Week of January  27, 2014

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2nd Amendment Issues
General
Lake Michigan

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Ohio
Pennsylvania
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Regional

Huron-Erie Corridor receives honor

ANN ARBOR, Mich—The Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative received a 2013 Department of the Interior (DOI) Partners in Conservation award today, which is one of the highest recognitions bestowed on organizations by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

 

“The Department of the Interior is proud to recognize the accomplishments of those who are innovating and collaborating in ways that address today’s complex conservation and stewardship challenges,” Secretary Jewell said at an awards ceremony at the Interior headquarters in Washington today. “These partnerships represent the gold standard for how Interior is doing business across the nation to power our future, strengthen tribal nations, conserve and enhance America’s great outdoors and engage the next generation.”

 

Representatives from the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative, including the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, Michigan Sea Grant (University of Michigan and Michigan State University), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Great Lakes Fishery Commission attended the 2013 Partners in Conservation Awards Recognition Event on January 16, at Main Interior in Washington, D.C. A local presentation of award certificates is also planned for February 5, during the Annual Meeting of the Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative, at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor. The initiative was honored for its relevant new science that will assist resource managers in making decisions concerning the restoration of native aquatic species and their habitats in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. 

 

"The Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative partners have been committed to collaborative restoration activities and research since the early 2000s," said Leon Carl, USGS Midwest Regional Director and a founding member of the partnership. "Ten years later, we're recording the fruits of that commitment through ongoing fish spawning habitat restoration efforts and the development of a strategic restoration plan to carry us into the next ten years and beyond."

 

The Partners in Conservation Awards recognize outstanding examples of conservation legacies achieved when DOI engages groups and individuals representing a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests to work

collaboratively to renew lands and resources. The achievements of the

Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative have been realized through the outstanding participation of diverse organizations on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

 

The St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, also known as the Huron-Erie corridor, are the international waters that connect Lake Huron to Lake Erie and provide habitat for over 65 species of fish. The region, which includes the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, is part of the central Great Lakes flyway for millions of migratory waterfowl. It contains some of the largest and most diverse wetlands remaining in the region.

 

“I am indeed so proud of all these public and private partners who are working together on sound science in support of restoring this ecological corridor,” said Congressman John D. Dingell.  “This critically important work is not only supporting the restoration of fish and wildlife populations, and their requisite habitats, but it is helping bring conservation into a major urban area where nearly seven million people live in the watershed and thereby helping develop the next generation of conservationists.”

 

Environmental changes in the corridor over time have resulted in the loss of habitat for fish and other organisms. The partners developed a plan to increase habitat for lake whitefish, lake sturgeon, walleye and other native fish populations, based on research suggesting that water flow, depth and temperature are important in the placement of spawning reefs. Pre- and post-construction monitoring demonstrated an immediate response by over 14 native fish species, including spawning by the commercially important lake whitefish, which was a first in over a century; use by the globally rare northern madtom; and spawning by lake sturgeon, which is listed as a threatened species in both Michigan and Ontario.

 

Seven additional fish spawning habitat projects are planned for construction in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers by 2015. With funding support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, over 20 acres of fish spawning habitat will be restored in these urban rivers by 2015.

The Huron-Erie Corridor Initiative is an international, collaborative partnership including federal, tribal, state, provincial, local governmental and non-governmental participants.


Threat of Earthquakes Occurring in Central United States Still Alive

PASADENA, Calif. — Earthquake activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central United States does not seem to be slowing down.  In a new study published in the journal "Science," seismologists Morgan Page and Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey investigate whether current quakes in the region could be aftershocks of large earthquakes that occurred 200 years earlier.

Using extensive computer modeling of aftershock behavior, they show that the dearth of moderate (Magnitude 6) earthquakes following the series of large earthquakes in 1811-1812, combined with the high rates of small earthquakes today, is not consistent with the long-lived aftershock hypothesis.

 

A debate has swirled in recent years, fueled in part by past studies suggesting that continuing New Madrid seismic activity could be the tail end of a long-lived aftershock sequence following the 1811-1812 earthquakes.   If modern activity is an aftershock sequence, the argument goes, then there is no evidence that stress is currently building in the zone. Instead, Page and Hough conclude that the current level of activity must be the signature of active, ongoing processes that continue to 

 

generate stress in the region –stress that we expect will eventually be released in future large earthquakes.  In other words, the New Madrid Seismic Zone is not dead.

 

The New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central U.S. produced 4 large earthquakes with magnitudes upwards of 7 over the winter of 1811-1812.  Over the last two centuries, small quakes have continued to occur in the zone at a higher rate than elsewhere in the central United States.  Geologic evidence also shows that large earthquake sequences occurred there in about 1450 A.D. and 900 A.D.

 

 

 

The paper, "The New Madrid Seismic Zone: Not Dead Yet," is available online. Additional information about the New Madrid Seismic Zone and its history is available from the USGS online.

 

 

 


 

General

Streamflow Alteration Impacts Fish Diversity in Local Rivers

A new USGS study quantifies change in fish diversity in response to streamflow alteration in the Tennessee River basin.

The USGS study highlights the importance of the timing, magnitude, and variability of low streamflows and the frequency and magnitude of high streamflows as key characteristics critical to assessing how fish communities change in response to streamflow alteration. This study was completed using fish community data collected by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and predictions of streamflow characteristics at more than 600 locations.

 

The Tennessee River basin is one of the richest areas of aquatic diversity in the country, if not the world.  However, expanding urban development, more than 600 privately held small dams on medium to small streams, and withdrawal of more than 700 million gallons of water each day threaten this diversity.  Understanding the effect of streamflow alteration on aquatic ecology is increasingly important as change in land use and human population are projected. 

 

One of the examples from the study shows that as maximum October streamflow deviates outside reference conditions by approximately 6 cubic feet per second per square mile, fish diversity may decline by

almost nine species in the Blue Ridge ecoregion of eastern Tennessee

and western North Carolina.  Results such as this were identified across the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Interior Plateau ecoregions for 11 categories of fish and will help resource managers identify when streamflow alteration may result in too much ecological degradation.

 

“Managing river flows to meet the needs of our growing communities and economies will become increasingly challenging in the future”, said Sally Palmer, director of science for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. “Maintaining our rivers to support an abundance of natural wildlife, including our native fish, is an important goal as well. Studies like these give us better information to make management decisions which more effectively balance all the demands placed on our river resources.”

 

The National Park Service, responsible for the protection and management of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Obed Wild and Scenic River in Tennessee, has a need to assess potential impacts to the resources they are charged with protecting.  “This research enhances our ability to respond to current development pressures and serves as the foundation to develop a decision support tool to address future water resource issues” said Jeff Hughes, hydrologist with the NPS.


Large old trees grow fastest, storing more carbon

THREE RIVERS, Calif, — Trees do not slow in their growth rate as they get older and larger — instead, their growth keeps accelerating, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

 

"This finding contradicts the usual assumption that tree growth eventually declines as trees get older and bigger," says Nate Stephenson, the study's lead author and a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "It also means that big, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than has been commonly assumed."

 

An international team of researchers compiled growth measurements of 673,046 trees belonging to 403 tree species from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions across six continents, calculating the mass growth rates for each species and then analyzing for trends across the 403 species. The results showed that for most tree species, mass growth rate increases continuously with tree size — in some cases, large trees appear to be adding the carbon mass equivalent of an entire smaller tree each year.

 

"In human terms, it is as if our growth just keeps accelerating after adolescence, instead of slowing down," explains Stephenson. "By that measure, humans could weigh half a ton by middle age, and well over a ton at retirement."

 

This continuously increasing growth rate means that on an individual

basis, large, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon that is absorbed or "sequestered" through natural processes reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and can help counter-balance the amount of CO2 people generate.

 

However, the researchers are careful to note that the rapid absorption rate of individual trees does not necessarily translate into a net increase in carbon storage for an entire forest.

 

"Old trees, after all, can die and lose carbon back into the atmosphere as they decompose," says Adrian Das, a USGS coauthor. "But our findings do suggest that while they are alive, large old trees play a disproportionately important role within a forest’s carbon dynamics. It is as if the star players on your favorite sports team were a bunch of 90-year-olds."

 

The study was a collaboration of 38 researchers from research universities, government agencies and non-governmental organizations from the United States, Panama, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Thailand, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain. The study was initiated by Stephenson and Das through the USGS Western Mountain Initiative and the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis.

 


 

2nd Amendment Issues

Smith & Wesson to stop selling guns in California due to microstamping law

Smith & Wesson announced late Wednesday evening that it will stop selling its handguns in California rather than manufacture them to comply

with the new microstamping law. The other publicly traded firearms manufacturer in the U.S., Sturm, Ruger, also said this month that it will stop new sales to California.  READ MORE


 

Lake Michigan

IL - Yellow Perch Summit

The Lake Michigan Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will host a yellow perch public meeting at the UIC Forum in Chicago on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  Anglers and interested stakeholders are invited to attend. 


WHEN:
8 a.m.-3:00 p.m.,  Saturday, March 22, 2014
WHERE:

UIC Forum, 725 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60607 - Parking is available in public lot, 2 blocks west on Roosevelt Road for $10/day.

COST:
Free, but registration is required by March 15, after that the fee is $20.

If you cannot attend in person, MI Sea Grant will be offering a webinar option that also requires registration. 

 

This multi-jurisdictional meeting will take place 8:30 am - 3:00 pm and is open to persons from all Lake Michigan state (IL, WI, IN and MI) and tribal jurisdictions.  The morning program will consist of informative presentations by invited experts, highlighting the latest science about Lake Michigan ecology and yellow perch populations, fishing, and management.  The afternoon session will consist of a small-group breakout session where constituents can comment on the information presented and provide input to Lake Michigan fishery managers.  A webinar of the meeting will be available online to registered participants unable to travel to the meeting in person.

 

The event is being hosted free-of-charge to registered participants by the Illinois Department DNR and the GLFC.  Registration is free of charge until March 15, after which a $20 fee will be charged.  Participants may register on-line at www.glfc.org/lakecom/yp or by calling the Illinois DNR at 847-294-4134 during regular business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday – Friday).

“Yellow perch are a key component of the inshore fish community in Lake 

Michigan and a favorite target of anglers up and down the Illinois coast, as well as elsewhere around the lake,” said Marc Miller, Director of the Illinois DNR.  “We are pleased to work with our Great Lakes partners in ongoing efforts to improve management of the important perch fishery and provide a public forum to engage our enthusiastic angling community.”

 

Lake Michigan yellow perch experienced a rapid, lakewide decline in abundance during the early 1990s, and abundance has since remained low relative to earlier peaks.  Management authorities convened a yellow perch conference in December 1994 to alert constituents about the drastic decline in perch abundance around the lake.  A Yellow Perch Task Group was created and the group developed and implemented a research strategy to explore the causes of declining yellow perch populations.

 

Later in the decade, individual management authorities closed the commercial perch fishery in the lake’s main basins and reduced the potential harvest from recreational angling by implementing restrictive harvest regulations (e.g., slot limits, bag limits and closed seasons).  These regulations were intended to ensure that adequate numbers of mature perch remained for future spawning seasons when favorable conditions returned to the lake.  Original or modified versions of these earlier regulations have now been in place for almost two decades.  While the cooperative actions by Lake Michigan management agencies prevented a complete collapse of the perch population, recovery has been slow and recent stock assessments indicate a continued gradual decline in population abundance.

 

The meeting will provide anglers with a lakewide view of the latest information available on Lake Michigan yellow perch and provide managers with input from anglers and other stakeholders around the lake.  Possible next steps by the management jurisdictions may include changes to yellow perch management, assessment and/or research.


 

Illinois

Yellow Perch Summit

The Lake Michigan Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will host a yellow perch public meeting at the UIC Forum in Chicago on Saturday, March 22, 2014.  Anglers and interested stakeholders are invited to attend. 


WHEN:
8 a.m.-3:00 p.m.,  Saturday, March 22, 2014
WHERE:

UIC Forum, 725 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60607 - Parking is available in public lot, 2 blocks west on Roosevelt Road for $10/day.

COST:
Free, but registration is required by March 15, after that the fee is $20.

If you cannot attend in person, MI Sea Grant will be offering a webinar option that also requires registration. 

 

This multi-jurisdictional meeting will take place 8:30 am - 3:00 pm and is open to persons from all Lake Michigan state (IL, WI, IN and MI) and tribal jurisdictions.  The morning program will consist of informative presentations by invited experts, highlighting the latest science about Lake Michigan ecology and yellow perch populations, fishing, and management.  The afternoon session will consist of a small-group breakout session where constituents can comment on the information presented and provide input to Lake Michigan fishery managers.  A webinar of the meeting will be available online to registered participants unable to travel to the meeting in person.

 

The event is being hosted free-of-charge to registered participants by the Illinois Department DNR and the GLFC.  Registration is free of charge until March 15, after which a $20 fee will be charged.  Participants may register on-line at www.glfc.org/lakecom/yp or by calling the Illinois DNR at 847-294-4134 during regular business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday – Friday).

“Yellow perch are a key component of the inshore fish community in Lake Michigan and a favorite target of anglers up and down the Illinois coast, as well as elsewhere around the lake,” said Marc Miller, Director of the Illinois DNR.  “We are pleased to work with our Great Lakes partners in ongoing efforts to improve management of the important perch fishery and provide a public forum to engage our enthusiastic angling community.”

 

Lake Michigan yellow perch experienced a rapid, lakewide decline in abundance during the early 1990s, and abundance has since remained low relative to earlier peaks.  Management authorities convened a yellow perch conference in December 1994 to alert constituents about the drastic decline in perch abundance around the lake.  A Yellow Perch Task Group was created and the group developed and implemented a research strategy to explore the causes of declining yellow perch populations.

 

Later in the decade, individual management authorities closed the commercial perch fishery in the lake’s main basins and reduced the potential harvest from recreational angling by implementing restrictive harvest regulations (e.g., slot limits, bag limits and closed seasons).  These regulations were intended to ensure that adequate numbers of mature perch remained for future spawning seasons when favorable conditions returned to the lake.  Original or modified versions of these earlier regulations have now been in place for almost two decades.  While the cooperative actions by Lake Michigan management agencies prevented a complete collapse of the perch population, recovery has been slow and recent stock assessments indicate a continued gradual decline in population abundance.

 

The meeting will provide anglers with a lakewide view of the latest information available on Lake Michigan yellow perch and provide managers with input from anglers and other stakeholders around the lake.  Possible next steps by the management jurisdictions may include changes to yellow perch management, assessment and/or research.


 

Indiana

Constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish Scheduled for Jan 27 Hearing

The Indiana Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will consider Senate Joint Resolution 9 on Monday, January 27, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 431 of the Indiana Statehouse.  Sponsored by state Senator Brent Steele (R-44), SJR 9 would guarantee Hoosiers the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.  This legislation would ensure the preservation of Indiana's rich hunting heritage.

 

By declaring this right, Indiana would keep the existing fishing and hunting

structure in place while protecting future generations of sportsmen from attacks initiated by well-funded anti-hunting extremists.  Specifically, SJR 9 would promote wildlife conservation and management.  In addition, it specifies that hunting, fishing and harvesting of wildlife shall be used as a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.  This proposed constitutional amendment would ensure that sportsmen will continue to be used as Indiana’s responsible game managers instead of the taxpayer-funded sharpshooters and unproven, expensive wildlife contraception schemes employed in other jurisdictions.

 


Lawmakers take aim at gun turn-in programs

A proposal forcing Gary and other Indiana cities to end their gun buy-back programs was approved 6-2 Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.Senate Bill 229, which now goes to the full Senate, prohibits

local governments and their police departments from conducting gun buy-back events intended to reduce the number of guns circulating in a community.  READ MORE


 

Michigan

DNR creel clerks collecting angler info this winter

The Michigan DNR is reminding anglers that agency personnel will be interviewing anglers about their fishing trips.

DNR creel clerks will ask anglers about how long they fished, what species they were targeting, what they caught and where they live. It usually takes only a couple of minutes to answer the questions. The DNR appreciates anglers’ cooperation. In some cases, the creel clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scale samples.

 

These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program designed to track recreational fisheries across Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. 

 

“The point of this program is to characterize how many fish are harvested, how many hours anglers spend fishing and what fish they’re targeting,” said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Kolb. “The primary goal is to ensure we have enough information to manage our fisheries across the state.”

 

This winter creel clerks will be stationed at Saginaw Bay, the Au Sable River, the Les Cheneaux Islands, Munising, Au Train, Marquette, Keweenaw Bay, Little Bay de Noc and Menominee Harbor. Starting April 1, creel clerks will appear at Great Lakes boating access sites, fishing piers and shorelines across the entire Great Lakes coastline to survey spring, summer and fall fisheries.


Catfish record broken second time in less than two years
The Michigan DNR has confirmed the catch of a new state record flathead catfish on Monday, Jan. 13. The catfish was caught by Dale Blakley of Niles, Mich., on Jan. 12, on Barron Lake in Cass County. The fish weighed 52.0 lbs and measured 46.02". Blakley was ice fishing for crappies when he landed the record fish. 

The record was verified by Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Plainwell office. 

The previous state record flathead catfish was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County on May 22, 2012. That fish weighed 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches. Prior to that, the record hadn’t been broken since 1943.
 

“Catching this fish was the most exhilarating experience,” said Blakley. “It
was only the second time I’ve ever gone ice fishing and it was the only bite we had on the lake the whole day. This definitely sits at the top of my list!”

 

It should be noted that flathead catfish typically inhabit large river systems, like the nearby St. Joseph River. Based on the size of this fish, it mysteriously found its way to Barron Lake several years ago, perhaps through illegal stocking as there are no direct connections to a large river system. Anglers are reminded that transferring fish from one water body to another is prohibited because such transfers can disrupt the fish community in the receiving water through predation, competition with native species, or introduction of new disease-causing organisms. 

State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. Watch video:
http://youtu.be/864YR-QAKMY


Michigan State U. hosts 99th annual ANR Week

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Gardeners, farmers, foresters and families interested in animals, plants, land and water are invited to Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week, Feb. 28-March 8, 2014. The annual event, formerly known as Farmers’ Week, is hosted by the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension and Michigan AgBioResearch.

 

This year’s events include educational programs on topics ranging from conservation stewardship to artisan cheesemaking.

 

Programs this year include:

  • Birding 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Birding (March 1) – This workshop is sponsored by Michigan Audubon and the Quiet Water Symposium. It will explore the use of binoculars and field guides, and cover bird identification and habitat.

  • Forage Technology Conference (March 6) – This conference, sponsored by MSU Extension, the Michigan Forage Council and the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, will feature innovative researchers, industry representatives and cutting-edge farmers. They will speak on topics such as grazing management, use of cover crops as forage, hay and haylage production, and corn silage production.

 

In addition, ANR Week is the setting for several annual meetings and conferences, including the following:

  • Michigan State Rabbit Breeders (Feb. 28-March 2), which includes exhibition and judging of more than 3,000 rabbits and cavies.

  • Michigan Wildflower Conference (March 2-3), which will focus on preserving and restoring biodiversity in generally urban and suburban yards.

  • 82nd Michigan FFA Convention (March 5-7), which is themed, “Envision the Goal, Embrace Your Journey.”

  • Michigan Barn Preservation Network Conference (March 7-8), which offers barn enthusiasts and barn owners an opportunity to learn more about Michigan’s agricultural heritage and historic farm buildings.

  • Michigan Beekeepers’ Association Spring Conference: The Wonder of Honeybees (March 7-8), will offer breakout sessions for participants to learn about the many aspects of beekeeping.

 

Other events include the Michigan Farmers Market Conference (March 4-5), Horticultural Therapy: Connecting People and Plants (March 7), Horse Expo 2014 (March 7-9) and the Quiet Water Symposium (March 1).

 

Free ANR Week program guides with dates, times, locations, costs and event descriptions are available from any county MSU Extension office or the MSU Bulletin Office, 117 Central Services, MSU, East Lansing, MI 48824-1001; 517-353-6740.

 

For a complete list of programs, conferences and educational opportunities, visit www.anrweek.canr.msu.edu, or contact program coordinator Megghan Honke at 517-353-3175, ext. 229, or e-mail honkemeg@msu.edu.

 


 

Ohio

Ohio concealed-carry for teachers advances

School districts that designate teachers and other personnel to carry hidden firearms must undergo pretraining and a psychological

assessment after the fact if they use the weapon under a bill that passed the House with bipartisan support.  READ MORE


 

Pennsylvania

Commissioners Approve Voluntary Youth License

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jan. 23) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) voted at its quarterly meeting today to create a voluntary $1 youth fishing license and to dedicate the revenue generated from it to programs to increase youth fishing participation.

“Increasing youth and family participation in fishing, boating, and conservation programs has always been part of our strategic plan,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.  “This goal responds to the fact that the percentage of children and young adults ages 6 to 15 who fished in Pennsylvania in 2010 was only 24 percent, as compared to  37 percent in 2005 and 41 percent in 1995. We want to continue to refine and develop programs to engage kids.”

 

A youth license also provides an added benefit when it comes to federal funding, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of the PFBC’s budget. For every youth license sold, the PFBC will receive approximately $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells.

 

According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 367,000 children and young adults ages 6 to 15 fished in Pennsylvania in 2010. 

 

“I want to emphasize that this is purely a voluntary youth license, and it is not required for kids to fish,” Arway said. “If just 25 percent of those 367,000 children were to purchase a voluntary $1 license, it would result in more than $550,000 in revenue for the Commission to invest in youth programs,” added Arway.

 

He added that the potential market for voluntary youth license sales goes beyond the youth anglers and their family and friends. Clubs, organizations, businesses, individuals and others who are interested in promoting youth angling could purchase quantities of voluntary youth license vouchers to distribute to children.

 

Once a voluntary youth license is purchased or a youth license voucher is redeemed, the individual will be assigned a unique customer identification number (CID).

 

“Having unique CIDs allows us to analyze license purchasing patterns and trends, tailor messages and programs, and correspond directly with customers,” Arway added.

 

The voluntary youth license will be available beginning Feb. 1 from all licensing agents and online through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop. With a $1 agent fee and a $0.70 transaction fee, the total cost to purchase the license will be $2.70.

Youth who plan to participate in the upcoming Mentored Youth Fishing Days must obtain either a voluntary youth fishing license or a free mentored youth fishing permit. It is not necessary to obtain both. The Mentored Youth Fishing Days are scheduled for March 22 and April 5. More information is available at www.gonefishingpa.com.

Also today, Commissioners voted to seek public comment on a staff proposal to remove the option seniors 65 and older currently have to purchase a lifetime trout/salmon permit in conjunction with the purchase of a $50 senior resident lifetime fishing license. 

Under the proposal, seniors who want to fish for trout would have to purchase a permit each year, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Seniors who purchase a lifetime trout/salmon permit in conjunction with a lifetime license before that date would be grandfathered.  

“About 70 percent of seniors purchase a trout/salmon permit, which mirrors the rate for other anglers,” said Arway. “The Commission’s trout program accounts for 36 percent of the Fish Fund annual expenditures, and the cost of trout production continues to rise. We simply can no longer afford to allow anglers to fish for trout without paying for the annual permit.”

 

The PFBC estimates that the proposed change would generate approximately $300,000 in additional annual revenue by the fifth year. Once the notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the PA Bulletin, individuals will have 30 days to submit comments. Comments can be submitted through the PFBC website.

 

In other action, Commissioners:

  • Approved a regulation change that permit anglers who purchase a one-year, multi-year or senior lifetime fishing license and then move out of state to continue to use the license until it expires. “This is a customer service improvement that benefits both the agency and anglers,” said Arway. “We want anglers to get the maximum benefit from their license and to enjoy their fishing experience. This change makes fishing more convenient for those individuals.” The change will take effect after being published in the PA Bulletin.

  • Approved the elimination of the regulation which requires boat owners to affix a temporary validation decal to their boats while their registration application is being processed. Boat owners now will be able to demonstrate proof of registration by showing a copy of their registration application. The change goes into effect on April1, or upon publication in the PA Bulletin, whichever is later.

  • Approved a change to the Statewide Natural Gas Leasing Program which removes the restriction on how funds generated from the program must be used.

  • Approved a habitat improvement plan submitted by Solebury Township, Bucks County, to remove a dam on Aquetong Creek at Ingham Springs and restore the stream channel to its natural flowing condition.

  • Approved a grant of up to $151,397 to American Rivers for habitat stream restoration work on Bigby Run, Somerset County. The Department of Transportation provided the funding as part of mitigation efforts related to the construction of Route 219. At its January 2008 meeting, the PFBC approved a grant of $270,000 to remove Bigby Dam, owned by Garrett Borough. The restoration work is needed to stabilize the channel and stream banks of Bigby Run. 


 

Other Breaking News Items

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Cleveland traffic camera system unconstitutional, appellate court rules

Cleveland's automated traffic camera system for spotting motorists who speed and run red lights is unconstitutional, the Eighth District Court of Appeals said Thursday. The panel ruled unanimously the system violates the requirement that traffic tickets issued come under the jurisdiction of the municipal court.

 

Great Lakes funding restored
Congressional leaders have announced a new bipartisan compromise budget bill that includes $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for 2014.

 

Scientists to go ahead with $600K algae study
A new $600,000 study funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will sample sediment at the bottom of Lake Erie to track various forms of phosphorus and nitrogen believed to feed harmful algal blooms.

 

Put Your Information On Obamacare Site And A Hacker Will Have It In 4 Minutes »
David Kennedy, the hacker who recently testified before Congress about Healthcare.gov’s many security failures, explained during a TV appearance Sunday how he was able to compromise the Obamacare insurance exchange website in fewer than four minutes. 

 

 

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