Week of May 5, 2008






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House Passes Ballast Management Legislation

Bush threatens to veto over excessive spending

Sponsored by Reps. James Oberstar (D-MN), and Steven LaTourette (R-OH), the U.S. House of Representatives on April 24, by a vote of 395-7 approved H.R. 2830, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2007. The Ballast Water Treatment Act (H.R. 2423), being considered as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, will stop the spread of invasive species through shipping by 2015.  The bill increases the size of the Coast Guard, reorganizes the Service, and enhances the Coast Guard’s dual mission of homeland security and maritime safety. Among many other items, Title V the bill requires ships to begin installing ballast water treatment systems in 2009 to control the introduction of invasive species into U.S. ports and waterways. By 2015, all ships operating in the Great Lakes would be required to have treatment systems on-board that kill all living critters in ballast tanks.


The Ballast Water Treatment Act of 2008 will establish national ballast water discharge standards that will protect our lakes, rivers and coastal waters from future introductions of environmentally harmful invasive species,” said U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, ranking Republican of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee


The Bush administration is threatening to veto the bill because of another aspect that would require the Coast Guard to protect liquefied natural gas terminals and vessels. The

president’s office called that provision “an unwarranted and unnecessary subsidy.”


The White House also raised concerns about the ballast water provisions, saying that as written they would require recreational vessels as well as shipping fleets to have a permit to control discharges beginning Sept. 30. The administration said it has offered substitute language that provides for the development of national standards without putting an undue burden on boat owners.


On September 27, 2007, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) approved similar legislation in S. 1578, The Ballast Water Management Act of 2007. That bill provided states with the authority to develop programs to regulate invasive species from ships so long as the provisions did not conflict with the Federal program.


Michigan's Attorney General Mike Cox opposed the provisions of the bill that would limit the ability of Michigan, other states and the EPA to protect the Great Lakes from harmful ballast water discharges. Cox and the Attorneys General of five other Great Lakes States -- Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- sent a joint letter to the Committee urging them not to approve parts of Senate Bill 1578.

Highest Flood Recorded on Lower Mississippi River Since 1973

The largest flood on the lower Mississippi River since 1973 was measured on April 22 in Vicksburg, Mississippi by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The flow measured 1.8 million cubic feet per second. That is enough water to fill more than 20 Olympic size swimming pools in one second, or more than 1.75 million pools in a day.


The flood was caused by intense rainfall throughout the central plains and Ohio River valley in March and April that has now reached the lower Mississippi River basin. According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River is expected to remain above flood stage at Vicksburg, MS until

May 20. Find current flood and high flow conditions across the country at the USGS WaterWatch website http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/flood.  


In addition to streamflow, the USGS also monitors the water quality of the Mississippi River and determines the amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, being transported to the Gulf of Mexico. Analysis of a pre-peak flow sample collected at St. Francisville, LA on April 8 indicates that the daily loads of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Mississippi River were 15 million pounds and 2 million pounds, respectively. These loads are about twice as high as the long-term averages of 8.2 million and 760,000 pounds per day of nitrogen and phosphorus, but only about half as high as the maximum loads measured over the last 34 years.

U.S. DOI offers new rule Regarding Right-to-Carry in National Parks

Fairfax, Va. - The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service and USFWS, on April 29 issued a proposed rule to amend regulations prohibiting firearms in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. The National Rifle Association (NRA) led the effort to amend the existing policy regarding the carrying and transportation of firearms on these federal lands.


“Law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves and their families while enjoying America's National Parks and wildlife refuges,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “Under this proposal, federal parks and wildlife refuges will mirror the state firearm laws for state parks. This is an important step in the right direction, and we applaud efforts to amend the out-of-date regulations.”   The proposed rule was filed and will be published in the Federal Register April 30, and can be found online at: http://federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2008-09606_PI.pdf.  It provides sixty days for public comment.


These new regulations will provide uniformity across our nation’s federal lands and put an end to the patchwork of regulations that governed different lands managed by different federal agencies. In the past, only Bureau of Land

Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while lands managed by DOI did not.


The current regulations on possession, carry or transportation of loaded or uncased firearms in national parks were proposed in 1982 and finalized in 1983. Similar restrictions apply in national wildlife refuges. The NRA has long held that amendments to those regulations were needed to reflect the changed legal situations with respect to state laws on carrying firearms.


As of the end of 1982, only six states routinely allowed citizens to carry handguns for self-defense. Currently, 48 states have a process for issuing licenses or permits to allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry firearms for self-defense. Two states do not require permits, 38 states have a “shall-issue” permit process, and eight have a discretionary process for issuing permits.


This move will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, and will make federal law consistent with the state law in which these lands are located. Fifty-one U.S. Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of Interior supporting the move to make state firearms laws applicable to National Park lands and refuges.

Coast Guard may lose law unit

House approves bill to remove court over maritime bias claims

BALTIMORE(AP) -- The Coast Guard's Baltimore-based administrative law system, which has been accused of bias in cases against civilian mariners, would be dismantled under a bill headed to the U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on April 24 to dismantle the U.S. Coast Guard's Baltimore-based administrative law system amid charges of bias in its handling of cases against civilian mariners.


Cases now heard by the Coast Guard would be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board beginning in October under the restructuring contained in an $8.4 billion spending bill.  The action, by a 395-7 vote margin strips the Coast Guard of its role in hearing negligence and misconduct cases against seafarers.


The Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council first reported on the allegations of Coast Guard judicial misconduct on August 27, 2007 - Coast Guard Courts stacked against civilian mariners   with a follow-up story and congressional testimony on November 19, US House Rep Cummings trying to dismantle Administrative Law System in USCG


The Coast Guard court system is supposed to be impartial in its handling of charges against mariners, but records show the system may be stacked against the seafarers.  An investigation by The Baltimore Sun last year found prosecutors had a 97 % success rate under the system, in which the Coast Guard is responsible for both prosecuting .

and providing an impartial forum. The newspaper's investigation found mariners prevailed in 14 of about 6,300 charges brought over eight years


The report in The Sun also detailed claims from retired Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge Jeffie J. Massey, who said she was told by Chief Judge Joseph N. Ingolia to always rule in the agency's favor regardless of the evidence presented in her courtroom. She also claimed that a fellow judge told her that he feared for his job if he didn't rule in favor of the Coast Guard.


There are also allegations that Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad W. Allen, knew full well what was going on, yet in response to claims that Chief Judge Joseph N. Ingolia issued judicial rules through private memos to other judges - a claim the Coast Guard denied in court - the service pledged to implement a new "good guidance policy" and publish all guidance documents on the system's Web site.


In her testimony before Congress, retired Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge Jeffie J. Massey, said she was told by Ingolia to always rule in the agency's favor regardless of the evidence presented in her courtroom. Massey chided the Coast Guard for their “brotherhood” mentality “‘with the Commandant stressing to me that ‘the Coast Guard takes care of its own.’ At both of our 2004 meetings, Judge Ingolia stressed that the Coast Guard was ‘one big happy family.’”


The bill has now gone to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.

Former Coast Guard vice commandant cites loss of confidence in Marine Safety Program

In 2007, the Coast Guard received a boatload of criticism from maritime-industry and congressional leaders who have grown impatient with the  deterioration of its marine-safety function.


This year, Coast Guard officials are hearing a similar refrain from one of their own. In a 41-page report, a former Coast Guard vice commandant,  retired Vice Adm. James C. Card criticized the state of the Marine Safety program. Card said fundamental changes are necessary to restore  adequate strategy, leadership, staffing and organization and to make the culture more customer-oriented.


Card's "Coast Guard Marine Safety Analysis: An Independent Assessment and Suggestions for Improvement" was based on more than 170  interviews of people from the industry and within the Coast Guard. For Card, the anonymous, candid interviews exhibited a consistent theme: a  breakdown of trust between the Coast Guard and America's professional mariners.


"The relationship between the Coast Guard and maritime industry is the most strained in my memory," Card wrote. "The industry has lost trust  and confidence in the Coast Guard. ... Because the industry has historically enjoyed a positive relationship with the Coast Guard, they are  grieving the loss of a good partner."


Card spent 36 years in the Coast Guard before retiring in 2000 to become a vice president at American Bureau of Shipping. Before he was vice  commandant, Card served as commander of the Coast Guard's Pacific Area and was chief of the Merchant Vessel Inspection and  Documentation Division. He is now an independent maritime consultant.


Adm. Thad Allen, the current commandant, asked Card last summer to conduct a wide-ranging analysis of the Marine Safety program. In  August, Allen faced stiff questions from members of Congress at a House hearing that discussed the idea of moving marine-safety functions to  the Department of Transportation. 


At the hearing, industry and congressional leaders expressed worry that the Coast Guard's homeland security role is overshadowing  marine-safety duties. Card finished his analysis in November 2007. Industry representatives have some hope that the retired vice admiral's findings will be taken  seriously, because the Coast Guard publicized the report on its own Web site in January 2008.


Go to http://homeport.uscg.mil,  then click on Marine Safety.


Even before Card's analysis was finished, Allen wasted no time in adopting one of Card's recommendations. Card suggested that the Coast  Guard appoint a single high-level leader to oversee Marine Safety - a newly created position called "assistant commandant for marine safety,  security and stewardship." Allen named Rear Adm. Brian Salerno to that post in August.


Card's report said most industry representatives he interviewed would prefer that marine-safety functions not be moved to another agency. The  Coast Guard must improve its performance, however.  "The biggest concern expressed by all those interviewed was that the Coast Guard no longer considered Marine Safety an important mission  for the Coast Guard and therefore let performance and service slide," Card wrote. "The second biggest concern was the harsh treatment that the  marine industry received from the Coast Guard during routine boardings, inspections, investigations and mariner licensing evolutions."


Card concluded that the Coast Guard, dangerously, is headed in the wrong direction compared with advances in the industry.  "The impact of the increased complexity in the maritime world makes the Coast Guard's Marine Safety

responsibilities more critical, and more  difficult, than they were 10 years ago," the retired vice admiral wrote. "Most believe that the Coast Guard Marine Safety capabilities are less  than they were, which results in an ever-increasing performance gap."


Card stressed that Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security leaders must be made to believe that Marine Safety is important. The  Coast Guard's overall strategy should make it clear that Marine Safety is directly related to other functions, particularly Maritime Security.


Marine Safety should be integrated into the Commandant Intent Action Orders, which are part of the current effort to re-align and transform the  Coast Guard for future success, Card's report said. "Proper Marine Safety mission execution impacts four of the seven metrics cited in the CIAO  construct: save mariners, eliminate collisions, eliminate oil spills and reduce homeland security risk," Card noted.  Industry leaders should be  invited to meetings to offer their input on the strategy development, he said.


"The Coast Guard seems reluctant to embrace the concept of industry partnerships," Card lamented. "Some Coast Guard leaders do not see  working collaboratively with the industry toward common safety and security goals as important."  Card's didn't mince words in emphasizing  the need to bolster Marine Safety resources. "Get more people!" he exclaimed in the very first staffing recommendation. "Viable marine safety  and security programs require a robust cadre of marine inspectors!" he added. Many Coast Guard personnel don't believe that Marine Safety is  a good place to gain experience that will get them promoted. Often they rotate out of the job in less than one year.


Some experts, including Allen, have suggested hiring more experienced civilians to augment the corps of Marine Safety inspectors. Card said  many of the people he interviewed want more civilians only if they are "customer focused and technically knowledgeable." He warned that it  may be more difficult to hold civilians accountable than it would be to hold a military person accountable. Still, Card recommended doubling the  number of civilian marine inspectors and investigators. Currently there are 46 civilian inspection and seven civilian investigator positions.


Card proposed creating a specialized team of inspectors and investigators that can travel around to handle difficult cases and train other  inspectors and investigators.  The former vice commandant also recommended improving the regulatory policy process and streamlining the  appeals process.  "Those appealing have every right to do so and will be treated with proper respect and will not be punished," he vowed. "In many cases,  appeals highlight poor regulations and are helpful in improving the system." The Coast Guard should establish a help desk to answer mariners'  questions about inspections and investigations, Card said. More training is needed to ensure that Coast Guard personnel are customer  focused, he said.


"The Coast Guard's core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty are similar to most companies' values," Card wrote. "So when the  Coast Guard doesn't treat their customers with honor and respect, the public is confused and angry. They expect better treatment from their  public servants.  "I sense that junior Coast Guard people don't understand the impact of their actions on professional mariners," he said. "I sense that many  senior Coast Guard people don't care about the impact of their actions on professional mariners."


Card urged Marine Safety personnel to revitalize the principle of "Honoring the Mariner." He suggested following the guidance of Alexander  Hamilton, who said, "Keep in mind that your countrymen are freemen and, as such, are impatient of everything that bears the least mark of a  domineering spirit.


Outdoor Channel to sponsor National Hunting/Fishing Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- National Hunting and Fishing Day, the Congressionally appointed celebration of hunters, anglers and conservation set for Sept. 27, welcomes Outdoor Channel as an official sponsor for 2008.


Outdoor Channel is the television home of Michael Waddell, this year’s honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day. Waddell hosts two Outdoor Channel shows, “Realtree Road Trips” and “Gander Mountain’s We Live Outdoors,” seen in 31 million homes.


As part of its sponsorship, Outdoor Channel will utilize Waddell for on-air spots, posters, ads and educational materials to communicate the National Hunting and Fishing Day message. That is, conservation succeeds in America because hunters, anglers and shooters, through licenses and excise taxes, generate $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.


“Outdoor Channel is a longtime supporter but this new sponsorship is extra special. The value of their extra promotions for National Hunting and Fishing Day reaches well into the millions of dollars. We’re very enthusiastic about the potential to make sportsmen and women more proud than 

ever of their contributions to America’s outdoors,” said Denise Wagner.  Wagner coordinates National Hunting and Fishing Day campaigns for Wonders of Wildlife museum, the annual commemoration’s official home in Springfield, Mo. The museum is spearheading efforts to build buzz for the day and traditional outdoor sports.


“Outdoor Channel is proud to sponsor National Hunting and Fishing Day once again,” said Denise Conroy-Galley, senior vice president of marketing and research. “With our unique reach on-air and online, we’re looking forward to celebrating this historic day by promoting the rich tradition of conservation.”


National Hunting and Fishing Day was founded and fostered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which remains the charter sponsor. Sponsors for 2008 include Wonders of Wildlife, Bass Pro Shops, The Sportsman Channel, National Wild Turkey Federation, Realtree, Cabela’s, Woolrich, GunBroker.com, Safari Club International and Outdoor Channel.


Congress formalized National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1971. Presidents from Richard M. Nixon through George W. Bush have proclaimed their support.  For more information, visit www.nhfday.org.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 2, 2008

 Weather Conditions

A large storm system made its way into the Great Lakes basin early this past week and brought cooler temperatures and rain along with it.  Mid-week, overnight temperatures dipped to the freezing mark in many areas across the basin as high pressure and dry weather settled in.  Looking ahead, a slow moving low pressure system is on its way to the basin and is expected to bring about an inch of rain to the region this weekend and early next week.  Drier conditions and seasonal temperatures will return as this system moves out of the area.

 Lake Level Conditions

Lakes Ontario and Superior are presently 9 and 10 inches higher than they were at this time last year, respectively.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and Erie are 1 inch lower than last year's level while Lake St. Clair is 3 inches lower than last year's level.  Lakes Michigan Huron and Superior are predicted to rise 3 and 4 inches over the next month, respectively.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are predicted to fall two inches, while Lake St. Clair is projected to stay the same over the next 30 days.  Lakes Superior and Ontario are forecasted to stay above last year's water levels through October, while the remaining lakes are forecasted to remain at or below their levels of a year ago over the next several months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflows from the St. Marys, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average for May while outflows from the

Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are forecasted to be above



Lake Superior is currently below chart datum, but is forecasted to go above chart datum in June.  Lake Michigan Huron is currently at chart datum and is expected to rise and remain a few inches above datum through October.  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.





St. Clair



Level for May 2






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr






Meijer, Inc. ends promotion with HSUS

The leadership at Meijer, a Michigan-based regional chain of retail superstores, has responded to the concerns of the sportsman community and ended its partnership with the anti-hunting group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in an online pet photo contest.


Meijer initially refused a U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) request to abandon the partnership, which according to information on the Meijer website, called for the company to donate $1 for each person that entered the contest, up to a maximum of $5,000, to the HSUS Foreclosure Pets Fund.


On Friday, April 25, the USSA sent out a call to action for sportsmen to voice their concerns over these donations to the biggest anti-hunting organization in the world.  Sportsmen immediately took action, flooding the retailer with phone calls, faxes and emails.  Thanks to this action by sportsmen, Meijer has now eliminated the portion of the contest that included a donation to HSUS.


Behler recognized that hunters and sportsmen are a huge

customer base for Meijer and mentioned that the company

had received messages and emails from concerned sportsmen that identified other sportsman-friendly national organizations that could be substituted for HSUS in helping pets.


Meijer is to be congratulated for quickly severing its ties to HSUS once it began hearing from sportsmen.  Although the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is satisfied with Meijer’s decision, the fact that the partnership ever took place is still cause for concern.


Meijer is a seller of sporting goods and hunting and fishing licenses and indicates on its website that it operates 182 locations throughout Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.  The end result of this campaign once again proves that sportsmen can make a difference.  Companies such as Iams, General Mills, Accor Hotels, Pet Safe, Sears and Ace Hardware also ended relationships with HSUS after thousands of sportsmen levied strong protest.



 What if you call 911 and no one ever answers?

Starting February 1, 2009 that is exactly what will happen for boaters who have the older model EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) that transmit a distress alert on 121.5 MHz or 243 MHz. The activation of an EPIRB is like making a 911 call to search and rescue authorities. After February 1, 2009  the older model EPIRBs will no longer be monitored by satellite, and are likely to go completely undetected in an emergency. Only distress alerts from 406 MHz beacons will continue to be detected and processed by search and rescue satellites worldwide. Although February 1, 2009 is still a long time from now,  the traditional start of the 2008 boating season is just a couple of weeks away and while preparing for the season the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends that the new EPIRBs be part of the season start-up shopping list. 


Although recreational boaters are not required to carry an EPIRB, they are strongly recommended for ALL boaters, including kayaks and other paddle craft, along with a VHF-FM marine band radio. The 406 MHz signal sent by the newer EPIRBs when a mariner encounters distress are picked up by the COSPAS/SARSAT satellite constellation, which determines the EPIRBs position through triangulation. EPIRBs with embedded GPS are even more helpful in quickly finding a distressed boater. With GPS coordinates, the

position of distress is pinpointed almost immediately. Without GPS, it may take two or three satellite passes to come up with a good, triangulated position. According to Captain Chip Strangfeld, Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego, “the time saved by EPIRBs could mean the difference between life and death.”


As long as the new 406 MHz beacon has been registered (which is required by law), search and rescue authorities can quickly confirm that the distress is real, who they are looking for, and a description of the vessel or aircraft. This means an effective search can be initiated even before a final distress location has been determined for non-GPS EPIRBs.  It also means that a false activation may be resolved with a phone call to the beacon owner, saving resources for actual distresses.


Registration is free and can be done on the internet at: www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov or it can be mailed/faxed to NOAA by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Beacon registrations must be updated at least every two years or when information such as emergency contact phone numbers and other vital information changes. This registration information is only available to authorized search and rescue personnel.  It saves lives.


IDNR reminds boaters and anglers to practice safety as weather warms

Public urged to take boating safety class before heading out on the water

SPRINGFIELD –Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging boaters and anglers to be safe while on the water this spring and summer.  The Agency is also reminding boaters about the benefits to signing up for a boating safety class offered through the IDNR.


“Safety education courses are a key to the Illinois’ boating safety effort.  Nationwide, nearly 90 % of all reported fatalities on boats involved boat operators who had not received boating safety instruction,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.


Statistics compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement show that 13 people died and 57 were injured in boating-related accidents on Illinois waters in 2007.  That is down

slightly from 2006 when there were 17 fatalities and 66 injuries in boating-related accidents.  Of the 13 fatalities in 2007, 10 may have survived had Personal Flotation Devices (PDF’s) been worn.


The leading type of accidents involving fatalities were collisions with a fixed object and flooding/swamping of a vessel.  As is usually the case, most fatalities occurred on clear, sunny days with mild winds and good visibility.  Alcohol use along with operator inattention or carelessness remains a major cause of fatalities.


In 2007, operators between the ages of 20 and 59 were involved in 74% boating accidents and 38% of those involved at least one fatality. According to a 2006 study by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, those states that have the longest history of boating education requirements also have the lowest average fatality rates of all the states.

U.S. Open Trap Shooting Championships returns to Sparta World Shooting  Complex

Third annual Amateur Trap Shooting event set for May 1-4

SPARTA, IL – Illinois DNR Acting Director Sam Flood announced that the U.S. Open Trap Shooting Championships will return to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC) in Sparta, with the popular event scheduled for May 1-4.  The IDNR will host the U.S. Open thanks to the support of major sponsors White Flyer, Winchester, Browning, Remington, and Holiday Inn Express.


“The U.S. Open Trap Shooting Championships event is quickly becoming a fan favorite and one of the most popular events at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex,” said

Flood.  “As one of the first major events of the season, we

know summer is not far behind.”


During the 2008 U.S. Open, shooters will compete for more than $15,000 in prizes and additional money.  On Friday, May 2, the complex will host a Shooters Appreciation Party at the WSRC Events Center.  Complimentary barbeque by WSRC food vendor 17th Street Bar and Grill, and beverages provided by Anheuser Busch and Pepsi, will be served from 5-7 p.m.


The 8th annual Governors Cup Shooting Challenge, a sporting clays event, will also be held simultaneously at the WSRC on May 2-3.  Registration is $125 plus fees for each NSCA-registered shooter.


Volunteer Sturgeon Patrol Starts on Black River

Once again this year, the DNR will team up with local citizens from Cheboygan County to protect spawning lake sturgeon in the Upper Black River.  When sturgeon are in the river to spawn, local citizens, members of the local Vietnam Veterans

chapter, volunteers from the Michigan National Guard and members of the local chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow stand watch and use cellular phones to report suspicious activity to the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline. The information is forwarded to conservation officers on patrol in the area.


100 more acres on Little Darby now under ODNR protection

Acquisition south of West Jefferson will act as a riparian buffer for the stream

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently purchased 100 acres on Little Darby Creek in Madison County as an additional measure of protection for this state and national scenic river - and the endangered clubshell mussel, which calls its waters home.


The property, located on the south side of the Village of West Jefferson, was acquired from local developers Possibilities LLC and Sovereign Communities for $858,460. Each organization expressed a long-held desire to protect Little Darby Creek.

Funding for the purchase came from a variety of agencies including: $250,000 from the Franklin County Metropolitan Park District; $247,395 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; $243,360 from the ODNR Division of Wildlife, and $117,699 from the ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves. ODNR will manage the property, while the Franklin County Metropolitan Park District holds a license to build hiking trails and improve fishing access.


With this acquisition, more than 570 acres in the Little Darby Creek watershed are permanently protected from development, either through outright purchases or conservation easements negotiated by ODNR. Sales of the Ohio Scenic Rivers license plate provided funding for many of these acquisitions.


Barbless rules in effect for catch-and-release bass seasons

MADISON – Anglers gearing up for the May 3 opener of catch-and-release bass fishing season in the northern zone and on other waters with bass catch-and-release seasons should note a regulation change.


From May 3 through June 20, bass anglers in the northern zone or any other water body that has catch-and-release bass regulations are required to use artificial lures with barbless hooks only. That includes boundary waters and outlying waters and certain lakes in the southern zone. The Wisconsin

Legislature mandated the rule in the 2007-2009 budget bill adopted last fall.


The northern zone hook-and-line harvest season  is open June 21 - March 1, 2009, with a minimum length limit of 14” and a daily bag limit of five fish in total. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29.


For more information on catch-and-release bass waters, consult the 2008-2009 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations, available at DNR service centers, license outlets and on the DNR Web site.


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

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