Week of January 19, 2009
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is
strong enough to take everything you have."
Heartland Institute media monitors have noted on several occasions that climate-change alarmists are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their position that human activity has warmed Earth to crisis proportions.
Polar bears keep growing in numbers, Antarctic ice keeps expanding, deserts keep receding, temperatures keep easing, and the ranks of science skeptics keep multiplying. It's tough to scare people with that kind of sound-science evidence.
Now the folk at DeSmogblog - created like so many alarmist sites for the sole purpose of attacking conservatives,
libertarians and global warming skeptics - is getting really
worried. DeSmogblog toted up the 2008 online battle this way: References to "global warming" and "hoax" soared 125 percent to 49,719 citations in 2008; GW and "lie" jumped 101% to 100,770; "alarmist" increased 97% to 27,298, and "skeptic" (our favorite) rose 93% to 73,956 citations.
"We're also seeing more people than ever using the internet as their main source of news and information," DeSmogblog posted recently. "Legislators are going to be very hard pressed to implement strict new greenhouse gas regulations if almost a majority of the public believes that climate change has nothing to do with human activity."
Public comment period closes Feb 12
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that modifies language regarding existing hunting programs at 76 national wildlife refuges. The proposed rule has a 30-day public comment period. The Service hopes to finalize the rule in time for the early winter and early spring 2008-2009 hunting seasons.
The proposed rule does not expand or create hunting programs but clarifies minor administrative matters such as opening hours for hunter registration and approved weapons for big game hunting.
The public comment period closes Feb. 12, 2009. You may provide comments online at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Comments also may be sent via U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018-AV20; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203. E-mailed or faxed comments will not be accepted.
To view the proposed rule: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-287.pdf
Ask anyone who has had the misfortune of falling through thin or bad ice, and most would agree: There is no such thing as safe ice, only safer ice.
“It is a cold and painful lesson that Mother Nature teaches us” said Col. Michael Crider, head of the Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Ice fishermen aren’t fair weather fisherman that’s for sure. Anyone unprepared or uninformed is likely have a date with disaster sometime during their ice fishing years.”
Crider suggested following these simple safety rules to minimize the risks associated with ice fishing
► 4 in. of new clear ice is recommended for foot travel; if you go by snowmobile or ATV, 5 in. is the minimum
► Don’t consume alcoholic beverages
► Never fish alone. Always take a buddy and let someone know where you are going.
► Wear a life jacket under your winter gear. It not only will
keep you buoyant should you fall through, but also will provide additional warmth.
► Carry ice picks or ice awls. These will allow you to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice.
► Should you go through, remain calm. Turn in the direction you came from. Extend your hands and arms, forcing the ice picks solidly into the ice ahead of you. Kick your feet and pull yourself out onto the ice. Do Not Stand Up! By rolling away from the hole, you spread out your weight until you are able to reach solid ice.
► Carry a signaling type of whistle. Using it may be the only way to let someone know that you are in trouble. A cell phone can be a valuable survival tool but only as long as it remains dry. Carrying a length of rope also can be useful.
► Stay away from areas on lakes that have inlets or outlets. Be mindful about flowing water if fishing on a channel between two lakes. Ice fishing on Indiana’s reservoir impoundments can pose particular concerns; pay close attention to fluctuating water levels.
► Remember to think ahead and have a plan
Army Corps study finds Great Lakes recreational boating produces over $9 billion annual economic impact. The 103 page US Army Corps of Engineers 2008 Economic Great Lakes Boating Report. The information should be useful to document the economic importance of boating on the Great Lakes.
The report measures the regional economic impacts of recreational boating, in terms of boater spending and job creation in the Great Lakes basin. The 911,000 recreational boaters on the Great Lakes:
• spend $2.36 billion per year on boating trips;
• spend $1.44 billion per year on boats, boating equipment and supplies;
• create 60,000 jobs with $1.77 billion in personal income; and
• increase the quality of life and appreciation of the environment for many Americans.
Data used to estimate boating days, craft spending and trip spending for different size boats were obtained independently from on-line assessments conducted by the Recreational Marine Research Center (RMRC) at Michigan State University.
According to the RMRC, an average boat owner using the
Great Lakes spends about $3,600 per year on vessel ownership, including $1,400 on craft-related expenses (e.g., equipment, repairs, insurance, slip fees) and $2,200 on boating trips (e.g., gas, oil, food, lodging) involving an average of 23 boat days. The averages are dominated by the high percentage of mostly smaller watercraft.
Owners of larger boats spend considerably more than these averages, up to as high as $20,000 per year for boats 41 feet and more. Average spending per boat day on trips varies from $76 for boats less than 16 feet in length to $275 per day for boats larger than 40 feet. The largest trip expenses are for boat fuel (22%), restaurants and bars (17%) and groceries (14%). In 2003, registered watercraft users on the Great Lakes spent $2.36 billion on boating trips and $1.44 billion on craft expenses for a total of $3.8 billion. The majority of annual craft expenses are for equipment (39%), maintenance and repair (29%) and insurance (14%)
The State of Illinois risks losing millions in federal dollars for fish and wildlife management, if the Illinois General Assembly doesn’t act this month to restore $9.25 million in restricted funds “swept” to pay state bills. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office a letter Dec. 19 stating that any transfer of hunting and fishing license fees to pay other state expenses would violate federal law.
The Fish and Wildlife Service had warned the state against the transfers in a letter on Oct. 6.
The money is part of $221 million used last fall from a long list of special state funds to help close Illinois’ budget gap. Included were six funds that are repositories for hunting and fishing license, stamp and other fees.
States receive a share of excise taxes collected on the purchase of sporting goods, such as fishing rods and reels and shotgun shells, if they agree not to spend money generated by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and related fees on things other than managing wildlife and fish restoration projects. Illinois’ estimated share of federal funds for fiscal 2009 is about $16 million. The letter from Thomas Melius, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Fort Snelling, Minn., noted that Blagojevich was advised of fund transfers were illegal, but signed the bill into law the next day.
The “swept” money is being used to keep open some state parks targeted for closure and to restore other cuts, including for substance abuse treatment centers throughout Illinois.
Michigan anglers beginning April 9th will be able to keep up to five salmon a day, in combination with other trout species. The rule change will allow for up to 5 salmon per day (no more than 3 of the 5 can be brown trout, lake trout or steelhead), and was approved at the December meeting of the Natural Resources Commission. The Michigan Charter Boat
Association and about 30% of the survey responses were notin favor of the increase. The Michigan Steelheaders supported the proposal.
Kelly Smith, Chief, Fisheries Division, said the Fisheries Division intends to track bag limits to help determine future bag rates.
MI DNR, Pheasants Forever Partner to get 140 Acres near Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area
The Department of Natural Resources will partner with Pheasants Forever to acquire 140 acres of land in Gratiot County that is adjacent to the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area. DNR Director Rebecca Humphries authorized the transaction at a recent Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.
The land, which is split in two parcels, a 120-acre parcel and a 20-acre one, is located in Hamilton Township in Gratiot County.
Humphries authorized the transaction up to $370,000, with the purchase being paid for by the Turkey Habitat Acquisition Fund, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and a $10,000 gift from Pheasants Forever.
“This acquisition is significant because of the upland bird
habitat on the property,” said Humphries. “This will help us
consolidate ownership, prevent land fractionalization, increase public recreational opportunities and secure additional wildlife habitat. This is an important wildlife corridor connecting existing state ownership at the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area.”
“The DNR especially wishes to recognize the contribution of $10,000 from our conservation partner, Pheasants Forever,” said DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason. “A significant portion of the land being acquired contains the habitat necessary for this special game bird, and by its actions, Pheasants Forever has helped to create more hunting opportunities for Michigan citizens.”
The Saginaw-Gratiot State Game area is 15,892 acres in both Saginaw and Gratiot counties. For more information online, go to the www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting .
Small Game Hunting Brings Millions of Dollars to the Upstate Economy
Hunters Commit to Partner with State to Preserve Savings and Economic Benefits from Hunting
Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he has directed the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to halt the closure of the Reynolds Game Farm in Tompkins County as state officials and hunting groups explore options to fully support the costs of the program with increased license fees.
“The State has long recognized the economic impact hunters and their industry provide for New York State,” said Governor Paterson. “I am pleased that sportsmen and women have joined us to help find creative ways to weather the state’s fiscal crisis while preserving programs important to them.”
According to DEC, approximately 60,000 sportsmen and women hunt pheasants in New York State each year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has estimated that small game hunters spent approximately $600 per person per year on excursions and equipment-related expenses in 2006, contributing potentially millions of dollars to the State economy.
Since the closure of the farm was proposed, hunting groups have advanced several proposals to establish increased license fees or other hunting related fees to support program costs. In consideration of this effort, the Governor has requested that DEC develop a fee structure that will generate new revenues to the Conservation Fund that would fully offset the operational and capital costs of the facility. If sufficient resources can be identified, operation of the Game Farm
would continue in State Fiscal Year 2009-10. Governor Paterson asked DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis to explore a sustainable, hunting related funding stream to cover the expenses of the farm without the use of State dollars. Other long term options to sustain the State’s pheasant stocking program could also be explored.
The farm, located outside of Ithaca, propagates pheasants for the hunting season. Operating costs are more than $750,000 per year – $400,000 of that in personnel. State law permits pheasant hunting through a $16 small game license. The Reynolds Game Farm is largely paid for through the Conservation Fund, although the Fund’s annual deficits have required the use of State dollars to keep the farm operating.
Money from hunting and fishing licenses is dedicated to the Conservation Fund, which helps support a number of programs including fish hatcheries, sporting license databases, wildlife health monitoring studies and stream and lake surveys.
All pheasants distributed through the pheasant stocking program are released, either by DEC or other cooperators, on land open to the public for pheasant hunting.
On an annual basis, the pheasant stocking program typically produces:
► 25,000 adult pheasants that are raised on site and distributed by DEC.
► 60,000 day-old chicks that are distributed/released yearly by over 200 4-H & sportsmen’s clubs and 5 State prisons
► 15,000 young pheasants distributed to individual landowners.
► 1,600 adult pheasants for special hunts including people with disabilities and youths (ages 12 to 15).
Ordered to pay $16,340 FOR dredging a lakebed and filling in wetlands
MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced last week that the Wisconsin Dept of Justice had settled a lawsuit against Pine Ridge of Wautoma, LLC and Mathew P. Brown, LLC for violations of state environmental protection laws.
According to the complaint filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Pine Ridge of Wautoma, LLC (Pine Ridge) hired contractor Jody Henke to dredge a glacial pothole lake and place dredged spoils in wetlands on property owned by Mathew P. Brown, LLC, without first obtaining proper permits. Pine Ridge stopped work on the project when approached by the Department of Natural Resources. It removed the fill from the wetland, and repaired the lakebed. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Pine Ridge has agreed to pay penalties and assessments
totaling $16,340 for the violations. It has also committed to finish restoring the disturbed area and to monitor that area in order to ensure that invasive or non-native species do not become established. Litigation against Henke will proceed.
"The law is clear. Those wishing to place fill in wetlands or dredge lakes must first seek and obtain a permit from the DNR," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "This process ensures the state's waters are protected, for the benefit of Wisconsin citizens and the environment. Un-permitted activities can seriously harm aquatic life and the quality of our waterways and wetlands. The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure compliance with the law."
Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State. The settlement was approved by Waushara County Circuit Court Judge Guy D. Dutcher.
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