1974b, p. 8). 

The nature of the wetland influences the scenic 
quality of the site. Dense, monotypic marshes exhibit 
low species diversity and species abundance which, in 
turn, reduces the birdwatching quality. A wetland 
exhibiting half vegetation cover and half open water pro- 
vides the most suitable habitat for aquatic species (Weller 
and Spatcher, 1965, p. 28). The Great Lakes coastal wet- 
lands, because of lake level fluctuations, are not as 
stable as inland wetlands (Woodby, 1974, p. 12). Hence, 
stands of cattails and other monotypic communities, which 
can lead to senescence and low productivity, are constantly 
being disrupted by water level changes. Moreover, if the 
wetland contains a composite of environments or a strong 
environmental gradient, as on Dickinson Island of the St. 
Clair Flats, then the species diversity is further 
enhanced. At Cheboygan Marsh, 43 different wildlife 
species were observed in the cattail marsh, whereas 29 
species were found only in the sedge-willow ecotone which 
provides dry marsh and upland habitat (Thobaben, 1974b, 
p. 9). At Magee Marsh, a coastal wetland in northern 
Ohio, a total of 271 wildlife species have been recorded 
(Bednarik et al . , 1975, p. 9). 

Visitor and interpretive centers at state game 
areas can provide for the multiple use of waterfowl and 
other game resources. The visitor center at Magee Marsh 
Wildlife Area Headquarters attracts 50,000 visitors each 
year (Bednarik, 1975, Table 2). This quality non- 



169 



consumptive use has increased 300 percent during the past 
few years since the station was established. At present, 
Michigan has a few visitor's centers within coastal 

wildlife areas. An interpretive center has been constructed 
at Tobico and one is being considered for Pointe Mouillee 
State Game Area, but the latter facility is still in the 
planning stages. Visitor centers at inland state game 
areas, e.g., Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge Area, have been 
successfully attracting viewers for many years. 

Urban fishing and non-motorized boating are two 
activities currently underdeveloped in coastal wetlands. 
As wetlands near metropolitan areas are degraded by poor 
water quality or fragmented into small parcels by develop- 
ment (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 1976, pp. 3-5), their use 
by turbidity- intolerant fish and easily-disturbed wildlife 
diminishes. Nevertheless, these small parcels of somewhat 
degraded wetlands can provide selected nonconsumptive 
uses. For example, the fishing of carp, bullheads, and 
other wetland species can give angling opportunities to 
many urban youth (Fogle, 1975). Also, while quietly 
canoeing or paddling a boat through wetland environments, 
particularly at dusk or dawn, the visitor observes a 
variety of wildlife not usually seen on foot. Such boat 
trips are a common visitor's experience of the Florida 
Everglades . 

The St. Clair River delta, including its wetland 
complex, has high scientific value because this delta is 
one of the relatively few large fresh-water deltas in the 
world and is geologically and biologically well known. 
In addition, because of tremendous waterfowl use of 
Wildfowl Bay and Fish Point during migration and the high 
duck nesting densities at Portage Marsh, these wetland 
areas are of special scientific interest. 

The demand for nonconsumptive recreation has 
been projected for six planning subbasins in Michigan by 



170 



the Great Lakes Basin Commission. By the year 2020, the 
demand will greatly exceed the supply, especially in 
southeastern Michigan and the Saginaw Bay region (Table 
58) . The situation is critical because the participation 
demand for consumptive and nonconsumptive use of wild- 
life is expected to double the current demand by 2020 
A. D. , while the available habitat continues to be de- 
graded and/or lost to development (Great Lakes Basin Comm. , 
1975c, p. 123). 

TABLE 58 

UNSATISFIED PARTICIPATION IN NONCONSUMPTIVE USE 
OF WILDLIFE HABITAT BY PLANNING SUBBASIN IN 
MICHIGAN, FOR SELECTED YEARS, IN 1000' S 

OF MAN DAYS 

Man Days Man Days Man Days 
P lanning Subbasin 1980 2000 2020 

Northern Half of Upper 

Peninsula 15.0 7.2 27.9 

Lower Half of U. P. and 
Northwest part of the 



Lower Peninsula 


202.3 


332.4 


514. 


,7 


Northeast portion of 
Lower Peninsula 


16.1 


66.5 


132. 


,1 


Saginaw Bay and Northern 
Part of the Thumb Area 


396.6 


786.3 


1,203. 


.7 


Southwest portion of 
Southern Michigan 


504.5 


753.6 


966. 


,4 


Southeast portion of 
Michigan 


1,596.4 2 


,474.2 


3,539. 


.0 


Source: Great Lakes Basin 


Comm. , 1975c, 


p. 99. 






Summary of Nonconsumptive 


Recreational 


Use 







Waterfowl hunting, trapping and fishing are 
primary, direct revenue producers for the state. In terms 
of hours of use, non-hunting activities greatly exceed 
hunting activities (41.92 man days vs. 2.73 man days). 
Although the data cannot be accurately related to a 



171 



dollar value at this time, some preliminary estimates 
suggest that coastal wetlands have a nonconsumptive 
recreational value of $138.24 acre/year. 

As noted in Chapter 2, coastal wetlands are being 
lost. This chapter indicates future demand for non- 
consumptive uses are increasing and will double by the 
year 2020. These two facts clearly reveal that the 
demand for wetland use will increase as the wetland 
acreage decreases. 

EFFORTS TO PROTECT UNIQUE COASTAL SITES FOR NON - 
CONSUMPTIVE USES 

To meet future demands for nonconsumptive use, 
the Michigan DNR is making an effort to preserve and 
enhance natural areas throughout the state (personal com- 
munication, Paul Rasmus sen) . The sites being considered 
include natural areas of biological and scenic interest, 
and areas of geologic uniqueness (i.e., type localities). 
The coastal areas under consideration are presented in 
Table 59. Of the 20 sites under consideration, at least 
10 sites involve wetland localities. 

The proposed coastal sites have been mapped 
(Figure 25) . The data compiled throughout this report 
concur with many of the proposed selections of coastal 
areas identified by the DNR. Pointe Mouillee is well 
known for its waterfowl habitat and documented threatened 
species. The Tobico Marsh, an exceptional wetland, par- 
ticularly with regard to aquatic fauna and migratory 
waterfowl, is now a National Landmark (Goodwin and Niering, 
1975, pp. 230 and 240). As noted by Scharf (1977), 
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Tawas Point, Tobico, Pointe Mouillee, 
and Sterling State Park are important nesting and migra- 
tion areas for shorebirds. 



172 




FIGURE 25- -Proposed Natural Areas in Coastal Michigan. See 
Table 59 for locations and source. 



173 



TABLE 59 

PROPOSED NATURAL COASTAL AREAS UNDER CONSIDERATION 

BY THE DNR 



Area 

1. Galien River 

2. Warren Dunes State Park 

3. Hoffmaster State Park 

4. Muskegon State Park 

5. Sleeping Bear Dunes 

6. Wilderness State Park 

7. Beaver Island Complex 

8. Pointe Mouillee State 
Game Area 

Sterling State Park 

Metropolitan Beach 

Tobico Marsh 

Tawas Point 

Gull Island 

Scarecrow Island 



9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 



Negwegon State Park and 
Thunder Bay River State 
Park 



16. Duck Marsh 

17. Bois Blanc 

18. Straits Bay 

19. Neebish/Sugar Island 
Complex 

20. Eagle Harbor 



Use or Interest 
Wetlands 

Ancient dunes , Virgin woods 
Lakeshore, Dunes, Wetlands 
Lakeshore, Dunes 
Wilderness area 
Research/Natural area 
Wilderness area 

Wetlands 

Wetlands and Hibiscus 

Wetlands 

Wetlands 

Geological spit 

Wilderness area 

Wilderness area 

Wild area 

Wetland 

Research/ Nature study 

Wetland and Waterfowl 

Wilderness area 
Wetland 



Source : Natural Areas Coordinator, Paul Rasmussen, Land 
Resources Division, Dept. of Natural Resources, 
Lansing, MI. 



174 

CHAPTER SEVEN 
FISH AND WILDLIFE PRODUCTIVITY BY GEOGRAPHIC REGION 

The productivity of fish and wildlife as related 
to coastal wetlands may be presented in two ways: (1) as 
wildlife and fish produced/area/year; and (2) as economic 
benefits of wildlife and fish use/area/year. If the pro- 
duction of fish and wildlife per wetland acre is known, a 
potential average fish and wildlife production per year 
may be determined by geographical area. As noted in Table 
60, production has been calculated for ducks, muskrats, 
raccoons and commercial fish based on estimated densities 
of fish and wildlife determined in preceding chapters. The 
densities are: 

Ducks 0.31 flying ducklings /wetland acre/year 

Muskrats 3.0 animals harvested/wetland acre/year 

Raccoons 0.11 animals harvested/wetland acre/year 

Commercial Fish 17.1 lbs landed/wetland acre/year 

It must be recognized that the table is theoretical 
in that the total production derived is largely dependent 
upon the area of existing wetlands in the given geographical 
regions. Thus, a lakeshore with extensive wetland acreage, 
according to this procedure, will exhibit high fish and wild- 
life production. More detail and a more accurate geographi- 
cal perspective have been presented in the preceding chapters. 
As discussed, most fish and wildlife are concentrated in 
certain coastal wetland areas. The data in Table 60 assume 
uniform fish and wildlife population density which, in turn, 
suggests uniform environmental and habitat conditions as well 
as uniform management procedures. 

Based on Table 60 and the data analyzed and dis- 
cussed in Chapter 3, the coastal wetlands produce large 
numbers of dabbling ducks and coots. Although St. Marys 
River and the Detroit River are less productive than 
other coastal wetlands, overall the coastal wetlands are 
more productive than the inland wetlands. At present, 
the coastal wetlands comprise 3.3 percent of the state's 



175 



total wetland acreage, but account for 14 percent of 
Michigan's annual duck production. 

TABLE 60 

POTENTIAL AVERAGE ANNUAL COASTAL FISH AND 
WILDLIFE PRODUCTION* 



Geographical 


Acres 
1,200 


Ducks 
372 


Furbearers 


Commercial 


Area 


Muskrats 

3,600 


Raccoons 
132 


Fish 


Lake Superior 


20,520 


St. Marys River 


11,978 


3,713 


35,934 


1,318 


204,824 


Lake Michigan 


29,846 


9,252 


89,538 


3,283 


510,367 


Lake Huron 


5,686 


1,763 


17,058 


626 


97,231 


Saginaw Bay 


33,380 


10,348 


100,140 


3,672 


570,798 


L. St. Clair and 
St. Clair River 


15,630 


4,845 


46,890 


1,719 


267,273 


Detroit River 


1,420 


440 


4,260 


156 


24,282 


Lake Erie 
TOTALS 


6,715 
105,855 


2,082 
32,815 


20,145 
317,565 


739 

11,645 


114,827 
1,810,122 


*Wildlife data in 


l numbers 


of animals 


Fish data in pounds 





As indicated in Chapter 4, muskrat and raccoon 
harvest increases from north to south. This is to be 
expected in the case of muskrats since the total Upper 
Peninsula cattail acreage totals only 3,603 acres whereas 
in the Lower Peninsula, cattails account for 27,206 acres. 
Cattails are the primary food source for the muskrat, how- 
ever, as noted in the literature, other foods include 
bulrushes, pickerel weed, and sedges (Bellrose, 1950, 
p. 314). Since other marsh vegetation is consumed by 
muskrats, the total wetland acreage is used to determine 
muskrat production in the state's coastal wetlands rather 
than just the cattail acreage. The data consistently 
reveal that the Saginaw Bay area as well as St. Clair, 
Wayne, and Monroe Counties are the highest annual fur- 
producing areas. Although the harvests in Arcadia Marsh, 
Munuscong Bay and Little Bay de Noc are high compared to other 



176 



regions, in general, the coastal wetlands of Lake Michigan 
and the St. Marys River are not high-yield areas for fur. 
The production of commercial fish suggests that 
Lake Michigan can support a significant commercial fishery 
in the coastal wetlands. However, because yellow perch 
fishing is closed and other warmwater coastal species are 
insufficient in numbers , the commercial fishing in Lake 
Michigan is less important than the table indicates. The 
most accurate correlation between the table and the actual 
commercial fishing activities is in Saginaw Bay. In the 
St. Marys River, with the exception of suckers and yellow 
perch, most available species are designated as sport or 
coldwater, non-coastal fishes. Lake St. Clair has been 
closed to commercial fishing since the 1930' s, and no com- 
mercial fishing now regularly occurs in the Detroit River. 

With regard to sport fish ±t is difficult to sepa- 
rate the coastal wetland-related catch from the inland warm- 
water catch. Therefore, sport fishing was not included in 
Table 60. As noted in Chapter 5, 48 percent of the state's 
total coastal fishing effort is in Lake St. Clair. This 
lake accounts for 32 percent of the state's coastal catch. 
Therefore, Lake St. Clair must be regarded as having the 
highest sport fish production. Conversely, Lake Superior 
and Lake Huron excluding Saginaw Bay, are less productive 
because of the lack of extensive coastal wetlands and the 
remoteness from large urban centers. In contrast, coastal 
Lake Erie no longer supports a productive sport fishery be- 
cause of wetland loss and habitat degradation, especially 
with regard to high-value species such as northern pike, 
yellow perch and smallmouth bass. 

A second way of viewing wetland productivity is to 
examine economic benefits with regard to a dollar value for 
each geographical area. Table 61 illustrates the potential 
economic benefits of coastal fish and wildlife and noncon- 
sumptive values per year. The dollar value per acre of 
waterfowl, fur (muskrats and raccoons), commercial and sport 
fish, and nonconsumpt ive recreation is as follows: 



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178 



Waterfowl Hunting $ 31 . 23/wetland acre/year 

Furbearer Trapping $ 30. 44/wetland acre/year 

Commercial Fishing $ 3.78/wetland acre/year 

Sport Fishing $286 . 00/wetland acre/year 

None on sump tive $138 . 24/wetland acre/year 
Recreation 

As in Table 60, it must be recognized that Table 
61 is a very broad overview and the variation in habitat, 
environment, and policies are assumed to be uniform from 
one wetland to the next across the state. Also, the eco- 
nomic benefits are area dependent. Thus, many comments 
expressed about the preceding table are applicable to 
Table 61 as well. For a more accurate geographical presen- 
tation, it is recommended that the preceding chapters be 
consulted. 

The potential economic benefit of the coastal wet- 
lands, in terms of fish, wildlife, and nonconsumptive recrea- 
tional resources, is $51.8 million per year (Table 61). 
Given 105,855 acres of coastal wetland, this amounts to 
$489. 69/wetland/acre/year . Because the average annual 
gross return is largely a function of wetland acreage, Saginaw 
Bay with 33,380 acres is potentially the most significant 
geographical area of the Great Lakes . Although Lake Michigan 
aerially, and hence in terms of economic benefits is second, 
significant problems do occur , in part because of the lack of 
commercial fishing already discussed. In contrast, since 
48 percent of the state's coastal sport fishing and 32 
percent of the state's coastal fish catch is from Lake St. 
Clair, the actual economic benefit of the St. Clair wetlands 
is greatest and Saginaw Bay is probably second. Both areas 
are adjacent to large urban areas and as indicated in the 
text, these wetlands have the highest latent demand for 
fishing, duck hunting and nonconsumptive uses as well. 
Moreover, both areas exhibit forecasted habitat deficiency 
for migratory waterfowl. Based on proximity, the Lake Erie 
and Detroit River wetlands should exhibit high economic 
values, but conversions to other land uses and environ- 
mental degradation have resulted in lower economic values. 



179 



MATRIX OF COASTAL WETLAND VALUES 

Table 62 is a composite of referenced values in 
the text with respect to geographical location. Where 
possible, the wetlands have been subdivided into individual 
natural geographic units. For example, the Les Cheneaux 
area is subdivided into seven wetland units. An addi- 
tional unit, "Les Cheneaux," has been added here because 
some references are not specific enough to pinpoint a 
particular wetland within that island complex. 

In any evaluation such as this, it is just as 
important to indicate what literature is available in 
terms of specific wildlife, fish and nonconsumptive 
values as well as what information is lacking. It is 
important to note that some wetlands are considered to be 
of high value because their values have been well docu- 
mented. However, this does not mean to say that if lit- 
tle or no documentation exists for a given wetland, that 
the wetland is of no value. 

Based on the matrix, most coastal wetlands in the 
state have some documented fish or wildlife value. 
Available literature for waterfowl migration and breeding, 
endangered, threatened and rare species, and avifauna is 
reasonably complete. With regard to these categories, 
studies in the Upper Peninsula and in coastal Lake Mich- 
igan appear to be fewer than in the eastern part of the 
state. Goose Island, in Mackinac County, has not been 
adequately inventoried. Similarly, the wetlands on East 
Sugar Island, Duck Lake, and Colton, Back, Maxton and 
Fowler's Bays in Chippewa County require more information. 
In the Lower Peninsula, Allegan and Van Buren Counties 
stand out as inadequately inventoried areas for fish and 
wildlife. Inventories such as those of Thobaben (1974a 
and b) and Woodby (1974) would be most useful since their 
objective was to rapidly and inexpensively document fish 
and wildlife values in a given wetland. As noted in 



180 



Chapter 2, wetland losses are not solely confined to 
southeastern Michigan, but have occurred statewide to 
include the less accessible areas of the state. There- 
fore, the more remote areas require investigation as well. 

In general, fish and fur values, with few excep- 
tions, are not well inventoried in Michigan. To our 
knowledge, the regional distribution of fur areas, other 
than those of southeastern Michigan (e.g., Pointe Mouillee) 
has not been updated since the 1940' s. The DNR policy to 
inventory fish and wildlife by region discourages or 
prohibits a wetland by wetland assessment for fur. 

The coastal wetlands have been ignored with 
regard to commercial and sport fish. Most investigations 
have been concentrated in deeper off-shore areas or up streams 
and rivers. Even in southeastern Michigan where wildlife 
values are generally well documented, the regional values 
of fish require more investigation. 

Overview of Wetland Values 

Because few economic value assessments of wetlands 
have been undertaken, it is difficult to compare our re- 
sults to those of other studies. Nonetheless, our estimate 
appears to be within the range of other research. Benson 
and Perry (1965) reported that an average acre of marsh in 
New York state had an annual net value of $20 per acre. 
However, if gross economic values are employed, as in the 
case of this study, an average annual value of $400 is 
obtained (as the net value was 0.05 of the gross). Moreover, 
if the 1965 value is inflated to 1977 values using a cost- 
of-living factor of 1.95, then an average annual value of 
$780 per marsh acre is attained. An earlier study by 
Anderson (1960) indicated that the combined value of tourism, 
sporting activities and fisheries was worth $167 per acre 
annually for the bays in the Corpus Christi area. If 
these 1960 values are converted to 1977 values by employing 
a cost-of-living factors of 2.06, then a comparable 1977 
value of $344 per acre is obtained. In contrast, Gosselink, 



181 

Odum and Pope (1973) reported an annual return per acre of 
only $100 for sport and commercial fishing in a typical 
marine marsh-estuary system. Even with inflation, that 
value is much less than the usually high values reported 
for marine estuaries. 

Wetlands have economic values in addition to those 
investigated in this study. Because wetlands receive 
drainage from upland environments, they may act as filters, 
thus reducing sedimentation and turbidity in rivers, lakes 
and other water bodies. Other economic values indicate 
surface water storage, groundwater recharge, and water 
quality improvement through nutrient uptake by wetlands 
plants. When used as a waste treatment system, wetlands 
may provide over $3,500 per acre annually, especially with 
regard to tertiary treatment (Sullivan, 1976). Considerable 

research is currently being conducted on the use of wet- 
lands for areawide water quality management as well as for 
treatment of sewage effluents (Ti'lton, 1976). In short, 
each wetland is unique, thus the ecological functions and 
economic values should be evaluated on an individual basis, 
perhaps by employing the criteria estabished by Larson (1976) 

The average economic values derived in this study 
vary greatly from one geographic area to another. Depending 
on the wetland characteristics, and proximity and accessi- 
bility to potential users, a particular wetland system may 
exhibit a range of potential values. It must be emphasized 
that economic evaluations based on average values per acre 
suggest that larger wetlands are more valuable than smaller 
wetlands. Furthermore, most of the annual economic return 
values in this investigation are public values as opposed to 
an average income a private landowner might expect from his 
property. Thus, provided the public has access to the wet- 
lands and multiple use is made of the available resources, 
wetlands may generate several hundred dollars worth of gross 
annual return per acre. 

Our map survey has revealed that Michigan has lost 
approximately 70 percent of its coastal wetland resource 
base since settlement by European settlers. With regard to 



182 



the future, projections indicate that up to 20 percent of 
the existing 105,855 acres may be impacted by private in- 
terests within the next decade. This projected coastal wet- 
land loss should be carefully evaluated in terms of previous 
wetland losses , loss of revenue provided by the wetland re- 
sources , and by the fact that unsatisfied participant demand 
for waterfowl hunting and sport fishing already exists in 
many coastal counties. This unsatisfied or latent partici- 
pation demand for recreation appears particularly acute in 
populous southeastern Michigan. Waterfowl habitat pro- 
jections to the year 2000 A.D., for example, reveal defi- 
ciencies for fall and spring migration use in Saginaw Bay 
and along the southeastern Michigan coast (U.S. Dept . of 
Interior, 1971). Habitat deficiencies result in changes 
in migration patterns which, in turn, may reduce waterfowl 
hunting success. 

Key References 

There are few basic references to consult to 
determine fish and wildlife values in a given wetland. 
What is perhaps most comprehensive is an environmental 
impact statement prepared by a public or private agency. 
However, such statements, although quite detailed, are 
limited to very few geographical areas. Regionally, a 
few good reports exist. Scharf s report on Nesting and 
Migration Areas of Birds of the U. S. Great Lakes (1977) , 
with its inventories and maps, is an excellent source as 
reflected in the matrix. Wagner et al . , (1977) have 
completed a report on Endangered, Threatened, and Rare 
Vascular Plants in Michigan for the Michigan DNR. 
Accompanying the text is an atlas of these plants in 
Michigan by county. Also included are citations of other 
investigators who have reported on these unusual flora. 

A regional evaluation of muskrats has been com- 
pleted by Baumgartner (1942). Although not updated, a 



183 



good geographic study by areas in Michigan has been made 
and the coastal muskrat habitats have been identified and 
mapped. 

Key references on fish, particularly spawning 
sites, have yet to be prepared for publication. Such 
data should receive priority since the dollar value of 
sport fishing is $286/wetland acre/year. With regard to 
types of fishes and habitats, Trautman's The Fishes of 
Ohio (1957) is a useful source. 

For waterfowl, the reports of Miller (1943, 1949) 
and Pirnie (1935) are the most comprehensive references. 
As with muskrats , the data have not been collectively 
updated. Therefore, the most current sources of informa- 
tion are in the files of the Wildlife Division of the 
Michigan DNR. 

Future land use and population trends in the 
Great Lakes Basin, to include the coastal regions of 
Michigan, have been prepared by the Great Lakes Basin 
Commission in Ann Arbor. The 17 Appendices published in 
1975-76 are comprehensive and include information on 
wetlands, fish, and wildlife within a regional framework. 



184 



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191 



APPENDIX 

SCIENTIFIC AND COMMON NAMES OF WATERFOWL WHICH 
FREQUENT MICHIGAN'S COASTAL WETLANDS 



Ducks and Mergansers : 
Scientific Name 



Common Name 



Aix sponsa 
Anas acuta 
Anas clypeata 
Anas crecca 
Anas discors 
Anas penelope 
Anas platyrhynchos 
Anas rubripes 
Anas strepera 
Aythya affinis 
Aythya americana 
Aythya collaris 
Aythya marila 
Aythya valisneria 
Bucephala albeola 
Bucephala clangula 
Clangula hyemalis 
Mergus cucullatus 
Mergus serrator 
Oxyura jamaicensis 

Geese and Brant: 



Wood Duck 

Pintail 

Northern Shoveler 

Green-winged Teal 

Blue-winged Teal 

American Widgeon (Baldpate) 

Common Mallard 

Black Duck 

Gadwall 

Lesser Scaup 

Redhead 

Ring-necked Duck 

Breater Scaup 

Canvasback 

Bufflehead 

Common Goldeneye (American Goldeneye) 

Old squaw 

Hooded Merganser 

Red-breasted Merganser 

Ruddy Duck 



Anser caerulescens 
Branta bernicla 
Branta canadensis 



Snow Goose 
Brant Goose 
Canada Goose 



Swans : 

Cygnus columbianus 
Cygnus cygnus 
Cygnus olor 

Coots: 



Whistling Swan 
Trumpeter Swan 
Mute Swan 



Fulica americana 



American Coot 



Source : Johnsgaard, 1975, Waterfowl of North America 



192 



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196 



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204 



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