Week of March 14, 2005

Veterans Issues

 

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

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Veterans Issues

Amendment Favoring Veterans Gains Passage

 An amendment that will help low-income veterans gained passage in the Senate. The amendment was put forward by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and offers special consideration in bankruptcy for low-income veterans, active-duty military, and people who have serious medical conditions.

 

The measure, Amendment 23 to Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (S. 256), passed by a vote of 66-32. The new protection for veterans is part of a new

income test that Congress is debating for those going through bankruptcy. The legislation seeks to help clarify whether those seeking bankruptcy protection must repay their debts or are allowed to have them canceled. A report by the National Consumer Law Center in 2003 noted that veterans are often targeted by an expensive scam in which streams of their military pension and benefits payments are purchased for a lump sum, with high interest rates, although federal law prohibits such schemes. Such schemes can drive military retirees into bankruptcy.


State Lets Taxpayers Donate Refunds to Military Families

WASHINGTON, American Forces Press Service  - Illinois led the charge last year when it began letting taxpayers check a box on their state tax returns to donate their tax refunds to families of deployed guardsmen and reservists.

 

Illinois' example -- which has paid out $2.7 million so far to more than 5,000 military families -- is quickly catching on nationwide. Nine other states now offer similar programs, and 21 more are pushing bills through their legislatures to set up their own programs, many with help from Illinois, according to Eric Schuller, senior policy advisor for Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.

 

Illinois' Military Family Relief Fund, established in 2003, provides $500 grants to help families of the state's lower-paid Guard and Reserve members cover expenses after their family member is called to active duty -- often taking a big pay cut in the process, Schuller explained.

 

The program also provides grants up to $2,000 for families in financial need due to a military deployment and $2,000 grants to troops injured or killed in combat or as a result of terrorist activity. So far, the state has paid out more than 100 of the casualty-based grants, Schuller said.

 

To qualify for grants under the Military Family Relief Fund, service members must be in pay grades no higher than O-3 or W-3.

 

In Michigan, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm established the state's Military Family Relief Fund in October. "There's a tremendous need out there" for this program, Army National Guard 1st Lt.

Evalynn Chapp said of Michigan's fund. "Some of our soldiers suffer rough times and need a little helping hand," she said.

 

Last year, tax donations raised more than $200,000 for the program, and Schuller said he expects that number to increase this year. The fund also receives money through private donations and fundraisers ranging from lollipop sales to coloring contests. Schuller said some of the state's municipalities have started sending out brochures about the program and details about how to contribute along with their water bills.

 

Quinn traveled to here last month to meet with other lieutenant governors and members of Congress to encourage every state to create its own Military Family Relief Fund. Schuller said those meetings stirred up strong interest and support.

 

To help promote the program and encourage other states to join in, Illinois established its Operation Home Front website, which tracks efforts under way around the country. A link from the site spells out exactly what states need to do to set up their own programs.

 

States with Military Family Relief Fund programs are California, Delaware, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and Wyoming.

 

In addition, 21 states have introduced legislation to create programs: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


National

Stop Nature Conservancy’s Midnight Sweetheart Deal!

Two years ago the Washington Post ran a series that exposed of The Nature Conservancy's fast and loose manipulation of the U.S. tax Code.  The American Land Rights Association reports these articles along with grassroots contacts from folks like you resulted in the Senate Finance Committee conducting an investigation of the Nature Conservancy's practices.

 

It appears The Nature Conservancy has hired high priced Washington lobbyists who are conducting private negotiations with the Senate Finance Committee.  In exchange for some modest changes of the tax law, the investigation will end.  Then things will largely remain business as unusual for The Nature Conservancy to continue its battle against rural communities.  

 

The problem here is Senator Charles Grassley, who is a nice guy, is badly misguided on this issue. He is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and has been doing the Nature Conservancy's dirty work, clearing its tarnished name in exchange for some very weak reforms for the multibillion dollar, multinational very profitable "non-profit" Nature Conservancy.

 

Some say the Nature Conservancy is similar to Enron, it is the World Com of "non-profits."  It has worked all sorts of special deals for its board members, such as seizing land at a discounted price in the name of "conservation" - then reselling

it to its board members for them to build mansions on!!!

 

Tell Senator Grassley to come to his senses!  Here are the key staff people who have been working with The Nature Conservancy. 

mike_steenhoek@grassley.senate.gov

kurt_kovarik@grassley.senate.gov

jill_kozeny@grassley.senate.gov

mark_reisinger@grassley.senate.gov

james_rice@grassley.senate.gov

 

Grassley's office phone for all of the above is 202-224-3744. The Fax number for all of the above is 202-224-6020. Or use this temporary toll free number to reach the Capitol Switchboard.  Then ask for Senator Grassley's office.  The special number is (800) 648-3516.  

 

Tell them:

-----NO sweetheart deals for The Nature Conservancy!

-----Investigate land trusts, don't let them run fast and loose with U.S. tax laws!

-----Is environmentalism a new religion - why is the Nature Conservancy getting a handout?

-----Nature Conservancy - $3 billion in assets - how much more do they want???

 

While you are on the call, remind Senator Grassley’s staff that there must not be a special tax break for selling land to the Nature Conservancy and other profitable land trusts who sell land to the government.


House Passes Highway Bill with Sportsmen Priorities

For last week Sportsmen's Caucus members and key congressional staff worked to ensure funding for hunting and fishing related needs would be included in the mammoth Highway bill that is reauthorized every six years.

 

That hard work and consistent applying of pressure paid off when the House passed a $284 billion Highway Bill that included funding for key sportsmen's programs. Of note is new funding for hunting/fishing access signs on public lands and funds for research on wildlife highway collisions. Another 

victory for boaters and anglers was the provision to capture the full 18.3 cents per gallon tax on motorboat fuels, which will increase funds that states receive through the Sportfish Restoration Act by more than $100 million annually. Also included was funding for refuge road maintenance, recreational trails forest roads, and fishing and boating programs.

 

Attention will now be turned to the Senate which will begin considering their version in committee next week.


FWS Director Steps Down

Steve Williams, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service since 2002, has been chosen as the next President of the Wildlife Management Institute a private, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization committed to the conservation,

enhancement and professional management of North America's wildlife and other natural resources. He will start his tenure with the group immediately following the North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference next week.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 11, 2005

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are 7 to 15 inches above last year’s levels.   Lake Superior is at its long-term average, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 9 inches below its long-term average. Lake St. Clair is 4 inches above its long-term average, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 9 and 7 inches above their long-term averages, respectively.


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 March.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average.  Flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are all expected to be above average in February.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Cold temperatures and snow showers are forecasted for this

weekend in much of the Great Lakes basin.  The snow belts may see heavier snow as winds turn to the north.  Slightly warmer air is expected to arrive by the middle of next week.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is nearing the end of its seasonal decline and should remain steady over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are beginning their seasonal rises and should increase 3-4 inches during the next month.  Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods.

 

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.


Carp Fund Barometer

Donation          Ranking

$    1 – 10   Alewife

 

$  11 – 20  Yellow Perch

 

$  21 – 50   Black Bass

     Berg, Jeffrey W.

     Cozzie, Ken

     Fuka, John J.

     Gold Coast Charter Service

     Reider, Robert

 

$  51 – 100   Coho Salmon

     Couston, Tom

     Yahara Fishing Club

$  101 – 200   Walleye

     Chagrin River Salmon Association

 

$  201 – 500   Brown Trout

     Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen

     Detroit Area Steelheaders 

     Klavon, Patrick  

 

$  501 – 1000   Steelhead

 

$  1001 – 5000   Chinook Salmon

 

$  5001 – UP   Lake Trout

 

Current Total= $1,315.00


General

March 22 vote on Johnson family buyout

Johnson Outdoors Inc. will hold a special shareholder meeting later this month to vote on a proposed merger with JO Acquisition Corp., which is owned by members of the Johnson family who want to take Johnson Outdoors private.

 

The meeting will be held March 22 in Racine, Wis. Under the terms of the proposed merger, all shareholders other than JO Acquisition and members of the Johnson family would receive $20.10 per share in cash. The buyout group would then acquire 100-percent ownership of Johnson Outdoors.

The all-cash price of $20.10 per share represents a 21.2-percent premium to the average closing price of Johnson Outdoors Class A common stock for the 30 days prior to the initial $18-per-share offer, and a 53.7-percent premium to the 52-week average closing price prior to the Feb. 20, 2004 announcement of the offer.

 

Approval requires a two-thirds majority vote by eligible shareholders.

 


 

2nd Amendment issues

Gun ban utopia creates violent crime increase

World-crime increases in gun-banned countries

In a pattern that's repeated itself in Canada and Australia, violent crime has continued to go up in Great Britain despite a complete ban on handguns, most rifles and many shotguns. The broad ban that went into effect in 1997 was trumpeted by the British government as a cure for violent crime. The cure has proven to be much worse than the disease.

 

Crime rates in England have skyrocketed since the ban was enacted. According to economist John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute, the violent crime rate has risen 69% since 1996, with robbery rising 45% and murders rising 54%. This is even more alarming when you consider that from 1993 to 1997 armed robberies had fallen by 50%. Recent information released by the British Home Office shows that trend is continuing.

 

Reports released in October 2004 indicate that during the second quarter of 2004, violent crime rose 11 %; violence against persons rose 14 %

 

The British experience is further proof that gun bans don't reduce crime and, in fact, may increase it. The gun ban creates ready victims for criminals, denying law-abiding people the opportunity to defend themselves.

Contrast, the number of privately owned guns in the United States rises by about 5 million a year, according to the U.S. 

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The number of guns owned by Americans is at an all-time high, fast approaching 300 million.

 

Meanwhile the FBI reports that in 2003 the nation's violent crime rate declined for the 12th straight year to a 27-year low. The FBI's figures are based on crimes reported to police. In another favorable report, the U.S. Department of Justice reported in September that, according to its annual national crime victim survey, violent crime reached a 30-year low in 2003.

 

Right-to-Carry states fared better than the rest of the country in 2003. On the whole, their total violent crime, murder and robbery rates were 6%, 2% and 23% lower respectively than the states and the District of Columbia where carrying a firearm for protection against criminals is prohibited or severely restricted. On average in Right-to-Carry states the total violent crime, murder, robbery and aggravated assault rates were lower by 27%, 32%, 45% and 20% respectively.

 

As usual, most of the states with the lowest violent crime rates are those with the least gun control, including those in the Rocky Mountain region, and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in the Northeast. The District of Columbia and Maryland, which have gun bans and other severe restrictions on gun purchase and ownership, retained their regrettable distinctions as having the highest murder and robbery rates.


 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Stocking Conference – April 9

The four Lake Michigan Management Agencies (ILL, IN, MI and WI) are sponsoring a chinook stocking conference April 9 in

Benton Harbor Michigan. To read the announcement, view the agenda or download the registration form click here:

 


Illinois

January precipitation levels among top ten on record

Springfield— January precipitation in Illinois was the sixth highest since 1895, according to state climatologist Jim Angel, of the Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois DNR.  Below average temperatures in the last two weeks of January led to freezing of standing water in some wetland areas.

 

“January precipitation in Illinois averaged 5.56", when normally

we see 2",” said Angel.  “We went into the new year with

ground already saturated.  The first 13 days of January brought torrential rainfall.  There was also significant snowfall as colder temperatures shrouded the state. All but extreme southern Illinois saw snow in January with heaviest amounts in the Chicago area, including 35.1" at Lake Villa; 29.3" at Midway Airport (5th snowiest); 27.8" at O'Hare Airport; and 20.7" on the lakefront.


DuPage Forest Preserve Lakes to be stocked with Trout

Trout season will open at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Illinois one hour after sunrise on Saturday, April 2. The District will stock three forest preserve lakes with rainbow trout to create better fishing opportunities and maintain a healthy population of this popular game fish.

 

Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville will be stocked with about 4,400 fish, Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett, with about 1,800 fish and Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove Forest Preserve in Addison with about 300 fish. To allow the trout to acclimate to their new environments, the three lakes will be closed to all fishing from March 15 through April 1.

 

Anglers ages 16 and older are required to have a valid Illinois fishing license and inland trout stamp in their possession. While the Forest Preserve District encourages catch-and-release fishing, the creel limit is five trout per day.

The District, in partnership with the Illinois DNR, stocks trout as part of its fisheries management program. The presence of this species in a freshwater lake provides more than just sporting opportunities. According to Don LaBrose, the Forest Preserve District's fisheries biologist,  "Trout are very sensitive to any pollutants in the water. When they are doing well, it is a good indication that the water quality is good, too."

 

To enhance the DuPage angling experience, the District produces a free guide "Fishing in DuPage County." This publication offers more information about fishing locations and regulations. To obtain a copy, call the District's visitor services office weekdays at (630) 933-7248.

 

With over 25,000 acres, 140 miles of trail and 60 preserves all right at your feet, there are lots of way to enjoy DuPage County's forest preserves. For information on the Forest Preserve District's many recreational opportunities, call (630) 933-7200, or visit www.dupageforest.com .

 


Discovery at Geological Survey leads to new industry

Breakthrough Benefits Environment, State Coffers & recovers Coal Dust

Champaign—A discovery and application of new technology developed at the Illinois State Geological Survey, a division of the Illinois DNR, has led to recovery of coal dust previously wasted in the mining process.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, through the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, funded five years of research resulting in this new technology for recovering and dewatering fine coal.

 

“This is good news for the mining industry and for the environment,” said IDNR Director Joel Brunsvold. “The impact of this discovery can’t be underestimated.  It is the groundwork to create an entirely new type of business.  The implications go even beyond enhancing the Illinois coal industry.” Another benefit of the discovery is a portion of the profits from patents goes to the University of Illinois and to the Illinois State Geological Society.

 

“At a time of tight finances in the state of Illinois, this is a great enhancement for state coffers,” said Brunsvold.  “We benefit not just from the economic benefit to industry, but from the profit from the patents because of research the state was able to sanction—research that might otherwise not have been done.”

 

The new developments involve the process known in the mining industry as froth flotation.  In the past, as much as 20 % of coal has been lost as coal fines, or dust, usually wasted in slurry of water. This technology makes it possible to clean incombustible ash from fine coal, separate and concentrate metallic ores, and even remove pollutants from contaminated soils.  The discoveries came under the research leadership of Latif Kahn, Ph.D.

 

“There is actually a set of three technologies at work here.  At the root of this process is the principle that particles will either stick to the bubbles in a froth, or remain behind in slurry of solid particles and liquid,” said Dr. Kahn.  “We use that principle in creating high-velocity water jets to form a froth that separates product from the waste.  It involves a motorless, rotorless cell capped with an included washer to separate the fine coal from mineral matter.  Added to that is an automated filtering system that expresses the water out of the froth, forming a nearly dry product that can be sold.”

 

The commercial potential for the discovery was tapped in

2004, when the Illinois State Geological Survey team who developed this system was approached by MHI, a venture capitalist group interested in moving the technologies to full commercialization.  Dynamic Separations Inc. (DSI) was formed and is cooperating with the ISGS on field demonstrations, currently being funded by the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, as well as pursuing other commercial ventures.

 

“These technologies could improve the economics of coal preparation and increase the profit margin for Illinois coal mines,” said Bill Hoback, Bureau Chief for the Illinois Office of Coal Development.  ICCI is an arm of the Office of Coal Development of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

 

“Support from the Illinois Clean Coal Institute has been indispensable in the development of the technologies, “said Bill Shilts, Ph.D., Chief of the Illinois Geological Society.

 

Related Details:

Under terms of the exclusive license awarded to Dynamic Separations by the University, university regulations specify that the revenues paid to the university be shared, with 40% going to the inventors (Dr. Khan et al.), 40% to the University, and 20% to be paid to the inventors' administrative unit—the ISGS.

 From the fall of 1996 to the present, the ICCI has funded 12 different research projects at the ISGS to support the development of the three technologies.

 The ICCI provided almost $1.8 million, the ISGS itself contributed $566,000 and partners such as American Coal Company, Freeman Energy, Consol Energy, and Dynamic Separations have so far contributed a little over $400,000.

 Among the 50 state geological surveys in the United States, the ISGS is unique in supporting a group of highly qualified engineers to carry out research and develop technologies to solve coal and other energy-related problems.  The engineering work began more than 65 years ago when the ISGS built the Applied Research Laboratory, across the street from Abbott Power plant, and began studying the coking properties of Illinois coals.

●  Since its inception in 1905, ISGS has been forming partnerships with industry and with other government agencies, providing them with the geological expertise they need to improve the economy, overcome environmental problems, and avoid geological hazards.

 


Lt. Gov. Pushes for Elimination of Phosphorus in Household Cleaning Agents

CHICAGO—Lt. Governor Pat Quinn and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Terrence O’Brien joined river advocates to push for approval of the “Elimination of Phosphorus in Detergents Act”, the top clean river bill facing the General Assembly this session. 

 

House Bill 1502, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Joyce (D-Chicago), and Senate Bill 2076, sponsored by Don Harmon, (D-Oak Park), would ban the use of phosphorus cleaning agents in laundry detergents, dishwashing compounds, metal or glass polish, and other substances used for household or industrial cleaning.  At least 20 other states have opted to restrict phosphorus content in household laundry detergents.

 

Restriction of phosphorus through this legislation could save $85 million in infrastructure improvements for water reclamation in Cook County, and $330 million for water reclamation districts within the state, according to the MWRD. Approximately $4 million in operating costs would be eliminated per year for these districts statewide.

 

Phosphorus causes accumulation of algae and lower

dissolved oxygen levels in Illinois rivers and streams.  This causes stress to aquatic life and can lead to massive fish kills.  The related algae build-up degrades aquatic habitat and contributes to sedimentation.  The resulting pollution reduces recreation opportunities such as fishing and boating, and lowers property values near waterways.  For some Illinois residents, it affects the taste of their drinking water.

 

“I commend Representative Joyce and Senator Harmon for their leadership on ridding Illinois rivers of phosphorus and salute the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for tackling the issue head on,” Quinn said.  As Lieutenant Governor, Quinn chairs the Illinois River Coordinating Council which oversees the Illinois River and its tributaries.

 

If passed, the bills would take effect on January 1, 2007.  The Illinois Pollution Control Board would have enforcement authority.  Some medical and agricultural exceptions are specified in the bills. 

 

Banning the use of a chemical product because it endangers the environment is not new. In 1972, the United States banned the use of DDT, an insecticide which nearly wiped out the Bald Eagle and other bird species.


New Boating Access Offered

To provide greater recreational opportunities for local boat owners, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is now permitting carry-in boating at two additional locations, Mallard Lake in Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park and Round Meadow Lake in Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn. As in previous years, the Forest Preserve District will continue to allow carry-in boating at Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett.

 

Visitors can bring their own non-gasoline-powered watercraft, (except sailboats) that meet the District's private boating criteria, providing the watercraft can be transported on or in a vehicle (no trailers) and carried to the lake. Boats, canoes, kayaks and multi-chambered inflatables up to 20 feet in length with factory-installed hardened floors and transoms are all permitted. Daily boat-launch permits are $5 per day for DuPage County residents and $6 per day for nonresidents. Annual permits are $25 for DuPage County residents and $30 for nonresidents. Permits can be purchased in a variety of ways. For information on obtaining a permit, call the District's Visitor Services department at (630) 933-7248 weekdays from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., or visit www.dupageforest.com .

 

Boating rules and regulations are posted at all four preserves

where carry-in boating is permitted. All watercraft must be registered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Federal and state regulations require that watercraft contain one well-fitting personal flotation device for each member on board and that children under 13 wear personal flotation devices at all times while in a recreational vessel.

 

Both Mallard Lake and Hidden Lake forest preserves are popular with anglers and wildlife watchers alike. Mallard Lake Forest Preserve's Mallard Lake is an 89-acre water resource that is home to a variety of fish species including largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye. Bird species such as the red-tailed hawk and the meadowlark may be seen at the preserve. Hidden Lake Forest Preserve's Round Meadow Lake is a 15-acre water resource that includes fish species such as largemouth bass and crappie. Visitors might spot species such as the great blue heron or hear the springtime calls of chorus frogs.

 

With over 25,000 acres, 140 miles of trail and 60 preserves all right at your feet, there's a perfect way to enjoy DuPage County's forest preserves that's just waiting for you. For more information, call (630) 933-7200 or visit www.dupageforest.com .

 


Indiana

license system gets faster, easier

Licenses or list of retail outlets now available on-line

The days of carbon copy license books and lick-and-stick wildlife stamps are gone. There's now a better way to buy an Indiana fishing, hunting or trapping license.

 

The Indiana DNR is launching an electronic licensing system that is faster, more accurate, and provides the DNR better fish and wildlife management data.  Known as Indiana Outdoor, all annual Indiana sport licenses will be available from local license retailers. Most Indiana residents need only a valid driver's license to use Indiana Outdoor. Residents without a driver's license will need current address information and a Social Security number.

People may find the nearest license retailer, purchase a license online, or sign up to become an authorized Indiana Outdoor retailer, by calling 866-859-0028 or going on-line to: http://www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html

 

“We are very excited to bring Hoosiers this quicker, easier licensing system through Indiana Outdoor,” said Glen Salmon, director of fish and wildlife. “Gone are the days of searching for a license because retailers have a “no more deer licenses” sign on their door. Our folks can get the license they need in less than two minutes so they can get out into the woods or onto the lake.

 


2004 Hoosier record fish

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recognized 22 anglers for outstanding fish caught in 2004. Two state size record were broken in 2004 and 20 anglers were awarded Fish of the Year honors. Each year, the DNR tracks the largest fish of more than 50 species caught with hook and line in Indiana.

 

The Indiana Record Fish program recognizes new state record catches, while the Fish of the Year program recognizes anglers who catch and report the largest fish of each species each year, short of a new state record. In 2004, 20% of Fish of the Year catches were from Lake Michigan. The big lake provided the largest Indiana brown trout, yellow perch, freshwater drum and Chinook salmon.

A blue catfish pulled from the Ohio River was the largest fish caught during 2004. Entries were submitted from 31 counties. Lake County had the most entries.

 

2004 New Indiana State Record Fish

 Goldeye: James Harris yanked a new state record goldeye from the West Fork of the White River last April 29. Harris's record herring-like fish weighed 1.88 pounds and stretched 17.5 inches from lips to tail.

 

●  Longnose Gar: Vernon Young Jr. landed a new state record longnose gar on the bank of White River in Pike Co. Young's record May catch weighed 18.42 pounds.

 


Michigan

License Fee Increase Approved

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries has approved a revised license fee structure for the 2005 license year at the monthly meeting of the state Natural Resources Commission, held in Lansing. Under the new fee structure, most resident hunting and fishing licenses will increase $1 when they go on sale March 1. Nonresident licenses were increased by $4 to $10.

 

"These modest increases will help us to begin to address a  structural deficit that currently exists in the Game and

FishProtection Fund.," Humphries said. "We must take appropriate action now to ensure that we will have the necessary revenues to continue the department’s primary mission to protect and promote the practice of sound wildlife management."

 

The last significant fee change that was approved by the Legislature occurred in 1997. That legislation also authorized the DNR Director the discretion to raise fees an additional $2. The first $1 increase was implemented in 2001.


Subsidies for Livestock Factory Waste Disposal?

Proposal to subsidize waste disposal for livestock factories

Also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, a Michigan proposal would subsidize methane digesters, which convert the thousands of gallons of liquid manure that industrial-sized operations generate every day into electricity and other products.

 

Governor Granholm vetoed a similar subsidy last year, saying

it was a tax giveaway to companies that cause lots of pollution. And while they agree that controlling manure pollution is crucial to public health, some observers say the proposal needs serious tweaking, so that it also helps, or at least doesn’t hurt, small livestock farms, which are struggling for survival in the face of fierce competition from the huge livestock factories.

 


Minnesota

Anglers caught with 106 fish over the limit

The Minnesota DNR has charged two men with having 106 sunfish over the limit. Jeffrey Allen Meuleners, 52, Montrose, and Donald Peter Gabrelcik, 58, Delano, were each cited for possessing 53 sunfish over the limit. The citation carries a

maximum fine of $1,072, restitution of $265 and a possible penalty of 90 days in jail for each man.

 

They will each lose their fishing license for three years.


New York

Cape Vincent Hatchery update

Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition President Frank Cean recently released an update on the progress of bringing the Cape Vincent Hatchery facility to an operational level again.

 

Since the hatchery ponds have frozen over, manure and pellets have been spread on the ponds, the Pump House has been emptied, and plans are progressing to have screens installed.  Pat Crump, Knowlton Maintenance Supervisor, met with Cape Vincent maintenance supervisor Marty Mason and Frank Cean at the Cape Vincent Facility to discuss the pump house and electrical demands before NiMo is called.

 

The waterline filled with concrete has to be dug up, cut off, and a new line run to the pump house.  It will take one day to fill each pond @ 1,000 gpm.

 

At least 20 female Walleyes will each yield 100-150K eggs for approximately 3 million eggs that will be received directly from the Oneida Hatchery.  Eggs usually hatch in 2 weeks.  Fry will be delivered 1st or 2nd week in May and will be will be marked with OTC at the Hatchery.  50,000 fry per pond will net 30,000-

35,000 fingerlings per pond.

 

Ponds will be monitored daily, after 40 days in the ponds, a few will be pulled to assess size and determine when they will be ready to be dispersed in ESF designated areas.  After 60 days fingerlings should be 5-8 inches.  It will take 24-36 hours to drain each pond for transport to the holding tank.  Fingerlings will be put in a stainless steel or fiberglass tank, left overnight and tadpoles, etc. will be taken out.

 

ESF Staff will have designated sites where the fish will be dispersed.

 

About 15-20 Volunteers will be needed for 6-8 days, 1 boat per day, to harvest, sort and stock.  Fingerlings will be dispersed in designated areas early in the morning.  Paul Thiebeau offered to coordinate the volunteers. Anyone with availability to assist should contact Thiebeau directly at 315-686-3327.

 

Cean thanked the Village of Cape Vincent for letting Marty Mason work with the group.  Cean complemented Mason for doing a tremendous job with his ability to assist the project.


Ohio

Ohio's "Walleye Run" anglers should observe River Wading Safety Tips

COLUMBUS, OH - The arrival of spring and the popular “walleye run” along the Maumee and Sandusky rivers is here and the Ohio DNR is reminding wading anglers to consider some common sense safety tips.

 

Each spring, thousands of anglers head to the Maumee and Sandusky rivers in northwestern Ohio for the fantastic fishing offered during the spring walleye run. “The walleye run is one of the most anticipated fishing events of the year,” said Ken Alvey, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “As important as it is to land some good fish, it’s critical that anglers know how to be safe when on the river.”

 

To help assure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience, here are some safety tips for wading anglers:

 

● Wear a life jacket or flotation coat.

● Be properly dressed for the water temperature; wear clothing 

such as wool, synthetic fleece or polypropylene helps preserve body heat when wet.

● Wear a good quality pair of chest waders and tighten a cinch belt at the waistline outside the waders to help prevent them from filling with water should immersion occur. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon and can make walking to the shoreline extremely difficult if waders fill with cold river water.

● Carry a large walking stick or wading staff to help provide balance while wading in a river or stream.

● Use a pair of crampons, or metal cleats, which fit over the boot portion of waders will significantly help to improve traction and avoid falls when wading across slippery rocks and other debris commonly found along river bottoms.

● Let friends or family know of expected departure and return times.

● Be prepared to handle an emergency should one arise.

 

Anglers are reminded that the daily bag limit for walleye between March 1 and April 30 is three fish, with a minimum length of 15". Fish snagging is prohibited.


Pennsylvania

Linesville State Fish Hatchery Open House Scheduled for April 2

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host an open house -- “A Day at A Hatchery" -- Saturday, April 2, 2005 at the agency’s Linesville State Fish Hatchery.  The hatchery is located on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, Crawford County.  The event is open for public visitation from 12-4 p.m.  Visitors are invited to come see methods used in taking and fertilizing musky and walleye eggs, sorting fish from trap nets, determining the age of fish, and much more. 

         

Attendees can watch demonstrations on filleting fish, electro-

shocking, casting and angling techniques.  Boating and water safety information will also be presented.  The visitor center will be full of various exhibits and displays to help visitors learn the varied duties and aspects of the Fish and Boat Commission.

 

The 10,000-gallon viewing aquarium will have many favorite fish species to observe up close and personal.  Participants can make their own “fish prints” on paper or on a t-shirt (bring your own or buy one there for $3).  There’s something for everyone, so follow the crowd and join the PFBC for the afternoon.


Wisconsin

Sturgeon spearing season ends after 12 days

OSHKOSH, Wis. – The 2005 sturgeon spearing season on the waters of the Lake Winnebago system closed Feb. 23, after a successful 12-day run. State fisheries biologists had been prepared to close the season in one day, if necessary, to protect the system’s lake sturgeon population, which is considered one of the healthiest sturgeon populations in the world.

 

After twelve days, 1,238 sturgeon were taken from Lake Winnebago and the Upriver lakes. Season totals were 255 juvenile females, 423 adult females, and 560 males. It was the harvest of five adult female sturgeon, which pushed the harvest of adult females to 80% of the harvest cap that triggered the closing. Last year the season closed after two days with a total season harvest of 1,845.

 

State fisheries biologists say cloudy water kept the 2005 opening weekend harvest well below the totals that would have triggered the DNR to close the season under emergency rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the over-harvest of adult females that occurred on opening day in 2004. Under 

permanent DNR rules, the season runs 16 consecutive days or until the end of spearing hours on the day after spearers reach 80% of any of three harvest caps.

 

“Spearers enjoyed excellent weather and the 12-day season was much longer than anyone expected,” said Ron Bruch, DNR fisheries manager of the Lake Winnebago and Upland Lakes fishery. He noted that water clarity issues at the beginning of the season, and the fact that 4,169 spearers chose to spear on the Upriver Lakes on opening day (Feb. 12) resulted in a slow start. This year, spearers had to choose whether they wanted to spear on Lake Winnebago or the Upriver Lakes. They could not choose both, and that decision reduced the spearing effort on Lake Winnebago by 39 percent and resulted in a longer season.

 

According to Bruch, the focus now shifts to identifying sturgeon management issues that need to be addressed for future harvest seasons, and to finalizing recommendations for any new rules that may be needed to ensure healthy sturgeon stock and a viable fishery.


2005 hunting, fishing, trapping licenses on sale March 10

Current licenses expire March 31

MADISON – Wisconsin hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for the 2005 license year go on sale at all license sales locations, over the Internet, or by phone beginning on March 10. The licenses will be required beginning April 1, as all the current 2004 licenses expire at midnight Thursday, March 31.

Nearly 1,500 sporting goods, and other retail locations use the automated system to issue recreational licenses. More than 3.4 million licenses and approvals are sold, bringing in more than $59 million dollars in revenue to Wisconsin’s Fish & Wildlife Account each year. Most licenses can also be purchased online at http://www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html or by phone at 1-877-WI-LICEN (877-945-4236). Both the Internet and phone sales must be done by credit card.


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