Week of April 5 , 2004

 

World

 

National

Regional

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Ontario

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World

Law of the Sea Treaty – another effort by the UN at World dominance

A global nightmare that would control the high seas and its vast resources

Shielded by the media glare of presidential politics and daily explosions in Iraq, two crucial issues are about to be decided by the U.S. Senate, without the knowledge of the American people.  Should the United States ratify the Law of the Seas Treaty (LOST) (Treaty Doc. 103-39)?  Should any U.N. treaty be ratified without full, open debate and a recorded vote? That's the way this LOST proposal is headed.

 

The treaty is very near ratification in the U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, having never been debated, and without a recorded vote.

 

The Law of the Sea Treaty originated in the 1970s as part of the United Nations' redistributionist agenda known as the "New International Economic Order." The convention covers such issues as fishing and navigation, but the controversy arose mainly over seabed mining. In essence, the Law of the Sea Treaty was designed to transfer wealth and technology from the industrialized states to the Third World.

 

The Law of the Seas Treaty was rejected by Ronald Reagan in 1982. After some polishing around the edges of the treaty language, Bill Clinton signed the treaty in 1994 and sent it to the Senate for ratification. There it sat, dormant, until Oct. 7, 2003. Mysteriously, the treaty appeared on the Foreign Relations Committee hearings calendar on Oct. 14 and Oct. 21, but no opposing voices were allowed to present testimony.

 

Two decades ago, President Ronald Reagan ignored criticism of American unilateralism and refused to sign the treaty. U.S. leadership caused the Europeans and even the Soviet Union to stay out. Many Third World states eventually acknowledged the treaty's many flaws.

 

The first Bush and Clinton administrations worked to "fix" the treaty, leading to a revised agreement in 1994. Washington signed, leading to a cascade of ratifications from other countries. GOP gains in Congress, however, dissuaded the Clinton administration from pushing for ratification. Now George W. Bush has stepped in where Bill Clinton feared to tread.

 

Unfortunately, the revised treaty retains many of its original flaws. There is still a complicated multinational bureaucracy that sounds like an excerpt from George Orwell's "1984": At its center is the International Seabed Authority. The Authority (as it calls itself) supervises a mining subsidiary called the Enterprise, ruled by an Assembly, Council, and various commissions and committees. Mining approval would be highly politicized and could discriminate against American operators. Companies that are allowed to mine would owe

substantial fees to the Authority and be required to do surveys

 for the Enterprise, their government-subsidized competitor.

 

All the reasons the treaty was rejected by Ronald Reagan 22 years ago still exist:

 

 The treaty gives a U.N. agency the authority to tax by requiring a permit to engage in any activity affecting the seabed, such as oil drilling or mining.

 

Originally, the permit fee price began at $500,000. Madeleine Albright's renegotiated version reduced the starting price to $250,000. The U.N. agency can also require royalty payments for any minerals extracted from the seabed. Even more important, the permit process can require detailed information about the technology to be used, which can then be shared with all member nations without regard for intellectual-property rights or security concerns.

 

 The treaty raises serious national-security questions. Currently, any ship on the high seas that the U.S. suspects of carrying terrorists or supplies in support of terrorists can be boarded and detained under U.S. law. If the U.S. ratifies this treaty, the U.N.'s permission will be necessary before stopping a ship on the high seas.

 

Under the LOST, the United Nations would have the power to tax any and every type of sea-going vessel, as well as any type of ocean research and exploration. In fact, it would give the United Nations absolute control of these activities.

 

 U.S. adherence to this treaty would entail history's biggest and most unwarranted voluntary transfer of wealth and surrender of sovereignty. A product of the Left/Soviet-Non-Aligned Movement-agenda of the 1960s and '70s, LOST creates the International Seabed Authority (ISA) — a supranational organization with unprecedented powers.

 

These include the power to: regulate seven-tenths of the world's surface area, levy international taxes, impose production quotas (for deep-sea mining, oil production, etc.), govern ocean research and exploration, and create a multinational court to render and enforce its judgments. Some even aspire to giving the U.N. some of our warships so it can have "blue hulls" — to go along with its "blue helmets" — to ensure that the ISA's edicts are obeyed.

 

LOST was drafted before — and without regard to — the war on terror, and what the U.S. must do to wage it successfully. As a result, U.S. national-security interests will be severely undermined by several of the treaty's provisions. For example, the sorts of at-sea interdiction efforts central to President Bush's new Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would be prohibited. Communist China has already taken to citing the treaty to object to PSI maritime

 


National

USFWS Fishery Biologist 5/7/9/11 position open   

The Marquette Biological Station of the USFWS is seeking qualified individuals to apply for a position of Fishery Biologist. The Marquette Biological Station delivers an integrated program of sea lamprey control to assist in restoration of the Great Lakes fishery.  Our work takes us to locations throughout the Great Lakes basin.  We assess larval and adult sea lamprey populations and control sea lamprey numbers with a variety of state of the art techniques. 

 

We work closely with federal, state, and tribal agencies; and international organizations, including the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

 

We are currently recruiting for a Fishery Biologist to help lead an alternative control technique of sea lamprey sterilization.  The incumbent will help coordinate the collection of live sea lampreys from traps located at 20 sites on four Great Lakes, transport to the sterilization facility in Millersburg, MI, operation of the sterilization facility, and release of animals into the St.

Marys River.  The incumbent will also participate in a variety of control and evaluation activities of the Assessment Unit at the Marquette Biological Station. 

 

The positions are being advertised under two vacancy announcements:

Open to all qualified applicants

      Announcement number DEU3-04-DW002

      Fishery Biologist GS-0482-11, Salary $48,947 ? $63,629

 

Open to federal employees

      Announcement number FWS3-04-DW009

      Fishery Biologist GS-0482-5/7/9/11, Salary $26,0482 - $63,629

 

Information about job qualifications and application procedures is provided at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/ .  Applications must be received by April 19, 2004.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting Betty L'Huiller at 906.226.1202.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 2, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 7, 19, 6, 5 and 4 inches, respectively, below their long-term average.  All of the Great Lakes are above last year’s water levels.  Lake Superior is 1 inch above, while the remaining lakes are 7-10 inches above last year’s levels

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Rain and snow showers are expected this weekend as a cold

front drops across the region.  Record low temperatures are possible with the passage of the system.  More rain and normal temperatures are expected come mid-week.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are into their normal seasonal rise.  Levels are expected to increase 4-6 inches on Lakes Superior, Lakes Michigan-Huron, Erie, and Ontario over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is prone to short-term fluctuations in water level and is expected to rise an inch in the next four weeks.

 

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.


Scientists ask for assistance in tracking color-coded ducks

Researchers from Louisiana State U, Minnesota DNR and other cooperating agencies are asking for help in tracking color-coded ducks as they migrate through the Upper Midwest. Biologists are currently trapping, banding and color-marking lesser scaup, also known as bluebills, as they move into Pool 19 of the Mississippi River near Hamilton, Ill.

 

The objectives of the research project are to document migration corridors and wetland habitats used by scaup during spring migration. Researchers also hope to assess body condition of migrating scaup. Scaup populations have suffered serious declines during recent decades. Biologists hope the study will aid in learning more about the species' life cycle. 

Individual scaup will be marked with one of four colors based on their body condition and when they are captured. "The marking is very distinctive," said Jeff Lawrence, wetland wildlife research group leader for the Minnesota DNR. "But we're holding back on specifics of the marking so we can verify reported sightings with a few questions."

 

Individuals reporting observations of color-marked scaup should provide the following information: (1) date of sighting, (2) color of scaup, (3) sex of color-marked scaup if known, (4) total number of scaup observed on the same lake or wetland, (5) location of sighting (distance and direction from nearest town; lake or wetland name if known; and county and state), and (6) their name, address and phone number so researchers can contact them for further information and to send them a complimentary pen-and-ink scaup art print.


Indiana

New shooting facility to be built near Huntington

The Indiana DNR broke ground last week on a new $1.4 million shooting sports facility at Roush Lake near Huntington, Ind. Paid for mostly with federal funds provided by shooting sports enthusiasts, the new range will be one of the best and safest facilities of its kind, according to DNR Director John Goss.

           

The facility is expected to open in October. The new facility replaces an aging shooting range that has been used by 15,000 shooters each year. Goss said he expects the new facility to draw many more customers. The shooting range will have 33 rifle/pistol-shooting stations from 25 to 100 yards, and four shotgun stations. Overhead concrete baffles will prevent shots from accidentally leaving the range     

"Funding for the new shooting facility follows the model that the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have used for years. People who use a facility pay for most of the cost of that facility," Goss said.

 

The federal excise taxes people pay when they purchase firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment are passed onto the state by the USFWS to cover three-quarters of the cost of building the new shooting facility, Goss said.

           

A similar range was built near LaPorte, Ind. in 2002 at DNR's Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area. Construction of a larger shooting facility is planned for Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area near Columbus, Ind. in 2005.


State bans California trees, shrubs

A fungus-like pathogen (Phytophthora ramorum) is responsible for Sudden Oak Death, a disease that has killed tens of thousands of oak trees in California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture found the pathogen in a 500-acre plant nursery and scientists are now concerned the sale of those plants around the country will also spread the disease. 

 

Roses, azaleas, rhododendron, camellias, and oaks are among plants listed.

           

DNR Director John Goss signed an emergency order banning the importation and sale of 31 specific types of trees and shrubs imported from California. Under the order, wholesale and retail outlets are not allowed to receive shipment of the banned plants if from California.

           

The Indiana action comes on the heels of a federal quarantine from the U.S. Department of Agriculture aimed at nurseries in California. Hoosier nurseries and stores will be allowed to accept the restricted plants, even if from California, if the plants have been inspected and certified as disease-free by either the USDA or the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

           

Wholesale and retail outlets that had already accepted shipments of plants from California prior to the federal or Indiana quarantine are required to segregate those plants from their remaining stock. They are then required to immediately notify the DNR that they have some of the banned California stock on hand.

The pathogen is similar to one that appeared in the United States about 1904. That pathogen caused a disease that attacked chestnut trees and within 50 years had destroyed all 3.5 billion chestnut trees in the United States.  Sudden Oak Death could cause a similar wholesale destruction of oak and other species of tree throughout the country, especially in the east and south.

 

The pathogen creates a spore that can be carried on plant leaves and twigs and, thereby, transported to new locations. If planted, the spores can be carried by the wind to other plants and infect those plants. The spores can also survive in the soil and be carried by people to new locations that way.

 

 

By issuing the quarantine, Indiana joins 11 other states and Canada that have also banned the importation of these plants from California. The other states with a quarantine are Mississippi, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Delaware, Utah, Louisiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

 

The DNR estimates that about 600 nurseries and stores, out of the 4,000 in Indiana that sell trees and shrubs, routinely receive stock from California. Those stores and nurseries are being notified of the quarantine.  The pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death disease is not harmful to humans, pets or livestock. It causes death in a limited number of species and genera of tree but can be carried by many more and do some damage to those plants.

 


Michigan

Cormorant  control program unveiled

Agencies will work to purge Les Cheneaux Islands of critters

The local community of Les Cheneaux Islands will be the recipients of the first joint federal/ state effort to eliminate the huge flocks of cormorants darkening the skies over these once pristine islands.  Some 85 locals, congressional representatives and federal/state agents met on March 25 in the Clark County Community Center to witness a commitment to reduce these black marauders from this island region. 

 

The two hour meeting was led by Pete Butchko, state director of the USDA's Wildlife Services, and Dave Fielder, a MI DNR biologist from the Bay City regional office. With over $200,000 in grants from Congress and USDA for monitoring gear and operating expenses, Butchko stated he planned to reduce the cormorant population in the area from 15,000 to 2,000 birds

within the next few years.

 

By many expert estimates cormorant populations swell during the spring and summer to more than 100,000 in an area from west of the Mackinac Bridge to Drummond Island in the east, with thousands more on northern Michigan lakes.

 

Larry Meier, a resident of Prudenville, near Houghton Lake, has been leading the charge to initiate these controls and obtain federal funds to pay the freight. Meier says it is the first time the scientific community  has publicly acknowledged the role or cormorants have devastated local fish populations.

 

Butchko credited the Michigan delegation to Congress for securing funding from the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for cormorant control.


DNR reports improved walleye hatch in Saginaw Bay

Michigan DNR officials late last month reported almost a 500% increase in YOY walleye in their fall assessment of Saginaw Bay.

 

During the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's annual Lake Michigan lake committee meeting, committee biologists reported DNR researchers netted an average of 41 young walleye during their fall trawls of the bay, nearly five times

more than the record set in 1998. Additionally, 72 % of those fish hatched naturally, up from 20% in recent years.

 

"We're not declaring it recovered yet," said Dave Fielder, a fisheries research biologist at the Bay City, MI Saginaw Bay station. "But it's a huge step forward." The state planted more than 1.8 million walleye in the Saginaw Bay last year, but officials say the recent population surge is linked to natural reproduction.


Lake Michigan Chinook harvest up 35 %

Anglers on Lake Michigan charter boats caught 35 % more Chinook salmon in 2003 than they did in 2001. According to the Michigan DNR annual creel census, charter boats operating out of Michigan ports landed 57,136 Chinook in 2003, up from 37,224 in 2001.

"There were good harvest rates in all ports on central Lake Michigan," said Dr. Sarah Thayer, senior statistician with the Michigan DNR. Thayer replaced Gerry Rakozy who retired two years ago. Thayer has some catching up to do with the '01 figures still to be reported, but with the '03 figures reported, Thayer says she will now focus on the '02 creel census.


Minnesota

Accelerated walleye stocking continues

Minnesota's stocked walleye lakes received a bumper crop thanks to 165,000 lbs of walleye fingerlings and yearlings stocked in the state's lakes this past fall. The fish will start to reach catchable size in three years, Minnesota DNR officials said.

 

The DNR surpassed its 2003 goal of stocking 130,000 lbs of walleye fingerlings and yearlings last fall with a combination of pond-reared fingerlings, those purchased from private vendors and yearlings strained from ponds last spring.

 

Since the accelerated walleye program was fully funded in 2000, the DNR has stocked an average of about 134,000 lbs of fingerlings each year, including 113,000 lbs in 2000,

161,000 lbs in 2001, 98,000 lbs in 2002 and 165,000 lbs in 2003. The number of fingerlings stocked ranged from 1.2 million in 2002 to 4.4 million in 2001.

 

Beginning this year, the goal for walleye fingerling stocking will be increased to 160,000 lbs per year as part of the accelerated walleye program. At typical sizes, this would equal about three million fingerlings. To help reach this goal, the Section of Fisheries will increase the purchase of fingerlings from the private sector from 24,000 lbs to 40,000 lbs per year. Purchase of additional walleye fingerlings will be supported with a $1 million budget increase approved in the 2003 legislative session.

 

There are about 900 lakes in Minnesota that are stocked with walleye, but about 86 % of the walleye harvest comes from naturally reproduced fish .


Large lakes in good shape for opener May 15

If fish populations are any indicator, anglers who ply the state's large lakes have a good chance of success on the 2004 fishing opener, according to the Minnesota DNR. Many of the state's large, well-known lakes have strong walleye and northern pike populations, thanks to favorable spawning conditions in the past five to ten years. In addition,

experimental regulations - which tend to protect mature fish - may be contributing to better quality fishing on some lakes.

 

"Whether we get a good bite on the opener is another question," said DNR Fish Chief Ron Payer. "That depends on water temperature, and mostly, the weather. But it looks like the fish will be there."


Why protect male bluegills?

Bluegills are a favorite among anglers

Certain waters are closed to early season fishing in order to protect spawning females, most notably walleyes. But not so

for bluegills. Quizzically, the MN  DNR delivers this message to the angling public: "During the bluegill spawning season, keep some of the females but throw the males back!"

 

While it can seem a contradictory message when considered in the context of typical game and fish management, there is actually good, solid science behind protecting male bluegills.  Male bluegills may play a critical role during the spawn

explained. They fan out the nests for the females and they also guard the eggs and fry. But most importantly, by keeping  small, genetically inferior male bluegills away from the nest, they may actually help prevent stunting in the population.

 

Bluegills, Minnesota's largest and most popular sunfish, are notorious for becoming stunted in certain lakes. While there are a number of factors that can lead to stunting, it basically comes down to over-population.  Bluegills are more prone to over-produce than to under-produce. When you have a lake with lots of bluegill, the bluegill can eat all the available forage. Then they grow very slowly. A bluegill that typically matures at 6

to 7" will mature at 5" in lakes where there are too many bluegills.

 

Fisheries managers say there are usually more than enough females and eggs to produce plenty of young fish. But it's the large males that may be the key to quality in bluegill populations. Well-meaning anglers think they are doing the right thing by keeping the males and putting the females back, when in fact they should be doing just the opposite. Because of their aggressiveness during the spawn, the males are considerably more vulnerable to hook and line at that time.

 

Leave more of the large 'gills in the lake and you stand a much better chance of eventually having a good, healthy crop of large bluegills.

 

The DNR continues to experiment with different daily bluegill limits in an effort to determine which lakes are most likely to respond positively to lower limits. A few lakes, such as Annie Battle Lake in Ottertail County, Mink, Somers and Crawford lakes in Wright County, and Bass and Grave lakes in Itasca County, currently have a five-fish limit.

Most lakes have a 20-fish limit.


Outdoor appreciation, survival tips courses for women offered May 22-23

The Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program will be co-sponsoring two classes in May to make women more outdoor savvy and increase their understanding of what they see on their outdoor journeys.

 

The first class, Wild Women in the Outdoors-Understanding Nature, will explore nature to its fullest. The goal is to help women identify plants and animals. Activities include cooking up a feast using wild edible plants, canoeing the lake, and learning how to attract more wildlife into the backyard and on hiking trails. The class, which is being sponsored by BOW and the Anoka County Department of Parks and Recreation, will be held at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes on May 22 from 9 a.m. to  4 p.m. Cost is $25 per person and includes a lunch, snacks and equipment. To register, call (651) 429-8007.

BOW and the Three River Park District in Hennepin County will team up to teach outdoor survival skills to women the weekend of May 22-23 at the Baker Park Reserve in Medina. Participants will learn how to find water, build shelters, start a fire, dress properly and how to set survival priorities. The two-day course begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, and ends at noon on Sunday, May 23. Cost is $85 per person. To register, call the Three Rivers Parks District at (763) 559-6700.

 

The Minnesota DNR's BOW program offers a wide variety of half-day clinics and weekend workshops throughout the year. The classes are designed for women 18 years of age and older.

 

For more info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html  or call the DNR Info Center 888-646-6267 or 651-296-6157.

 


Officers find more anglers over the limit on Lake Winnie

Minnesota DNR conservation officers Gary Sommers of Cass Lake and Neil Freborg of Lake George on March 13 cited two Michigan anglers for perch over-limits. About a week later, the officers received a call that another group of Michigan anglers were over-the-limit on Lake Winnibigoshish (Winnie) in northeastern Minnesota.

 

"An individual contacted the DNR regional enforcement office in Grand Rapids and reported three anglers on Lake Winnie may be taking too many perch," Sommers said. "The caller gave us a license plate number and vehicle description."  On March 19, Freborg and Sommers checked the 65,000-acre lake and located the suspect vehicle. A check of the anglers revealed an over-limit of perch. They also learned the three had too many fish in their motel room.

 

Officers seized a total of 90 perch from their motel room. Each

angler was issued a summons for 30 perch over-the-limit. They were each fined $700 and charged $300 restitution value of the perch for a total of $1,000 per person. The daily limit is 20 perch, 40 in possession.

 

Charged were Garnet Dale Crawford, 37, Judith Marie Crawford, 44, both of Wolverine, Mich., and Larry Joe Larkin, 23, of Montrose, Mich. This is the second group of anglers in a seven-day period on Lake Winnie that Freborg and Sommers made over-limit contacts on.

 

The first contact was on March 13, involving two individuals from Michigan, each charged with fines and restitution totaling $1,000 per person. Including the three individuals from the most recent contact, that is a total of $5,000 in fines and restitution over a seven-day period on Lake Winnie.

 

Calls regarding violations can be placed anonymously at 800-652-9093. Cash rewards are given for tips.


New York

DEC Announces Two Youth Turkey Hunt Days for this Spring

April 24 and 25 Will Offer Young Hunters A Great Experience Afield

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced that two days are being set aside for a new youth hunt before this spring’s turkey season. On April 24 and 25, 2004, youth between the ages of 12 and 15 will have the opportunity to participate in New York’s first youth turkey hunt, recently established by regulations adopted by DEC.

           

Spring turkey hunting has become a popular outdoor activity for many New Yorkers and this year looks like it will be another good one.  There should be plenty of turkeys available during the spring season and DEC expects not only the youth hunt but the entire spring season to be productive.

 

Eligible hunters are youth 12, 13, 14, or 15 years of age, holding a junior hunting license and a turkey permit;

 

All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult, as

The         required by law for a junior hunting license. Youth 12 or 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or relative over 21 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14 or 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or an adult over 18 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian;

 

The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter (including calling), but may not carry a firearm or longbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt;

 

The youth hunt is for spring turkey hunting only and is a two day weekend hunt.  The youth hunt will always precede the start of the regular season by at least 3 days and is available wherever the spring turkey season is open;

 

The bag limit for the youth hunt is one bearded bird.  This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds.   A second bird may be taken beginning May 1, 2004


Governor Kicks off Celebration of Catskill Park's 100th Anniversary

Announces Preservation of 240 Acres along Historic Willowemoc Creek in Catskills

Willowemoc Creek is a world-class trout stream is considered the birthplace of American Fly-Fishing

           

Governor George E. Pataki officially marked the beginning of the 100th anniversary celebration of the creation of the Catskill Park by announcing the preservation of nearly 240 acres of historically and recreationally significant land along the Willowemoc Creek in the Town of Neversink, Sullivan County.  The Governor’s announcement comes as thousands of anglers took to the State's rivers, lakes and streams to celebrate opening day of trout season in New York.

                       

The State will acquire 239 acres, part of what is known as the Van Norden property, from the not-for-profit Open Space Institute (OSI) using $538,000 from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.  A 20–acre portion of the property that includes the historic 19th century farmhouse used by the Willowemoc and Women’s Flyfishers Clubs will be sold by OSI to a private conservation buyer and be subject to an easement held by the State to prohibit further development.

           

On April 5, 1904, the Catskill Park was created by an act of the State Legislature to extend protection and recognition to this mountainous region of New York State. At the time, the original Catskill Park included 92,708 acres of State Forest Preserve lands within a 576,120-acre region that included portions of Delaware, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Since that time, the Catskill Park has grown to include 287,514 acres of State Forest Preserve lands within a 1,102-square mile area encompassing 705,500 acres.

 

The Catskill region has played a significant role in our nation’s history. It is known as the birthplace of American fly fishing, provided the backdrop for the paintings of the Hudson River School of artists, and is the home of the legendary Rip Van Winkle and beloved naturalist and writer John Burroughs.  The Catskill region also was one of the first resort destinations in the nation, and contains the watershed that provides drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.  Throughout the next 12 months, New York State, local governments, community organizations, media, and other partners will be planning       

events and commemorations to celebrate the importance of the Catskill Park to New York State’s history, natural resources, economy, and recreational offerings.

 

The Van Norden acquisition will add more than one mile of the Willowemoc Creek, and more than a quarter mile of Butternut Brook, a direct tributary to the Willowemoc, into public ownership.  This is a pristine section of the Willowemoc watershed that will protect the clear, free flowing headwaters which include several cold water springs that together provide critical habitat for an historic wild native brook trout fishery.

 

The Willowemoc, a tributary of the Beaver Kill, is included in a comprehensive study now underway by the State in cooperation with Trout Unlimited and Cornell University. The study will determine the status of the environmental and trout resources within the “Bea Moc” watershed and be the basis for the development of a long-term fisheries management plan for this important, nationally-recognized trout fishery.

           

The Beaver Kill and Willowemoc are renowned for their rich fishing traditions and have played an important role in supporting the economy of the Catskills.  Preservation of the Van Norden property fulfills a major goal of the study to identify and protect the fishery resource and develop additional public access sites.

 

April 1, 2004 was the opening day of trout season in New York. This traditional start date was eagerly awaited by anglers anxious to practice a fishing tradition with roots going back more than a century in the Catskills and elsewhere throughout the State. 

 

Pataki has committed $2.25 million from the EPF and Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act for the establishment of public fishing access sites on the State’s high quality rivers, lakes and streams, resulting in the acquisition of more than 60 miles of public fishing sites and related angler parking areas and facilities.  In addition, 70 new boating and fishing access sites have been developed since 1995.

 

Further information on the State’s public fishing program and Beaver Kill Watershed Trout Study can be found at www.dec.state.ny.us/website/locator/fwmr.html#fishing .


Pennsylvania

PFBC Meeting  to be held April 19-20

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will hold its spring quarterly meeting April 19-20 at agency headquarters, 1601 Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg.  Commission committees will meet on Monday, April 19 beginning at 10:30 a.m. and Tuesday, April 20, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  The formal agenda session will begin at or about 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday.  It is possible that Commission action on some agenda items may be undertaken during other portions of the advertised public meeting.  All committee meetings and the review of the agenda are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.

 

One item to be considered at the meeting is a proposal to rename one of the Commission’s trout stocking programs.  At the July 1994 meeting, the Commission approved the creation of what became known as the Late Winter Stocking Program or the Select Trout Stocked Lake Program.  While originally limited to impoundments, stream sections are included in the program.  Thus, without changing the intent of the program,

staff are suggesting that the name of the program be changed to “Early Season Trout Stocked Waters.”

 

Through the stocking of a portion of the preseason trout allocation during the January through early March period in select lakes, reservoirs, and stream sections, the Commission provides opportunity for trout angling (and harvest of three trout per day) in waters that normally would be closed to fishing during March as part of the traditional preseason stocking period.  In a related item, the Commission will also consider adding Lily Lake, Luzerne County, back to the list of waters regulated and managed under the program.

 

Among other items the Commission will also consider is the creation of a slow, no wake zone on the Ohio River for the back channel of Neville Island from the Coraopolis Bridge upstream to the Interstate 79 bridge during the period May 1 through October 1.


Wisconsin

New Internet address for DNR Web site

MADISON – The state Department of Natural Resources has changed the Internet address for the DNR Web site to make it easier for people to access the site and to meet new guidelines for having a uniform addresses for Wisconsin government Web sites on the Internet. The new site is dnr.wi.gov ; typing "www" before the address is no longer necessary.

 

The State of Wisconsin is following the lead of the Federal government by adopting the Web site address naming policy administered by the Federal General Services Administration.

Under this policy, state and federal agencies, counties, municipalities and federally-recognized Native Sovereign Nations use a standard ".gov" for Web sites.

 

The previous address http://www.dnr.state.wi.us  will continue to work along with the new address. But eventually, the old address format will be eliminated completely.

 

E-mail addresses will continue to use the "firstname.lastname@dnr.state.wi.us  " format.

 


Ontario

Ontario moves to protect the vanishing American Eel

TORONTO — The McGuinty government is acting decisively to protect the vanishing American eel by banning commercial eel fishing in Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced last week.

 

"We are facing the loss of the American eel from the Great Lakes ecosystem," said Ramsay. "By taking the lead and delivering real, positive change to protect our natural resources, we are ensuring that the American eel will continue to be part of Ontario's rich biodiversity."

Ontario commercial eel harvests peaked at more than 500,000 lbs in 1978 but by 2003 had dropped to less than 30,000 lbs as eel numbers declined. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) will assist the fishing industry with the transition resulting from the closure of the commercial eel fisheries.

 

The province is also proposing regulations to close the eel

sport fishery. To address some of the other causes of the decline in the eel population, the province is working with other stakeholders, including Ontario Power Generation, to encourage the safe passage of eels around hydro dams.

 

Young eels migrate to fresh waters where they take up to 25 years to mature. They then migrate great distances back to the ocean to spawn and die. Eel and eel fisheries are also found in the coastal waters of Quebec, the Maritime provinces and the eastern U.S.A.

 

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission issued an emergency declaration about the American eel last December and pledged to work with the ministry and other jurisdictions to protect and enhance the species. "The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission is deeply concerned about the future of this very important, highly migratory species," said Dr. Bill Beamish, Commission Chairman. "We applaud Ontario's initiative to protect the American eel and look forward to working with Ontario, other Canadian provinces and the Atlantic states to rehabilitate this native species."

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources is also working with other jurisdictions to encourage eel restoration throughout its range.

 

"By strengthening the natural resources of communities in which we live, we are providing Ontario residents with a quality of life that is second to none," said Ramsay.

 


The American eel – Fact Sheet

The American eel is in danger of extinction in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River part of its range (waters are co-managed by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.)

 

Factors contributing to this decline include eel harvest, death in hydro turbines, barriers to migration routes (e.g. dams) and changing environmental and climatic conditions.

 

The American eel is a very unusual species:

•  there is only one spawning location (in the Atlantic Ocean)

•  eel larvae are distributed by ocean currents along the eastern coast of North America,

•  young eel enter fresh waters (such as the St. Lawrence River) where they grow for up to 25 years,

•  mature eels migrate back to the ocean to spawn and die, and

•  American eel is often confused with lamprey because of its appearance. In fact, the lamprey is not an eel but a parasite fish that preys on other large-bodied fish.

•  Ontario commercial eel harvests peaked at over 500,000 lbs in 1978. Harvests between 1984 and 1993 remained stable (between 228,000 and 273,000 lbs per year.) Since 1993, eel harvests have declined precipitously to less than 30,000 lbs in 2003 with a landed value of less than $75,000.

Ontario is protecting American eel by:

•  cancelling the commercial fishing quota for 2004 and for the foreseeable future,

•  proposing regulation changes for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to close the eel sport fishery, and

•  working with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to improve safe eel passage across hydro dams on the St. Lawrence River.

 

Other actions to protect eel:

•  Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO,) Ontario, Quebec and the eastern provinces are working to develop a co-ordinated action plan to protect eels.

•  Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is leading an inter-state initiative to protect the species, and the Atlantic coastal states are seeking designation of American eel under the US Endangered Species Act.

•  An eel ladder was installed at the R.H. Saunders Hydroelectric Dam in Cornwall in 1974 by MNR and OPG to assist with the migration of eel upstream of the dam.

•  Since 1998, the number of young eel migrating up the eel ladder located at the R. H. Saunders Hydro Generating Dam has declined from more than one million fish per year in the early 1980s to fewer than 3,500 per year.

MNR is working with OPG to examine ways to make a safer passage for eels during migration.


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