Week of February 13, 2006

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World

Bio-bullet pill could kill mussels

Scientists in England have developed a tiny pill that can kill the Zebra mussel, an invasive species that's threatening native species and damaging the environment.  A team of scientists working at Cambridge University have produced a pill or "biobullet" which can be administered to waterways infested by the non-native freshwater Zebra mussel.

 

The tiny "pills" are microcapsules laced with potassium chloride and are taken in through the filter-feeding mechanism of the mussels and release the chemical, which slowly kills the mussel. The microcapsules are harmless to other organisms.

 

Zebra mussels reproduce so much that their colonies can cover virtually all solid surfaces in some rivers and cause

industrial problems by clogging pipe inlets and drains. They can also out-compete other mussel species. Zebra mussels are a major aquatic pest in the USA.

 

A severe infestation at Lough Erne led to industrial modifications to the area's water treatment unit costing over £100,000. A small number of specimens were found in Northern Ireland's Lough Neagh in November 2005.

 

The Zebra mussel is considered one of the world's top 100 invasive species and is native to the Caspian Sea in Eastern Europe. 

 

The news was originally published in the British Science Journal: Practical Fishkeeping, February 3, 2006


National

Ship ballast water treatment set for test

SUGAR LAND, TX — A ship ballast water treatment (BWT) system from Severn Trent De Nora has been selected for use in the first validation tests of the Environmental Technology Verification protocols for BWT systems, according to a statement from Severn Trent.

 

The US Coast Guard and the USEPA have developed draft protocols for verifying performance of BWT systems as part of a program to help develop effective environmental technologies through independent tests of performance claims, the statement said.

According to the statement, the system generates biocides, meters and analyzes the residual level of both biocides and neutralizing agents, and logs the performance of the overall BWT system.

 

The pilot validation test will be conducted at the US Naval Research Laboratory test facility in Key West, FL. Severn Trent De Nora, is a joint venture of Severn Trent Services, Fort Washington, PA, and Gruppo De Nora, Milan, Italy, providing marine and offshore industrial water disinfection services.

 


Waders and Boots are Whirling Disease Vectors

Preliminary results from an Oregon State University study have documented what many have long suspected, that waders and wading boots can transport both the triactinomyxon (TAM) and myxospore life stages of Myxobolus cerebralis. The study, conducted by Paul Reno and David Latremouille, further demonstrated that the transport of TAMs and spores can cause infection in both rainbow trout and Tubifex tubifex worms.

 

Movement of infected fish is thought to be the primary mechanism for the spread of whirling disease. Transport by wildlife and human activities has long been suspected as

another important vector. Research has been ongoing to document and quantify the spread of M. cerebralis through these mechanisms, however conclusive evidence has been hard to find. Funding for several of these projects has been provided through the Whirling Disease Initiative, including the study referenced above, “The potential of vehicles and fomites to transfer the agent of whirling disease.”

 

The study, slated for completion in June 2006, has so far demonstrated the transport and infectivity of M. cerebralis on waders and wading boots. The researchers are also investigating the viability of M. cerebralis after ingestion by several bird species. Stay tuned for their final results.


Fish Habitat Plan Gets Budget Boost

Fed Bolsters Funding for National Fish Habitat Action Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bush Administration today provided key support for an unprecedented approach to fisheries conservation by requesting $3 million for the National Fish Habitat Action Plan in the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2007 budget. The funding, which appears in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Fisheries Program budget, would support fish habitat projects identified by partnerships established under the action plan.  In FY 2006, $1 million was made available for these purposes.

 

“The Administration’s confidence in the National Fish Habitat Action Plan further energizes the large and diverse partner base that supports this historic effort,” said Douglas Austen, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and chairman of the action plan’s Core Work Group. “These funds will be applied on the ground to fish habitat partnerships that make a difference and that are models for success.”

If approved by Congress, additional funding for the Action Plan

would be used for projects similar to the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, the Western Native Trout Initiative and other partnership-oriented efforts. For more information about these initiatives, visit www.fishhabitat.org.  Fish habitat partnerships are also supported by Multistate Conservation Grants, which address regional or national level priorities of state fish and wildlife agencies. During the last two years, $2.9 million has been invested in these projects under the grant program, which is cooperatively managed by the FWS and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife

Agencies.

 

The final National Fish Habitat Action Plan is scheduled for release April 24 during Congressional Casting Call 2006, which will take place on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.  For more info visit: www.fishhabitat.org .

 

For more information about the National Fish Habitat Initiative and to sign up as a partner, go to www.fishhabitat.org


Regional

Lamprey control budget cut

The U.S. fiscal 2007 federal budget contained an overall reduction of about 1% for non-military discretionary programs, though included a 14% increase in Department of State discretionary programs. The following is a preliminary report about how the budget affects the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the sea lamprey control program.

 

The budget reduces the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s funding from $14.4 million to $12.1, million, a cut of $2.3 million or 15%.  (The Lake Champlain add-on of $500,000 was also eliminated.)  The commission notified the US government that a total US contribution of $18.9 is needed in fiscal 2007.

 

►If the budget passes Congress, the commission will be forced to make significant reductions in the sea lamprey control program at a time when sea lamprey abundances are on the rise in many areas of the Great Lakes. 

 

►Approximately 15 priority streams will be dropped from the treatment list.

►Work to advance the development and application of pheromone controls—a major commission investment—will be in serious jeopardy.

 

►The reduction will leave millions more sea lamprey larvae in the Great Lakes to cause severe ecological and economic harm.

 

►Fishery research—including research into invasive species—will be reduced significantly.  In fact, the budget will draw to a close money-saving alternative control techniques just as considerable investments are ready to pay off.

 

►The ability of the commission to facilitate the Joint Strategic Plan process will be undermined.

 

The Commission staff  have received several calls from Congressional staff about this budget and we are planning meetings with staff at the end of the month.  Congress will consider and debate the budget, and we won’t know a final number for several months.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for February 10, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:

All of the Great Lakes are 2 to 7 inches below the levels of a year ago except Lake Ontario which is an inch above last year’s level.  Lake Superior is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should rise an inch within the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is expected to rise 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Erie should rise an inch over the next 30 days.  Lake Ontario is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Due to a warmer than average January, some of the Great Lakes may begin their seasonal rise earlier than normal, but levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005.    

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of February.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during February.  Niagara River flows are expected to be above average in February.  St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be near average in February.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions

before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Water level for Feb 10 in ft

601.1

577.2

573.5

571.1

245.6

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

0

-4

+14

+23

+28

Diff from last month, in inches

-2

+2

+4

+5

+11

Diff from last year in inches

-2

-6

-7

-7

+1


General

Field & Stream Announces Heroes of Conservation Awards

Top Honoree to Receive a New 2006 Toyota Tundra

Las Vegas, NV – February 10, 2006 – Field & Stream announced details of the first annual Heroes of Conservation Awards, a new program spearheaded by the magazine to recognize sportsmen dedicated to the protection of fish and wildlife. The program will culminate in late September 2006 with a Heroes of Conservation Awards Gala, sponsored by Toyota, where one top honoree will receive a new 2006 Toyota Tundra. To nominate an individual involved in a conservation project, please visit www.fieldandstream.com .

 

“Hunters and fishermen have always been America's greatest conservationists, but they've never gotten the recognition they deserve," says Sid Evans, Editor-In-Chief of Field & Stream. "With the Heroes of Conservation Awards we want to honor those sportsmen who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of fish and wildlife. These are men and women who are crucial to keeping our hunting and fishing traditions alive for generations to come.”

 

The Heroes of Conservation Awards are open to all individuals involved in hunting and fishing-related conservation projects. Selections will be based on a number of factors including leadership, commitment, project growth 

and results. Field & Stream will profile three promising Heroes of Conservation entries each month, detailing various projects to preserve the land, water and wildlife vital to sportsman’s pursuits.

 

CALL FOR ENTRIES:

“This is a great opportunity to recognize conservationists in your area,” says Evans. “From the guy down the street who has been quietly removing trash from a trout stream for twenty years to someone building duck habitat, no project is too small.  We’re honoring these outdoorsmen for actively preserving our heritage and letting them know their efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

 

To be considered for the Heroes of Conservation Awards, individuals must be working on a volunteer basis for a conservation project that is well under way or completed.  For complete details, including rules, regulations and nomination instructions, visit www.fieldandstream.com . All nominations must be received by May 15, 2006.

 

A panel of Field & Stream editors and conservation leaders will select six finalists to be flown to New York City for the awards ceremony in late September 2006, where the winner of the 2006 Toyota Tundra will be announced. Runners up will be awarded cash prizes.


Junior Angler Fishing Day initiative May 27th

The IGFA is initiating what it hopes to be an annual event when on May 27th the first International Junior Angler Fishing Day will be held. The organization and is asking for worldwide support.

           

According to Peter Gaube, the IGFA Junior Angler program coordinator, the goal of this event is to offer Junior Anglers all

over the world the opportunity to fish for free on this day.  “We already have numerous boats, piers and lakes committed to this event and would like to add as many locations as possible.”

 

If you feel that the recreational angling industry in your region could facilitate such an event, please contact Peter at 954-924-4247 or pgaube@igfa.org  for more information.


 

Illinois

Youth Turkey Deadline February 14

The deadline to apply for Spring Youth Wild Turkey permits is Feb. 14.  The season is open only to Illinois residents who have not reached their 16th birthday by the start of the season.  Spring Youth Wild Turkey permits are $10 each and will be issued through a computerized lottery.  Application forms are available at IDNR offices and on the web site at

http://dnr.state.il.us .

 

All participating youth hunters must have completed an IDNR-approved hunter education course.  Spring Youth Wild Turkey season dates are Mar. 25-26 in the south zone and April 1-2 in the north zone.


Michigan

DNR Warns of Salmonellosis in Songbirds

Urges Citizens to Help Reduce Risk

A variety of winter songbirds around the state have been reported dead or sick due to Salmonellosis, a bacterial disease transmitted bird to bird in their fecal material, said Department of Natural Resources wildlife disease experts.

 

"Species of birds that feed together in large numbers such as pine siskins, sparrows, gold finches and other finch species, often feed and defecate in the same location, allowing for easy contamination of food," said Tom Cooley, DNR wildlife disease specialist. "Sick birds often sit with their feathers fluffed, act lethargic, are unwilling to move and can be easily approached, and in some cases, handled."

 

Cooley said that birds with Salmonellosis develop lesions in the esophagus and crop areas, where dead cells, bacteria and inflammatory material accumulate in the lining resulting in a thickening of the tissue. In severe cases, birds develop blockages or closures of the esophagus or crop that can result in malnutrition and dehydration.

Once dead birds are collected from a site, birdfeeders should be removed and disinfected in a 10 percent bleach solution. All feeding should be halted for two weeks. Neighbors that also feed birds should be contacted and they should do a similar disinfection and stoppage of feeding, Cooley said. If there are accumulations of spilled feed, these areas should be cleaned up also because contaminated feed could serve as a source of bacterium for any healthy birds in the area. Cooley cautioned that dogs and cats are also susceptible to Salmonellosis, and urged homeowners to not let them feed on any dead birds.

 

For more information on Salmonellosis, go to the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr  and type in Salmonellosis in the Search window. Any sick or dead birds found in yards should be reported to the DNR by using the state's Wildlife Disease Reporting Form on the Emerging Diseases Web page at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases .

 

 


Northern Lower Peninsula Wolf Survey Slated for Mid-February

Department of Natural Resources officials announced the department will conduct a survey in the northern Lower Peninsula Feb. 13 through March 10 to detect the presence of gray wolves in this part of the state.

 

"The goal of the survey is to verify the presence of wolves both in the area where we have confirmed tracks and in other parts of the region," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Brian Mastenbrook.

 

Wolves began naturally returning to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula via Canada and Wisconsin in the early 1990s. Today, the UP is home to at least 400 wolves. Following the accidental killing of a wolf in Presque Isle County in 2004, the DNR confirmed at least two other gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula in 2005.

 

Mastenbrook said the survey will have two components.  First, nine priority areas north of M-32, each between 200 and 400

square miles in size, will be searched. Survey teams will drive along roads and trails looking for wolf tracks using the same techniques as those used in the UP. In addition, survey teams will be searching other areas where there have been one or more public observations. Given the extremely low numbers of wolves in this part of the state and the low probability that tracks will be found, public reports are very important in helping the DNR identify potential wolf locations.

 

During February and March, the DNR is asking the public to report any sightings of wolves or tracks they believe were made by wolves to the DNR Gaylord office at (989) 732-3541, ext. 5901. "If the public finds anything related to wolves, we are encouraging them to preserve the physical evidence or take photographs, and then contact us as soon as possible," Mastenbrook said.

 

The DNR is partnering in this survey effort with USDA Wildlife Services and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.


Public access to state forest land threatened

New legislation moving quickly through the House and Senate (HB5454, S915) threatens public access to lands enrolled in Michigan’s Commercial Forest Act.

 

Landowners who enroll their forest lands in the Commercial Forest Act receive a huge tax break- they only have to pay $1.10 per acre!  Their only requirement, in exchange for this tax break, is that they allow public access to the lands for hunting and fishing.  To lessen the burden on communities, the state pays an additional $1.20 per acre for each acre enrolled in the Commercial Forest Act.

 

Legislation which has passed the State House of Representatives and is now being considered in the Senate would allow most of these lands to forego public access while still receiving a tax break.  The state would also be required to continue to subsidize the taxes on these lands.  Hunters and anglers get no access, the state keeps paying out your tax dollars and landowners gets off dirt cheap!

We need your help today to stop this from happening!

 

Call the following Senator’s offices and demand documented public access for all lands enrolled in the Commercial Forest Act.  Nothing else will do!  Please call immediately…you can leave a message!

•       Senator Gerald VanWoerkom: 866-305-2134 (toll free) SenGVanWoerkom@senate.michigan.gov  

•       Senator Ron Jelinek  866-305-2121 (toll free )  SenRJelinek@senate.michigan.gov   

•       Senator Jud Gilbert  877-445-2378 (toll free) SenJGilbert@senate.michigan.gov  

•       Senator Buzz Thomas  866-348-6304 (toll free)  SenBThomas@senate.michigan.gov  

•       Senator Liz Brater  866-305-0318 (toll-free)  SenLBrater@senate.michigan.gov  

 

Ask your friends and neighbors to call too.

 


Winter Festival Events on Feb. 18 for Free Fishing

Bay City State Recreation Area promoting Project GO

Activities and events for everyone will be offered at the Bay City State Recreation Area on Saturday, Feb. 18, as the Department of Natural Resources hosts Free Fishing Weekend and the Winter Project GO Get Outdoors weekend.

 

The recreation area's Winter Festival will cover both events, with activities starting at 9 a.m. A youth fishing clinic begins at 9 a.m. for children 15 and younger. Participants will learn to build a fishing pole, how to rig it and make a lure. An ice fishing derby starts at 10 a.m. Bait and loaner fishing poles will be provided. Pre-drilled holes for ice fishing will be offered to all children participating.

 

Winter Festival will offer activities for all ages, including wildlife demonstrations, hikes, an introduction to orienteering, snow snake competitions, a treasure dig, a candlelit ski/walk, and

an owl calling hike. For a complete schedule, visit the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center page on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr . Click on Visitor Centers, Museums and Historic Sites listed under Recreation and Camping.

 

"Winter Festival gives us a chance to really showcase the recreation area and outdoor activities that families can enjoy in the winter," said Park Interpreter Valerie Blaschka. "I encourage area families to join us for a fun-filled day, especially those families who have never visited the Bay City State Recreation Area."

 

Admission to the recreation area is free on Feb. 18 for Project GO participants.

 

For more info, call or stop by the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area at (989) 667-0717.


Minnesota

Land sale paves way for safe harbor

A $3 million deal with the Minnesota DNR for Lake Superior property has paved the way for a long discussed safe harbor in Two Harbors. The harbor would be a place boaters could slip into to escape rough weather on Lake Superior, as well as a park-like public space along the shore.

 

Developer Sam Cave signed a deal with the DNR for 27 acres of lakeshore on Agate Bay  late last month. Twenty acres will

be developed as the safe harbor, while 7 acres are being used to retain an existing boat launch.  Money for the harbor construction and land purchase comes from state bonds.

 

The safe harbor philosophy is a federal initiative and is part of a long-term plan to allow public access to Lake Superior along the North Shore and other Great Lakes areas. There are safe harbors at Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor, and a protected access at Twin Point.


Wisconsin

Now is time to plan for boating safety courses

MADISON – With more than 15,000 inland lakes, 42,000 miles of rivers, and 1,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, Wisconsin’s waterways are a focal point of outdoor recreation. As the estimated 1.5 million boaters gear up to use these waters this year, courtesy, safety and education are important issues.

 

State conservation wardens say boaters can help make this year a safer more enjoyable experience by being certified in boating safety. Boating safety certificates are available through courses taught by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron.

 

To operate a boat in Wisconsin, children ages 10 or 11 must be accompanied by a parent or an adult at all times. Those who are 12 to 16 can operate a boat with a parent or adult on board or by themselves if they have passed an approved boating safety course and have their certificate with them.

 

For personal watercraft (PWC) use, children ages 12 to 16 are required by law to have a boating safety certificate. Adult supervision on a PWC does not take the place of a safety certificate.

People 16 or older in Wisconsin can operate a boat or PWC without a safety certificate. But studies show that people who don’t have boat safety training are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal boating accident than someone who has taken a safety course. Most insurance companies also offer discounts to graduates of a boat safety course.

 

There is also an Internet boating safety course that can be taken on-line instead of through the traditional classroom course that gives students the opportunity to earn a boating safety certificate.

 

But the online course isn’t for everyone. The material is written at a 14-year-old reading level and is not recommended for children younger than that. Younger children are encouraged to find a traditional boating safety class.

 

After covering the basics, students take an online test. A $10 fee covers the cost of taking the exam and the cost of the safety certificate, the same price as through traditional classroom instruction. To take the online boating safety course or to find a classroom course near you, go to the DNR’s boating safety Web page:

www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/es/enforcement/safety/boated.htm


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