March 3, 2003

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Fishermen rip Wisconsin DNR smelt proposal

   Sport fishermen slammed proposed changes in the commercial smelt season that they said don’t go far enough at a state hearing in Green Bay on January 16.  "I think the smelt season should be totally closed," Green Bay fisherman Frank Herres said.


   Proposed changes by the WI DNR would cut six weeks from the summer commercial fishing season and reduce

the allowed harvest from 350,000 lbs to 100,000 lbs. The cutbacks were developed based on a historic decline in Lake Michigan and bay smelt populations.

Most all Green Bay residents spoke in favor of a closed season.  The thinking is the season should be closed till smelt populations get back to a sustainable harvest.


   Two other meetings held January 21 and 22 in Cleveland and Milwaukee produced much the same results.

Barge movement affect on Electronic Barrier

Concerns expressed over barges, ballast & shadows
   "Barge ballasting and pumping operations have the potential to transport harmful aquatic species from one side to the other of the electric dispersal barrier" was the conclusion made at the recent January 22 Barrier Ad Hoc Committee meeting in Chicago.

   Graphic photos showed a barge taking on ballast – or leveling water as they prefer to call it - just downstream of the barrier, and later discharged upstream of the barrier.  Employees on the tow said the practice is common for tows trying to get under the low upstream bridge at Lemont.


   Phil Moy, Committee chairman, acknowledged the problem is beginning to be addressed.  "Don Wadleigh,

with Chicago District Corps of Engineers, met with the

River Carriers at their January meeting." Moy said. "They can take on ballast water in another location, above the barrier to avoid transporting animals upstream. They brought up another potential concern, that some of the barges leak enough so that pumps must be kept running constantly." 


   Both the ballasting and leaking/pumping issues need to be resolved.

   Another potential problem for a barrier effectiveness, fish might follow a moving or parked tow through a single electric barrier, if the metal barges cause "shadows" in the electric field.  Hence, it is important to install the second barrier more than a tow length away from the first barrier. 


Commercial take of White fish possible

WI DNR says PCB counts in white perch within limits

   A one-year study of white perch in the bay of Green Bay found lower than expected concentrations of PCB contamination, raising hopes that regulators soon may allow a full commercial harvest of the fish.


   "We would love to see a commercial fishery on white perch if we can deal with the issue of incidental catch of yellow perch,"

said WI Fish chief  Mike Staggs, who directs the state

Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries management and habitat protection program. Researchers found PCB levels ranging from 0.13 to 2.2 parts per million (ppm), indicating that fish from at least parts of the bay may be marketable under the federal Food and Drug Administration’s current 2.0 ppm limit for commercial fish sale.  A Great Lakes invader from the Atlantic Coast, the study was the first species-specific study of PCB contamination in white perch.

Data Buoy Developed by NOAA

Tests Underway Of New Prototype

   The NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) has developed a new data buoy that is designed to give the agency faster response to service outages in its sprawling network of 70 data buoys located along the coasts of the United States, Hawaii, Alaska and the Great Lakes.  The buoys supply important information that is used in potentially life-saving marine forecasts and warnings.  Tests of the equipment are underway in the Gulf of Mexico.


   About two weeks after each placement the Coast Guard will bring the test buoys back to the NDBC, where technicians will compare data gathered by the new buoys against the existing conventional models.


   NDBC officials are hopeful the tests will prove the ADSMEX buoys can restore marine data quickly and at a lower cost.  Instead of using conventional buoys that must be transported by ship, tests will determine whether a

smaller version can be deployed by an airplane, providing

a quicker, less expensive alternative.  Using a ship to redeploy a buoy can take up to several weeks.


   The network of data buoys supports many NOAA programs and provides data vital to NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) marine forecasts and warnings.  using a ship to redeploy a buoy can take up to several weeks.


   Data buoys collect real-time weather observations - from wind speed, wind direction and wave heights, to air and sea-surface temperatures.  Those measurements are crucial to forecasting coastal storms.


   The ADSMEX buoy, designed to last up to six months, is equipped with a GPS feature for tracking and can deploy a synthetic line strong enough to keep it anchored in the ocean floor in water as deep as 12,000 feet.  The NDBC hopes this feature will help it withstand the roughest weather conditions.

MN DNR selling your license info

   When the MN DNR went to electronic fishing and hunting license our names were captured on a mailing list so the state sells these lists. To have your name taken off call: 651-296-4506 (888-646-6367 out of state).  You should only have to call them once.  Your name does not go back on the list next year when you buy a license.


   This has been a very big thorn in the side of many

outdoor people. The Minnesota DNR won't make it easy

for folks to get off these lists.  Dave Overland is the secretary for the Minnesota Sportfishing Congress and is seated on an over sight committee where this was brought up and it was brushed off. 


Is your state DNR selling your license info?

Boaters are healthier and happier than non-boaters

To Harbor Good Health, let your ship come in

CHICAGO,  - NMMA reports a recent survey conducted by Impulse Research Corporation,  found that boaters are healthier and happier than their non-boating counterparts. The online survey was conducted with a random sample of 1,029 men and women selected to closely match US population demographics.


   Boaters average nearly seven and a half hours per week in active recreation, compared to less than five and a half hours for non-boaters. Landlubbers have been hospitalized slightly more than boat owners (14% to 11%) and tend to be more overweight than their boating counterparts.


   In addition to physical benefits, when asked about the overall quality of their lives, boat owners rated it about 5% better than did non-boat owners. Boat owners expressed greater satisfaction with their accomplishments, relations with their families and their ability to enjoy life. 

Non boat  owners are more prone to feeling useless, lonely, unhappy or excessively fatigued. Here are few of the findings:

  • More boat owners said their health is excellent or good (83 %) than did non-boat owners (77 %).

  • 67% of boat owners said having a boat has contributed to their well-being.

  • Boat owners experience greater self-esteem (+10%), ability to enjoy life (+9%) and a better sex life (+7%).

  • Non-boat owners are more prone to feeling useless (+8%), lonely (+7%) unhappy (+5%) and fatigued ( + 4%).

  • Nearly two-thirds of boat owners said owning a boat has brought their family closer

  • Most boat owners said the benefits of owning a boat include being outdoors (89 %), spending time on the water (85 %), being able to unwind and leave pressures behind (79 %) and finding tranquility (71 %).

 Minnesota lakes get checkup from space

 ST. PAUL - Using satellite imaging and local volunteers, a group of scientists at the U. of Minnesota are studying the health of Minnesota's 10,469 lakes.


   Across the state, 58% of lakes are clear to depths of 6 ft or more, according to data published last month. In a separate satellite survey of metro-area lakes published in October, scientists found that 34 metro lakes got clearer over the past 25 years as farmland gave way to suburban lawns.


   By analyzing Landsat satellite images, scientists determine the water clarity of Minnesota's lakes provide readings to back up the satellite results. Minnesota is one of two states where researchers have used satellites to check water clarity. In Wisconsin, researchers have

published a draft analysis of 8,000 lakes.


   Lake monitoring from space is possible because turbid water, which contains algae or sediment, reflects more sunlight.  Scientists familiar with the research say satellite monitoring can identify lakes whose water quality is declining. Long-term monitoring can help scientists determine whether steps to improve water quality are working.


   In the Minnesota statewide survey, northern lakes, especially former mine pits, had the clearest water. In many pits, the water is clear for 20 ft or more, the study found. Southern Minnesota had the murkiest lakes, the results show.


Bass Pro Shops Breaks Ground in Hampton, VA

   Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the nation’s leading outdoor retailer and anchor tenant at the Power Plant of Hampton Roads retail development held a groundbreaking ceremony recently at Pine Chapel Road and I-64.


   The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail store in Hampton will encompass 102,000 sq ft--over 2 football fields--and offer the area’s most comprehensive collection

 of outdoor gear.  The store will also feature the area’s largest boat center offering such famous brands as Mako, Tracker, SeaCraft and more.


   Bass Pro Shops is also considering building a 10,000 square-foot themed restaurant overlooking “Bass Pro Shops Lake” at the Power Plant site.  Besides providing an attractive vista for diners, the lake will serve as a focal point for boating and fishing demonstrations.

USSA targets Anti-Hunters

Launching two "anti" model bills

   THE U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA) is preparing to launch two nationwide legislative campaigns that may prove to be the largest steps yet taken to bring about the ultimate defeat of the animal rights movement.


   The Alliance will work on two fronts to defeat the anti's. First, it will work with key legislators to introduce model bills to help states prosecute animal rights terrorists and organizations. The Alliance will also campaign for model legislation that will outlaw unproven birth control methods for wildlife.


   The USSA prepared The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, draft legislation to combat animal rights terrorism, and is promoting the bill to legislators in all 50 states. The model bill officially recognizes animal and eco-terrorism as a form of domestic terrorism; increases penalties for persons participating in politically motivated acts of animal or eco-terrorism and creates specific penalties for those who encourage, assist or finance these acts of terrorism.


   The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bipartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers, has agreed to review the bill for endorsement. The draft legislation was recently presented before ALEC's

Criminal Justice Task Force and the Homeland Security Working Group.


   The Alliance is working with key legislators in Mississippi, New York, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin to have the bill introduced in 2003. The Alliance will initiate a campaign to rally the support of sportsmen and other groups that are affected by animal rights terrorism to back the legislation.


   Anti-hunters continue to pressure local lawmakers to permit birth control as a wildlife management tool. The USSA is leading the fight against the anti-hunting threat. None of the drugs used in birth control projects on wildlife is approved for human consumption by the FDA or the USDA, despite the fact that venison is the most popular game food. Whether the drugs are safe for the deer or other wildlife is another concern.


   Research by Rutgers University and other institutions shows that birth control methods are not effective on free-ranging animals and could be detrimental to wildlife.


   USSA will work with state wildlife agencies, key legislators and professional lobbyists to introduce model legislation that requires these health concerns be addressed before permits.


International Canada goose symposium slated for Madison

MADISON – Wildlife and land managers from around the world are expected to attend The International Canada Goose Symposium, March 19-21, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis.


   The symposium, jointly hosted by the Wisconsin DNR, USFWS, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services, is the first major conference devoted exclusively to Canada geese in almost ten years, according to Ricky Lien, DNR Wildlife biologist.


   "The symposium will cover a wide range of topics related to all Canada goose research and management," says Lien. "It will also include one full day devoted to issues specific to the subspecies of Canada geese commonly referred to as giants. Once thought extinct, the restoration of giants, a subspecies of Canada geese, is a real wildlife management success story.

   "But from some points of view it’s been too successful," he adds. "In Wisconsin and elsewhere across the country, growing giant Canada goose populations, especially in urban areas, have resulted in some people labeling them a nuisance."


   The geese have adapted to parks, golf courses, greenways, private property and almost any area offering year-round open water and nesting habitat. Unlike their smaller cousins, the giant Canada geese seldom migrate any farther than necessary to find open water. In many areas they don’t migrate at all, according to Lien. During nesting seasons, they can be aggressive and when present in large numbers, their droppings foul beaches, sidewalks, picnic areas and recreation areas.


Cost: $150.  For more info contact: Ricky Lien – 920-892-8756 ext. 3045            [email protected]


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