Week of March 22, 2010

World
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
National

Regional

2nd Amendment Issues
General
Lake Michigan

Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Canada
Other Breaking News Items

 

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World

USA Ice Team wins World Ice Fishing Championship

The U.S. Ice Team took home gold on home ice at the two-day World Ice Fishing Championship on Boom Lake in Rhinelander, Wis., on Sunday.  Anglers there represented 11 countries, competing for individual and team honors.

 

The USA Ice Team surprised a field of experienced international anglers and won the 2010 World Ice Fishing Championship in Rhinelander. "We thought we'd be happy with something in the middle of the pack," said team captain Mike McNett of Lombard, Ill. "Tell me I'm not imagining it," said Tony Boshold, the Carol Stream man who fished the toughest

sector Saturday.

 

Game fish did not count, most anglers collected bluegills, perch and crappies. Contestants could use only live bait (waxies and spikes), and power augers and electronics of any kind were prohibited.

 

Obviously, the USA contingent had home advantage as some members fished Boom Lake last year in the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) competition. They all knew how crappies, perch and bluegills bite, and the European contestants had never seen these species until this weekend.


Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Browning Introduces Buck Mark Holographic Sight

Browning announces the introduction of the new Buck Mark Holographic Sight to the company's expanding line of shooting accessories for 2010. The new Buck Mark Holographic sight matches up great to Browning's Buck Mark pistols with the one-piece Buck Mark Scope Base that will be also be offered as an accessory for 2010.

 

The new Buck Mark Holographic Sight features a rugged aluminum housing with a black matte finish. Four reticle patterns include: Circle-Dot-Cross Reticle, 3 MOA Dot Reticle,

 

Cross-Dot Reticle and Circle-Dot Reticle. A seven-position brightness rheostat is featured to allow easy brightness adjustments. The field-of-view is 15.7m/100m for unlimited eye relief.

 

The new Buck Mark Holographic sight is powered by one #2032 lithium battery and mounts to a standard Weaver-style base.

 

New Buck Mark Holographic Sight - About - $49.99

Buck Mark Scope Base (one-piece) - About - $34.99

 

For more info: www.browning.com


SAF spearheads new International Group

Will protect Civilian Arms Rights Worldwide

BELLEVUE, WA - The Second Amendment Foundation is delighted to be part of a new and growing international organization whose goal is the protection of firearms rights for private citizens.

 

The International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) met last week in Nuremberg, Germany. Gun rights organizations and activists from several countries, including Sweden, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and the United States attended. The group's official slogan is "Liberty and Security."

 

SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, who serves as an IAPCAR director, just returned from the meeting, and he is encouraged that groups from other countries, including The Philippines, Switzerland, Belgium, Argentina, Finland, India, Israel, Greece, South Africa, and Australia are also interested in joining.

 

"Self-defense is a human right," Gottlieb observed, "that is not just limited to citizens of the United States thanks to our Second Amendment. We look at IAPCAR as an organization

 

that can counter the world gun control campaign currently being waged by the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). We will provide rebuttal to IANSA's misinformation and myths about firearms ownership, and work to expand the individual human right to defend ourselves and our families from crime, the violence that often accompanies civil unrest and the growing threat of terrorism."

 

Current plans call for IAPCAR to have offices in Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Austria, Gottlieb revealed. Washington, D.C. attorney Mark Barnes will serve as managing director.

 

"I am very encouraged by the response we're getting from firearms groups all over the world," Gottlieb said. "This is an important first step' in regaining much lost ground, and putting the brakes on an international movement to strip private citizens of the means to protect their most cherished right, that of self-defense."

 

Julianne Versnel, another IAPCAR director, said the group already has member organizations in Canada, the United States, Greece, Germany and Italy.  For more information, visit www.IAPCAR.com.


What’s New from Tom Knapp

Shooting Legend and Benelli part company

Hi everybody, it’s Tom Knapp. Welcome to my What’s New page where you can stay up to speed on what’s going on around here.

Tom Knapp Shoots On

Last November/December (2009) Tom Knapp was diagnosed with a possible immune deficiency which may be associated with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Although the diagnosis is still pending, his doctors have requested that he slow down for awhile. For this reason Tom has kept a low profile since last November, until such time that his strength returns.

 

Unfortunately after 18 years, Benelli USA has terminated his

 

employment agreement due to his health condition. Although

this is untimely and sad, this will allow Tom Knapp to expand his horizons into more independent freelance endeavors.

 

"As I recover from my Non-Cancer related health issue I look forward to a quick and steady recovery so that I can get back to entertaining my friends, fans, and colleagues across America and throughout the world."

 

"I look forward to new challenges and excitement as I travel down my new path to success. I thank all my fans and supporters over my career and look forward to giving thanks by future entertainment."


NCAA Rifle Team Champs

It's been five years since coach Karen Monenz took over the Texas Christian U. rifle program. The program had been around a long time, but never managed to make it to the NCAA Championships until three years ago.  Taking a solid home-field advantage this year, however, the Horned Frogs shooters swept the NCAA Championships, bringing home the trophy.

For Monez, who had never coached before, it was validation of a long, successful shooting career. Heck, it's a major victory for anyone who believes women can do more than just compete with men in many disciplines. The TCU squad- all eight of them- are all females.  In taking the title, TCU bested (in order of finish) Alaska, West Virginia, Kentucky, Army, Nebraska, Murray State and Navy.


 

National

Supreme Court to Reconsider Asian Carp issue

The Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider Michigan’s motion to force the closure of Chicago-area locks and stop the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

 

The legal motion, which Cox filed in December, is part of a broader effort by the attorney general to reopen a decades-old lawsuit filed by several states against Chicago and Illinois over the Chicago Waterway System, the century-old network of canals and locks that were built to divert the city’s sewage into the Illinois River instead of Lake Michigan. The ongoing diversion of Great Lakes water, and the canals and locks that are part of it, have allowed zebra mussels and the round gobies to move from the Great Lakes into the Mississippi River and many other states.

 

The Supreme Court gave no explanation in January when it

rejected Michigan's request to close the locks. The new

request has been distributed to the justices for consideration at their private conference Friday, March 19. Orders made during a Friday conference are typically released the following Monday.

 

Michigan has asked the court to appoint a special master, who would gather evidence and issue recommendations to the court. The state seeks the permanent "ecological separation" of the two bodies of water, and the justices' decision on the injunction could signal whether they are receptive to that broader request.

 

Cox’s office confirmed March 16 that the Supreme Court will reconsider his injunction request on March 19, and that the court is scheduled to consider Cox’s larger request to reopen the Chicago diversion case on April 16.


Wyoming plan fines feds $2,000 over gun rules

2 years in jail also possible for agent enforcing U.S. regulations on firearm

CASPER-- WND--Wyoming has joined a growing list of states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation of weapons made, bought and used inside state borders – but lawmakers in the Cowboy State have taken the issue one step further, adopting significant penalties for federal agents attempting to enforce Washington's rules.

 

According a law signed into effect March 12 by Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal, any agent of the U.S. who "enforces or attempts to enforce" federal gun rules on a "personal firearm" in Wyoming faces a felony conviction and a penalty of up to two years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

 

Just days ago South Dakota and Utah became the third and forth states, joining Montana and Tennessee, to adopt an exemption from federal regulations for weapons built, sold and kept within state borders.

 

A lawsuit is pending over the Montana law, which was the first to go into effect.

 

But Wyoming's law goes further, stating, "Any official, agent or employee of the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the United States government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Wyoming and that remains exclusively within the borders of Wyoming shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), or both."

 

The new South Dakota law addresses the "rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades." South Dakota's law specifically notes "any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in South Dakota and that remains within the borders of South Dakota is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce."

 

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, who has spearheaded the Montana law, now describes himself as a sort of "godfather" to the national campaign.  He said the issue is not only about guns but about states' rights and the constant overreaching by federal agencies and Washington to impose their requirements on in-state activities.

 

Oklahoma, Alaska and Idaho also appear to be close to adopting similar legislation, and several dozen more states have proposals in the works.   Other states considering similar legislation are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

 

In the Montana lawsuit, the federal government's brief argues

 

it can regulate intrastate commerce because of the Commerce Clause. But the analysis said what the states are doing is simply a nullification.

 

The report goes on "Laws of the federal government are to be supreme in all matters pursuant to the delegated powers of U.S. Constitution. When D.C. enacts laws outside those powers, state laws trump. And, as Thomas Jefferson would say, when the federal government assumes powers not delegated to it, those acts are 'unauthoritative, void, and of no force' from the outset."

 

"Laws of the federal government are to be supreme in all matters pursuant to the delegated powers of U.S. Constitution. When D.C. enacts laws outside those powers, state laws trump. And, as Thomas Jefferson would say, when the federal government assumes powers not delegated to it, those acts are 'unauthoritative, void, and of no force' from the outset."

 

"When a state 'nullifies' a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or 'non-effective,' within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state's citizens," he continued.

 

"By signing HB95, Gov. Freudenthal places Wyoming in a position of proper authority while pressing the issue of state supremacy back into the public sphere," he continued.

 

On a blog, one commentator noted, "This is a healthy sign. Legislators in several states are working to take back sovereignty and restore constitutional government. The next step that has to be taken is to replace representatives and senators who don't support states rights. Then, the House needs to introduce impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court justices who exhibit bad behavior. Contrary to popular belief, Supreme Court justices do not serve lifetime appointments. They serve for periods of GOOD BEHAVIOR. I contend that erroneous decisions constitute bad behavior."

 

According to the Casper, Wyo., Star-Tribune, the law takes effect in July and consumers could purchase guns immediately under the exemption from the state's sole firearms manufacturer, Freedom Arms, which makes revolvers in the $2,000 price range. The newspaper reported authorities already have discussed the possible scenario of a local Wyoming sheriff arresting a U.S. marshal.

 

"That's a question we've sort of asked ourselves," John Powell, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney's office in Cheyenne, told the paper. "We're not exactly sure how this is going to play out." State Rep. Alan Jaggi, R-Lyman, told the newspaper there could be confrontations.

 

"I think it could be a possibility if we had some overzealous – do I want to say bureaucrat? – that would just say, 'Hey, we're going to show these states we have all the authority,'" Jaggi said. "States' rights – I'm willing to say that's important enough to us to do it."


Judge grants SEAL's witnesses immunity

March 13, 2010, The Virginian-Pilot

The case against a Navy SEAL accused of not protecting an alleged Iraqi terrorist took a major turn on March 12 when a military judge ordered that five key defense witnesses be granted immunity to testify on his behalf.

 

Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas is one of three SEALs accused in the controversial case, which has led to protests and calls from members of Congress for the charges to be dropped.

 

Huertas faces court martial for dereliction of duty, impeding an investigation and making a false official statement. A member of SEAL Team 10 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, he was one of the commandos who captured Ahmed Hashim Abed in Fallujah in early September. A sailor guarding the detainee claimed to see one SEAL punch Abed while Huertas and a third SEAL watched.

 

Four other SEALs and a Navy corpsman who were present on the day of the alleged incident, including the detachment commander, dispute the guard's claims. Because they'd been told they also faced prosecution, they requested immunity before testifying in the case. Army Maj. Gen. C.T. Cleveland, the head of Special Operations Command Central, denied their requests in February.

 

The military judge hearing the case against Huertas, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos, said Friday that the witnesses would offer testimony shedding doubt on the guard's allegations. Not granting them immunity, he ruled, is either an attempt to gain tactical advantage over the defense or showed the government was overreaching.

 

Judge Carlos gave General Cleveland until March 24 to provide immunity to the witnesses or he will abate the proceeding -- a legal term for postponing it indefinitely.


Boat Owners Might Have Federal Tax Deductions Available

ALEXANDRIA, VA - Recreational boat owners who paid state sales taxes on a boat purchase, or those who secured a loan to finance a boat, may have some tax deductions available when filing their 2009 federal income tax return.  Boaters must choose either the state sales tax deduction or state income tax deduction on their federal tax return -- you cannot take both.

 

In addition, to take the state sales tax deduction, the sales tax on a boat purchase must be applied at the same tax rate as the state's general sales tax. In order to claim the sales tax deduction, tax returns must be itemized. State sales taxes are entered on IRS form Schedule A, line 5b.

 

For those owners with a secured boat loan, mortgage interest paid on the loan may be deducted from your federal income taxes. Taxpayers may use the home mortgage interest deduction for one second home in addition to their primary home, and must itemize deductions on their returns. A boat is considered a second home for federal tax purposes if it has a galley, a head, and sleeping berth.

Some boaters may be unaware of this potential tax benefit because not all lending institutions send borrowers an Internal Revenue Service form 1098 which reports the interest paid. Not receiving the form does not preclude taking the deduction. If a 1098 is not available, boaters should contact their lender for the amount of interest paid and should enter it on line 11 on Schedule A along with the lender's tax ID number. If a form 1098 is sent, boaters should simply enter the amount on line 10 of Schedule A.

 

For those who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, most deductions are unavailable as taxes are calculated differently. Boaters are urged to contact a tax preparer or financial advisor for more information.

 

For more info on mortgage deduction: www.IRS.gov and download Publication 936 or the Fact Sheets. For state tax deduction information download Publication 600 - which also includes state-by-state tax tables.

 

 


Regional

Sampling Efforts to net Asian Carp ongoing in Chicago Area Waterway System

IDNR, USFWS searching near warm water discharges despite critics and cry babies

CHICAGO – Fisheries biologists from the Illinois DNR and the USFWS are into their fifth week of intensive sampling operations in multiple locations within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).  The sampling efforts, initiated on February 17 include using commercial fishing nets of different variations, and electro fishing gear in an attempt to locate either silver or bighead Asian carp above the Electric Fish Barrier System.  The sampling operation will also include the use of commercial fishermen and is scheduled to take place in the CAWS over the next few weeks. 

 

So far they haven't found any Asian Carp. Is it a waste of time and money? Some critics and crybabies think so, and they're complaining loudly and vociferously. And so do some sensationalistic rag journalists (they call themselves 'critics').  But what if Asian Carp were present and we didn't look for them and they ultimately materialized in large schools? Wouldn't these same critics and cry babies be up in arms complaining the world was coming to an end because Illinois officials and their DNR didn't do enough? And these sensationalist journalists - (the other 'critics') - would be running out of ink.

 

It's not a "Damned if we do, and Damned if we don't" situation.

 

It's not that complex, we have no other option. That ongoing

search and destroy mission is critical and necessary to protect our precious resources while the feds sort out their decision-making process, whatever that ultimately is.

 

These critics and crybabies are even concerned about the cost! Why worry about the cost? The feds are picking up the tab and, they have new printing presses and they're very adroit at using them as necessary. Oh, we won't have enough to dole out to the environmental community? Or we won't have enough to rid the Great Lakes of the other introduced invasive species? Can you think of a better reason to spend some federal dollars than to protect the Great Lakes and our aquatic resources??

 

The Illinois DNR is to be commended for their determination and commitment, as well as their sense of urgency, the urgency and commitment we have found so lacking with Washington DC.

 

Sampling crews are concentrating their efforts near warm water discharges created by various industrial operations along the waterway system.   These areas of warm water serve as a place of congregation for fish during the winter when water temperatures drop significantly.  To view the entire control framework or for more information about the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee:  www.asiancarp.org/rapidresponse


Michigan AFS Chapter votes to separate Welland Canal from Great Lakes

Also approves separating the Chicago Waterway system from Lake Michigan

In a pro-active move, indisputably designed to protect the nation’s waterways from further introductions of invasive species, The Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society recently and resoundingly voted to urge the United States Congress and Canada to separate the Welland Canal from the Great Lakes.

 

This action alone would close off the major connection of the world's introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes. To date over 99% of the region's invasive species have been introduced down this waterway, with the major vehicle being the international shipping industry and their destructive ballast water dumpings. They have, of course had plenty of help with an impotent or indifferent Congress and five failed ballast bills.

 

The Michigan chapter also voted to urge Congress and the Obama Administration to separate the Chicago Waterway System from Lake Michigan, closing the connection between the Mississippi River Watershed and the Great Lakes.  

 

With these two resolutions passed by the Michigan State AFS chapter at their February 24th meeting in Grayling, the state of Michigan has put the U.S. Congress on notice that they have not done their job to prevent invasive species from entering

 

the Great Lakes.

 

The Chapter notes the Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industry is worth $7 billion dollars annually; over 184 non-native species are now found in the Great Lakes and a number of non-native species including zebra mussel, quagga mussel, and round goby have been introduced to the Mississippi River Watershed through the Chicago Waterway System.

 

The resolutions also note an estimated $100 million has been spent on zebra mussel control annually, while an additional $300 million has been spent on lamprey control with over $16 million spent in 2009 alone. Also, Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, potentially introduced via ballast water, threatens commercial and sport fisheries worth $4.5 billion in just the State of Michigan.

 

The chapter resolutions poignantly note Ocean-origin Great Lakes shipping transports only about 7% of the total tonnage transported in the  Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and alternative transportation using Great Lakes shipping, train, barge, and truck would only cost  the industry $55 million per year.

 

Why don’t we see any similar initiatives coming from the State of New York, their environmentalists, activists or any of their bureaucrats?


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 19, 2010 

Weather Conditions

High pressure and sunny skies brought unseasonably warm temperatures and spring-like weather across the Great Lakes basin this past week.  Record high temperatures were recorded in several locations across the northern part of the basin.  This Friday may be the last day of above average temperatures as a low pressure system makes its way into the basin.  Look for cooler temperatures and a chance for rain and snow this weekend.  The cool temperatures are expected to persist into next week. 

 Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are near their levels from 2009.  Lake St. Clair is 7 inches below its level of a year ago while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 15 and 16 inches, respectively, below their levels of a year ago.  Much of the difference between last year's and this year's levels of Lakes Erie and Ontario can be attributed to the significant amount of snow that fell in 2009 versus what has fallen this year.  Over the next month, the water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to increase by 1 and 2 inches respectively.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to rise an inch over the next thirty days while Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to rise approximately 5 and 6 inches, respectively, over the same timeframe.  Over the next few months, all of the Great Lakes are expected to be below their levels of a year ago.

Forecasted March Outflows/Channel Conditions

The outflow from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River is forecasted to be below average. The outflow from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River is forecasted to be near average. Near

average flows are expected for the Detroit River and Niagara River. The St. Lawrence River is expected to have above average flows in March. Ice build-up in the connecting channels can greatly affect flows and may cause significant fluctuations in water levels.

Alerts

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.   Ice charts can be accessed via the National Ice Center's website. Due to changing ice conditions lake levels may fluctuate rapidly.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Aug 4

 

600.69

 

577.76

 

 

573.82

 

570.83

 

244.62

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 

-5

 

+3

 

+18

 

+20

 

+16

Diff last month

 

-2

 

 

0

 

+26

 

+4

 

+2

Diff from last yr

 

0

 

0

 

-7

 

-15

 

-16


2nd Amendment Issues

Chicago Guns laws don’t work, FBI

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's latest data, Illinois had 530 homicides in 2008, and 510 of them

happened in Chicago; 421 of those homicides were committed with handguns. But then, Chicago doesn't allow handguns, so how...


General

River Anglers Reminded of Wading Safety Tips

With the start of the popular "walleye run" along the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and other early spring fishing opportunities beginning throughout the region, the Ohio DNR advises anglers to observe important safety tips while wading and boating in pursuit of their favorite game fish.

 

The walleye run traditionally hits its peak and attracts the largest numbers of anglers to the Maumee and Sandusky rivers during late March through mid-April. The ODNR Division of Watercraft suggests boaters and anglers keep these basic safety tips in mind while wading and fishing from boats during early spring:

 

► Properly dress for the water temperatures instead of the air temperatures to guard against the effect of hypothermia should you unexpectedly fall into the water. Keep available extra clothing on-hand.

► Wear an approved inflatable life vest, life jacket or flotation coat anytime while wading in a river or stream and anytime while on a boat.

► Be especially cautious in areas with high, fast moving

waters.

► Do not fish alone; fish with a wading or boating partner. Let friends or family members know of your fishing and boating plans.

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

► Never wear waders while fishing from a boat.

► Carry a large walking stick or wading staff to help provide balance while wading in a river. Use a pair of metal crampons or cleats, which fit over the boot portion of waders, to significantly improve traction when wading across slippery rocks and other debris commonly found along river bottoms.

► Avoid alcohol consumption and be aware of local ordinances and state laws that prohibit open displays of alcoholic beverages and public consumption of alcohol.

► Be prepared to handle an emergency situation if it arises and stay informed of current and forecast weather and water conditions.


 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan 2009 Forage Base report

The Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) has conducted lake-wide surveys of the fish community in Lake Michigan each fall since 1973 using standard 12-m bottom trawls towed along contour at depths of 9 to 110 m at each of seven index transects.  The resulting data on relative abundance, size structure, and condition of individual fishes are used to estimate various population parameters that are in turn used by state and tribal agencies in managing Lake Michigan fish stocks.  All seven established index transects of the survey were completed in 2009. 

 

The survey provides relative abundance and biomass estimates between the 5-m and 114-m depth contours of the lake (herein, lake-wide) for prey fish populations, as well as burbot, yellow perch, and the introduced dreissenid mussels. 

 

Alewives

Lake-wide biomass of alewives in 2009 was estimated at 13.03 kilotonnes (kt) (1 kt = 1000 metric tons), which was more than double the 2008 estimate. 

Bloater

Lake-wide biomass of bloater in 2009 was estimated at 6.98 kt, which was nearly three times higher than the 2008 estimate. 

Rainbow smelt

Rainbow smelt lake-wide biomass equaled 1.26 kt in 2009, which was nearly double the 2008 estimate. 

Deepwater sculpin

Deepwater sculpin lake-wide biomass equaled 3.73 kt, which was only 4% lower than the 2008 estimate.  Nevertheless, the 2009 estimate was the lowest value in the deepwater sculpin time series.  Slimy sculpin lake-wide biomass remained relatively high in 2009 (3.59 kt), increasing 72% over the 2008 level.

Ninespine stickleback

Ninespine stickleback lake-wide biomass equaled 0.39 kt in

2008, which was nearly identical to the 2008 estimate.  The

exotic round goby decreased by 83% between 2008 and 2009, from 3.76 to 0.63 kt.  Burbot lake-wide biomass (0.90 kt in 2009) has remained fairly constant since 2002. 

 

Mussels

Lake-wide biomass estimates of dreissenid mussels increased by more than fivefold from 7.57 kt in 2008 to 40.79 kt in 2009. 

 

Overall, the total lake-wide prey fish biomass estimate (sum of alewife, bloater, rainbow smelt, deepwater sculpin, slimy sculpin, round goby, and ninespine stickleback) in 2009 was 29.62 kt, which represented a 52% increase over the 2008 estimate.

 

Yellow Perch

Density of age-0 yellow perch (i.e., < 100 mm) equaled 38 fish per ha, which is indicative of a relatively strong year-class.

 

The 2005 year-class of yellow perch was the largest ever recorded.  This huge year-class was likely attributable to a sufficient abundance of female spawners and favorable weather.  Numeric density of the 2009 year-class was 38 fish per ha, an indication of a strong year-class. 

 

Unlike 2005, when relatively high age-0 yellow perch densities were observed at most transects, nearly all of the age-0 yellow perch caught during 2009 were from the Saugatuck transect.  Most researchers believe that the poor yellow perch recruitment during the 1990s and early 2000s was due to a combination of several factors, including poor weather conditions and low abundance of female spawners


Michigan

Michigan AFS Chapter votes to separate Welland Canal from Great Lakes

Also approves separating the Chicago Waterway system from Lake Michigan

In a pro-active move, indisputably designed to protect the nation’s waterways from further introductions of invasive species, The Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society recently and resoundingly voted to urge the United States Congress and Canada to separate the Welland Canal from the Great Lakes.

 

This action alone would close off the major connection of the world's introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes. To date over 99% of the region's invasive species have been introduced down this waterway, with the major vehicle being the international shipping industry and their destructive ballast water dumpings. They have, of course had plenty of help with an impotent or indifferent Congress and five failed ballast bills.

 

The Michigan chapter also voted to urge Congress and the Obama Administration to separate the Chicago Waterway System from Lake Michigan, closing the connection between the Mississippi River Watershed and the Great Lakes.  

 

With these two resolutions passed by the Michigan State AFS chapter at their February 24th meeting in Grayling, the state of Michigan has put the U.S. Congress on notice that they have not done their job to prevent invasive species from entering

 

the Great Lakes.

 

The Chapter notes the Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industry is worth $7 billion dollars annually; over 184 non-native species are now found in the Great Lakes and a number of non-native species including zebra mussel, quagga mussel, and round goby have been introduced to the Mississippi River Watershed through the Chicago Waterway System.

 

The resolutions also note an estimated $100 million has been spent on zebra mussel control annually, while an additional $300 million has been spent on lamprey control with over $16 million spent in 2009 alone. Also, Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, potentially introduced via ballast water, threatens commercial and sport fisheries worth $4.5 billion in just the State of Michigan.

 

The chapter resolutions poignantly note Ocean-origin Great Lakes shipping transports only about 7% of the total tonnage transported in the  Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and alternative transportation using Great Lakes shipping, train, barge, and truck would only cost  the industry $55 million per year.

 

Why don’t we see any similar initiatives coming from the State of New York, their environmentalists, activists or any of their bureaucrats?


DNRE Reminds Anglers 2007 Inland Consent Decree

Provides for Certain Activities by Tribal Members

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment reminds the public that certain fishing opportunities for tribal members under the 1836 Treaty of Washington are different than those allowed for state-licensed recreational anglers under Michigan law, and that these activities may be observed this spring.

 

As established under the 2007 Inland Consent Decree, Tribal members may use spears or conventional fishing tackle to take walleye and steelhead in some waters of Michigan covered by the treaty during periods when these waters are closed to fishing for State-licensed recreational anglers.

 

A map of the portion of Michigan covered by the 1836 Treaty of Washington can be found by following this link to the DNR   

Web site:

http://michigan.gov/documents/dnr/treaty_1836_boundary-STATEWIDE_220728_7.pdf

 

“We appreciate anglers’ concerns when they see something unusual occurring, but we ask people not to interfere with Tribal members who are exercising their rights under the 2007 Inland Consent Decree,” said Nick Popoff, the DNRE Fisheries Division’s tribal coordinator. “If you think a violation is in progress, you can call the DNR’s Report All Poaching line (800-292-7800) and report it.”

 

The area ceded under the 1836 Treaty of Washington includes the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. For information on the 2007 Inland Consent Decree, check the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/tribalcoordination.


Opposition grows for wind farms

As a recreational boater, Ray Underwood has "severe anxiety over the proposals to desecrate the history and beauty of Michigan’s shorelines in the name of “Green Energy." He also questions the ability to provide scientific data on the potential damages to the Great Lakes fisheries and fish habitat. Underwood also questions the ability to provide for the safety of Great Lakes boaters, fisher’s and commercial shippers!

 

Underwood has been involved with Michigan’s waterways for over thirty years and is as an advisor for lake Erie to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission. He was also a former Waterways Commissioner for the State of Michigan.

 

Having visited Wind Turbine farms in California and South Western Ontario, his observations are similar to those of others who have been exposed to them:  the first few were

uniquely "cute," massive installations are horrifically ugly!

 

Underwood, recognizing we would be abandoning forever  the beautiful landscape of our nation and the heritage of our children , says "If for no other reason, think about how many thousands of sunset and sunrise photographs taken by visitors to our shorelines will no longer be classified as “uniquely stunning."

 

"This issue should not be a political ploy in the name of energy and jobs as some would have. It is much deeper than that, it is a heritage that we will be decimating and should not be ours to sell at any dollar figure.  I urge you all to get involved and think of the legacy lost to those generations yet to come if these generators are allowed to stand off our shores," says Underwood.


Minnesota

DU Disappointed at Pawlenty Wetlands Funding Veto

ST. PAUL -- Funding for an important and landowner-friendly habitat conservation program was line-item vetoed last week by Governor Tim Pawlenty in the state's bonding bill, a move Ducks Unlimited says may jeopardize millions in matching federal funds.

 

"The veto of $25 million for the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) conservation easement program is a real lost opportunity for Minnesota said Ryan Heiniger, DU director of conservation

programs in Minnesota.

 

The Legislature had allocated $25 million, which would have been matched by $35 million in federal dollars. Gov. Tim Pawlenty had recommended $4 million for the program in his budget. "This amount is more than six times my recommendation, and the language used invites an 'all or nothing' veto approach,'' Pawlenty wrote in his letter explaining his line-item vetoes.


New York

Court Upholds New York State's Tough Ballast Water Rules

ALBANY, NY (ENS) - A New York State appeals court has dismissed a challenge brought by shipping interests against the state's new ballast water requirements, intended to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes. In a ruling a three judge panel upheld the authority of states to adopt ballast water rules that are more protective than federal standards.

 

A coalition of public corporations, shipping companies and others, including the Port of Oswego Authority and Lake Carriers' Association, challenged the New York Department of Environmental Conservation requirements imposed over and above national requirements imposed by the USEPA.

 

New York requires that ships perform a ballast water exchange or a saltwater flush at least 50 nautical miles from shore in water at least 200 meters deep. The state also requires existing vessels to install ballast water treatment systems to comply with those standards before January 1, 2012. The third condition sets forth more rigid standards for

those discharges, which vessels constructed on or after

January 1, 2013 will be required to meet.

 

The shipping industry argued that these conditions are "arbitrary and capricious and not legally permissible."

 

The Great Lakes are a unique ecosystem representing one-fifth of the Earth's surface fresh water, but the vitality of the ecosystem has been threatened by alien species that have wreaked havoc on native fish and plants.

 

Over 186 invasive species have been identified in the Great Lakes; since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, 65 percent of invasive species introductions have been attributed to ballast water. In the 1980's, invasions by the zebra mussel and sea lamprey harmed local drinking water infrastructure and fishing industries.

 

An earlier ruling of the federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld Michigan's ballast water rules against a similar shipping industry challenge.


DEC closes American Shad Fisheries

In an effort to help restore the American shad population in New York's waters, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announces new regulations that ban commercial and recreational fishing for the species in the Hudson River and the Marine and Coastal District of New York, effective immediately.  The regulations also prohibit the sale or offering for sale of any American shad caught in New York State.  

 

The regulations enacted eon March 17 also set new restrictions for American shad in the Delaware River by reducing the daily creel limit from six fish a day to three and prohibiting commercial shad fishing in the river.

 

These regulations are one part of a multi-phase effort being undertaken by New York to enable the American shad population to recover. For more info: www.dec.ny.gov/docs/remediation_hudson_pdf/shadrecoveryplan.pdf


Ohio

34 Boat Ramps to Receive Needed Repairs

The Ohio DNR will provide more than $376,000 for urgent boat launch facility repairs and maintenance at 34 sites statewide this spring, following recent approval from the State Controlling Board.

 

Funding is provided through the state's Waterways Safety Fund, which consists of monies paid by boaters for watercraft registration and titling fees, a share of the state motor fuels tax

 

and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

A total of 34 projects, each ranging in cost from $381 to $20,000, will be completed by June 30, including 25 boat launch access sites within Ohio's state parks. For a listing of the sites: http://ohiodnr.com/Portals/4/pdfs/grants/awards/EBA-awarded.pdf.


Vermillion Scenic River Designation Subject of Public Meeting

A public information meeting to discuss the designation of the Vermilion River as a State Scenic River will be held on Monday, March 22 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft. If designated, the Vermillion will become the state's fifteenth scenic river.

The public will take place at the Mill Hollow Vermilion River Reservation's Carriage Barn, 51211 N. Ridge Road in Vermilion. The meeting will begin at 7 pm.  You may also provide written comments to ODNR Division of Watercraft, 2045 Morse Rd, Bldg. A-3, Columbus, OH  43229.

 


Canada

Long-gun registry must end

By Candice Hoeppner, Tory MP

As many Canadians are aware, there has been a long debate over the registration of long guns, and strong opposition to the previous Liberal government's long-gun registry.  This opposition grew when the auditor general reported the costs of the Liberal program had reached at least $1 billion.

 

That's why last May I introduced Bill C-391 to end the long-gun registry. The bill passed second reading in the House of Commons.  My bill will only end the requirement to register long-guns. Stringent licensing requirements will continue for all firearms and police will have the capacity to know who owns a gun and where that person lives.

 

Some have asked why I introduced this bill, especially as a woman and a mother who does not even own a long-gun. I became politically active almost 10 years ago. Our justice system was eroding and money was being poured into programs that did nothing to fight crime, like the long-gun registry.

 

I knew I had to show my children the importance of acting instead of just sitting back and complaining.  Irrational government policy had to be challenged. I still believe that.

 

The long-gun registry is a massive Liberal policy failure and it needs to end. It makes no sense to force law-abiding individuals with firearms licences to register their long-guns. It makes no sense to believe the registry will prevent a gun crime from taking place.

 

Canada's auditor general, Sheila Fraser, exposed the wastefulness of the registry. Hundreds of millions of dollars ended up in the pockets of big consulting firms and did nothing to prevent or fight crime. Almost $2 billion has been wasted thus far.  This money could have gone toward front-line police officers, or for programs to help our at-risk kids.

Gun violence is not a gender issue. In 2008, 175 men were killed in Canada with firearms, compared with 25 women. When someone in Canada dies at the hands of a gun, all of us suffer. Kids lose a parent, parents lose a child and spouses lose each other.

 

In order to make our communities truly safer we need to re-tool our criminal justice system and focus on the real problems. We need to strengthen the Criminal Code with tough anti-crime and anti-gang measures and make sure criminals serve the time they deserve. We plan to do that.

 

Since introducing Bill C-391, I have been accused by opposition members of being against women. In demeaning fashion, I have been called a "showpiece" and "little foot-soldier." I have been told numerous times to "sit down and be quiet" by members of the Liberal Caucus.  These attacks appear to be motivated, in part, by the fact I am tackling an issue that is not, in the Opposition's mind, "women's work."

 

They are telling women who are part of families that farm, hunt or sport shoot to also sit down and be quiet. They are telling women if they don't think as the Liberals do on these issues, they should be silent.

 

This may come as surprise to Michael Ignatieff and his caucus, but not all Canadian women think alike and they will not be put into a Liberal Pink Box. It is 2010 and not 1970 -- Ignatieff and his caucus must abandon their paternalism and begin to respect the various viewpoints of all women and their right to express them.

 

Canadians have spoken loudly and clearly on Bill C-391. That is why I will continue to work to protect Canadians' interests and their tax dollars, and see an end to the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry once and for all.

Tory MP Candice Hoeppner represents the riding of Portage-Lisgar in Manitoba


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

Klobuchar pushes U.S. Coast Guard for fishing guide rule change
President Obama’s nominee to head the Coast Guard got a boatful of advice from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, on new regulations facing fishing guides. At issue is a newly promulgated rule that requires small charter boat captains and fishing guides to obtain training and a special Coast Guard license.

 

Lake Ontario, on the rebound
Lake Ontario's health has improved greatly over the last 30 to 40 years, largely due to efforts to reduce the amount of phosphorus discharged into the lake, as well as stricter controls on sewage treatment plants.

 

Michigan eyed for $4 billion in wind farms
Minnesota's Scandia Wind Offshore company proposed a $4 billion project to develop offshore and onshore wind farms on the West Michigan coast.

 

Why solving the Asian carp problem is so hard
Stopping the carp has become a hot-button issue, prompting Michigan and a coalition of five states to petition Illinois to "hit the pause button" on a series of Chicago-area locks until the entire Great Lakes region is comfortable that an effective plan is in place to stop Asian carp.

 

Congress Shortchanges the Indians
After 13 years of lawsuits and painful negotiations, the federal government and representatives of hundreds of thousands of American Indians finally reached a settlement of claims that reached back to the 19th century, except that Congress has yet to sign off on the agreement

 

Asian carp search turns up nothing
Fishery crews have spent the past month chasing Asian carp with nets and fish-shocking tools on the Chicago canal system near Lake Michigan. They've landed zero Asian carp.

 

Oswego County joins fight against turbines
Oswego County legislators followed the lead of Jefferson County in opposing an offshore wind-power project for eastern Lake Ontario. Legislators voted to support a resolution asking for the project not to come to waters near Oswego County.

Fish DNA can confirm presence, not size or age
Environmental DNA testing involves taking water samples and then filtering it for fragments of DNA, which then are amplified with lab tools so they can be confirmed as species-specific material. What the DNA samples can't reveal is how many fish might be in an area or their size and age.

COMMENTARY: Great Lakes fishing under threat
April Fool's Day could see a very bad joke played on the hundreds of thousands of fishermen who enjoy angling on the Great Lakes, it's the deadline for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to report on the financial and environmental costs of combating the Asian carp menace.

 

Powerful future: Michigan's economic development chief touts wind energy's potential
The state administration, while critical of the first proposal for a major offshore wind development off the West Michigan shoreline, remains committed to developing an industry in hopes of diversifying the economy.

 

Unsafe river in Indiana faces long recuperation
The Grand Calumet River has the most problems of any river in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Cleanup has progressed slowly since the river was designated as one of the nation's worst in 1987.

 

Lawmakers seek strategy to limit red tide damage
Lawmakers voted 251-103 for the bill, calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop a strategy for dealing with algal blooms and coordinate research on the subject. The freshwater studies could cost up to $7 million per year.

 

 

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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