May 5 , 2003

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Indiana

Michigan

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National

Sebastian T. Bobber Named Official Spokesbobber of Youth Fishing

Affable Bobber Accepts Ambassadorial Role on Behalf of Kids Fishing Worldwide

   KETCHUM, Okla  --  For decades, bobbers have provided a tremendous amount of excitement for America's fishing youth.  One bobber above all others has elevated his role to near legendary status.  In an endorsement partnership rivaling anything in the industry, Sebastian T. Bobber has been named the Official Spokesbobber of Youth Fishing.  He will also serve as a special ambassador to the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby program.

 

   "It's hard for me to express the excitement we feel to have Sebastian as a part of our team," says Daniel Johnson, HOFI spokesperson. "Sebastian truly exemplifies and personifies the spirit of kids and fishing worldwide."

 

   For his part, Bobber also seems to have found the perfect program to which to lend his talents, likeness and energy.  "I'm passionate about fishing and love fishing with kids," said Bobber.  "Kids relate to bobbers.  That's why I'm here.  No other program allows me to reach out to more kids than the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby."  Bobber cites that in 2003 there will be more than 1,800 sanctioned derbies in all 50 states, reaching over 300,000 youngsters.

 

   In his official capacity, Bobber's responsibilities will include promoting fishing as a fun and cool activity for kids, delivering encouragements and giving free fishing tips.  The red and white diplomat will also be making surprise appearances at select derbies across the country.

 

   Bobber recently went fishing with outdoor writing legend "Uncle Homer" Circle where they discussed the little floater's new role.  An excerpt of  this interview follows.

 

Uncle Homer:  Your work supporting kids fishing efforts through the years is without match, yet you have chosen to avoid the public limelight.  Why have you now decided to accept the role of Official Spokesbobber for youth fishing?

 

Sebastian:  I never came across a program that allowed me to float my message to so many young anglers.

 

Uncle Homer:    And what is that message?

 

Sebastian:   Hey, fishing's fun and it's so cool!  Fishing is a great way to spend time outside with your friends.  It's an easy activity to learn and it's an absolute blast when a kid

gets a fish on the line and makes me "bob" up and down!

 

Uncle Homer:    How did you get hooked on fishing?

 

Sebastian:      I'm a bobber.  It's what I do.

 

Uncle Homer:    As the Official Spokesbobber for Youth Fishing, what are your duties?

 

Sebastian:   I hope to encourage America's youth to take up fishing and keep them fishing for a long, long time.  I'll be representing the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby program as the ambassador to 1,800 plus fishing events across the country. This is the program that has helped bring fishing to over seven million kids and their family members in 17 years.

 

Uncle Homer:    Sounds like you have a big job to do.

 

Sebastian:   Other than a brief stint as a lottery ball, I've spent my entire life fishing.  I've seen the wonderful things fishing does for kids and their families.  There's nothing like fishing to bring out cheek-to-cheek smiles and chuckles of joy from the kids.

 

Uncle Homer:    You sound like you know what you're talking about.

 

Sebastian:      Just because I spend a lot of time in the water doesn't mean I'm all wet.

 

Uncle Homer:    Have you ever blown off your chores to go fishing?

 

Uncle Homer:  What advice do you have for families that want to have the kind of fun you're taking about?

 

Sebastian:      Just pack up your stuff, get outdoors, and go fishing!  Check out www.kids-fishing.com, the official website of the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby to find an upcoming derby near you.  I hope to see you out there.

 

   Sebastian Bobber teams up with a proud group of corporate sponsors who lend their support to the numerous organizations and agencies conducting the fishing derbies at the local level.  In addition to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., sponsors include Bar-S Foods Co., Berkley PowerBait, Berkley Trilene, ConAgra Foods, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Eagle Claw, EverStart Batteries, FishingWorld.com, Fujifilm, U.S.A., Johnson & Johnson First Aid Pocket Pals, Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, Laker Fishing Tackle and Zebco.

 

   "Uncle Homer" Circle, Bass Fishing Editor of Outdoor Life Magazine, is considered in the outdoor writing profession as the dean of fishing journalists.  Circle has been writing and broadcasting about fishing for more than 50 years.


Nat'l- House Pays Tribute to National Wildlife Refuge Centennial

Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Members Reaffirms Support for Hunting / Fishing on Refuges

   Washington, DC: On Tuesday April 29, the House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent a resolution that congratulates the National Wildlife Refuge System on its Centennial Anniversary and expresses support for its continued success for the next 100 years. Co-sponsored by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus members Alan Boyd (D-FL) and Adam Putnam (R-FL), H. Res. 173 also reaffirms Congress' intent to support hunting and fishing as priority public uses of national wildlife refuges. "This resolution is a tribute to the success of the National Wildlife Refuge System and to the vision of sportsmen conservationists," stated Congressman Boyd.

   With 540 refuges encompassing nearly 95 million acres, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a complex network of lands managed for wildlife and public enjoyment. There

are refuges in every state of the union, and within an hour's drive of almost every major city.  

 

In 1997, Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (Public Law 105-57) that specifically identifies hunting and fishing as two of six "wildlife dependent recreational" activities to be encouraged on refuges. Today hunting is permitted on more than 300 of the 540 national wildlife refuges, and there were more than 2 million hunting visits to refuges last year.

   "The refuge system was founded on tiny Pelican Island in Florida a century ago by President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter and outdoorsmen," commented Congressman Putnam. "The refuge system today is a testament to conservation, where the USFWS balances the needs of nature with the public's recreational opportunities," he added. Centennial celebrations will occur across America throughout the year.


Nat'l- House Resources Committee approves Healthy Forests Restoration Act
   Washington, DC - Under the leadership of Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA), the House Committee on Resources on April 28, passed the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.  To date, the bipartisan measure has garnered nearly 100 cosponsors from 33 states and is supported by a coalition of expert conservation organizations.   

 

   "The imminent threat of catastrophic fires in our national forests has forced the Bush Administration and this committee into action," Chairman Pombo said.  "Given the devastating effects of these wildfires, it would be irresponsible to leave outdated regulations in place and have bureaucracy to blame for the loss of another million acres, another home, or another human life.  This measure gives forest managers increased flexibility and 21st century technologies to combat threats and ensure the health of these national treasures for generations to come.  I applaud Congressmen Scott McInnis and Greg Walden for their hard work in developing this critical legislation, and I look forward to seeing the President sign it into law."

 

   "The exploding threat of large-scale catastrophic wildfires and massive insect and disease epidemics combine to pose the single largest challenge facing federal land and resources managers today," said Congressman Scott McInnis (R-CO).  "The Healthy Forests Restoration Act is a balanced and comprehensive measure primed to take this daunting task head on, by empowering our land managers with the tools needed to address this threat to our air, water, wildlife and forest ecosystems."

 

   "We've talked, and debated and pontificated enough on this issue," McInnis continued.  "There has been more than enough hand-wringing and foot stomping. If there has been more Congressional oversight conducted on an environmental issue in the last couple years, I'd like to know which one that is. With another scary fire season on the verge of bearing down on us, there can be no question

--the time for action on this critical environmental program is now."

 

   "I want healthier forests and I want cleaner, safer watersheds," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).  "The people of Oregon like their forests green, not black.  If we don't move to clean up the bureaucratic maze that inhibits the ability of our professional foresters to do the work that they're charged with performing, the result is that we turn over our forests to catastrophic wildfire and disease and insect infestation.  Today we're spending obscene amounts of money fighting forest fires that could be better spent on improving forest health and species habitat and enhancing the quality of our watersheds.  We must reverse this trend and take responsible steps toward reducing the threat of wildfire and other threats to our forests.  I'm confident our bill will accomplish these goals, and I look forward to its passage in the full House."

 

   "In Arizona, the Rodeo-Chediski and Indian fires destroyed over 500 homes and consumed 468,000 acres of forested lands," added Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ).  "Forest management professionals need to be able to employ preventative techniques aimed at reducing the hazardous fuels build up around our residential areas.  The Healthy Forests Restoration Act will provide ecologists and forestry officials with the necessary mandate to implement a balanced approach for our forests, insuring the safety of the residents of rural Arizona and the natural grandeur of our forests for generations to come."

 
   The fire season has started early this year and our forests and communities face a very real danger of burning to the ground," said Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM).  "We have worked hard in the Resources Committee to see that Congress can vote on sensible forest legislation. Now that the bill has passed out of committee, the bill must pass the House so we can save our communities. It is our moral obligation to keep New Mexico and other fire states from facing devastating effects and to do all we can to ensure that America's forests are healthy and vibrant."


Canada

Canada- Chiefs warn of violence, economic disruption over Indian Act changes

   OTTAWA (CP) - Native chiefs warned April 29 that planned Indian Act changes are "a recipe for confrontation" that could spark violence and economic disruption. A recipe for confrontation" is how a chief described Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault's drive to push the contentious

legislation through.

 

   Now being studied by an all-party Commons committee, the legislation would require about 600 native communities to draft election and hiring codes, conform to the Canadian Human Rights Code and broaden fiscal reporting.

 


Canada- West Nile revives after a Canadian Winter

   The discovery of the first West Nile-infected crow in Canada this year just about proves the virus survives the Canadian winter, Health Canada  has acknowledged.

 

   The crow was found dead last week in Newmarket, north of Toronto. It was sent for testing, which was positive but has not yet been confirmed. "It's a bigger risk if the virus can overwinter and stay within the province," said Dr. Harvey Artsob, chief of the health department's viral zoonotics and special pathogens division. "If it couldn't, then it has to be reintroduced every year, say by migrating birds or from down south."

 

   The crow's death comes almost a month earlier than the first avian case of last year. In 2001, it was not until August that a bird tested positive, marking West Nile's introduction to Canada.  Human cases normally arise in late July or August, once the virus has spread to the species of mosquitoes that prey on humans.

 

   A positive result so early after the spring thaw does not

   suggest this year's cases among humans will occur earlier; it still depends on prolonged warm weather. But it is good evidence that the virus is "seeded" in hibernating mosquito populations all across Ontario, Dr. Artsob said.

 

   Most people who become infected with West Nile show no symptoms at all; most others who are healthy experience an illness akin to the flu, including fever, headache and body aches. Health Canada advises that the elderly, the very young, and those with weakened immune systems are at risk of the more dangerous complications of encephalitis or meningitis, the swelling of the brain or its lining.

 

   Clinical evidence gathered since last year's epidemic, however, suggests that healthy, middle-aged people will suffer some of the most debilitating and long-lasting effects of the next outbreak. Patients who have survived the initial onslaught of the disease have often developed "acute flaccid paralysis," or a weakening of limbs as the virus attacks a region of the brain stem.

 

 


Regional

Regional- Catch limits set for Lake Erie Walleye and Yellow Perch in 2003

Major Reductions In Allowable Harvest Anticipated for 2004 and 2005

Limits designed to protect poor year classes

   PORT HURON, MI - Lake Erie fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, and Pennsylvania recently agreed to a slight increase in the yellow perch catch limit and to not change the walleye catch limit for the 2003 fishing season. However, the committee also anticipated major cuts in the walleye and yellow perch allowable harvest in 2004 and 2005 to help make up for poor fish hatches 2000 and 2002. These catch limits were established during the recent meeting of the Lake Erie Committee, a committee comprising the fishery jurisdictions on Lake Erie.

 

Walleye

   For the third consecutive year, the international total allowable catch of  walleye will remain unchanged at 3.4 million fish. Fishery agencies agreed in 2001 to set the total catch limit at 3.4 million fish and not change it for 3 years to give walleye stocks a chance to rebuild. Actual harvest in 2002 was just under 2.5 million fish.

 

   The Committee's Walleye Task Group-comprising scientists and field biologists- reported that walleye spawning had been poor in 2000 and 2002 and recommended the Committee seriously consider reducing the walleye catch limit in 2004. All agencies will be closely monitoring the success of walleye spawning this spring, though agencies anticipate significant reductions in the 2004 and 2005 allowable harvest- reductions between 40 and 60% from the 2003 allowable harvest.

 

   "The Lake Erie Committee is very concerned about the possibility of another poor year class in 2003," said Lake Erie Committee Chairman Rick Hoopes, of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. "A third year of poor spawning in four years would be a serious blow to the lake's walleye stocks. We intend to monitor the fishery closely and take appropriate action to protect these fish stocks."

 

   Each agency is allotted a share of the total allowable catch, determined by a formula based on the surface- area of the lake within each jurisdiction. Ohio receives 51% of the catch limit, or just over 1.7 million walleye.  Ontario's

share is 43 %, or just under 1.5 million fish. Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania each with  a small amount of lake area, share the remainder of the harvest.

 

Yellow Perch

   Yellow perch stocks improved enough that the Committee agreed to a slight increase in the total allowable catch from 9.3 million lbs in 2002 to 9.9 million lbs this year. A formula involving surface area and past fishing performance is used to allocate shares of perch between the five jurisdictions on the lake. For 2003, Ontario's share is about 5 million lbs and Ohio's allocation is 4.3 million lbs. Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania share the remaining allocation.

 

   Yellow perch fishing - both sport and commercial - in 2002 was very good in all jurisdictions and the Committee expects the good fishing to continue through 2003. However, just as was found with walleye, a long, cold spring in 2002 resulted in poor yellow perch spawning success. Agencies anticipate reductions in yellow perch catch limits in 2004 in response to these poor spawning results.

 

Lake Erie Committee

   The Lake Erie Committee is made up of fishery managers representing Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario, and Pennsylvania. The Committee's work is facilitated by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a Canadian and U.S. agency on the Great Lakes.

 

   Each year the Committee sets the total allowable catch for walleye and yellow perch, which represents the number of fish that can be caught by sport and commercial fishers without putting the stocks at risk.

 

   The Lake Erie Committee noted its strong concern over major changes in the Lake Erie ecosystem. Said Vice-Chair Mike Morencie of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, "Changes in the Lake Erie environment, caused by such factors as introductions of new aquatic nuisance species and climate-change threaten to disrupt the fragile ecological balance and undercut the success of this world-class fishery. The Lake Erie Committee's member agencies will continue through the summer to monitor these changes and to determine strategies needed to protect Lake Erie's valuable fish resources."

 


  

2nd Amendment issues

Minnesota becomes 35th State to Enact Right-to-Carry Law

   Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) on April 29, signed legislation recognizing law-abiding Minnesotans' Right-to-Carry firearms for personal protection and for protection of their loved ones.

Minnesota now becomes the 35th state to pass such self-defense legislation.  State Senator Pat Pariseau (R-36) and Lynda Boudreau (R-26B), were the  co-sponsors of this legislation.

 


Indiana

IN- Nature Day May 10 at Loblolly Wetland Preserve

   There's a good opportunity for some old-fashioned, outdoor family fun soon. The Friends of the Limberlost and Limberlost Swamp Remembered are hosting Nature Day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 10. Admission is free.

 

   The day will begin with an 8:30 a.m. birding session at the Loblolly Marsh Wetland Preserve. Experienced birders Barb Stedman of the Robert Cooper Audubon Society and Kamal Islam, an ornithology professor at Ball State University will lead the session. Participants should meet at the preserve's parking lot, three miles west of Bryant, Ind., on Indiana SR18, one-half mile north on Jay County Road 250 West.

 

   At 10 a.m., participants will return to Veronica's Trail where new informational signs will be unveiled. The Virginia Ball Enrichment Class from BSU, the Robert S. Cooper Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and Limberlost Swamp Remembered (a part of Friends of the Limberlost) donated the signs.

 

   Laura Edmonds of Soarin' Hawk Avian Rescue will

present a program with her birds near the Loblolly Marsh parking lot at 11:30 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., a Red-Tailed Hawk and a Great-Horned Owl will be released at the Loblolly Marsh. Between 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., a food truck from the Portland Lions Club will sell sandwiches and drinks in the Loblolly parking lot.

 

   Tom Barham, an outdoor survivalist, will lead visitors on a hike through the Loblolly Marsh from 1 to 4 p.m. He will discuss survival skills and point out plants that can be eaten in survival situations.  Several local Venture Scouts will present a short skit about nature at 2 p.m. at the Loblloly Marsh.

 

For more information or a map, please call Ken Brunswick at 260/368-7594.

 

   Limberlost Swamp Remembered is a committee of the Friends of the Limberlost, which is the volunteer group that helps support the mission and goals of the Limberlost State Historic Site. Limberlost State Historic Site is part of the Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Museums & Historic Sites with 14 sites throughout the state. The site is located at 200 E. 6th St. in Geneva.


IN- Contribute ideas for rule changes - online or at open houses

   DNR biologists are asking people to contribute ideas for revisions to Indiana's rules governing hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife.  Open houses at 19 locations around the state will launch a rule review process expected to take about a year.

 

   Biologists will specifically review and discuss rules related to dog running on public and private land, nuisance coyotes, deer hunting equipment, fish size limits, and hunting inside fenced areas. But all ideas for new or revised rules will be considered in this early stage of the rule review process. Anyone with ideas to contribute is urged to attend an open house or submit comments by June 16.

 

Written comments may be submitted online at: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.htm

 

Or mailed to:

Rule Change Comments

Division of Fish and Wildlife

402 W. Washington, W273

Indianapolis, IN 46204

 

   A timeline outlining the rule review is available at: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/about/rules.htm

Open houses take place from 2 to 8 p.m. local time at the following locations:

 

Tuesday, June 3

 

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area

7970 S Rowe Street

Edinburgh, IN 46124

(812) 526-2051

 

Pike Township Public Library

6525 Zionsville Rd.

Indianapolis, IN 46268

(317) 232-4080

 

DNR Office

562 DNR Road

Mitchell, IN 47446

(812) 849-4586

 

DNR Office

1124 N. Mexico Road

Peru, IN 46970

(765) 473-9324

 

Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area

2042 S 500 W

Morocco, IN 47963

(219) 285-2704

 

Wednesday, June 4

 

Ft. Wayne - Law Enforcement District Headquarters

1903 St. Mary's Avenue

Ft. Wayne, IN 46808

(260) 691-3181

 

Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

5822 N. Fish & Wildlife Lane

Medaryville, IN 47957

(219) 843-4841

Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area

4320 W. Toto Road

North Judson, IN 46366

(574) 896-3522

 

LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area

4752 W 1050 N

Lake Village, IN 46349

(219) 992-3019

 

Minnehaha Fish and Wildlife Area

2411 E. State Road 54

Sullivan, IN 47882

(812) 268-5640

 

Thursday, June 5

 

Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area

2010 S. State Road 3

North Vernon, IN 47265

(812) 346-5596

 

Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area

5344 S. Hupp Road

LaPorte, IN 46350

(219) 393-3612

 

Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area

8432 N 850 E

Syracuse, IN 46567

(574) 834-4461

 

Tuesday, June 10

 

Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area

R.R. 2, Box 300

Montgomery, IN 47558

(812) 644-7731

 

Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area

15010 St. Rd. 69 S.

Mt. Vernon, IN 47620

(812) 838-2927

 

Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area

8310 E 300 N

Mongo, IN 46771

(260) 367-2164

 

Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area

2310 E. State Road 364

Winslow, IN 47598

(812) 789-2724

 

Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area

1493 W 500 N

Winamac, IN 46996

(574) 946-4422

 

Wednesday, June 11

 

Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area

2239 N. State Road 103

New Castle, IN 47362

(765) 529-9581

 

   Individuals who need reasonable modifications for effective participation in rule review open houses should call the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife ADA Coordinator at (317) 232-4080 (voice and TDD).


IN- Historic Preservation Week begins May 5

   The Brown County Spring Festival will soon be under way. The Downtown Development Partnership in Muncie will host a tour of historic downtown. The "Tour of Two Cities" in Evansville will include walking tours of Riverside and Washington Avenue historic neighborhoods. Lafayette is the sight of the 16th annual "Toast to Preservation" at the Fowler House. In Fountain City, DNR's Levi Coffin House State Historic Site will host a candlelight tour of the historic residence.

 

   What do all of these events have in common? They are all a part of the statewide celebration highlighting our history. May 5 through 12, Hoosiers will join thousands of individuals across the country as part of a nationwide celebration of the 32nd annual National Historic Preservation Week.

 

   The Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology has created a calendar listing events across Indiana. While most of these events will take place during Historic Preservation Week, some communities are starting their celebrations earlier, while others have chosen to extend the festivities beyond May 12th.  To find

out what celebrations are happening near you, call 317-232-1646 or visit the DNR Web site www.in.gov/dnr/historic

   "Historic Preservation week is a good time to take a moment and reflect on what makes our Indiana home special," said DNR Director John Goss. "Every community has a spirit of place that identifies it as special and unique. It may be a building a monument, a stretch of lakeshore or a view of rural farmsteads.

 

    "It sets the community apart from every other. It attracts tourists, contributes to the area's stability and livability, and gives residents a sense of connection with their shared heritage. That is what we celebrate this week." As part of the week-long celebration, people nationwide will celebrate with alumni reunions, career days, pageants, workshops, clean-up days, rallies, re-enactments, and home and garden tours. 

 

   Here in Indiana Preservation Week 2003 will be observed by several different communities all across the state and will feature tours of historic neighborhoods, photo exhibits, festivals, and special events all celebrating what makes life in Indiana worth preserving.

 


Michigan

MI- Urban and Community Forestry Grant Applications

   Michigan DNR officials  announced that applications for urban and community forestry grants are now being accepted. Grant applications for community forestry activities are available from the Urban and Community Forestry Program. These grants are funded through the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry Program.

 

   Public agencies and non-profit private entities [501(c)] are eligible to apply. All projects must be performed on non-federal public lands or land open to the public. Community forestry activities considered for funding include local government and non-profit organization program development, urban and community forestry 

education and technology transfer projects, library and

nature center reference material acquisition, and tree planting projects.

 

   Grant applications must be postmarked by May 31, 2003, to be given funding consideration for this grant cycle. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2004.  All grants require matching funds of at least 50 percent. The match may be made up of cash contributions or in-kind services, but may not include federal funds. Depending on the category, grants up to $20,000 may be requested.

 

   To obtain a grant application or for more info: Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forester, 517-241-4632, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management, PO Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.

 


MI- Anglers urged to help prevent spread of bass virus

   State resource officials announced that Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) continues spread in southern Michigan lakes, and called upon anglers to help contain the disease and protect fish populations.

 

   Largemouth Bass Virus is one of more than 100 naturally occurring viruses that affect fish, and is closely related to viruses found in frogs and other amphibians. Its origin and how it is spread are unknown. The virus is not known to infect humans, and infected fish are considered safe to eat. However, it is recommended that all fish be thoroughly cooked as general food safety rule.

 

   The disease was first discovered in Michigan in the fall of 2000, by biologists from the Michigan and Indiana Departments of Natural Resources jointly investigating a die-off of largemouth bass in Lake George, on the Michigan-Indiana border near I-69. It was the furthest north that the virus had ever been detected in the United States.

 

   The Department of Natural Resources began actively surveying lakes in Southern Michigan for LMBV in 2002. Based on these and earlier data, the virus has been confirmed in the following 9 of 19 lakes examined:

* Lake George, Branch County - found in 90% of 2000 samples but not detected in 2002 samples. 

* Long Lake, Hillsdale County (near Camden) – found in 2001 samples

* Klinger Lake, St. Joseph County – found in 2001 samples

* Long Lake, St. Joseph County – found in 2001 samples

* Austin Lake, Kalamazoo County – found in 2002 samples

* Woodland Lake, Livingston County – found in 100% of 2002 samples

* Saddle Lake, Van Buren County – found in 2002 samples

* Lake Orion, Oakland County – found in 6.3% of 2002 samples

* Devils Lake, Lenawee County – found in 14.3% of 2002 samples

      

   Michigan DNR Fish Production Manager Gary Whelan said LMBV appears to infect other fish species, including smallmouth bass, bluegill, and crappies, but has caused mortality to only largemouth bass. The disease typically kills large adult fish and usually causes mortality when fish are most stressed. Potential stressors include very hot weather, heavy angling pressure, and possibly aquatic weed or other treatments during very hot periods. Any measures that minimize stress on these fish will reduce the impact of the disease and mortality.

      

   “The DNR cannot eradicate this virus or treat infected wild fish populations,” Whelan said. “However, as we continue investigating this disease, we appreciate receiving reports of unusual fish mortalities.”

 

   Many largemouth bass mortalities reported in 2002 occurred from mid-July to mid-August, and some of these were likely LMBV related. However, many of the reportscame in weeks after the mortalities, which is too long for confirmation of the disease. Infected fish show few

outward signs, although they may be lethargic, swim slowly, and are less responsive to activity around them. The virus has been found in many lakes with no reports of disease or fish mortalities.

 

   Dying fish often are seen near the surface and have difficulty remaining upright. Upon internal examination, such fish usually will have bloated swim bladders, which accounts for the cause of swimming problems. Red sores or other lesions occasionally may be seen on the skin of the fish, but these are secondary in nature and not part of the virus infection.

 

   Consistent with the recommendations reported from the Largemouth Bass Virus Workshops, sponsored by ESPN and BASS Federation, the DNR is calling on anglers who target largemouth bass to voluntarily help reduce angling stress on largemouth bass populations during warm weather. DNR Fish Chief Kelley Smith noted the DNR will again be monitoring lakes in central and southern Michigan this summer, in partnership with the Michigan BASS Federation.

 

   "This is a new disease to northern lakes, and there is much for us to learn about how it works," Smith said. "For example, we still do not know how largemouth bass populations will be affected in Michigan's lakes on the long term. We urge all members of the angling community to continue to help us monitor our waters. When you see unusually high mortalities of adult largemouth bass, please contact one of our offices immediately so we can investigate the die-off. Further, we look forward to working with our partners at the Michigan BASS Federation, and appreciate their willingness to help us collect information necessary to better understand and manage this virus."

 

   The DNR reminds anglers and boaters to take the following steps to help prevent the spread of LMBV:

 

* Clean boats, trailers, other equipment thoroughly between fishing trips to keep from transporting LMBV, as well as other undesirable pathogens and organisms, from one water body to another with special care to clean fishing equipment when you are done fishing known locations of the virus.

* Do not move fish/fish parts from one waterbody to another, and do not release live bait into any water body.

* Handle bass as gently as possible if you intend to release them and release them as quickly as possible. 

* Refrain from hauling the fish for long periods in live wells if you intend to release them.

* Minimize targeting of largemouth bass during the period from mid-July to mid-August, especially during exceptionally hot weather conditions.

* Report dead or dying adult largemouth bass fish to MI DNR Fisheries Division offices.

* Volunteer to help agencies collect bass for LMBV monitoring.

* Educate other anglers about LMBV.

 

   The Michigan DNR will continue to communicate any new information learned about the disease in Michigan. The following internet site offers more information: http://espn.go.com/outdoors/bassmaster/index.html .


Minnesota

MN- DNR closes several lakes and streams to protect walleye concentrations

   Several lakes and streams in Minnesota will be closed to fishing for the May 10 fishing opener to protect walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said today. "We'll have walleye concentrated in a number of spawning areas, especially in the northeast," said the DNR's Assistant Fisheries Director Steve Hirsch. "The closures help prevent too many fish from being harvested during the first week or two of the season."

           

The following fishing closures have been in effect since April 1:

  • Sea Gull River, Cook County, from Sea Gull Lake through Gull Lake to Saganaga Lake approximately one-third mile north of the narrows is closed through May 23

  • Saganaga Falls, Cook County, on the Minnesota-Ontario border where the Granite River enters Saganaga Lake is closed through May 31

  • Maligne River (also known as Northern Light Rapids) on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake is closed through May 31

  • Channel between Little Gunflint and Little North Lakes, Cook County, on the Minnesota-Ontario border is closed through May 31

  • Cross River, Cook County, from Gunflint Trail to Gunflint Lake is closed through May 23

  • Little Birch Lake, Todd County, at the inlet on the east shore is closed to fishing and boating through May 23; the posted area begins downstream of

the fish barrier on Angler Drive. Closures on Minnesota-Ontario border waters are done in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and affect both sides of the border.

 

The following fishing closures will be in effect from May 10 through May 23:

  • Tait River, Cook County, from White Pine Lake to the Forest Road 339 crossing

  • Junco River, Cook County, from the first log dam above County Road 57 downstream to Devil Track Lake and including a portion of Devil Track Lake near the river mouth

  • Gull River in the city of East Gull Lake, Cass County, from the Army Corps of Engineers Dam on Gull Lake to approximately 250 ft downstream.

           

The following fishing closures will be in effect from May 10 through May 16:

  • A portion of Pipestone Bay of Basswood Lake, Lake County, south of a direct line from Kosulainen Point to Gary Island to Caribou Point and then south to Pipestone Falls.

   Boat travel is permitted through all the closed areas, except on Little Birch Lake in Todd County where the closure applies to both fishing and boating. All closed areas will be posted.

 


MN- Becoming An Outdoors Woman Program offers safety courses

   Due to the popularity of the women’s DNR Firearm Safety Course, the Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman Program will be offering classes again this year.

 

   "The BOW Program offered similar programs past years and registration filled quickly," said Jean Bergerson, the Minnesota BOW Program coordinator. "Women who wish to hunt, participate in shooting sports or who have guns in their home should learn gun safety."

 

   All women 16 years and older are invited to attend these informative, hands-on courses. A Twin Cities metro area class will be held May 10-11 at the Wargo Nature Center in Hugo. Another class will be held in Grand Rapids July 12-13 at the Shooting Sports Education Center.

 

   The course will provide hands-on safety instruction with various types of firearms. There will be an opportunity to shoot guns and learn safe gun handling. Additional topics are survival, and map and compass navigation. This course satisfies requirements necessary for firearms safety certification through the DNR. It also is a requirement for any additional shooting sports courses offered through the BOW Program.

 

   Class size is limited. The cost for the two days is $10. Women can register at the Shooting Sports Education

 Center by calling (218) 327-0583 or via e-mail at www.mssec@uslink.net . Register at 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367.

 

   Women who want to learn to shoot can also participate in BOW clinics being offered this summer. Participants will be divided into groups according to their shooting experience and skills. There will be separate groups for first-time shooters and for experienced shooters who wish to polish their skills. Clinics are being offered from 1-4 p.m. June 7 and Aug. 23. The cost is $35 per person, which includes range fees, instruction, shells, and guns for those who do not have a shotgun. Register at 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367.

 

   BOW will help instruct beginning clinics at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Sporting Clays shoot June 28 at the Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with the clinics. Participants will then have time to try a round of sporting clays before lunch.

 

   The BOW Program is designed for women who are interested in learning or expanding their expertise in outdoor skills. The classes are usually taught by women. Program fees include all the equipment, hands-on instruction, and information to assist participants who wish to continue in that sport. The program is currently being offered in 46 states and Canada.

 


MN- DNR offers advice on protecting property from nuisance black bears

   The Minnesota DNR and local law enforcement personnel are frequently called upon for help with nuisance black bears in northern Minnesota. Most calls stem from fear of having a bear around, spilled garbage, or damage to bird feeders, gardens and fruit trees, according to DNR officials. Occasionally, bears become aggressive toward people, although injuries in Minnesota are rare. A DNR goal is to minimize nuisance bear problems through proper management and public education, according to Martha Minchak, a DNR wildlife manager in Duluth.

 

   Black bears are common in the forested areas of northern Minnesota. The number of bear complaints in many towns has increased in recent years because:

  • people aren't protecting property from bears and are making food available to bears

  • people are unnecessarily frightened of bears

  • homes are built on the edge of town or in the country where bear contact is more likely

  • the bear population has increased in some areas.

   Black bears are curious, persistent animals. Because of Minnesota's comparatively short summers, bears must search for food constantly to put on enough fat to survive winter hibernation. Bears travel over large areas. Once bears find a food source, they remember its location and return regularly, so bears can quickly become a chronic problem.

 

   Bears normally feed on the buds, grasses, berries, roots, insects and carrion found in forests and clearings, but they switch easily to garbage, birdseed and pet food that are readily available in towns. Bears are discovering that they can get these foods without being scared away or injured. As a result, they are becoming accustomed to people and have developed the bad habit of feeding in towns, according to Minchak.

 

How to bear-proof property

   By reducing the things that attract bears, property owners will reduce the probability of having a bear become a neighborhood nuisance.

 

The DNR offers some tips:

  • never feed bears; it teaches them to associate people with food

  • eliminate garbage food odors containers, and by putting food scraps in a sealed container

  • keep garbage cans clean and wrap all garbage in a tightly closed plastic bag

  • keep garbage in bear-proof containers or a shed, garage or basement

  • ask the garbage hauler to provide a container with lids that can be fastened down

  • on garbage pick-up day, put the garbage can out just before pick-up time and never leave garbage out overnight

  • remove bird feeders; bird baths are an alternative that will attract birds but not bears

  • keep pet food inside

  • keep barbecues and picnic tables free of grease and food odors

  • attempt to keep bears away with leashed barking dogs, lights, radios or noisemakers

  • consider using an electric fence to keep bears out of beehives, sweet corn, apple trees or berry patches.

   "These preventive measures may seem extreme, but when a bear finds a human food source, it will forsake natural food, lose its normal shyness, and visit more frequently," Minchak said. "Eventually the bear might become bold and even pushy in its search for food and be perceived as a threat to humans and property. The bear must then be trapped and destroyed.

 

   "People who have contributed to the problem must share the blame for the loss of these remarkable animals," Minchak said. "Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear."

Trapping and Transplanting are not best solutions 

   In the past, if a bear nuisance problem could not be solved by corrective action, DNR staff would attempt to capture the bear in a live trap and relocate it. A relocated bear often returned to the nuisance site, however, even when moved at distances greater than 50 miles. Some relocated bears also became nuisances elsewhere because they had been conditioned to human food sources. Repeat offenders often had to be destroyed, anyway. Some bears became trap smart and couldn't be caught. Moved bears also have higher mortality rates because they are in unfamiliar territory and may be chased or even killed by resident bears.

 

   Trapping bears is also time-consuming and expensive. Current DNR policy directs wildlife managers to destroy trapped nuisance bears, but bears will not be trapped for damage to bird feeders, tipping over garbage cans, or other problems that can be corrected.

 

What to do if a bear is encountered

   Bears are normally shy and usually flee when encountered, Minchak said. They may defend an area if they are feeding or are with their young, so never approach or try to pet a bear.

 

   "A bear that has become accustomed to people may look docile and cuddly," Minchak said, "but they are unpredictable wild animals. Human injury is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and explosive speed, so they must be respected."

 

   If a bear is encountered, go inside a car or house if available. If on foot, don't panic and run because fast movement could invite pursuit. Instead, face the bear and slowly back away, giving the bear a wide berth. Drop any food, clothing or articles you may be carrying because this might distract the bear. When walking in areas where there may be bears, talk, sing, whistle or make other noises. If a bear is in a tree, leave the area. Once the area is quiet, the bear will usually relax, come down and soon depart.

 

   "When a bear is upset, it might make a deep woof, snap its jaws or slap the ground with its paws," Minchak said. "These are signals that you are getting too close. In an effort to bluff you away, the bear might even charge in your direction a few steps and stop short. If this happens, stand your ground, talk or yell in a loud, low voice, and slowly back away. "An actual attack is highly unlikely," Minchak said, "but if it should happen, you are better off fighting back than playing dead."

 

What to do if you have a bear problem

   People who have a persistent, serious bear problem for which corrective measures have not worked may contact their local wildlife manager for help. In Duluth, call Martha Minchak at (218) 723-4768. In Cloquet, call Rich Staffon at (218) 879-0883, extension 223. In Two Harbors, call Bob Kirsch at (218) 834-6619. Minnesota statutes allow a person to take a bear at any time to protect their property.

 

   The person must report the bear killing to a conservation officer within 48 hours. However, wanton killing of bears is not allowed. Many cities, like Duluth, have ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms. A bear should be killed only if it is posing an immediate threat to life or is causing significant property damage, Minchak said.

 

   "Bears, like people, need food, space to live in, and a safe place to rear their young," Minchak said. "When they come in contact with humans, bears are only trying to meet their needs. If a problem is not serious, give the bear consideration before taking drastic action."

 

   Black bears are a valuable part of Minnesota's wildlife heritage, Minchak noted. Hunters pursue bears for the sporting challenge, meat and pelts. Bear hunting is important economically to northern Minnesota businesses. Bears are also an important tourist attraction.  "Minnesotans can help wildlife managers protect this valuable resource by doing their part to prevent bears from becoming a nuisance," Minchak concluded.

The DNR has a brochure titled "Bear Country: Learning to Live with Bears," which is available from the DNR Info Center by calling 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367.


MN- Wild turkeys released at eight sites over winter

   Crews from the Minnesota DNR, in cooperation with the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, released 135 turkeys at sites in five counties during the past winter. Crews use rocket-propelled nets to trap turkeys as the turkeys feed over bait piles.

               

   Since 1976, DNR crews have been live trapping wild turkeys from large flocks in southeastern Minnesota and releasing them in other areas of the state with suitable wild turkey habitat. To date, approximately 4,200 birds have been released in 60 counties across the state.

           

   This year, birds released in Mille Lacs, Kannabec and Pine counties will also be used in an ongoing St. Cloud State radio-telemetry  study that will determine if agricultural crops - primarily corn - is critical to winter survival. Birds were also released in Wadena and Benton counties.

           

"We had a mild winter in the southeast, so the birds were all in excellent condition," said Gary Nelson, Winona area wildlife manager and supervisor of the DNR wild turkey trapping program. "However, the weather also made natural foods more available, which hampered our live-trapping efforts."

   Wild turkeys are now found throughout most of southern Minnesota and as far north as Mahnomen County in northwestern Minnesota. Nelson said each of the 189 releases made since 1976 have been considered successful.

           

   "Every release since 1976 has resulted in the establishment of at least a small population of birds," Nelson said. "Some of the birds released may have become prey for predators or may have succumbed to the elements, but the overall survival rate is good." Nelson said that the DNR has no plans to release turkeys where habitat may not sustain the birds, such as the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota.       

 

   The Minnesota Chapter  NWTF has provided volunteers to transport birds as well as funding to help trapping efforts. "Without their help, we wouldn't be able to continue this program at its current level," Nelson said. "The overall success of the wild turkey program has resulted in many additional hunting opportunities across the state."

           

   Minnesota's wild turkey season runs from April 16 through May 25. The DNR expects about 22,000 hunters to participate in one of eight five-day hunting seasons this year.

 


 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin's largest utility to pay $600 million for pollution violations

   MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin's largest utility has agreed to pay $600 million to the federal government for breaking pollution laws at five coal-fired power plants.

   The settlement by We Energies, the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and Wisconsin Gas Co., was announced April 29 by the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. The agencies said We Energies violated the Clean Air Act when it made millions of dollars in renovations but failed to install required air pollution controls at the plants: four in southeastern Wisconsin and one in Michigan.

   Officials of We Energies said the company cooperated

with the investigation and has voluntarily installed $50 million in new emissions control equipment in the last two years.

 

   Under the agreement, We Energies must install state-of-the-art controls on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions or shut down the units, which account for 80 percent of its total coal-fired generating capacity. Cost of the controls is estimated at about $576.8 million; the work is expected to take until 2013 to complete.

 

   We Energies will spend at least $20 million to finance a Michigan environmental project demonstrating a new technology to significantly reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. It will also pay a $3.2 million civil penalty.


WI- State representative calls for legal action against PETA
   A state legislator is pushing an investigation into and possible legal action against a worldwide animal-rights group for its campaign touting the negative aspects of dairy consumption. Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, has contacted Wisconsin's Consumer Protection Legal Division and asked it to examine the legality of an ad campaign run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that casts doubt on the health benefits of milk. Suder said he might ask Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager to investigate the organization's practices in the near future.

 

   As part of the campaign, PETA sent a letter to Gov. Jim Doyle asking him to permanently change the official state beverage from milk to beer. The group claims humans who 

consume cows' milk support an industry that treats animals poorly and are more susceptible to a wide range of health problems.

 

   "They've crossed the line this time," Suder said. "They state in their letter that milk causes breast cancer, osteoporosis and a whole host of other diseases."

 

   It is these claims, Suder says, that are potentially in violation of Wisconsin's false advertising laws, which prohibit any person or organization from making claims in the media that contain untrue or deceptive messages. Suder said the PETA argument bases itself on quack medical science that has linked milk to everything from heart disease to acne.

 


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