Week of March 14, 2011
|Misc New Fishing-Boating Products|
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Misc New Fishing-Boating Products
Abu Garcia Tips 4 Tackle Video Contest
S.C. (March 10, 2011)
– Abu Garcia
is announcing a “Tips4Tackle” contest that allows anglers to submit short
video fishing tips for a chance to win a Grand Prize that includes Top
Secret new Abu Garcia products before they ever hit the market.
Chris Derrick, Abu Garcia Brand Manager. “It can be any tip that an angler
feels important to share with
The submission period for video fishing tips is March 16th through May 31st,
2011 and the voting period for videos closes on June 10th, 2011. Winners
will be announced on June 13th on AbuGarcia.com.
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Historical Winchester 1886 Short Rifle now Available From Winchester Arms
The strong and reliable action of the Winchester Model 1886 rifle was designed for the then new 45-70 Government cartridge, developed by the U.S. Government in 1873. In an ongoing effort to reintroduce various historical models of the venerable 1886, Winchester Repeating Arms proudly announces the Short Rifle model as a limited production run for 2011.
The new Model 1886 features a deeply-blued receiver, barrel and lever, along with a matching blued steel end cap and steel crescent buttplate. The stock is Grade 1 walnut with an elegant satin finish. The full-length tubular magazine holds six 45-70 Govt. cartridges.
Each Model 1886 comes with an adjustable rear buckhorn style sight and a gold bead Marble Arms® front sight, giving the rifle a graceful profile. The receiver is also drilled and tapped to accommodate other receiver sights. The Model 1886 has an overall length of 43 inches and weighs 8 3/8 pounds. The rate of twist in the barrel is 1 in 20 inches.
Taurus Introduces the Protector Polymer Revolver
finish. Additional features include a single action/double-
action trigger, highly visible fiber optic front sight and ambidextrous thumb rest.
The .38 Special + P model’s barrel measures 2.5 inches, with an overall length of 6.32 inches and weight of just 18.2 ounces. The .357 Magnum model’s barrel measures 2.5 inches, with an overall length of 6.32 inches and weight of just 18.2 ounces. Like all Taurus handguns the Protector Polymer comes standard with the unique onboard Taurus Security System® that allows users to securely lock the gun using an inconspicuous key-lock.
About $445 - $461.00
EPA Seeks Public Comments to develop Management Practices for Recreational Vessels
Public sessions to be held March 18th and April 29th in Annapolis, MD
Contact Information: Richard Yost, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-564-7827, 202-564-4355
WASHINGTON - The USEPA is seeking public comment from boaters and other stakeholders to help develop proposed regulations, as required by the 2008 Clean Boating Act, to reduce water pollution and the spread of invasive species in the nation’s rivers, lakes and other water bodies. As an alternative to permits required for commercial vessels, the act directs EPA to develop and promulgate management practices for recreational vessels.
The important input received through this process will help guide the development of proposed regulations to mitigate adverse effects from recreational boat discharges, such as bilgewater, graywater and deck runoff, that may contain substances harmful to water quality or spread invasive species.
The Clean Boating Act directs EPA to take steps to limit the impact of pollution and the spread of invasive species associated with the discharge from boats. As part of the public input, EPA is also seeking information from states that already enact standards to limit the impacts of boat
discharges on waterways.
Based on the important input received, EPA will seek to develop appropriate management practices and performance standards that protect waterways while also working with the U.S. Coast Guard, which will establish regulations governing the design, construction, installation and use of management practices. Implementation of these management practices will allow boaters and other water enthusiasts to continue enjoying our nation’s water bodies while protecting water quality.
EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars to inform interested parties about the Clean Boating Act and receive public input. The listening sessions will be held in Annapolis, Md. on March 18 and April 29.
More information about the Clean Boating Act: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/
For more info on the EPA proposal: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/
House Bill Proposes Severe Budget Cuts for FY2011
Funding for continued lamprey control also is on the chopping block. Federal legislators are making a $3 million cut in the $18 million program, a cut that could have a devastating effect on the battle to contain these critters.
ASA submitted extensive comments on H.R. 1 to House members prior to the vote and will work with Members of the Senate to minimize the negative impacts of this legislation on the sportfishing industry. Click here to view a copy of ASA’s letter.
A forgotten American fish
Out of sight, out of mind, the saying goes. By virtue of where this fish makes a living—down to the dark waters of an astounding 600' deep—the shortjaw Cisco is anything but forgotten. In fact, what was once a common fish in four of the five Great Lakes, the shortjaw Cisco is top of mind for biologists, now for becoming increasingly rare. Lake Superior and a small area of northern Lake Huron constitute the last portions of the Great Lakes to hold shortjaw Cisco today.
Near where these last remaining fish are currently found in the United States, is where the first shortjaw Cisco specimen described for science
came from in 1908. One of America’s greatest ichthyologists, Barton Warren Evermann, then the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries’ Chief of Scientific
Inquiry, gave a name to the fish. He and fellow researcher David Starr Jordan called the fish Coregonus zenithicus. The genus applies to all
of the Cisco species. The shortjaw Cisco species name refers to where Evermann and Jordan acquired the specimen, near “The Zenith City,”
The shortjaw Cisco is one of 10 species of fishes in the group of ciscoes that live in the northern United States and Canada. The shortjaw
Cisco naturally occurred in all the Great Lakes, except Lake Ontario, and northwestward in deep lakes through the Northwest Territories,
Canada. This silver-sided fish grows to a maximum of 15 inches, and approaches three-quarters of a pound in weight. They become sexually
mature in their fourth to sixth year, and spawn during spring and summer.
Spawning males congregate first in water anywhere from 60 to 240 feet deep. The females follow, and drop up to 18,000 tiny yellow eggs over sandy or clay lake bottoms. The eggs hatch in four months. The maximum life span is 13 years. John Van Oosten, a pioneering researcher with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, learned in the 1930s that rates of growth are wildly uneven, and that the size of shortjaw Cisco was no great predictor of age.
The ciscoes are closely akin to trout and salmon. In body form and habitats, there are similarities—they have a fleshy adipose fin near the
tail and live in cold water. In habits, they differ. Trout live life mostly as lone rovers, whereas the ciscoes are schooling fish, and because of their propensity to not be found alone, they were in the past taken en masse in gill nets pulled from the deep. The crushing pressure of those deep waters is where the shortjaw Cisco lives its life, well suited to survive in low light and cold water, fish habitat that one would consider not so productive.
Though the shortjaw lives for long periods in water as shallow as 180 feet below the surface, this is still considerably deep, and requires special adaptations for life at those depths. The pressure of life in water at 300 feet is 10 times greater than at the surface. To get along in the deep, the shortjaw Cisco has high levels of fats in the flesh. Nearly all fish species have a swim bladder, a
balloon-like organ that expands and contracts for buoyancy. The shortjaw Cisco has a small swim bladder, and requires little change in volume.
High fat content and use of the swim bladder combine to stabilize the fish in a particular place in the water. With these adaptations, the shortjaw Cisco stays in deep water, without spending much energy to do so. Deep water equates to cold water. Living in water only a few degrees above freezing benefits the shortjaw Cisco, helping it store fat and conserve energy. The source of that energy is other deepwater organisms like bivalve mollusks, but especially freshwater shrimp, like the opossum shrimp.
By day, the opossum shrimp lives near lake bottoms, and migrates upward at night. Where the Cisco and shrimp intersect, that is where
shrimp become a meal. Given the fish’s physical limitations on quickly moving up and down in the water, they can’t follow the food very far.
Shortjaw ciscoes eat opossum shrimp coming and going to and from the lake bottom, letting the food come to them.
It’s important for opossum shrimp to remain abundant where the shortjaw Cisco can feed on them. We know what could happen otherwise.
In Lakes Huron and Michigan, opossum shrimp declined, likely the result of competition for food with the invasive zebra mussel. In the deep,
offshore areas of Lake Superior, zebra mussels are not abundant because the amount of calcium, which is needed to form the mussel shells, is
low. If other invasive species become abundant in Lake Superior and opossum shrimp numbers fall, then populations of shortjaw Cisco would
probably decline even further. But they don’t have much further to go to bottom out.
Data that dates to the 1890s show that shortjaw Cisco populations have declined significantly. During the 1920s, the shortjaw Cisco represented more than 90 % of deepwater Cisco commercial catches from all of Lake Superior. By the late 1990s, the fish was nearly nonexistent. These precipitous declines are why the shortjaw Cisco was a candidate species under consideration for listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.
The shortjaw Cisco is listed as follows: Threatened by the Federal Committee On Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; Threatened by
the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and Endangered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Biologists attribute the decline of upper Great Lakes shortjaw Cisco populations to a combination of commercial overharvest, invasive species, and predation.
The deep bodied lake trout, called a siscowet, lives with and eats shortjaw Cisco and more siscowet swim in Lake Superior today than did in the early part of the 20th Century, when shortjaw Cisco were much more numerous. We will never truly know why shortjaw Cisco numbers are so low now. However, irrespective of the causes of those declines, we can manage and restore the fish so that the fish isn’t forever completely out of sight.
Temperatures across the Great Lakes basin have averaged around the mid 30s and will continue into the weekend. Heavy precipitation was reported across much of the Great Lakes basin this week as a series of storm systems pushed through the region. Only the Lake Superior basin has received below average precipitation to date in March. Look for a continuation of seasonable temperatures through the weekend, with both rain and snow showers possible into next week.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
Currently, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 8 and 12 inches, respectively, below last year's level. Lake St. Clair's level is being impacted by an ice jam in the St. Clair River, and is 11 inches below what it was a year ago. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are both one inch higher than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior's level is predicted to remain steady, while Lake Michigan-Huron will rise 3 inches. Lake St. Clair is projected to rise 9 inches as ice conditions clear, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are both expected to rise 4 inches over the month. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
The outflow from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River is expected to be below average for the month of March. The outflows from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River, from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River, and from Lake Erie into the Niagara River are all expected to be near average throughout the month of March. The outflow from Lake
Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is predicted to be below average. Ice build-up in the connecting channels can greatly affect flows and may cause significant fluctuations in water levels.
The water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are below chart datum, and are forecasted to remain below chart datum over the next several months. 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's website.
At least one species of fish can’t track down food as well when underwater noise is annoying it, a new study indicates. The findings are relevant as scientists grow increasingly concerned about the effects on sea life of noise made by boats.
Researchers used underwater speakers to play noise at levels similar to those produced by recreational speedboats. Three spine sticklebacks in a large fish tank, exposed to the noise for as little as ten seconds, more foraging mistakes and were less efficient at consuming the available food compared to those in quiet conditions, they found.
“Much as you or I might struggle to concentrate on a difficult assignment when faced with loud construction noise, these sticklebacks seemed unable to keep their mind fully on the job at hand, attending to random items of tank debris and mishandling food items more frequently,” said Julia Purser of the University of Bristol, U.K., the study’s lead author. The findings are published in the research journal PLuS One.
In the wild, the din probably increases the chances of fish eating harmful items or of getting eaten in turn by something else, she added, noting that real world under water noise often lasts much longer than that in the study.
“Noise pollution is a rapidly increasing issue of global concern, especially underwater,” said Co-author Andy Radford, also of the university. “Although lots of research has considered the potential impacts on marine mammals, we know relatively little about how fish are affected, despite their critical importance as a food source for the burgeoning human population. Our study suggests there could be a much wider range of detrimental effects than previously thought, and so there is a vital need for further research.”
Purser added: “this study illustrates the importance of not only looking for the more obvious immediate effects of noise, such as hearing deficits and dramatic behavioral changes associated with stress, but also examining the more subtle but nonetheless important and potentially damaging impacts on the everyday behaviour of animals.”
NEWTOWN, Conn.—The National Shooting Sports Foundation will award up to $500,000 in grants to help public and private shooting facilities attract more participants.
The announcement marks the fourth year NSSF will provide funding to qualifying ranges through its Range Partnership Grant Program.
"Having purchased firearms and ammunition in record amounts in last few years, people are excited about target shooting," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "We want ranges to tap into that enthusiasm, and these grants will help shooting range managers test new strategies to attract customers."
NSSF encourages the owners and managers of target shooting facilities to review the grant guidelines and, if they have a qualifying program, to apply for assistance. Private shooting ranges must have a public-participation option to qualify.
"The best way to increase participation is to enhance and promote shooting opportunities at the local level," said Melissa Schilling, NSSF recruitment and retention manager. "We're looking for unique proposals that motivate people of all ages to enjoy target shooting."
Shooting ranges interested in applying for a grant can view case studies of previous grant recipients and learn more about NSSF's Range Partnership Grant Program at http://nssf.org/shooting/grants.
Attendance at the 55th annual New England Boat Show, which ran from Feb. 26 through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, was up 5 percent from last year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported.
Attendance at the 55th annual New England Boat Show, which ran from Feb. 26 through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, was up 5 percent from last year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported.
The U.S. Senate last week approved legislation to extend the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund
for seven months or until the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Marine Retailers Association of America said.
"This is our first online fishing competition," Crestliner marketing director Lori Kneeland said in a statement. "From May 2 to Aug. 15, we're hosting a three-month quest to trump other anglers' trophies on virtual leaderboards - with monthly prizes for the longest fish and a chance to win a new Crestliner boat."
Participants can sign up on the company's website to get the ruler that's required for measuring and photographing each catch. It's available while supplies last.
All varieties of walleye, pike, bass and crappie will be eligible for the contest, with participants using the official "Trumped" ruler to measure and photograph the catch
before posting their photos online. On the 15th of each month, participants with the longest fish on each species leaderboard will get a prize and one player will win a new Crestliner boat in August.
Questions or comments about the contest can be directed to Kneeland at email@example.com. Located in Little Falls, Minn., Crestliner is celebrating 65 years in business. The company traces its origins to the Aluminum Boat Co., which began in an airplane hangar in 1946.
Rainbow Trout Stocked at 43 Locations
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2011 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, Illinois IDNR Director Marc Miller announced.
The IDNR stocks more than 60,000 rainbow trout each spring in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. The Illinois catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.
Illinois fishing licenses and inland trout stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. For a location near you, check the IDNR website at this link: http://dnr.illinois.gov/DNRDirectMonitor/VendorListing.aspx
Fishing licenses and trout stamps can also be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov, or by calling DNR Direct toll-free at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). For all regional fishing and/or hunting licenses and regulations, go to: www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html
To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must
have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The annual
fishing licenses for the 2011 season are valid through March 31, 2012.
Anglers may also purchase a 24-hour Illinois fishing license, which includes
trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid. A
license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise
exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on
active military service who is home on leave).
Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 to the opening of the season on April 2 at 5 a.m. Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations. During the spring trout season the daily possession limit for trout is five fish.
While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 2, anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location.
For more info: 217-782-6424 or www.ifishillinois.org.
Season opens on March 16th
MARSEILLES, IL – The Illinois DNR announced that the La Salle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area will open for the 2011 season on March 16. Beginning March 16 through March 31, La Salle Lake will be open Wednesday thru Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. As in previous years, La Salle Lake will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during this two-week period.
For the period April 1 through June 30, La Salle Lake will be open seven days a week, 6 a.m. until dusk. From July 1 through August 15, La Salle Lake will be open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. until dusk. Hours may be adjusted during this time period, so visitors should call ahead to (815) 357-1608 to confirm operating hours.
From August 16 through September 30, La Salle Lake will be open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to dusk. For the last two weeks of the season, October 1 through October 15, La Salle Lake will be open five days a week, Wednesday
through Sunday, from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Visitors to La Salle Lake are reminded that on opening day and during the first two weeks of the fishing season, long lines are expected at the site entrance. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to all rules, regulations and direction from staff to make this spring season at LaSalle Lake an enjoyable experience for all.
For rules and regulations for La Salle Lake: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/default.aspx. For all regional fishing and/or hunting licenses and regulations, go to: www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html
Visitors are also reminded that La Salle Lake is a perched lake and can become turbulent during windy or inclement weather. The IDNR encourages all visitors at La Salle Lake to be aware of the lake conditions at all times. There is a wind warning system at LaSalle Lake. It is located on the tip of the internal dike that extends from the west shore. When the light of the wind warning system is flashing, no boats are to be launched and boats on the lake should seek shelter.
Mark your calendars for the 2011 Illinois Free Fishing Days on June 10-13. For more information on fishing in Illinois,
check out the 2011 Illinois Fishing Information guide at www.ifishillinois.org/pdf/2011fishingguide.pdf.
The Illinois DNR will host a weekend full of fun and adventurous activities for women interested in learning outdoors skills on June 10-12 during the annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop. Instructors provide hands-on experience in a safe, non-competitive atmosphere for women interested in learning more about a full range of outdoors activities, including fishing,
horseback riding, firearm safety, kayaking, basket making and outdoors survival.
The BOW workshop is June 10-12 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon. The cost is $200 per person. For registration and more information, visit http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Bow/index.htm
The Indiana Natural Resources Commission will conduct its regular March meeting on Tuesday (March 15) at The Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. The agenda is available at www.in.gov/nrc/2354.htm.
pertaining to the Department of Natural Resources. The 12-
member board includes seven citizens chosen on a bipartisan basis, three ex officio members from state agencies, and one representative of the Indiana Academy of Science. More information: Phil Bloom, DNR Division of Communications, (317) 232-4003
Indiana rule changes regarding the use of live gizzard shad, threadfin shad and alewives as bait, and the size of cast nets used in collecting such bait, take effect March 22.
The rules changes answer a request from striped bass anglers to be able to use gizzard shad as bait in selected waters where striped bass are prevalent and gizzard shad are present but stipulate that gizzard shad cannot be moved from the waters in which they were caught. Shad collected anywhere else will have to be killed immediately upon capture. The intent is to prevent the moving of shad to other waters.
Currently, live shad can be used only at Brookville Lake. This dates back to when Brookville was Indiana’s only striped bass water body. With the changes, gizzard shad can be collected from the designated waters, possessed while on that water body, and used only on that water body.
Use of live shad as bait has been restricted previously because of concerns it would lead to establishment of shad populations in lakes where the shad would compete with and harm existing sport fisheries. Since then, the DNR has created new striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries at several other places.
The changes also standardize cast net regulations statewide and allow larger mesh for taking shad. The rule also allows use of the look-alike smaller cousin of gizzard shad, the threadfin shad, at these selected waters, and the collection and use of live alewives as bait on Lake Michigan.
The rule changes are summarized as follows:
Live gizzard shad and threadfin shad may be collected, possessed and used on the following waters only but may not be transported away from these waters:
Cecil M. Harden Reservoir
Ohio River mainstem, excluding all embayments
Any unused shad must be killed while at these water bodies. Live gizzard shad or threadfin shad collected at other water bodies will need to be killed immediately upon capture and cannot be possessed live. Live alewives may be collected, possessed and used on Lake Michigan only, and may not be transported away from Lake Michigan. Any unused alewives must be killed. A person must immediately kill alewives collected from waters other than Lake Michigan.
The maximum cast net diameter is increased to 20 feet for both the Ohio River and the rest of the state. Mesh size remains at 3/4 inch stretch mesh for normal minnow/crayfish collection statewide. However, cast nets used at the eight named live shad water bodies listed above will be able to have a maximum mesh size of 2 inches stretch mesh. Stretch mesh is the distance between two opposite knots of a net mesh when the net is stretched tight. This will allow for more practical use in collecting live gizzard shad, threadfin shad or alewives, which school in open water.
More boaters can use Lake Manitou this year.
The DNR has no plans to temporarily close boat ramps, something it's done for spring/summer portions of the past four years. The reason for the closures has been the presence of hydrilla, an exotic, highly invasive plant, and the need to contain the plant to this one body of water. The plant was first confirmed as being in the lake in August 2006.
The reason for the change is DNR's four-year eradication program, which has reduced the hydrilla tuber population by approximately 99 percent, according to Doug Keller, aquatic invasive species specialist with the DNR. Even with the high degree of success, the DNR will continue its eradication efforts in order to eliminate the last of what remains of the plant.
"We've watched the plants very closely each year following the initial treatment and we've seen young hydrilla plants are affected by the chemical very quickly, resulting in the growth of hydrilla being stopped while the plants are still small," Keller said.
Treatment strategy for the upcoming season is similar to that of the past. The chemical Sonar will be used. Sonar, with the active ingredient Fluridone, is an aquatic herbicide produced by SePRO Corporation of Carmel. Humans, fish and other aquatic life are not harmed by Sonar, especially at the extremely low rate being used at the lake, according to Keller.
Keller cautioned that if the continued effort appears to not be as effective as before, the DNR would interrupt use of the ramps again. "We will place an immediate restriction if hydrilla plants don't seem to be responding as they have in the past," Keller said, "and if it looks like the threat of escape via boats is possible." Keller said that with fewer tubers of hydrilla in the water and the success in stopping the growth while the plants are still small, the risk of moving the plants from the lake to other water bodies by boaters is now extremely low but still exists.
Boaters should continue to remove plants, mud and other debris from their watercraft when they remove it from the water, not only at Manitou but anywhere else in the state. For more info on hydrilla and other aquatic invasive species, see www.invasivespecies.IN.gov.
Settlement is a step toward protecting Great Lakes from ballast water invasives
State officials today announced an important step forward in the effort to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes, signing a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will better regulate ballast water from commercial vessels.
Since 2005, Michigan has led the fight for commonsense regulations to protect the Great Lakes from damaging invasive species transported in the ballast water of oceangoing vessels. Michigan and a coalition of other Great Lakes states and leading environmental organizations ultimately prevailed in establishing baseline regulations after suing the EPA in federal district court in California to force it to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate ballast water discharges. EPA’s first “Vessel General Permit” regulating invasive species transported in ballast water was issued in 2009.
Yet instead of requiring modern ballast water treatment technologies, the EPA simply required ships use the inadequate “swish and spit” saltwater flushing process developed over a decade ago. The new permit also failed to ensure all state water quality standards were met throughout the interstate waters of the Great Lakes. Under the federal regulations, states with more protective standards still faced the risk of pollution from ballast water dumped under less stringent guidelines from neighboring states. An effective minimum “floor” standard to unify the various Great Lakes states’ water quality standards was still required for the permit to fully protect the region’s waterways.
“The Great Lakes define the State of Michigan,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “But our waters are now home to more than 180 aquatic invaders, introduced and spread by unregulated ballast water. I urge the EPA to move swiftly on plans to offer a long-term protection strategy for the Great Lakes.”
Today’s settlement agreement outlines a process for the
EPA to establish common protective standards for ballast water discharges to United States waters. Key elements of the settlement agreement include:
►Arranging for scientific reports, speeding up the time line for issuance of the next Vessel General Permit;
►Facilitating regional communication for ballast water regulation; and,
►Providing information on the development of the next VGP requirements
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the state will continue to pressure federal regulators for basin-wide, common standards.
“It’s time to bring the fight against invasive species into the 21st century,” said Schuette. “This agreement moves the EPA forward to more effective methods that will protect our Great Lakes and the jobs that depend upon them.”
The EPA has enlisted experts from the National Academy of Sciences to help develop its next VGP. These experts will craft a risk analysis on release of organisms from ballast water. Further, the EPA's Science Advisory Board will report on the performance and availability of ballast water treatment technology. Both reports are expected to be completed by May 31. The EPA's current VGP expires Dec. 19, 2013, but through the settlement agreement, the U.S. EPA committed to drafting the next VGP by Nov. 30, 2011 and a new final VGP by Nov. 30, 2012.
The agreement also requires EPA to provide information and facilitate communication with Michigan and the other Great Lakes states after the issuance of the next draft VGP. Patricia Birkholz, Director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, said she looks forward to working with other Great Lakes states and federal partners to craft strong and effective common standards.
“This issue impacts everyone who has a stake in the health of our waters,” Birkholz said. “The list of new invasive species grows yearly, and we need to halt the introduction and spread of these foreign invaders. At the end of the day, we want strong ballast water standards and consistent protection for all the Great Lakes.”
Most after 40 years of closure
Citing the positive results of sanitary surveys, water quality monitoring and shellfish tissue testing, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced proposed regulations to reopen shellfish harvesting areas in approximately 3,200 acres in several bays and harbors around Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
“Opening these valuable beds around Long Island is not only a big win for commercial and recreational shellfishing but also an economic boost for the industry and towns in these areas,” said Commissioner Martens. “These new marine resources are the result of a variety of environmental projects that have taken place over recent decades to protect and restore New York’s coastal waters.”
The largest reopening is proposed for an area adjacent to the Towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay. Testing of water samples conducted over more than five years showed levels of fecal bacteria in approximately 2,500 acres of outer Hempstead Harbor and Long Island Sound are meeting the stringent state and federal standards for a certified (open) shellfishing area. Additionally, hard clam samples from the area were tested for the presence of various metals, PCBs, dioxins, furans, pesticides, and radioactive elements. The data as reviewed by the New York State Health Department concluded that the potential exposure from eating shellfish from the newly certified waters was not a health concern.
DEC’s regulations will reclassify approximately 2,500 acres of underwater lands to certified year-round for
shellfish harvesting. Since the affected area is state
owned, anyone may harvest shellfish (clams, oysters,
mussels and scallops) consistent with daily harvest limits and size limits for the various types of shellfish www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/29870.html, after the proposed regulations are adopted following a public comment period. However, the inner portion of Hempstead Harbor and three tributaries (East Creek, West Pond and Dosoris Pond) that empty into outer
Hempstead Harbor will remain uncertified (closed) to shellfishing. For more information on the regulatory changes including colored maps identifying these areas, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68956.html on the DEC website. The map and additional information for the proposed reopening of Hempstead Harbor is available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/72944.html.
DEC will continue monitoring the water quality of these reclassified areas and other certified and seasonally certified areas, comprising nearly 1 million acres in New York’s marine district, as part of its participation in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. As conditions warrant, DEC will make changes to the classification of shellfish lands to protect the health of shellfish consumers and provide additional harvesting opportunities for commercial and recreational shellfishers.
Find the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the March 9, 2011 State Register at www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register.htm. Proposed regs for the changes in the other towns appeared in the Dec. 29, 2010 edition of the State Register. Proposed regs are also posted on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html. DEC Shellfisheries office can also be reached at (631) 444-0475 for further information.
A Peru, Indiana Fish Importing company caught bringing live Asian carp into Canada was fined $20,000 March 7 in Sarnia court. Sweetwater Springs Fish Farm pleaded guilty to possession of an invasive species without a licence, in violation of the Fisheries Act.
The court heard that on February 18, a joint forces operation between the MNR and Canada Border Services Agency resulted in the inspection and seizure of a transport truck at the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward, ON. Officers found 6,000 lbs of live bighead carp packed in ice. Several were placed in water and they began moving, the court was told.
It has been illegal to possess live invasive fish including, bighead, grass, black and silver carp in Ontario since 2005 because of the significant threat they pose to the province’s lake systems. As part of the ongoing efforts to protect Ontario’s environment from importing invasive species, the Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to work with the Canada Border Service Agency to monitor compliance with the legislation.
To report a natural resource violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Meetings set for April 4 & 5, in Goulais and Sault Ste. Marie
Will the great outdoors still be so great when the landscape is dotted with wind turbines? That was one of the questions on many of the minds of about 100 people who attended a public information session hosted March 3 by Save Ontario Algoma Region (SOAR) and Sault MP Tony Martin.
One man speaking at the meeting at Alexander Henry High School said he goes to Lake Superior Provincial Park for the pristine wilderness, not to look at a horizon industrialized by wind turbines.
Algoma, ON area Wind Farm Projects
One of SOAR's founders, Gillan Richards, said that support for the organization is coming from far afield as cabin owners in Michigan and other parts of Ontario contact the group to voice concerns and support. Theses supporters are saying the wild vistas are a vital part of their experience at their camps and it just won't be the same with wind towers dotting the horizon.
Some say it won't even be worth coming up here.
But the Ontario government is sticking to its guns and plowing ahead with Bill 150, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which Richards says is badly flawed. Sault MP Tony Martin agrees with Richards because the act doesn't allow for sufficient input from people affected by the developments. "It doesn't mean we're against renewable energy or in favour of nuclear power," Martin said. "It just means we want to make sure the democratic process is followed."
The Sault MP said it's important that people's health, the environment, economic and social factors be considered as well as the merit of each of the projects. Most importantly, the cumulative impacts of these developments must be considered before any more of them are allowed to go ahead, he said. But some SOAR members feel they won't see any support from their MPPs.
Richards said that area MPPs David Orazietti and Mike Brown are finding it very difficult to represent their constituents in this because they are members of the Liberal Party of Ontario - the party that that created the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and refuses to recognize that the legislation is flawed. The act allows large-scale industrial alternative energy developers to bypass environmental assessments and other
requirements for permits to develop and operate their wind energy projects.
The government is subsidizing developers, said SOAR member and environmentalist Joanie McGuffin. The Ontario government has entered into agreements to buy power from these developers for the next 10 to 20 years. People at the meeting said that these factors are going to push up the cost of electricity for people in Ontario.
"Ontario is producing more electricity than it uses and is having to sell it to the U.S. and Quebec at a loss," said Martin. He also said that provincial and federal energy plans that focus on encouraging conservation are needed more than subsidies and tax breaks for foreign-owned companies that stand to profit hugely from the generation of electricity from wind in Northern Ontario.
"Should we not be more careful? Should we not learn from what we did in the Alberta tar sands?" asked SOAR member Rob North. "Who are the winners going to be and who will be the losers?" North said companies like DP, an Ireland-based company wanting to develop a wind farm in Goulais River, will win a lot.
McGuffin pointed out that we in Northern Ontario stand to lose the vistas made world-famous by Group of Seven artists and the tourism associated with those vistas. She said we stand to lose the heritage coastline and all that it means to us. "These could so easily be lost by simply doing nothing," added Richards.
Martin and members of SOAR encouraged people at the information session to attend two open houses planned for the proposed Bow Lake wind farm and to ask informed, thoughtful questions. "They will be counting heads and they are required to write down all the questions asked and responses given," Richards said. "So will we."
She said there was no opportunity for input like this before the Prince Wind Farm went up and it's important to show the premier that people are concerned about these developments and their cumulative impact. "Don't be afraid to go to both meetings and bring other people with you," she said. "Even ask the same questions at both meetings."
The first open house is scheduled for Monday, April 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mountain View Public School on Mahler Road in the community of Goulais River. The second is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Water Tower Inn, 360 Great Northern Road in Sault Ste. Marie.
Other Breaking News Items
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Stiffer pollution regulations expected for Great Lakes ships)
While U.S. dithers, Canada acts on carp. At least Canada’s got some cojones. While U.S. efforts to control highly destructive Asian carp continue to be mired in a sea of bureaucracy, the Ontario MNR announced a record $50,000 fine had just been issued to Feng Yang, 52, caught trying to smuggle 4,000 lbs of live bighead and grass carp into Canada last fall. It won’t solve problem, but beats U.S. hand-wringing, and it’s a start. Canada’s at least trying to move swiftly and make a point, unlike the pathetic hand-wringing and bureaucratic back-slapping that’s been occurring in the United States. Where do you start when analyzing the U.S. response? The Asian carp story continues to be one of the most insane foul-ups in our federal government’s fishery program.
Environmental groups raise oil pipeline
Fish headed to pet shop confiscated at O'Hare
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