Week of May 29, 2006

World

National

Regional

General

Lake Erie

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

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World

Angler lands what may be record shark

BOCA GRANDE, FL (AP) - Fishing Capt. Bucky Dennis has been trying to catch a record hammerhead shark for 10 years. He may have finally succeeded.

 

On May 23, he reeled in a monstrous 1,280-pounder that ate a 25 lb stingray for bait at Boca Grande Pass near Fort Myers. That would beat by nearly 300 lbs the current all-tackle world record for a hammerhead shark.

 

Dennis, who was using 130 lb test line, and three friends fought the 14½’ shark for five hours and it dragged his boat about 12 miles offshore before they got it aboard. "It's fun hooking them, but if you get too close, they will bite," Dennis said. "And whatever they bite, they will bite off."

The current all-tackle world record hammerhead is 991 lbs, caught May 30, 1982, by Allen Ogle of Punta Gorda, according to the International Game Fish Association. The organization is reviewing the latest catch to determine if it qualifies as the new record, a process that will take about 60 days.

 

The Port Charlotte fishing captain donated the big fish to the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, which plans to have it mounted and displayed. Center director Robert Hueter said researchers prefer that people tag and release large sharks because they help sustain the species.  "But we are grateful that this animal has been donated to science. It will help us understand more about these animals," Hueter said.

 

The largest shark ever hooked was a 2,664 lb great white caught off the southern coast of Australia in 1959.


National

Lake Whitefish Returning to the Detroit River to Spawn

First Reproducing Population of Whitefish in River Since 1916

Lake Whitefish, currently the number one commercial fish in the Great Lakes and a key indicator of ecosystem health, are once again reproducing in the Detroit River according to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the USFWS.

 

Scientists discovered spawning lake whitefish and fertilized whitefish eggs in the Detroit River last fall, the first documented spawning of the fish in the river since 1916. The discovery provides further evidence of progress in the ecological recovery of the Detroit River, home to North America’s only International Wildlife Refuge and International Heritage River System.

 

The Detroit River recently received international acclaim at the Whitehouse Conference on Cooperative Conservation for its progress toward ecological recovery and for the public and private partnerships that have worked to revitalize the storied river. The river is now a major catalyst in the economic redevelopment of the Detroit River waterfront and the revival of a glorious “front porch” for the region.

 

“The return of lake whitefish to the Detroit River is partially the result of 40 years of pollution prevention and control activities in the Detroit/Windsor metropolitan areas”, said Dr. Leon Carl, Center Director, USGS Great Lakes Science Center. “Scientists are continuing studies of this unique river ecosystem to learn more about the habitat needs of lake whitefish and other native fish that may potentially lead to the re-establishment of this heritage fishery.”

 

“This whitefish recovery is helping transform the river into an internationally recognized wildlife refuge that is providing an exceptional ecotourism experience to residents of Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario”, said Dr. John Hartig, Refuge Manager, Detroit International Wildlife Refuge.

 

The Detroit River was well known for its whitefish fishery in the

1800s and early 1900s, but habitat loss and degradation, pollution, and other factors contributed to the loss of this important fishery. The river has a history of environmental problems such as oil pollution in the 1940s and 50s; phosphorus pollution in the 1960s; “mercury crisis” of 1970 and organochlorine contamination since the 1970s.

 

The river began its recovery in the early 1970s with the U.S. and Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and passage of the U.S. Clean Water Act in 1972. Other federal, state and local initiatives have since helped to reduce the volume of pollutants entering the river. Compared to 1972 levels, discharges of oil have been reduced by 98 percent and phosphorus discharges reduced by 95%. Scientists have also measured a 70 % decline in mercury contamination in fish and an 83 % decline in PCB levels in herring gulls from Fighting Island. The Detroit River now has reproducing populations of peregrine falcons, lake sturgeon, and bald eagles, and is gaining a national reputation as a world-class walleye fishery.

 

Scientists will continue to assess a number of sites in the Detroit River and in the Huron-Erie Corridor (which also includes the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and western Lake Erie) to determine where whitefish are spawning, what their habitat requirements are, and other information on growth and reproduction. Whitefish eggs and larvae collected in 2005/2006 were brought back to the USGS Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor and are now being raised in the lab. Results from this research will help direct fisheries managers in future efforts to restore native fish populations and habitat in the river.

 

The USFWS and USGS along with the Michigan and Ohio DNRs and other key partners in the U.S. and Canada are working to address critical research issues in the Detroit River and the entire Huron-Erie Corridor. Together they contribute to the ongoing ecological recovery and revitalization of this important ecosystem and North America’s only International Wildlife Refuge.

 


BASS stages first-ever Women's Tour Championship

Tournament Will Coincide with CITGO Bassmaster Classic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Bass fishing entered a new era  as BASS revealed the long-awaited details of its first-ever women’s championship event, to be held in conjunction with the 2007 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

 

The Mercury Marine Women’s Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats championship will take place Feb. 22-25, 2007, on Lake Mitchell near Birmingham, Ala. It will feature the top 12 anglers and co-anglers from the five-event inaugural season of the women’s tour, based on Toyota Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year points.

 

“Every woman who qualifies for this legendary event should know they are making history,” said Don Rucks, vice president and general manager of BASS.  “Women anglers asked for a league just for them and BASS was happy to deliver. This championship will not soon be forgotten.”

 

BASS will award cash and merchandise totaling $225,750 to

the field, including a first-place prize of a 2007 fully rigged Triton boat valued at $50,000 as well as $10,000 cash. The winning co-angler receives a similar package valued at $24,000 plus $1,000 cash.

 

The 12 pro anglers will fish a four-day competition, weighing in on the final two days on the Bassmaster Classic stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. The 12 co-anglers will compete in a two-day tournament.

 

Rucks said the women will find plenty of support in Alabama. BASS has more than 19,000 members in Alabama. There are nearly 210,000 members within in a 500-mile radius of Birmingham, which includes the fervent support of the growing Alabama BASS Federation Nation.

 

Anyone interested in volunteering at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic or the women’s championship should call BASS at 1-877-BASS-USA. Sponsors of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour include Mercury Marine, Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advance Auto Parts and Plano.


Tribe Seeks Greater Freedom to Kill Eagles

Public comments on the proposal through June 19

JACKSON, Wyo.(AP) — The Northern Arapaho Tribe and a man accused of shooting a bald eagle on the Wind River Indian Reservation say the federal government should make it easier for American Indians to apply to kill bald eagles for use in religious ceremonies.

 

The tribe has filed a brief in the case of Winslow Friday, who allegedly shot the eagle without a permit in March 2005, and made its arguments before U.S. District Judge William Downes last week. The case moves forward as the federal government considers removing protections for bald eagles as a threatened species. The USFWS is taking public comments on the proposal through June 19.

 

Federal law allows enrolled tribal members to get a permit to kill bald eagles in certain cases. But Friday and the Northern Arapaho say there is no clear way to apply for the permit. They also say the bald eagle population in Wyoming and other states has grown large enough to enable some of the birds to be killed with little harm to the species.

 

In the federal government's response, Assistant U.S. Attorney

Stuart Healy said allowing people to shoot eagles without permission would undermine the current balance between preservation and religious freedom. Healy argued that there was no evidence Friday was selected to hunt an eagle or that he had purified himself prior to shooting the eagle. Purification is said to be necessary for the eagle to be used in a ceremony, Healy wrote.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a repository in Denver of eagles shot illegally or killed by cars or power lines, but Friday and the Northern Arapaho say relying on the eagle repository results in long delays and that those eagles can't be used in some traditional ceremonies. If convicted, Friday faces up to a year in jail and a fine up to $100,000.

 

Bald eagles were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978. They were reclassified from endangered to threatened in 1995 and the USFWS now estimates that more than 7,700 nesting pairs of bald eagles inhabit the lower 48 states.

 

Even if bald eagles were removed from Endangered Species Act protection, they would continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.


High Court Upholds States' Right to Regulate Dams

WASHINGTON, DC, May 15, 2006 (ENS) - In the first of three closely watched Clean Water Act cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that states have the right to establish requirements for dams on their rivers.

 

In a unanimous decision in the case of S.D. Warren v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, the nine justices rejected a South African company’s bid to exempt five hydroelectric dams it owns in Maine from the Clean Water Act.

 

Delivering the opinion of the court, Justice David Souter wrote, "The issue in this case is whether operating a dam to produce hydroelectricity 'may result in any discharge into the navigable waters' of the United States. If so, a federal license under §401 of the Clean Water Act requires state certification that water protection laws will not be violated. We hold that a dam does raise a potential for a discharge, and state approval is needed."

 

"It was beyond ludicrous for S.D. Warren to argue that its dam didn’t have to comply with the Clean Water Act," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "This is a victory for rivers, for the clean water, and most of all for good old common sense."

 

The Presumpscot River, a navigable water of the United States, runs for 25 miles through southern Maine from Sebago Lake to Casco Bay. Along that stretch of river, the petitioner, S.D. Warren Company, operates five hydropower dams to generate electricity for its paper mill. The dams are licensed every 50 years by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) after a review that looks at environmental issues and the demand for power.

 

Over 30 years ago, Souter wrote, "Congress enacted a specific provision for licensing an activity that could cause a "discharge" into navigable waters; a license is conditioned on a certification from the State in which the discharge may originate that it will not violate certain water quality standards, including those set by the State’s own laws."

 

In 1999, S.D. Warren applied for renewal of its licenses for the five dams in Maine. The company applied for water quality certifications from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection under protest, claiming that its dams do not result in any "discharge into" the river.  

 

The case turns, wrote Souter, on the definition of the word "discharge." The Supreme Court chose to define it in the ordinary way as found in Webster’s New International Dictionary as a "flowing or issuing out," whether or not the flow contains a pollutant.

 

"In resort to common usage under §401, this Court has not

been alone, for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FERC have each regularly read "discharge" as having its plain meaning and thus covering releases from hydroelectric dams," Souter wrote.

 

"The alteration of water quality as thus defined is a risk inherent in limiting river flow and releasing water through turbines," wrote Souter. "Warren itself admits that its dams 'can cause changes in the movement, flow, and circulation of a river . . . causing a river to absorb less oxygen and to be less passable by boaters and fish.'"

 

In findings that led to this appeal to the Supreme Court, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wrote, "The record in this case demonstrates that Warren’s dams have caused long stretches of the natural riverbed to be essentially dry and thus unavailable as habitat for indigenous populations of fish and other aquatic organisms; that the dams have blocked the passage of eels and sea-run fish to their natural spawning and nursery waters; that the dams have eliminated the opportunity for fishing in long stretches of river, and that the dams have prevented recreational access to and use of the river."

 

Souter wrote, "Changes in the river like these fall within a State’s legitimate legislative business, and the Clean Water Act provides for a system that respects the States’ concerns."  "State certifications under §401 are essential in the scheme to preserve state authority to address the broad range of pollution," Souter wrote. "Reading §401 to give 'discharge' its common and ordinary meaning preserves the state authority apparently intended."

 

"The Presumpscot was once one of the most prolific salmon rivers in Maine and home to several migratory species, including Atlantic salmon, American shad, rainbow smelt, blueback herring and alewife," wrote Dusti Faucher, president of Friends of the Presumpscot River, and board member of the environmental group Maine Rivers, in the Winter 2006 issue of "Maine River News."

 

"As is the history of most industrial rivers in the northeast, these runs were extirpated by uncontrolled pollution and the building of dams that lacked fish passage," Faucher wrote. "S.D. Warren Co., now owned by South African Pulp and Paper, Inc. (or SAPPI), located in Westbrook, Maine, began the relicensing procedure for five consecutive hydropower dams on the Presumpscot River in 1996."

 

FERC granted new federal licenses to S.D. Warren in 2003 requiring the installation of fish passage on all five dams. The licenses include a State of Maine section 401 Clean Water Act Certification, which requires minimum flows for several stretches of the river to rectify dissolved oxygen violations below the dams.


Scientists cool outlook on global warming

“Puffing up global warming claims is scientifically acceptable, although magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of highest predictions."

Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced last month that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions."

 

Even so, the Washington Times reports “Puffing up global warming is scientifically acceptable, a legitimate activity required to get people's attention on this important issue.  The latest example is Al Gore's global warming horror show, "An Inconvenient Truth." Most people with a standard American science education (i.e. none) will leave convinced that the world is going to come to an end from climate change -- or, rather, that it has already started to do so.

 

Gore told Grist Magazine: "I believe it is appropriate to have an overrepresentation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience."  The Times says “It would be nice to think he came up with this de novo, but exaggeration of global warming has long been considered virtuous.

 

Supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the Duke researchers noted that some observational studies predicted that the Earth's temperature could rise as much as 16 degrees in this century because of an increase in carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases.

 

The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago.

 

In recent years, much academic research has indicated

otherwise, often in colorful terms and citing the United States as the biggest contributor to global warming. This month, a University of Toronto scientist predicted that a quarter of the planet's plants and animals would be extinct by 2050 because of rising temperatures. On Wednesday, two geophysics professors at the University of Chicago warned those who eat red meat that their increased flatulence contributes to greenhouse gases.

 

Last year, Oregon State University research linked future "societal disruptions" with global warming, while the Carnegie Institution reported that the insulating influence of northern forests alone would raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees. In 2004, Harvard University scientists informed Congress that warming had doomed the planet to climatic "shocks and surprises."

 

The Duke research, however, found substantial ups and downs in the Earth's temperature before modern times, countering other studies that confine noticeable temperature increases to the industrialized era. Marked climate change in other centuries resulted from "external forcing," said the Duke findings, citing volcanic eruptions and other influences.

 

"Our reconstruction supports a lot of variability in the past," said research director Gabriele Hegerl of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

 

Although her study found that the Earth is, indeed, warming, Ms. Hegerl discounts dire predictions of skyrocketing temperatures. The probability that the climate's "sensitivity" to greenhouse-gas levels would result in drastically higher temperatures is "substantially" reduced, she said.

 

A survey the Times did last year put the ratio of "worse" rather than "better" news on global warming at about 15-to-1.
 

http://insider.washingtontimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060523-105312-2838r

Gore's inconvenient lie on puffing up global warming


Cabela's to open in Indiana

Cabela’s is opening its first store in Indiana, the company announced.

 

The 185,000-square-foot store will be located in Hammond, Ind., and could be completed by late 2007 or early 2008. Cabela’s purchased the 100-acre site in 2005 and anticipates it will eventually include additional retail and other development.  The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the state’s Department of Transportation worked with Cabela’s and the city of Hammond on necessary road improvements to allow access to the site, and accommodate

additional development in the area.

 

“This is a good outcome for Cabela’s, Hammond and our taxpayers,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “It took some time to get to this day, but we’re thrilled about this new facility. It’s important not only for commerce, but for tourism in this region.”

 

Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela’s has 14 retail locations nationwide and last opened a store in Rogers, Minn., in 2005. The company has plans to open as many as 13 new stores in the next two years.


Regional

IJC study underway of Upper Great Lakes

To determine whether Lake Superior outflows can be improved

The International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States (IJC) announced today that it is starting a major study of the upper Great Lakes. The study area includes lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, and their interconnecting channels (St. Mary’s River, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and Niagara River), up to Niagara Falls.

 

The IJC will draw on the results of the study, for which it has now received letters of support from the governments of Canada and the United States, to determine whether the regulation of Lake Superior outflows can be improved to address the evolving needs of the upper Great Lakes, and whether it needs to update its Order of Approval at St. Mary’s River between Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, to do so.

Major topics for investigation include determining the factors that affect water levels and flows, developing and testing the performance of potential new regulation plans including under climate change scenarios, and assessing the impacts of these potential plans on the ecosystem and human interests. Physical changes in the St. Clair River will be investigated early in the study as one factor that might be affecting water levels and flows. Depending on the nature and extent of the physical changes, and their potential impact on water levels and flows, the study may also explore potential remediation options.

 

For more information, visit the Commission’s website at www.ijc.org  or the study’s website at http://www.ijc.org/en/activities/upperlakes/upperlakes.htm

 

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 26, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Water levels on the Great Lakes now range from 2 to 8 inches below the levels of a year ago; however, all of the lake levels are currently above chart datum.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are both expected to rise 3 inches in the next month.  Lake St. Clair is expected to rise 1 inch, while Lake Erie is projected to drop 1 inch over the next month.  Lake Ontario is predicted to rise 2 inches over the next month.  Water levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain similar to or slightly lower than 2005. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was near average during the month of April.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were both below average during April.  The Niagara River flow was near average and the St. Lawrence River flow was above average in April.

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.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for May 26

601.3

577.8

574.1

571.7

245.6

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+2

+4

+21

+30

+28

Diff last month

+4

+3

+2

+2

+1

Diff from last yr

-2

-3

-4

-5

-8


General

Look out for nesting Loons

Loons are nesting now and, as a result, can be especially vulnerable at this time of the year. What should anglers and boaters know as they take to the lakes?

 

Loons began nesting in early May. Like many wildlife, loons are very sensitive to disturbance. Boats, including canoes, passing too closely to a nest may cause the adults to abandon their nest. This exposes the eggs to predators like

raccoons and gulls.

 

The two most traumatic times of the year for loons are Memorial Day Weekend, when the adults are sitting on their nests, and the Fourth of July, when the adults are with their young. Thus, boaters can help the long-term survival of these birds by avoiding nesting sites and looking for loons while out fishing or boating. Loons that nest in a less disturbed area show a significantly higher hatching success rates.


 

 

Lake Erie

Phosphorus to blame for Lake Erie dead zones

Massive die-off of thousands of Yellow Perch and sheepshead

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Melting snow carrying phosphorus from northern Ohio's farms contributes to so-called "dead zones" in Lake Erie where the oxygen is low, researchers say.

 

Storms flush phosphorus, a common farm nutrient, into drainpipes, creeks, then rivers and finally into Lake Erie. Once there, phosphorus causes extreme plant growth and algae, which suck oxygen from the water when they decompose.

 

Anglers had been reporting thousands of yellow perch floating off Cleveland and Lorain in recent days. This die-off follows a recent die-off of tens of thousands of sheepshead.   "At first we thought the perch kill may have been a by-catch issue from commercial trap nets, but it was too widespread," said Kevin Kayle, an ODNR Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist at the Fairport Harbor station. "The perch kill stretches from Lorain to Conneaut."

 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the majority of the dead perch are in the 6- to 8-inch range, members of a large 2003 year class. Only a few thousand perch from a population in the millions has been affected so far, said Kayle. The most likely explanation is that those perch were stressed as the high-density year class spawned for the first time. Also stressing Lake Erie's fish stocks were last summer's abnormally hot weather followed by a mild winter with no ice cover, allowing winds to keep Lake Erie stirred up and muddy.

 

"We always knew weather was important, but were not able to

document it," said Gerald Matisoff of Case Western Reserve University, who headed a U.S. team of Lake Erie researchers. "Now we're seeing a connection."

 

The findings were presented at a Great Lakes conference in Windsor, Ontario where the International Association of Great Lakes Researchers had convened for their annual conference.

 

"Dead zones" create an area devoid of fish, worms and clams on the bottom of the lake, hurting commercial and recreational fishing. Researchers estimate that two-thirds or more of the phosphorus entering Lake Erie comes from runoff during storms.

 

While summer storms also wash fertilizer into the lake, big winter snowmelts can be worse. Four of the 10 snowiest winters to hit the region have occurred since 2000. "We will need to focus some of our land management issues toward trying to keep the soil on the land and the nutrients on the land," Matisoff said.

 

Fish kills have become common this year. The Michigan DNR is still investigating a winter kill that claimed about 4,000 muskies in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Michigan fisheries biologist Gary Towns said the muskie kill represented a small percentage of the Lake St. Clair population, and muskie fishing should again be excellent in 2006.

 

 


Indiana

Strawtown public access site opens

The Indiana DNR, in cooperation with other state and federal agencies opened the Strawtown public access site on the White River on May 24. The opening commemorates the successful cooperation between federal, state and local government agencies and private citizens in restoring the White River

 

"The outstanding support of dedicated citizens was instrumental to the speed and effectiveness of the efforts to restore the White River," said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer. "Organizations such as the White River Watchers, Friends of the White River, White River Rescue and the White River Citizens Advisory Council contributed heavily to the effort." 

 

The Strawtown access site is built on property leased from the Hamilton County Parks Department by the DNR. The access site, which consists of a boat ramp, an ADA loading platform and parking area, will be part of the future Lafayette Trace Park. 

 

Funding for the project came from a portion of the $6.25 million settlement in 2001 with Guide Corp. of Anderson and

Crown Environmental Group for contamination that impacted the White River in Madison, Hamilton and Marion counties.

 

Restoration funds are managed through the Natural Resource Damages Program and overseen by the natural resource trustees. DNR and IDEM are state co-trustees and USFWS is the federal trustee. The Natural Resource Trustees make unanimous decisions on how the restoration funds are spent. The White River Citizens Advisory Council, composed of public and private officials as well as citizens, acts as an advisory board to the trustees on project funding.

 

The access site is among more than 70 enhancement projects along White River that include nearly 550 acres in property acquisitions and conservation easements, over 2,000 acres of habitat restoration, eight upgraded/new public access sites, several studies, fish restocking and numerous community river cleanups.

 

A map to the Strawtown site is available at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/press/StrawtownPASmap.pdf

For more information, visit http://www.in.gov/idem/your_environment/wrcac/index.html .


Volunteer fishing instructors needed at Indiana State Fair

The Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana State Fair have teamed up to build a new fishing pond, new fish-viewing ponds and a 100-seat amphitheater outside the Natural Resources Building on the State Fairgrounds.  The new additions will be introduced to the public at the 150th anniversary of the Indiana State Fair, August 9 through August 20.

 

More than 6,000 children and parents are expected to fish during the 12 days of the fair, and 20,000 fairgoers are likely to participate in the other programs at the pond and

amphitheater. "Many volunteers will be needed to make this kind of impact," said Indiana's fishing education coordinator Amanda Wuestefeld. "Volunteers can teach kids to fish, help maintain fishing equipment or register kids."

 

Shifts are available in 4-hour blocks on all 12 fair days. Individuals, groups or organizations can volunteer. The Indiana State Fairgrounds is on the northside of Indianapolis at the intersection of 38th Street and Fall Creek Blvd.

 

Volunteer contact, Shaena Smith, shsmith@dnr.in.gov (317) 562-1338.


Michigan

Summer Travelers Reminded to Not Move Firewood

To help Michigan observe "Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week," Department of Natural Resources officials today urged campers, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts to not move firewood as the 2006 peak summer use season kicks off this Memorial Day Weekend.

 

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm proclaimed the week of May 21 as "Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week" to help increase awareness of the devastating effect EAB has on Michigan's natural resources.

 

Moving firewood spreads invasive species and diseases, including EAB, which has killed more than 15 million ash trees in southeast Michigan since first discovered in 2002. State parks and recreation areas, which have been seriously impacted by this invasive green beetle, have stepped up enforcement efforts to prevent the movement of firewood into DNR-managed lands.

 

Visitors to state parks and recreation areas across the state will see some changes in landscapes caused by EAB, exotic insects and other diseases. Trees have been cut down in some locations to help prevent the spread of EAB. The most dramatic changes can be viewed at Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County. More than 8,000 ash trees, including 4,000 from the modern campground, were removed this spring after EAB was discovered.

At Brimley State Park, the only location in the Upper Peninsula where EAB has been discovered, more than 300 ash trees were removed last year. The park staff and local community volunteers used a $12,500 Forest, Mineral and Fire Management grant to replant 100 trees this spring, including 30 red maple, 20 red oak, 20 white pine, 15 spruce and 15 balsam fir trees. Volunteers from Brimley High School's environmental science class assisted with digging holes and planting trees.

 

If you are going to be traveling in Michigan this summer, purchase all your firewood when you reach your destination and burn what you buy on site.

 

Michigan residents and visitors should adhere to the state's ban on transporting hardwood firewood from quarantined areas or out of the Lower Peninsula. Violators face fines/penalties ranging from $1,000 up to $250,000 and face up to five years in jail if found guilty of transporting hardwood firewood into the Upper Peninsula. Additionally, a Land Use Order by DNR Director Rebecca Humphries prohibits anyone from bringing ash firewood onto any DNR-managed lands.

 

For more information about EAB, invasive species and the laws governing firewood movement, visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr  or go to www.michigan.gov/eab .

 


Ruffe Study in Thunder Bay – no Ruffe found

Eurasian Ruffe Removal Effort Conducted in Thunder Bay River, Lake Huron

During April the Alpena USFWS Fishery Resource Office conducted efforts to detect and remove Eurasian Ruffe from the only known Lake Huron population located in the Thunder Bay River near Alpena in northeastern Michigan. This annual effort was initiated in 2002 to remove adult Ruffe prior to spawning.

Small mesh gillnets were fished at 3 to 5 index locations and targeted water temperatures and timing of when Ruffe were captured in past years.

 

In 2006, no Ruffe were captured following a total of 44 nights effort. Ruffe have not been captured from Thunder Bay since 2003.

Ruffe are an aquatic invasive species native to Eurasia that were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes via ballast water from an ocean-going vessel. They are related to yellow perch but do not attain a size that is desirable for sportfishing harvest and consumption and are thought to compete with native species for food and habitat resources. Ruffe were designated an aquatic nuisance species in 1992 by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Ruffe were first discovered in Lake Huron at Thunder Bay in 1995.

 

Efforts to control and monitor invasive species provides benefit to native species. This project addresses the Service's Fisheries Program Vision for the Future priorities for "Aquatic Species Conservation and Management".

 


Minnesota

Engwall named DNR Northeast Region director

Craig Engwall has been named Northeast Region Director for the Minnesota DNR by Commissioner Gene Merriam, effective June 1.

 

Since 2004, Engwall, 42, has served as the DNR's special assistant to the commissioner, where he coordinated major interdisciplinary projects for the DNR, including off-highway vehicle policy, land acquisition and trust fund land management issues. He served as the DNR's liaison to Minnesota's Indian tribes, and also represented DNR in its relationships with federal, county and local governmental units. Engwall served as the Commissioner's staff representative to the Governor's Clean Water Cabinet. He also assisted in analyzing and drafting legislation and administrative rules.

 

Engwall and his wife have a cabin north of Grand Rapids, the

city where his new position will be based in the DNR's regional office.

 

Engwall graduated cum laude both in 1986 with a bachelor's degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, and in 1991 with a juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. He majored in geography and minored in history, with an additional major in Scandinavian studies. He is a member of the Minn. State Bar Association. He was successfully admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota, the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Engwall studied in Sweden during a semester abroad and, since 2005, has served on the Board of Trustees of the American-Swedish Institute.

 

Engwall replaces Chuck Spoden, who retired this spring, and John Guenther, who came out of retirement to serve as a part-time, temporary acting regional director in the interim.


Strong enforcement presence will continue on Upper Red Lake

Long hours of both covert and uniformed surveillance by conservation officers of the Minnesota DNR have netted a number of over-limit cases as well as slot limit violations on Upper Red Lake. DNR Enforcement Chief Mike Hamm, said a strong enforcement presence will remain on the lake throughout the fishing season to ensure rule compliance and protect the resource.

 

"In the two weeks since Upper Red Lake reopened for fishing, our conservation officers have detected 28 over-limit violations," Col. Hamm said.

 

Upper Red Lake anglers can keep two walleye, but must release all walleye from 17- to 26". Conservation officers say slot limit violations have become common on the lake as well. While these methods give an angler some idea about the length of a fish, the best method is to get a measuring board with an end on it to butt the fish nose up against while pinching the tail to a point.

 

Many anglers use ruler stickers on their boat, but the DNR cautions anglers to use them very carefully. "These stickers can be inaccurate if the fish is not butted up to a starting line, the boat is rocking and the fish belly sags, causing the fish to measure a little shorter than the angler thinks." 

Henry Drewes, NW Region fisheries manager from Bemidji, recommends that anglers always err on the side of caution and throw back the close fish. "If it's too close to call throw it back," Drewes said. "There are plenty of fish on Red Lake. At this point it's pretty easy to catch a limit of legal fish. Why chance it?"

 

Anglers are permitted to harvest walleye on state waters of Upper Red Lake under the following special fishing regulations:

 

►All walleye 17 – 26” must be immediately released

►A statewide bag limit may only include two Red Lake walleye, only one larger than 26”

►Walleye and northern pike on Red Lake must have heads, tails, fins and skin intact

►At no time can an angler have more than two walleyes on Red Lake and included tributaries; designated tributaries include the Tamarac River and Shotley Brook.

 

In addition to the special walleye regulations, all northern pike 26 - 40" must be immediately released, and only one in possession may be larger than 40". The DNR also encourages anglers to exercise restraint when walleye fishing Red Lake this year as catch-and-release fishing will have some impact on hooking mortality, which is counted toward the state harvest cap of 108,000 lbs.


New York

Successful Walleye Egg Collection for 3rd Year of Restoration Program

The Lake Erie Unit of the NYS DEC collected 750,000 walleye eggs for fingerling production to be stocked in the Buffalo River in late June.  This is the third year in a five to seven year program to establish a riverine spawning stock of walleye in the Buffalo River.  Historically it is believed that walleye spawned in the Buffalo River however due to years of dredging an industrial pollution that stock of walleye had been lost.  Pollution abatement programs and laws have resulted in better water quality, which may allow walleye to spawn in the river again.  

      

In the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie, walleye predominantly spawn on lake shoals and near shore reefs.  Spawning in the lake subjects the eggs and fry to the hazards of rough water conditions during spring storms.  Conditions for good spawning success are infrequent from year to year.  River

condition differences are less dramatic from year to year and storm run off is tempered by miles of the low gradient of the river.  The cycle from winter to spring conditions is rapid causing plankton blooms, which provide the necessary food for the walleye fry.   Walleye spawned in the Buffalo River have miles of ideal habitat to grow before they reach the lake.

 

An experiment conducted in the Cattaraugus Creek, a tributary to lake Erie, to establish a river spawning stock of walleye was successful.  Don Einhouse, Sr. Fisheries Biologist at the NYS DEC Lake Erie Unit thought that a similar experiment was needed for the Buffalo River. The Buffalo River received about 53,000 walleye fingerlings total for the first two years and several hundred thousand fry.  The eggs collected are taken to the Chautauqua Hatchery where they are raised to fingerlings.  Volunteers during the egg collection and stocking also support the restoration efforts for the Buffalo River.

Courtesy: Tom Marks, NY GLSFC Director


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