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      Officials approve expansion of a northern Michigan commercial fish hatchery

      State officials have approved a vast expansion of a northern Michigan commercial fish hatchery, which anglers fear could damage the Au Sable River and its prized trout populations.

      TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - State officials have approved a vast expansion of a northern Michigan commercial fish hatchery, which anglers fear could damage the Au Sable River and its prized trout populations.

      The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Tuesday it has granted a permit to Dan Vogler, who leases the Grayling Fish Hatchery.

      The century-old operation formerly was run by the state Department of Natural Resources and is a popular tourist attraction.

      Vogler wants to gradually boost production of rainbow trout from 20,000 a year to as many as 300,000 a year.

      Sporting groups including Anglers of the Au Sable and Trout Unlimited raised concerns about discharges of phosphorus and other effluent into the river.

      The DEQ says it took those issues into account and toughened the discharge limits.